Dear friends and family,
Does God care about a four year old's thumb? He runs the whole universe! How much does He care? Well, He cares enough to arrange for a doctor with successful experience in hand surgery to be at the Bere hospital. He cares enough for that doctor to have a connection with a hand surgeon in the States and for that surgeon to be available Sabbath afternoon three weeks ago.
Well, let me start at the beginning of the story and tell you what happened.
Our family joined the other missionaries at the hospital for our traditional Sabbath afternoon potluck under the pavilion. It is a spacious area with a cement floor and under a roof to provide shade. For years, a small metal cart with four wheels has been left there, with no obvious use at the hospital. Many kids (including ours) have enjoyed pushing it around and playing with it over the years. (You can be sure that children will not be playing with that cart anymore after you hear this story!)
Soon after we arrived with our food, Liliana found the cart and started pushing it around as we were waiting for the other people to arrive. Then she had a new idea and got into the cart with the metal bars surrounding her body taking baby steps because of the metal bars around her feet too. None of us realized how dangerous this could be if she fell. Suddenly, she tripped and fell. Her left hand went out in front of her to catch her fall, but her right hand clung to the metal tube of the rim of the cart. The combined weight of her and the cart crushed her thumb between the cement floor and the metal tube, instantly nearly severing her thumb above the knuckle. The nail and finger tip hung from a strand of flesh below and we could see the bone poking out. We were horrified!
Drs. Andrew and Megan Trecartin and Dr. Staci were there within a short time. With gauze and pressure, the bleeding was under control, and Dr. Andrew quickly made the decision to bring her to the operating room. Several others came with us to help the procedure. Dr. Andrew sent pictures to a hand surgeon colleague in America for advice. After numbing her finger, Dr. Andrew was able to reconstruct the mashed flesh and sew it back into place, fingernail and all. We are thankful to all the others who helped in various ways that day.
Then we waited and prayed that God would perform a miracle and allow her finger to re-attach. Many of you were informed and have been praying. It has now been three weeks and her finger is re-attached and looking very good. I have attached a picture of her in the operating room with Dr. Andrew and Dr. Staci, and then a more recent picture of her thumb, and the offending cart.
We thank God for His miracles. She got to the operating room faster than she would have in the States! The accident happened near the hospital, the doctors helped us right away. Her thumb reattached and looks like it will fully heal. God is good.
There are many problems in life more serious than a crushed thumb. Liliana could have learned to live without a thumb but God cares about these things too and cares about her parents who care about her thumb! Many people are seriously maimed or die in accidents. We just thank God for helping Liliana through this time and for caring for us.
One thing that touched me very much through this traumatic experience was how much Liliana asked for prayer. Right after her fall and while we were waiting to bring her to the operating room I was doing all I could to comfort her while she was screaming and crying. I was holding her in my arms and trying to protect her thumb. Over and over again she cried to me, "Mommy, can you please pray! Mommy please pray that the pain will go away! Mommy, please pray that Jesus will heal it!" And so I prayed out loud in her ear over and over again every time she asked for prayer. Often only a few seconds after I had finished praying she would ask again for me to pray, and I would. It is the most I have ever seen her cry to Jesus for help! And for days afterward she continued to ask for prayer. I am praying that this difficult experience will turn into a blessing to her for the rest of her life because she will always remember how Jesus answered her prayer and healed her thumb.
We have a lot more news to share, but Sabbath is approaching so I will end here and hope to communicate more in a week or two.
Thank you to all of you who are praying and donating to keep the ministry going.
In His service,
Jonathan, Melody, Gideon, Liliana, and Eliora Dietrich