Friends...I'll do my best to put into words the events that took place surrounding my trip to Nashville last week for the surgery of my little Liberian friend...Baby Grace. I'm not goint to recount the story, but you can read my earlier posts for more information on what brought us to this week. But, before I type anything else...I just need to say...GOD IS GREAT, GOD IS COMPASSIONATE, GOD IS LOVE, GOD IS AMAZING!!!! Everything that has happened for Grace and her family is all because of Him! This was humanly impossible...please hear me say this...humanly impossible. Sometimes, He will use humans to accomplish His purposes, and He did this time as well, but ALL glory belongs to Him!!!! If I've heard "thank you" from Grace's family once, I've heard it a hundred times. And each time...I pointed upward and said give ALL praise to Him! They know that too...they're just overwhelmed with how good He has been!
Here's a brief synopsis of this week's journey:
1. Wednesday evening - arrived in Nashville around 9:30 CT. I traveled with my 13-year-old daughter who met Baby Grace for the first time and got to hold her first when we arrived! The first thing I noticed was that she had more hair than the first time I met her in Liberia only 4 months ago.
Baby Grace stayed at the house where we stayed that night (rather than staying with her parents), as her mother was afraid she would "cheat" and nurse her after the last time was she supposed to eat. Bless her heart. But, I was grateful for the extra time with Grace.
The speaking ministry I've just recently become part of, Speaking Thru Me Ministries (STMM), coordinated a 48 hour prayer marathon for Baby Grace beginning just a few hours after we arrived in Nashville. I had the midnight - 1:00am shift and was able to hold Grace as she slept during the entire hour I prayed for her. Melted my heart.
2. After sleeping for a brief 2.5 hours, we started the day at 4:30 in an effort to pick up Grace's parents at the Ronald McDonald house. This was another reunion for me. I met Grace's father for the first time and got to hug Grace's mother, Cecelia, as we were reunited since our first meeting in her home country. Precious, precious people. We all then traveled to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital where we would make our "home" for the day.
3. We were joined by Cecelia's sister (Marie) and her husband (Robert). I need to interject a quick aside here. Marie and her husband currently live in Chicago. Cecelia and Marie hadn't seen each other in 11 years until just a few days prior. Another precious reunion! Anyway, we were also joined by Beverly, Becky, Bob, and several other friends/members of Parkway Baptist Church. Additionally, Francis Nyepon traveled with the family from Liberia to help with the culture shock of traveling on a plane to a Western nation (all for the first time). Francis was one of our guides while I was in Liberia in June. He's a precious servant of the Lord!
4. The surgery lasted for several hours. During the course of the surgery, we were able to have prayer via conference call with other STMM sisters as well as with Baby Grace's parents - all from the hospital waiting room. One of the biggest prayer requests for the surgeon to not have to insert a plastic plate into Grace's abdomen. This was highly likely and would have meant *another* surgery down the road. But, God knows ALL and saw fit to allow that to NOT be needed. Praise Him! Once the phone call came through to the waiting room announcing completion of a SUCCESSFUL surgery - we all erupted into praise and thanksgiving for the amazing miracle that had just taken place. We literally circled up and had a "prayer meetin'" of sorts - right there in the waiting room! God was glorified indeed!
5. Grace did very well during the surgery and was such a doll baby afterwards. A couple of us were able to see her while in recovery and then the rest of the group joined us in her room upstairs later.
6. Last, but not least, Ginger and I were reunited again for the first time since we traveled to Liberia together! What a joyous and miraculous occasion to get to celebrate together!
We hope to host Baby Grace and her family in my hometown sometime next month when she's able to travel more (and before she returns to Africa). So, I know I'll have more to share then! There is still a great financial need for the support of the family while in the states. If you feel the Lord leading you to support the family, feel free to contact me, and I'll be happy to give you specifics about where to send donations, etc. (email@example.com).
Thanks for your prayers, support, love, and continued readership! More to come in the days ahead!