I cried on my way to the meeting tonight. Nathan Thurber, who is with me here told me a story that moved me so much. I will let him tell it.
Nathan: From 2002 to 2009, I was involved in Gospel Festival set up and preparation for World Impact Ministries (WIM). For the past year my role has changed with WIM’s purchase of Grace TV. However, I had the opportunity to return to a Gospel Festival in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, this week in the role of a journalist interviewing those whom are healed each day at the Festival. Along with Kyle Sweitzer, another member of our media team at Grace TV, we visit the homes of those who were healed the previous day.
Today we were privileged to visit the “home” of Franky, a young boy healed of paralysis yesterday at the Festival. Franky is an energetic 11 year old, who hadn’t walked for the past 2 years. For no apparent reason he developed a debilitating sickness that did not permit him to place his feet flat on the ground. Attempting to do so brought tremendous pain.
The paralysis was progressive, and as he lost control of his legs he became quite clumsy and would fall often, attracting mockery from school mates. Franky was forced to drop out of school and pass his time from day to day in his mom’s one room apartment where he would play with about 50 cola bottle caps. Why 50 caps? When you don’t have any money, bottle caps can be an imagination’s best friend.
Franky, his mom and two other siblings live in one small room, about 20 feet by 10 feet. They share a common washroom somewhere in the complex they live. I never saw it. They have one couch, one chair and a small bed all jammed into this room. They store their toothbrushes hanging in the wire mess of the only window in their small room. When you have only one room for 4 people, you have to be creative. We conducted the interview just outside of the room as space did not allow everyone and our camera in the room. I didn’t mind. It was very hot in that small room.
I asked Franky’s mom what the medical reason for Franky’s paralysis was. She didn’t know. They didn’t have money for a proper medical diagnosis or treatment. Her husband left her and her children years before. She now makes some money making small cakes in a pan over coals at the side of the road. Trust me those small cakes do not bring in much money, but she was able to make/sell them just outside the complex they live, keeping her close to Franky.
Yesterday, Franky was carried on his mother’s back from this small apartment to the Festival grounds. She had seen posters on the street advertising the Festival and healings.
That was where I first met Franky, walking hand in hand with his mother across the Festival platform to testify of his healing. Not even a limp was evident in his stride.
Today, that confident stride was on full display at their home. I asked Franky what he missed most the past two years being confined to the couch in their room. He replied, “swinging in the trees with his friends”. Makes sense for a young boy. His mom was enthused he would now be able to return to school, and have a future.
I asked Franky who had healed him, and with a boyish grin he replied, “Jesus”. His mom cut in to thank Pastor Peter for coming to Dar es Salaam. She said, “Please tell him to keep sharing the message of Jesus and His healing power everywhere”.
Of course, without prayers and support from partners, YOU, that is not possible. So from Franky and his mom in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania… THANK YOU!