Even as we gathered our gifts together in the parking lot, one of our colleagues said, “I will not believe it until I see you get through the main door. My church in Moa has attempted to do the same ministry and they wouldn’t even permit us Cubans to do it. I can’t believe they are going to let foreigners in.”
His skepticism was understandable, yet we were soon past the main door of the provincial hospital and being escorted into the pediatric oncology department (the children’s cancer ward). Our team of three Americans, three Russians, and six Cubans was welcomed as honored guests and given complete freedom to minister to all the children and their families.
And minister we did — for three hours. We explained the Gospel to each family and child, prayed for each sick boy and girl, and gave gifts to each one. A special touch was that Ron Kronz played something special on his saxophone in each of the hospital rooms we visited.
I had the weighty privilege of explaining the Gospel to a 17-year-old boy named Alberto, who focused his gaze on me intently while I spoke. I prayed for him, as I had earlier prayed for 4-year-old Melanie, who was being sent home that day for hospice care. Melanie’s face lit up as she saw the gifts handed to her by Pastor David Waters. Melanie’s mom, though, could not smile and barely made eye contact with any of us; the concern for her daughter was too great.
We also prayed for a 2-year-old boy who no longer had any hope for healing from medical science.
After our time with the children, we spent another hour speaking with the medical staff and praying for them. None are Christians, but all are competent, compassionate, dedicated professionals. They work hard to have a 60% survival rate and are open to any source of encouragement and blessing they can obtain for their young patients.
To that end they have invited me back (with another small team) on May 20th. I asked them for their “wish list” and here is what they replied, in order of need:
- Infusion pumps
- clear plastic syringes for Perfusor pump
- infant size manual blood pressure monitors (sphygmomanometers)
- fluid suction pumps (aspiration pumps)
- two laptops
If you know of anyone who can help us obtain these items, we will be very grateful. (I have done my best on the translation of the equipment names; please contact me for any clarification.)
Thank you very much and keep praying!