Here is a featured story from Mercy Ships of how Emmanuel heard about the ship from one of our past patients. Working in admissions the past couple weeks, God has given me little glimpses of hope. Hope that I am making a difference and I am in the right place for now. I was able to admit Emmanuel this past week and heard how thankful he is that God brought him to the ship for healing.
Only a few weeks after Odilon’s final surgery, Veronique was in the market selling goods at her little wooden stall. Through the noise of passing motorbikes and passing bodies, under the glare of a hot sun, Veronique noticed a tall, thin man. Pushing at the man’s cheek and absorbing his jaw and his teeth was a large tumor.
Veronique’s mind flew back to Odilon – how much he had suffered and how his parents’ attempts to find help for him were unsuccessful. But she hesitated. She watched as he moved through the crowds, further and further away, unsure of whether she should follow him.
Veronique told herself, “Remember how your nephew was suffering. And how they tried everything, but they could not get help?” By this time, the man was very far away, but Veronique knew she had to help. So she stood up and started running.
When Veronique reached him, she pulled on the sleeve of his shirt. The man stopped walking and turned toward her, and she began explaining about the Mercy Ship. She spoke in Fon, her native dialect. But the man was confused – he did not understand her language.
The man’s name was Emmanuel. He was from neighboring Nigeria and was only in Benin for one day to buy goods and take them back home to sell. He spoke English, so Veronique ran to find someone to translate. Another market woman spoke both Fon and English. Through her, Veronique was able to tell Emmanuel about Odilon and the Mercy Ship.
“Is this true? Where is the ship?” Emmanuel asked. He was intrigued, but worried. “I don’t have money,” he said. But Veronique assured him everything was free. Emmanuel did not believe her and said he must see it for himself. So Veronique gathered all that she was selling, and they went directly to the ship. Sure enough, the Mercy Ship had room for Emmanuel and scheduled him for surgery in July, only two months away.
Emmanuel’s gratitude was loud and clear in his smile and his words. “May God bless this woman, may God bless her. I don’t know how to thank her.” And Veronique was happy to pass on the gift of hope and healing. Veronique said, “Because I got back my joy here, I wanted to share it.”