God Rescues Two Babies!
(by Dave Dever)
Dear Friends & Supporters,
Last fall our Mission Trip overseas took us back to Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Near the end of our time (November 2012), while in Vanuatu, Abby & I decided to go to the southerly islands, to give out Bibles and to show Gospel films and nature films on the big screen with our projector. While on Tanna, Abby got sick and our plans changed, sending us back to the capital city of Port Vila for medical attention. Over the years we have learned that all plans are subject to change and that God works all things for His good.
While in Port Vila, I was invited by Elder Alick to come to his home island of Emae. We had originally planned to go to Emae next trip, but because our plans had changed, I decided to go now. Emae island is a good place to share stories as it is the custom of the people there. One night I told a story of how my son Chad was almost taken from us when he was 8 days old. The villagers listened intently as I told them of how the doctor came to us and said the we should be prepared because he thought our son might not make it. He explained that there was hardly any heart beat and when there was, it was just a skip and a miss. After he left the room, my wife Abby and I got down on our knees and prayed. After we prayed, I said to my wife who was in tears, ‘it will be OK, he will be alright, don’t worry’. She also phoned her parents and they too went to their knees in prayer. The doctor returned about 15 minutes later and said, ‘I can’t believe it but he has improved and he is going to pull through.’ We both thanked God joyfully and with more tears. Our son is now 31 and is healthy. My audience smiled and were happy to hear the good report at the end of the story.
The next morning Elder Alick brought me Benjamin, a baby boy just 6 months old. Elder Alick and other family members came around me and said,’ what can you do for our baby’? ‘What’s wrong’, I asked. ‘He has white spots on his eyes’, was the reply. After looking at the baby and doing some tests with my hand to see if he would blink or follow my hand, I told them, ‘I think your baby is blind. Has he ever been to a doctor?’ ‘No, just to the health nurse and he said the white spots would probably go away as he got older’, the mother explained. Then I asked, ‘when was he born?’ ‘May 31st’ said his mother. ‘That’s my birthday’, I told them all. ‘I will pay for the baby and mother to go to the doctor in Port Vila’. So off we went the next day to the little airport with the grass runway. I tried to buy a ticket for Madlen and Benjamin, but was told there was no room left on the small 8 seater plane. I was sure some how Benjamin and his mother would get on, so I kept silently praying.
After the plane landed I found out that there was one seat available. I went to the agent and said, ‘I want that ticket for the baby.’ He explained that the plane was already overweight with land crabs going to market. I firmly insisted that the land crabs come off and the baby be allowed on, explaining that if it was my son or his son that needed a doctor, those land crabs would come off. Then I put the money down and said, ‘please take the land crabs off’. He took the money and off came the crabs. Before leaving, the family said, ‘we are putting the baby in your hands’. I could not say ‘no’ and knew he was now like my child, I had to fight for his eyes
Abby met me at the airport and took Madlen and her baby to the private doctor from Australia. After looking at him, he said Benjamin was blind in both eyes due to cataracts and would never see. Abby said, ‘but what if money was no object’. The doctor explained that it would cost thousands of dollars to send him to another country. There is no one in Vanuatu who could do the surgery on infants. He also explained that the brain must have light to develop the eye for seeing, if the cataracts are removed too late, then the eyes may still not be able to see.
After returning home to Canada, Benjamin was constantly on my mind. I must say, I was quite anxious because time was not on our side. Then one day in February, I told Abby that we needed to get on our knees for Benjamin, just like we did for our son Chad, many years ago. We prayed that God would give baby Benjamin his sight. But our charity had no money left as we had just purchased and distributed 2000 Solomon Island Bibles, and had been on the road for three months.
But God, in His great mercy for Benjamin, had a plan. The next morning the phone rang. Susan & George (not their real names), from the USA had just received an inheritance. They explained that they were looking on the internet for a charity to give to, and chose ours. ‘What is your greatest need?’ they asked. Abby instantly told them about Benjamin needing an operation to see. As the conversation ended, Susan and George promised to send us a donation.
Abby had been online and found an eye clinic in Auckland, New Zealand (just a 3 hour flight from Vanuatu) who said they would send a quote for the surgery. In the meantime, the donation came in from Susan & George for $10,000 US. A few days later we received the quote, it was for $10,000 US. We then received some more donations from interested people, wanting to help, bought the tickets for Benjamin, Madlen and Elder Alick to fly to Auckland, New Zealand.
The day after the operation (March 26, 2013), Benjamin was brought back in to the clinic to get the bandages removed from his eyes. He leaped for joy in his mother’s arms and the staff at the clinic cheered as the baby saw his mom for the first time. Baby Benjamin was so happy, he hugged his mom then all of the nurses and especially reached out and touched the nurses face who had removed the bandages.
Benjamin is now doing fine, and an eye glass company has sponsored his new glasses not just for now but also in the future as he grows. God truely answers our prayers. Benjamin, I have been told, is now probably the happiest baby in the world, that is, when his glasses are on. Apparently, he cries and puts up quite a fuss when his mom takes his glasses off. Many people are calling this a miracle, they may be right, after all, it is said ‘seeing is believing’.
We are looking forward to visiting Benjamin and his family next time we are in Vanuatu, hopefully in the fall of 2013.
Dave & Abby Dever have founded the charity Bibles For the Poor Society and they have been ministering in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands for 10 years distributing Bibles and humanitarian needs.