Her hands were clenched tight enough to cause fingernail impressions, but even those had been chewed to the quick. Her facial expressions were hard, depressed, and did not reflect that of a 30-year-old young woman. I could see the pain in her dark eyes as she shuffled closer to me. Her first words brought meaning to her small frame and short, very thin, black hair. “Ten years ago I was diagnosed with a nerve disorder. I used to have long, thick, black hair, but I’ve pulled it all out. Over the years, this disorder has caused other sicknesses in my body such as stomach ulcers and heart problems. Will you pray for me that God will heal me and make me whole again?” Nadia said.
That was the purpose of my visit to this Ukrainian church, located in a small town three hours from Kiev. Fadey, my interpreter, had never interpreted for a teacher before, and let’s just say we were both stepping out in faith that day.
Walking through the dirty, long halls, my face had to remain calm as I held back the expression of shock for what my eyes beheld. “Certainly this is not a hospital!,” I thought to myself. The floors and hallways bore the soiled smell and filthy dirt of neglect for what looked like years past. We soon breached the doorway of a much larger scale of astonishment. A large warehouse room filled with over 500 twin size metal beds. All of which was chipping from the paint that was once used to cover its mature age. Old brown plastic coverings with a thin mattress laid beneath the women and newborn babies. No sheet, no pillow, no bassinet for the baby. There had to be one other family member there with you to ensure that the woman next to you didn’t roll over onto your new bundle of joy.
I was so thankful it was raining and the weather was cooler than usual. There was no source of air conditioning in this building except the small fan located at the center of a few large windows around the room.
I soon realized that the bed frame and mattress were the only thing provided at this hospital. Family members had to leave the hospital to bring pillows, sheets, and food. If the patient was in need of medication, or even blood, the family member had to leave and purchase these items from another place and bring them to the hospital, including the needles and instruments needed to perform the care.
Shock and awe showed on our faces as my friends and I watched her enter the market. It appeared her bones were not able to support her crippled body. Her crooked legs shifted to the right then to the left to walk towards her companion. Her posture was bent in a 90-degree angle and excruciating pain was painted on her face.
Immediately my friends saw this as an opportunity to pray for this Filipina woman who obviously needed healing. We all talked amongst ourselves sharing our compassion for this woman. They boldly asked me to approach her to ask for prayer and why not? God says He is our healer and she looks like she needs healing, so let’s go for it. We boldly walked towards her, our hearts ready to see a miracle and mustard seed sized faith believing for the impossible.