Glorified in the Wait

September 30, 2013 • Uganda
Children's Heart Project Alex
Ten-year-old Alex is another Children's Heart Project patient from Uganda. He obtained his visa last week.

A girl in Uganda who desperately needs heart surgery is waiting to receive a visa so she can travel to the U.S. While the transporter is waiting, she reflects on God's timing.

by Cindy Uttley, RN, MSN, who is on staff with Children’s Heart Project at Samaritan’s Purse. She has made many trips to Uganda, but this is her first trip with Children’s Heart Project. She and her husband David, a photographer for Samaritan’s Purse, met more than 25 years ago while working in Haiti.

Children’s Heart Project—until the last several days, this was only a project to me, a much needed program. I thought of it as a worthy recipient of the approval of prospective donor hospitals, a valuable investment in the life of a deserving child who would otherwise die.

But now, Children’s Heart Project is a little girl. I am in Uganda, waiting for a visa for this little girl, Isabella. We have not yet met. But I know she is 4 years old and that although her heart defect is relatively simple to repair, such repair is not available here. I also know that the window of opportunity for its repair is about to close.

Children's Heart Project Isabella

Once 4-year-old Isabella receives her visa, Cindy will bring her to Canada to receive life-saving heart surgery.

In Uganda, the Samaritan’s Purse staff of Children’s Heart Project is doing everything humanly possible to expedite Isabella’s visa. Yet a series of unexpected hurdles have thrown up obstacles to obtaining the visa. Now that I am here to transport her to the waiting North American hospital and cardiac surgeon who will perform her surgery, I have been surprised by some of the delays. I would not expect that the only way to talk to the visa agency is to go in person. There is no phone number or website for tracking.  I would not expect the visa application of a little girl urgently awaiting open heart surgery to be randomly selected for audit by a United Nations agency and sent to Canada. And I would certainly not expect a hostage situation in Nairobi to delay its delivery by courier to our office in Kampala, Uganda. And what do I make of Isabella’s mom? Certainly her wait has been more laden with fear and pain than anyone else invested in this process.

Yet, none of this is a surprise to God. He wants to be glorified in the wait. We have done everything we can. He does not want us to fret or struggle. He wants us to trust Him. We pray. We wait. We pray some more. We trust. I trust that He loves this little girl more than we who work so diligently on her behalf. He loves her so much more than her momma and papa do.

And I trust Him not to be late.

UPDATE 10/01/13: Isabella obtained her visa and will soon be traveling to North America for her heart surgery.