A year ago, Theresa [pictured above] woke up screaming bloody murder. Her father rushed in to settle her down but she was unresponsive. Eventually her panic subsided and she went back to bed. The next morning she woke up deaf, and has been ever since.
This past Thursday we picked her up from her village to see if there was anything we could do to help. We brought Theresa into the ABC Hearing Clinic and got her tested.
Initial testing showed positive indications that she would get her hearing back with a pair of $125 hearing aids. Too much money for her family to afford, but I knew the amount was at least fundraise-able!
Sadly, after more critical testing, it was found that even the best hearing aids would only allow her to hear the faint roar of a 747 taking off. She was deaf and there was nothing to be done.
One solution presented was to enroll her in a deaf school so she could learn sign language. An utterly useless option since it would enable her to communicate with exactly zero people in her local village.
Before leaving the hearing clinic, we delicately explained the situation to Theresa’s father and then prayed with them. I bowed my head and listened to the nurse offer her Chichewa prayers. By the time everyone said, “Amen” I was in tears.
While my head was bowed, I slowly realized the horrifying implications: this 5 year old girl would never, ever, hear again. She would never communicate verbally with another human. She would be considered a burden to her family and village. And, worst of all, she’s now a prime candidate for sexual abuse because she can’t report the actions of her abuser. She will most likely be repeatedly raped, over and over and over.
I’m sorry to put these horrifying thoughts into your head. I’m sorry to make you pause and think about this poor little girl that you would otherwise never have heard about. But while I have you here, can I make a request? Please take 20 brief seconds to contemplate the life of this human, and then pray for her.
After the disappointing visit to the clinic, I drove Theresa and her father back home. I wasn’t able to get back into their village because of some heavy rains that set in, so I dropped the two of them off on the side of the road, they smiled at me, and began their walk back.
It’s days like this that give my soul a reality check. I can help build houses, provide wells, and cure malaria. But sometimes I can’t do anything. On days like this I’m reminded that the only hope that anyone in the world ever has is the good news of Jesus Christ.
There, in fact, will be a day when all that was bad will be incomparable with what is. On that day, I hope to meet, and talk, and worship, with Theresa.