STAYING CONNECTED IN A TIME OF ISOLATION, Day 14

Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

 Each day our Pastor will post a message to keep us connected while the Church is closed.

Day 14, March 27, 2020
“Hands of Healing . . . Hands of Hope”

           A friend went through open heart surgery four years ago. Looking back on that surgery he said he felt like God saved him. But more than that he said he felt like God saved him for a reason. He thinks part of the reason God saved him was so that he would be sitting in our church on a Sunday morning several years ago when there was a brief announcement about how people were using 3D printers to make prosthetic hands and arms for people in places around the world who could not afford a traditional prosthetic. These “homemade” prosthetics are made for the cost of around seventy dollars, a cost significantly less than a traditional prosthetic.

           When you believe God saved you for a reason, you might be listening a little more closely when announcements are made in church. Our friend went home and learned about this process of making prosthetics with 3D printers. He bought a 3D printer, assembled it, learned how to make prosthetics, and got involved with the online community making prosthetics, a group called e-NABLE. Writing about his experience he says, “By learning 3D printing, assembling my printer, gaining skill at fabricating prostheses and becoming extremely active with e-NABLE, God has used me to forward his kingdom…I have made many online friends with e-NABLE, friends from all over the world. I will probably never meet most of them in person, yet we communicate on almost a daily basis encouraging each other Ahmad in Aleppo, Syria…Sandra and Everton in Brazil…James in Thailand…Shawn in Washington State…Thierry in France…Lars in Germany…Jeremy and Jon here in Chicago and Rochester…all of these friends and colleagues who are working to help people in need. We spend our own time, talents, and financial resources, which, after all, are all gifts from God.”

           That friend, that member of our church, a good-hearted man named Bob, told me about correspondence he received recently from a man in Kenya. Describing his wife’s need for a prosthetic the man tells how his wife was amputated in 2005. Since then they have tried many ways to enable the wife to be fitted with a hand. Their previous efforts had been unsuccessful. Turning to e-NABLE, they wrote, “We wish to kindly ask if we can find assistance. Be assured our prayers and thanks will accompany anything you can do in this regard. My wife and I have two children aged 15 and 11 after we lost the eldest on that shoot out. (That shootout refers to the episode in which the man’s wife lost her hand) May God bless your worthy cause. Samuel is my name. My wife is Salome. Thanks very much and looking forward to your feedback.”

           What a worthy effort. What a way to lend a helping hand. But this particular project for Samuel’s wife is complicated, requiring an advanced arm and hand which is still in an experimental phase. The project is beyond the scope of Bob’s 3D printer.  Bob said, “So I just ordered a larger printer. It should be delivered in about a week. Then I can finish printing and assembling the device. At that point I will ship it to Kenya.” Someday Samuel’s wife will have her prosthetic.

           Obviously, the work Bob is doing will bring incredible blessing to Salome, a blessing that will reach all the way to Kenya. But when Bob told me of this project, he wanted me to know about the blessing he had received from Samuel and from Salome. “They always respond with great joy and wishes of ‘May God bless you.’ That is absolutely amazing to me. Imagine, a family in Mombasa, Kenya who are very poor, who have virtually nothing, asking God to bless me. They are blessing me, one who has a great deal and has been richly blessed by God. Maybe that is what grace is all about. When I look at Samuel and Salome, they are full of God’s grace. Grace is not dependent upon physical possessions, or your lot in life. Grace is given by God to be shared with others.”

           What strikes me is that during a time of social isolation, a time when there is no hand-holding allowed, a man with a human hand is connected to a woman across the world who will  have a prosthetic hand, and in a real way they will be holding hands, holding hands not just the two of them but this vast e-NABLE network that is spanning the globe. In a time of isolation, it does my soul good to imagine these hands being joined together. Whether the hand is human, or the hand is prosthetic, they are hands of healing and they are hands of hope.

With the love of Christ,
Wayne