Having served overseas for many years I knew that when I agreed to head to Egbe Nigeria for 6 weeks, there would be many things that I would have the privilege of participating in that I hadn’t planned, and that certainly was the case with this ministry trip.
My main purpose for going to Egbe was to finish off the school year at the Missionary Kid (MK) School which is located on the Egbe Compound. Having taught MKs for many years, my heart strings pull toward the need for education of MKs. I was excited to go, and I was excited to see the Hand of God at work.
What I hadn’t expected was to use music therapy on the Children’s Ward at ECWA Hospital, Egbe. I am not a medical person, and usually do my best to stay away from those who are bedridden in the hospital, especially children.
Missionary personnel was low during my time at Egbe, and I was asked if I would go and sit with some of the children who had been in the hospital for quite some time and to help them catch up with their schoolwork after I had finished teaching. Not wanting to appear like a ‘wimp’, I agreed. I am thankful that I did. I was able to see God’s Hand move in Mighty Ways.
Music has always played an important role in my life; whenever possible I have some type of music playing in the background. It eases stress, and helps me to focus on the Author of my Salvation.
Singing (and the Holy Spirit) was my ‘go-to’ as I stepped onto the Children’s Ward that first day. I decided to teach the kids the song ‘Clap Your Hands, and Sing to the Lord’. It has a catchy tune, and involves a lot of hand raising. The kids that could participate caught on quickly.
There was a young burn patient that had been on the Ward for a few weeks before I arrived, Abigail. She is 5 years old, but no bigger than my 20 month old grandson. She caught my attention right away. Her burns were severe, and I had to turn my head away and say a quick prayer when she struggled to walk towards me and the other kids. As she made her way to us, there was no smile, and her eyes were very dull. This little one had been through quite a bit. She wanted to participate in the fun that we were having, and she would raise her hands and say ‘Hallelujah’ with us during the chorus.
The time was coming to a close that first day when I needed to head back to the Guest House where I was staying. The nurses on the Ward took Abigail as I leaving and began to change her dressings. This was a very painful ordeal for her, and the screams that came from this little one silenced the whole ward. As I looked at the kids on the Ward, I could see fear on their faces, and I was very close to tears. I stopped at the bedside of a bedridden young fellow who looked like he was about to cry, and said ‘Let’s sing’. We started our song again, very quietly. Soon we had a number of kids around his bed, and we kept singing until the new dressing was complete. As Abigail’s sobs became less and less, I turned toward the area where she was receiving care. Abigail was struggling to walk toward were we were singing, she had her arms in the air and said ‘Hallelujah!’ Talk about a humbling moment!
The following Sunday before church I made a visit to the Ward. I was dressed in my African ‘finery’, and it took Abigail a few seconds to recognize me. When she did, I got down on my knees to be at her level, she came waddling to me, put her arms around my neck and said ‘Hallelujah’, as I tried to compose myself I looked at her sweet face, and then it came…a smile, and the dullness of the eyes was no longer evident.
Abigail was discharged that week.
Two weeks later at church I felt some fingers running across the back of my neck. I did not want to turn around in case this ‘White Auntie’ would scare the child that was investigating. The fingers kept caressing my back, then I heard the word ‘Hallelujah’, I quickly turned to find Abigail standing there! I had her on my lap in no time, and we spent a good amount of time re-connecting while singing our song (quietly) together.
For the remaining 6 weeks, after I was done teaching the MKs, I made my way to the Children’s Ward. As the kids would see me enter they would start singing ‘Clap Your Hands and Sing to the Lord’. I even heard the gals on the Women’s Ward singing it with us a few times. We had bedridden kids singing and raising their hands every afternoon, it was one of the many highlights of this trip.
God always does immeasurably more then we could ever ask or imagine when we allow ourselves to be used by Him.