As this new year begins with all its uncertainties and unsettling headlines, I wanted to share two stories of kindness, constancy and care that Pastor Leonard Gcabashe and Dr Ashita Singh told us about recently.
Leonard wrote from Embo, South Africa about Mr Khwela, a new patient with HIV who recently had a stroke that left him immobile. Despite these very difficult circumstances, Mr Khwela told Leonard how compassionate and cheerful support from his caregiver Mayenzeke has given him new hope: ‘Mayenzeke passes jokes to me when visiting, which changes my day.’
Ashita told us about a carol service which staff and church volunteers put on for palliative care patients and their families at ChinchpadaChristian Hospital, India – to which a staggering 800 people came: ‘The choir, staff and volunteers greeted each of our special guests, and it was heart-warming to see so many hugs being exchanged. There were many tears too, as is often the case when hope confronts despair, and Agape Love reinstates forgotten, devalued, beautiful people created in God’s image to their rightful place of dignity. One elderly man (who had lost both his lower limbs waist down) took both my hands in his, bowed his head into them and wept long and hard, words being unnecessary as we shared our common treasure – Jesus’.
It is such a privilege to work with people as extraordinary as Leonard, Ashita and their teams. This year we hope to support more of the priority health needs they and our other partners identify. I look forward to bringing you news of this work as the year goes on.
On behalf of our partners and those they care for, I would like to thank you for all your support and encouragement of MAI’s work to bring health and hope to people in the hardest times.
With very best wishes for the year ahead,