A Modern Miracle-the power of being useful
Sometimes we cannot explain how God works but there is no doubt that when you start serving Him great things happen. The story of Francina who lives in one of the poorest parts of East London, known by the locals as "Durban Flats", needs to be shared
Mercy Mentoor came to me with that worried look that meant something was seriously wrong.”Ek is baie bekommert oor Francina.” (I am very worried about Francina.) “What is the problem Mercy?” “They are going to amputate her legs!”
The details of our discussion are somewhat irrelevant but the fact of the matter was that the doctors at the local Frere Hospital had decided that this was the only option. Continual pain in Francina’s legs had resulted in visits to the local clinic and then the “Day Hospital” and finally to the Frere Hospital, and now it seemed that the only option was to amputate her legs. Drugs had not helped and she was now bedridden and in continual pain.
So we visited and prayed for her in the one roomed “house” that she and her elderly husband lived in. There was a kind of half covered entrance where they kept chickens in boxes, fed them up and then sold them, over weekends, to the residents in “Durban Flats”., In this way they eeked out a living. These semi-detached "houses" had previously been single-men’s hostels that somewhere along the line had been subdivided into one room houses.
The thought of this woman, who we had known since she attended Sunday-School in the community hall as a teenager in the area many years ago, now becoming a cripple, was a horrible thought. But what could we do? There were so many people in desperate situations. One of her cousins had just died of an Aids related illness after spending some time in the local T.B. hospital.
Some time before this, Audrey and I, together with our friend Gill Brandstetter, has discussed starting a feeding scheme in this same area.Many of the children in this area attended the Sunday School that we had started in the area. Francina had been one of the children who years ago attended the Sunday School classes and then became a Christian.
So I mentioned to Mercy what we were planning to do and she immediately offered to run it from her home; “Who will you get to help you Mercy?” To my amazement she replied, “Francina!” Mercy an intelligent, resourceful but poor woman who runs a kind of informal care centre for orphaned or abandoned children had now finally lost the plot. “Are you sure Mercy? What about Anna?” was the reply of someone of little faith. “Let’s first try Francina”, was her firm answer. Over the years I had learned that two of Mercy’s other characteristics were a wonderful sense of humor and a stubborn streak, so Audrey and I agreed, let her ask Francina.
Things were organized, the soup powder bought, the bread donated by two Spar Shops, cooking pots purchased and we were up and running. No pun intended. One of the many talents that these women have is cooking, and so the children and elderly and in fact any hungry person who brought a cup received soup and a slice or two of bread at one p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
But the amazing thing was that Francina although still is some pain, was, if not at the centre of the action, definitely an important part of it. Mercy has since past on, the soup kitchen has been relocated and other women run it. Francina, 8 years later, still has both her legs and attends worship services at the Buffalo Flats Church of Christ with a big smile on her face. Her “house” now has two rooms and I have a theory that God answered our prayers and that Francina was healed because of the faith that Mercy had, to make her part of the “feeding scheme team”, and so gave her a feeling of usefulness. But who knows, even the doctors cannot always explain everything, and God works in mysterious and wonderful ways! Francina is living evidence of that as she greets us with a big smile when we worship at Buffalo Flats.