Experiencing Her First Steps

Faith beamed as she received her walker, balancing on her bare feet in the grass while holding onto her new treasure. Her smile was infectious, and the excitement of the students gathered around her could not be missed. Solomon, head of the special needs clinic at Tenwek, knelt proudly next to her, ready to show her how the new walking frame worked. Just moments later, we would witness Faith take her very first steps.

As soon as we exited Solomon’s car outside the school, we heard shrieks coming through the open windows. A moment later, children began streaming from their classrooms.

 

I was at the school with a few other women who are visiting Tenwek Hospital for a couple weeks. We greeted the children with handshakes and smiles, which brought about pure giddiness from the students.

 

The students who gathered around me wanted to see their faces on the back of my camera, so I snapped as quickly as I could. Many of them thought the experience was hilarious, laughing and pushing their friends, making silly faces, and jumping in front of each other to be at the front of the photos.

We eventually parted from the kids outside to join Solomon and Faith in a small classroom. The floor was smooth and would allow her to try the walker for the first time. Adjustments were made to fit her.

Then Solomon gently guided her hands to the frame and began to move her across the floor.

Before long, she was walking on her own! We praised her hard work and cheered her success. I had tears in my eyes, as it wasn’t long ago, thousands of miles from here, that I witnesses my Samuel do this very thing. After years of working to strengthen his legs, the final step he needed was the assistance of a walker and the confidence that comes with being able to keep up with schoolmates and friends. Seeing Faith take her first semi-independent steps and imagining the tremendous change this may bring to her life was incredible. Next, she’ll receive a pair of shoes and leg braces to help her continue toward walking independently. We hope to see her at the special needs clinic on Friday mornings, as well, where she will have access to free physical therapy and support.

Before leaving, the school’s director and head teacher welcomed us and shared a little about their school. Afterward, Solomon shared a short message about the love of Jesus. I had been told he is a pastor in a physical therapist’s body, and I couldn’t agree more! Every person we encountered on our visit to the school heard of the saving power of the Gospel. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did during his time on earth? He met the physical needs of those around him while also leading them to His Father.

We were next introduced to Aaron, a young man now confined to a wheelchair. When he was four years old, he hurt his back, and his family kept him in bed for the following two years. He is now permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

The special needs clinic has a cloth diaper program I’m still learning about. Diapers are given to children with special needs. I’m praying about my own role in this ministry, as it may be a way for me to spend time with the mamas of the children we meet. That is where my heart is, encouraging and educating mothers in our area who have little ones with special needs. Here, our friend, Tiffany, explained to a caregiver at Faith’s school how to use and wash the diapers.

On the way out of the school, I was gently reminded of something as I peeked my head in a classroom. Schools may look different here, and homes may feel different from what I’m used to, but children are children and mothers are mothers. We all need love and encouragement and support, and as mamas, we want the best for our babes. We want to see them walk and talk and interact and learn. I know the feeling of working with my Samuel. The frustration of feeling alone or unsure of what to do or where to turn. The excitement of seeing him work hard and achieve a new skill. And the intense love as he puts his arms around my neck and gives me a great big kiss. Mamas should not feel alone or have nowhere to turn when they want to help their children reach their full potential. I don’t know exactly what my role will be in all of this, but God has put this burden on my heart. Going into the community to deliver this walker to Faith and a wheelchair to another family solidified my calling.

I hope to know more about my role here in the next week or two. Whatever it is, I’m excited! All afternoon, as we spoke with families and caregivers, I felt … whole. Is there any better place than right where God made us to be? Whatever it is we’re doing in life, let’s strive for God’s will. It is the most challenging yet fulfilling place we could ever be.


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13 Responses to Experiencing Her First Steps

  1. Courtney says:

    This was such a beautiful and inspiring post! It’s rare to read a blog post dedicated to such pure, kind, Christlike pursuits in a world where we are so encouraged to only think of ourselves and how we can get ahead.
    I like at the end how you shared God’s will is the best place to be, even if at times it’s challenging.

  2. I couldn’t help but cried while reading this. You’ve touched my heart. May you continue to be a blessing to many. Thanks for sharing this lovely post💕

  3. Lindley says:

    Absolutely beautiful, friend! I understand your heart in this and remember daily, my trip to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan 3 years ago when I was able to do these very things. Your heart and sentiments about Mamas and children being Mamas and children is so true–and that none of the Mamasshould feel alone…OH MY!! So thankful, that so quickly, you are already seeing how the Lord is using you! Praise God! Praying with you! Love!!!!

  4. Lindsay says:

    Oh Angela, this is absolutely beautiful. What you are doing is amazing and is touching so many lives! I’m so excited to continue to follow you on your journey!

  5. Kate Fabian says:

    Angela, this is incredible. Praise God for His unending grace and provision for this ministry. God bless you more!

  6. Marianne Jezierski says:

    Thank you for sharing your touching story and experience with all. You are a blessing to many. Please continue to share. Shortly after I had met Dr. Pete I told him I felt he was more than a doctor, I told him I thought he was a healer. You are right where you need to be. So many people need the many skills you have to offer and the healing that you can give.

  7. I love this, it looks like God has you right where you are supposed to be. Thank you for sharing over at the T21 blog hop too!

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