Visiting a remote village in the rural Matobo Hills this week, we were asked if we could help a grandmother source a wheelchair for her 4 year old grandson, Thabo, who had never walked. We asked to meet him and Thabo was introduced to us. It would appear that Thabo suffers from Cerebral Palsy. His is a sad story of being rejected by his young mother and her family and ‘returned’ to the father’s family, where his young grandmother has looked after him since he was 3 months old.
When we returned home we made an appeal to our local city of Bulawayo FB page, for anyone who might have a strong pushchair or wheelchair that they would be willing to donate to help the grandmother transport Thabo to the clinic (6 miles away from her home on rough dirt roads) for his regular check-ups, and to move him around more easily. Up to now she has been carrying him on her back.
We had an amazing response, with offers of assistance from our local Zimbabweans. In a country with so much economic pressure it lifted our hearts to see the support and encouragement offered to one young boy who is totally dependent on the people around him.
Right now we have someone sourcing a wheelchair and have been given information about a Cerebral Palsy programme run at a local city hospital. Some funds have also been received. It was so, so much more than we expected.
What a wonderful God we serve. He sees the real needs of His people and their hearts of hope, and at just the right moment places an opportunity for those needs to be met. There was no plan for us to visit this homestead, it was pure chance that we met the grandmother. Our plan was to deliver three goats to her neighbour, who had been called away and was not home to receive them. For me, that is how I see God working so often in our crazy life here in rural Zimbabwe. Each day starts ‘with a plan’, but by the end of the day we so often see that God’s plan took over! We LOVE the way He planned this particular day and are so looking forward to our next visit when we hope to deliver a wheelchair to Thabo who may not even be aware of what it will mean to his grandmother.
Where will this story go? Whatever happens, we have learnt to ‘bend with the wind’ and not be frustrated that ‘our way’ is not always ‘God’s way’!
Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed by the desperate needs in our rural community, but we are reminded of Mother Theresa’s words when she was asked by someone how she coped when faced with the overwhelming needs of the poor: ‘One at a time.’