Sorry for being away so long, my friends. But I’m back! And I want to share with you a few pages from the travel diary I kept during my trip to the Middle East way back in April:
Friday, 16 April
Carl Hetu [national director of CNEWA Canada] and I are exhausted. Not physically, but psychologically. We spend the morning meeting Iraqi refugees and hearing their stories. Heartbreaking!
Then we visit another refugee family at ther home. The sofa on the sidewalk tells me this isn’t the best neighborhood. A woman opens the door and hugs Sister Wardeh [a key CNEWA ally in Jordan]. Worry has cut deep lines in the woman’s face. Sister is paying the rent for this apartment.
The family joins us in the living room. Then a teenage girl shuffles in and smiles at us. She’s wearing a wool hat, but you can tell she doesn’t have hair. Cancer.
How did it happen? Untreated injuries turned into something worse, then chemo stopped working. Doctors say the only answer is surgery, but it costs $20,000.
Sister, in tears, asks Carl and me to help. I say all I can do is ask CNEWA’s donor when I get home. Painful silence. But after we leave, I call New York.
For the rest of the day, messages come in. $200. $2,000. $10,000. My colleagues in the U.S. and Canada are calling and emailing CNEWA supporters, telling Sally’s story. By 11:00 p.m. Amman time, we hit $20,000. A miracle!
Saturday, 17 April
Carl and I ask Sister to take us to Sally’s again. I don’t think she understands why! Soon we’re in the familiar living room. This time, Sally wears a wig. Carl and I explain what CNEWA donors have done. Sister, Sally, her family — everyone is crying. Tomorrow Sally goes to the hospital.
Monday, 18 April
The volcano kept us grounded for a while, but Carl and I fly home today. Driving to the airport from Jerusalem this morning, we stopped at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to pray for Sally.
Wednesday, 21 April
Today, I received the following report from a staffer at CNEWA’s Jordan office:
After you left Sally’s home on Saturday, Sally’s mother was so shocked that she fainted. Sally’s father and brother couldn’t believe the good news. They kept asking Sister Wardeh to repeat herself — they wanted to make sure they heard her right.
Sally went to Lamella Hospital on Sunday. She underwent surgery on Monday at 1:00 p.m. The operation lasted seven hours. The nurses say Sally was scared and tense. While under anesthesia, she kept saying, “Is my leg going to hurt me after the operation?” But the doctors say all went well.
Sister Wardeh stayed until Sally regained consciousness and her angelic smile returned. Thanks be to God, Sally moved her foot on the first day. She even walked a little on Wednesday! The doctors originally said she’d be in the hospital for 10 days, but they may send her home early.
When I visited her on Wednesday, Sally thanked everyone who helped her and prayed for her. She sends special greetings to you and Carl!
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