“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed
and so became the father of many nations…” Romans 4:18
Garedo’s life is a story of hope… against hope.
“When I first met Garedo I thought he was going to die,” recalls MedSend physician Michelle Yates, MD, who serves at a Christian hospital in the Horn of Africa. “He was really struggling to breathe, with low oxygen saturation, swollen like a balloon and with the largest belly full of fluid that I have ever seen in such a small boy.”
Dr. Yates’ colleagues met the sickly and destitute 13-year-old orphan during a rural outreach. They asked his uncle to take him to their hospital where the staff cared for him free of charge over the course of two months. They diagnosed him with rheumatic heart disease, a preventable problem affecting one of his heart valves.
“We have been able to love Garedo well, to take good medical care of him, but I have been so grieved by the fact that there is nowhere that routinely offers any cardiac surgery anywhere in this country,” Dr. Yates says. “We had been placing a bandage on his medical problem, but not treating the source.’
Sadly, Garedo’s predicament is common in this region where – due to the scarcity of healthcare resources – people die of diseases that can be prevented or treated in another context.
“We cried and prayed for this young boy – and for the many others we meet on a regular basis who have preventable and treatable diseases, but nowhere they can go to get treatment,” Dr. Yates says.
During this time of mourning and great intercession for Garedo, his spiritual heart changed. He gave his life to Jesus.
“Garedo told us that he felt so loved here and wanted the hope and peace that come with the salvation God so freely gives us,” Dr. Yates explains. After Garedo accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, his uncle left because he was upset that his nephew chose a faith different from the family’s.
“The very next week, we heard there was a group of cardiac surgeons who have come to a nearby city and may be willing and able to treat Garedo,” Dr. Yates says. With help from the Lord and generous supporters, Garedo is now on the waiting list for cardiac surgery there. The list is long, but hope is strong, according to Dr. Yates.
“Working and living here is hard. In so many ways it requires intentional persistence and dedication to not give up… even when it’s hard. Otherwise, we would just be giving up all the time. Our constant prayer and focus is 1Corinthians 15:57-58:
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”