We don't always know why God allows us to go through the trials, tribulations and hardships that we go through. But we can trust and believe that His plans are greater than ours. Always. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” God knows the thoughts and plans He has for each one of us. And God had thoughts and plans for Lucy Maliro. Lucy is a woman who was first visited by Passion Staff members-Edwin Ng'ambani, Hlekiwe Banda and Jodi Gardner on May 23, 2019. Lucy was brought to Edwin's attention by a CHN volunteer out in her area who had been informed that she needed medical attention. She had a wound on her neck that needed immediate attention. The three staff were going out with the intention of picking up this woman and providing her with transportation to the hospital. Her husband had himself, just returned home from a 2-3 month hospital stay. He was too weak to do anything to help his wife. He said that he couldn't even walk up to the tarmac road from his house to seek help. Lucy's wound started with three lumps on her neck which all ruptured at the same time forming one large wound. She was weak, in severe pain and crying out for help. She wasn't sure she would live to see the next day when we found her. Her children were all crying as we took their mother away. We took her to the closest clinic, quickly were referred to the main hospital in Zomba. When we arrived at Zomba Central, Lucy again was taken to the front of the line because the situation was too severe to wait. Lucy quickly was given a bed, admitted, and started on IV antibiotics and pain meds. They said they'd be taking her into the theatre (surgical room) the next day to clean out the wound. They did this on more than one day. After three days in the hospital, we were able to go visit her again and Lucy looked and seemed like a new person. Her attitude was so upbeat and she was ever so thankful for the love shown to her and the treatment she received. Two days later, Lucy was sent home.
Edwin and Jodi were able to pay another visit to Lucy and her husband John almost a week after she returned home. Lucy had mentioned that she was in need of pain medicine since the hospital didn't send her home with any. Edwin and Jodi decided that this was the “open door” they were praying for to give them an opportunity and reason to go out to this house to share the gospel with them. When the couple started talking, they were saying that they couldn't express the love that they felt because no stranger they’ve ever met has shown so much kindness and love toward them. They said that ever since we showed up the first time, they've been discussing “church issues” among themselves. Lucy and John are Muslim. No one from their mosque has come to visit them. No one from their mosque has shown any kindness to them with everything they've gone through lately. (Which doesn't just include Lucy's wound, but also rain damage to their house during the recent devastating rains, and John's 2-3 month hospital stay). The “god” they've been praying to has not been answering their prayers. John and Lucy saw something different with this Christian organization which was helping their family. They saw love like they've never seen before and thought there might be something more to this God. They saw answers to the prayers that were being offered up by these people from Passion Center. That's why they were having “church issue” discussions. They wanted to know more about THIS God. Edwin started sharing the gospel with this couple. He explained to them that we are all destined to hell without a life in Christ. He shared the promise and hope found in John 3:16. And he shared the need that we all have for a Savior, as found in Romans 6:23. He told them that this gift is free and they didn't do anything to deserve it or earn it, but God wants them to be saved as He does all of us. Jodi shared with them that when God was planning the creation of the world, He felt the need to put a “Lucy” and a “John” on it. He knew that He would bring them together. He knew even back then that they would go through this horrible experience, but this experience would give them a real picture of the unending love found only in the One true God. This pain they had to suffer would be worth it when they secured a place in heaven. They both received Christ into their lives that day. Edwin then prayed individually with both Lucy and John. They publicly declared their desire to have this life and they confessed that they are sinners and unworthy of this grace.
Before Edwin and Jodi left, the Maliros started talking about how they wanted to go to the “Passion Center Church” which was down the road. Lucy and John live very close to Namikango Church, which is a sister-church to Mulunguzi Community Church. Lucy said there was no doubt in her mind that she wouldn't be here today if we hadn't come to her house that first day. She and John both were so grateful for the whole Passion Center staff. They had huge smiles on their faces. God reveals Himself to us in mysterious ways. Sometimes it takes us almost dying in order to see the real love and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Lucy and John saw God through the love shown by the staff of Passion Center and the Community Health Network. We are thankful for the growth in the kingdom of God. And we are thankful for the work He is doing through the ministries and willing hands and feet of the Passion Center for Children.