Faith and Forgiveness

April 24, 2015 • Republic of Congo
World Medical Mission Congo

God works a miracle in a woman on the verge of death

Elliott Tenpenny moved to Impfondo, Republic of the Congo, last year with his wife and two sons to serve with World Medical Mission as an emergency medicine physician at Pioneer Christian Hospital.

“There is no way she’s going to live,” I said as I saw the thin, emaciated shell of the young woman lying before us.

She told me her story.

“A month ago, I was sent home from another hospital after they said I was healed of an abdominal infection,” she said. “Since then, I have stayed in my village, sick and losing weight, but no one would take me to the hospital.”

World Medical Mission Congo

Elliott’s patient wasn’t expected to survive when he started treatment.

After languishing for more than a month in a remote village, she was dehydrated to the point of shock and anemic and needing blood transfusions, on top of having a massive abdominal infection needing emergency surgery.

Her situation became even more grave with the first lab test that returned—she was HIV positive.

She knew there was no chance she would survive. We started treatment with antibiotics and a drain for the infection.

“Pastor, can you please talk with her?” I asked the chaplain. “She’s not going to make it long.”

During the next few days, she told her story to the chaplain.

“She did something to herself that caused this,” he said. “Two months ago, she had a curettage, an abortion for an unwanted pregnancy. But there is good news. She just prayed with us, doctor. She prayed to place her faith in Christ.”

She had survived terrible medical treatment at a government hospital and then survived alone in a remote village with an infection and HIV, dehydrated and starving for more than a month. And she had reached our hospital to have a chance to hear and respond to the Gospel message.

During the next few days, we continued treatment, and she gradually improved. Recently while on rounds, I came to her bed and could still only see an emaciated skeleton of a person, with less infection but still outwardly looking terrible. I asked her how she was.

“I’m doing great!” she said as she raised her small arms and gave two thumbs up.

World Medical Mission Congo

A few weeks later, she was strong enough to be discharged

While she might not have being doing well physically, she was feeling better on the inside. She had made a choice to abort a child, a choice that had almost killed her. She had also made a choice to place her faith in a Savior that washes away every offense, no matter how severe.

Our faith offers forgiveness and promises that no choice, no mistake, no sin, is too much to separate us from His love, the love He offered each one of us on the cross. While this young woman was not healed physically, it was apparent that she had a new hope.

Although she knew she was still in danger of losing her physical life, in her own words, she was content for “God’s will [to] be done, even with [her].”

And miraculously, after struggling for more than a month in the hospital, she was recently discharged home, healed both in body and spirit.