This past month has passed by slowly. Some things I have done recently are Mercy Ministries, going out for dinner, going to the market, and said goodbye to some more of my friends. My life on the ship is exciting. I have gotten involved in a couple of small groups that I enjoy very much.
Mercy Ministries are when the ship partners with local orphanages, the hope center (where they keep all the patients), etc. And we go visit the kids and do a Bible lesson.
Since a couple of weeks, I sing in the accappella group here on board. We practice every Thursday and have a performance once in the month. I have so much fun in singing and to hang around with people that enjoy singing as much as I do. Not only am I singing for myself but most of all I am singing for the Lord. One of the things that I love to do most, is to worship. When I worship I feel happy and feel Gods love.
To worship the Lord and singing praise to him has a different kind of feeling for me. I feel as if all my worries are gone and it is just me and the Lord. I love to be in that place. I love to worship and honor the Lord. I feel as if being in the acappella group has also made me excited and happy to be doing something that I love. I have also been very happy lately, people keep telling me that I have a huge smile on my face. I have the joy of the Lord in my heart.
Also I am involved in a Bible study group. The group is called, “Journeying through Psalms” This group is led by Patricia Royston (one of the chaplains here onboard). Being a part of a small group has been a way to connect with others and to learn more about the Bible. I am happy that I have the opportunity to be in a group like this.
(Here is another patient story for all y’all!)
I liked reading this story because it makes me happy. I think it is a cool story of a boy who has hope and ambition. And even though there is something keeping him from doing things, like go to school, he still has that ambition. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did!
“Meet Juste – a character and a half, wrapped up in a four-year-old’s body. He doesn’t seem bothered by the lump on his head and already has a plan for when it’s gone. “After they do the surgery, I will become president, have money and buy a car!” Juste tells his mom, Elisabeth.
Elisabeth isn’t surprised by her little guy’s ambitions. He’s got a way about him – fearless, funny and uninhibited. She marvels at his carefree nature, wishing she could have a dose of it sometimes.
“I was afraid to send him to school for fear of what kids would do. I thought of putting a hat on his head … but could picture them taking it from him and teasing him. You know how cruel some kids can be.” Her thoughts of what could happen got the best of her. She and her husband decided to keep him home from school.
The lump started growing on the top of Juste’s head after he was born. When he was two months old, the doctor who delivered him tried to treat it. Not long after, it returned, so he tried a different technique to remove it. When it continued to grow back, larger each time, he told Elisabeth, “I can no longer help your son – you’ll need to try someone else.”
Elisabeth found another doctor, but the procedure came with a hefty price tag: 500,000 CFA (almost $900 USD). They had nowhere near that kind of money. She tried another hospital – but, again, the treatment was too costly there. She didn’t give up and found another option, one that was much more affordable through a locally-funded agency. But due to the volume of patients already waiting, Juste would be at the end of a very long waiting list.
By the time he was four years old, Juste’s lump had become larger than a golf ball, and Elisabeth was out of options, except one – prayer. “I prayed … and, soon after, I heard about Mercy Ships!” This brand-new possibility felt promising.
Elisabeth brought Juste to be screened by doctors at Mercy Ships, hoping to finally hear good news. But Juste’s condition required additional testing before a decision on treatment could be made. The wait for an answer seemed to last forever, but it was worth it when Elisabeth received an appointment card for Juste to have surgery!
Then, even better news surfaced. What was originally thought to be a more serious condition was actually going to be simpler to treat. Within just a few days, Juste’s cyst was safely removed for good, and they were given the “okay” by doctors to leave!
Once home, the two were greeted by a very eager family. “Overwhelmed with joy, my husband got down on his knees and said, ‘I’m so happy!’ and thanked God for healing our son through Mercy Ships.”
Will Elisabeth support Juste’s dreams to become president? Maybe. But, for now, she has some ideas on what he should accomplish first … like kindergarten.
Story by Windsor Marchesi
Edited by Nancy Predaina
Photos by Timmy Baskerville
Meet Juste. A lump started growing on the top of his head after he was born, returning and growing despite numerous attempts at treatment.
Juste’s mom, Elisabeth, kept him home from school, worried what kids might do to her son. Each option she tried either didn’t work or was beyond anything they could afford. When she heard about Mercy Ships, she hoped and prayed they’d be able to help her son.
Juste was scheduled for free surgery onboard the Africa Mercy to remove the lump on his head! Soon after, he was roaming the hallways and talking up a storm with nurses and patients. Everyone liked having Juste around!
Now, Juste feels stronger than ever!
Now Juste is ready to tackle kindergarten!
When he gets a bit older, Juste will begin to realize how much his mommy loves him!”