February 18, 2007

Our Friend Ami

by Betsy Bohuslavsky

Hello again from Koutiala where the work goes on night and day at the hospital for Women and Children. Thankfully we serve a God who never sleeps! He has shown His faithfulness and mercy amongst our patients in special ways this past month. One patient, Ami, delivered her baby at our hospital late January, then became ill just after with high fevers and dangerously low blood counts. We began treating her with antibiotics and blood transfusions but the severity of her illness didn't improve much. One evening she prayed with some staff and put her faith in Jesus. The next day something happened we don't see or talk much about in the U.S. She began acting and talking weird and the Malians, including our pastor, quickly recognized that she was suffering from demon possession. It's a very "spirit" world here in Africa and the Christians don't doubt it's reality and really wield the weapon of prayer and praise in the all-powerful one our Savior and Lord, Jesus. It was a beautiful thing to see pastor Enoch sitting at her bedside all day praying over her and one of our nurses Germaine hardly left her bedside that night singing praise songs over her. Whenever the demon spoke through Ami they told it to leave in Jesus name. I know this story sounds so unusual and hard to imagine for us "Westerners." I sensed my own inadequacies in dealing with such an obvious spiritual battle. I was thankful the Lord put me with a team of Malians and other missionaries to learn from in this situation. As for Ami, she seemed to be herself after a day of praying, but still very physically ill. Last Saturday morning her abdomen and assessment showed alarming signs of needing surgery. We took her to the "bloc" and after opening her abdomen we were relieved she didn't need any bowel resection but parts of her bowel were completely inflamed and hot. That, along with all her other symptoms confirmed in Dan's mind from what he learned in tropical medicine training that she definitely had Typhoid Fever. We continued with the treatment for the disease and praying for her healing. This past week she's required constant nursing care and hasn't been able to eat anything except a little "clears." We've given her a total of about 11 blood transfusions the past 3 weeks and her blood counts seem to finally be stabilizing. Probably the most encouraging sign the last couple days has been that her temperature has returned to normal a few times. Many times despite giving Tylenol her fever would reach 105 degrees. Even though we are seeing encouraging signs we ask you to pray with us for her healing and strength to return.

A team just arrived this weekend to come work at the hospital and relieve us medical missionaries so we can gather as a whole missionary team to have our annual Prayer Conference. We leave Wed this week and I'm looking forward to the time learning from God's word together and praying for Mali. Pray for the team as they work at the hospital and for our Prayer Conference to be a renewing time for all the missionaries.

We have three new nurses, one who is a new employee and the other two who are nursing students doing clinicals with us. We have a program designed for how we want their time to look with us. The hard part is always having enough qualified experienced nurses around to oversee them. Pray for us as we manage a lot of new nurses and try to teach them things. Many times I get stuck with my few Bambara words and don't know how to teach them clearly.

Our first two fistula repair patients are doing o.k. They still have their catheters in. One came back after her catheter got blocked at home and she was leaking urine again. The problem seems to be temporarily fixed with a new catheter but we are unsure how well both the ladies will heal completely. Pray for wisdom whether more surgery is needed in the future and healing.

Pray for our care of preemie and sick babies and their mothers. These little ones need lots of TLC and Gail has been very busy taking care of newborns lately and managing their care.

Thank you for your partnership and prayers!

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