Little Suman is just like the lost lamb in Luke 15. He was born with bilateral clubfoot and because of this, he was left behind…
…“If you had a hundred sheep and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it? And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders. When you arrived you would call together your friends and neighbours to rejoice with you because your lost sheep was found.” – Luke 15:3-6
Jesus spoke of what it means to be a good shepherd. When a lamb goes missing, the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine safe, to seek and save the one that is lost. Suman is that little lost lamb.
To find Suman, you must go to the poorest part of Nepal, to a disadvantaged village, then along a dirt road into the wilderness. Turn off the track, then walk uphill for 20 minutes.
There you will find a family in crisis…
Suman’s mum and dad had cleared some hillside, where they built a thatched hut and created a vegetable plot that provided only two months of food a year. His mum and dad worked as day labourers, barely surviving. Then his dad fell dangerously ill and could no longer work, leaving his mum earning just a meagre amount of money for a whole, back-breaking day of farm work.
Suman was born into overwhelming poverty with his ankles already badly twisted. As he grew, his double clubfoot became even more severe.
When the village children left for kindergarten, an hour’s walk away, he tried to walk with them, but it hurt too much. When he turned five, his friends went to school without him. His future was fading like the mountain mist.
Looking at Suman’s feet, have you ever seen clubfoot as bad as his? You can see from this photo why it is called clubfoot. Walking on the soft tissue of his feet has created large wads of callused skin.
This month, would you be willing to help children like Suman, by making a special gift to help transform their lives by reshaping their feet?
Suman’s family could never afford medical treatment for their little boy. They could not even afford a bus ticket to a hospital that could treat him.
Can you imagine how helpless they felt? All their hopes and dreams for Suman’s future felt lost. But that all changed when a cbm-funded field worker, supported by generous gifts from people like you, walked along their dirt road into the wilderness, and climbed their hill to find the little lamb that was lost.
As soon as they found Suman, remarkable things began to happen. After being examined by the cbm-funded field workers, Suman’s parents were told he needed to go to a specialist hospital, the HRDC (Hospital and Rehabilitation for Disabled Children) in Ugratara Janagal, many hours from their home. It sounded miraculous… but also very, very expensive. How could they ever afford this?
They need not have worried. They were told that because of generous people like you, Suman’s operation and expenses were going to be paid in full!
Suman’s mum and dad were overwhelmed to think that somebody they did not know, living in another country, would pay for their son’s feet to be restored.
They were so excited and full of hope, but they were nervous about the long journey ahead. Suman’s dad was too ill to be able to make the journey, and his mum had never been beyond the village. She was terrified to leave, but she knew she had to take Suman to hospital. Her simple dream, for her son to wear shoes like the other children in the village, propelled her forward.
What happened next went far, far beyond wanting a simple pair of shoes.
They stepped off the night bus to Kathmandu and were welcomed into HRDC – the children’s disability hospital that stands today because of the generosity of people like you, serving more than 7,000 young patients a year from Nepal and India.
The staff immediately realised how grave Suman’s clubfoot was. Many HRDC children are able to return home quickly, to restored lives.
Not Suman. He would be staying at HRDC with his mum for a very long time.
His treatment began with Ponseti casting. Every few days a new cast was dressed around his ankles, gradually bending them to face forward.
It was slow, it was sore, but it was working.
For some children, Ponseti is enough, but Suman also needed surgery.
In a two-hour operation, funded by generous gifts like yours, doctors cut and shaped Suman’s muscles and ligaments, building two straight new ankles.
Suman woke with his feet in plaster again – but his toes were all facing forward, just like other children.
Clubfoot never sleeps, though. For many years, his ankles will try to twist again. He will have to be very disciplined in exercising his feet and wearing his orthotic shoes day and night.
Thankfully, because of generous people like you, Suman will receive excellent follow up care at HRDC. The hospital is even able to create its own orthopaedic devices.
Suman will have day shoes strong enough to keep his ankles straight. His night shoes will use a rod to brace against his calf, so his whole lower leg will get stronger and straighter.
The vital support Suman has received has even helped him catch up on the education he missed.
All the time he was at HRDC, he was attending the hospital school. His teacher said, “He has learned to write Nepali and English letters in no time at all. He is such a bright child.”
He would never be able to reach his potential in life without help like yours.
Look at this photo of Suman now! No more clubfeet pointing painfully towards each other. No more heavy clubs of callused skin.
His feet are straight. His legs look strong. The greatest change, though, is in his face. Sadness and despair have been replaced with smiles and joy! He can walk, he can play with other children now. He can go to school. He has a future.
The lost lamb – the one that Jesus left the ninety-nine to find – has been found and completely restored.
At Easter we think about Jesus’ great sacrifice as our Shepherd. He gave his life to seek and save us.
Today, please will you prayerfully consider sending your special gift to help transform the lives of children like Suman.
Your gift will help fund cbm field workers to help find children like Suman, through outreaches and mobile clinics, or help pay for life-changing orthopaedic devices, from crutches, leg braces and walking frames, to Suman’s extraordinary shoes. Your gift will help pay for vital surgery so children like Suman can stand, walk and live full lives.
It is a blessing that this vital work in Nepal has not been overly affected by COVID-19. Even now, cbm-funded field workers are looking for children whose lives are completely devastated by poverty and disability. With your generous support, the lives of more children like Suman can be completely transformed.
Your generosity really can help transform their whole lives! Thank you for caring and for being willing to act when you see someone in need, living in Biblical poverty with a life-limiting disability.
What a remarkable before-and-after transformation you have given Suman! Please will you prayerfully consider sending a special gift to help more children like Suman who suffer the double disadvantage of poverty and disability. Thank you for caring for others.