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So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,

“You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you”;

as he says also in another place,

“You are a priest forever,
    according to the order of Melchizedek.”

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10 having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. – Hebrews 5:5-10

From left: Karen, fistula patient, Tammy, and two MTI employees. Medical Teams International is the organization that Karen works with here in the refugee settlements.

Greetings from Uganda!  Last week, as Karen educated us about her work and took us to one of the vast refugee resettlements, Nakivale (pronounced Naki Valley), she introduced us to 3 refugee women who were recipients of successful obstetric fistula surgeries.  We had to travel miles to their individual homes (one room clay structures with thatched roofs) to meet them as they lived in different villages within the resettlement area.  Nakivale goes on for miles and miles and has existed for over 50 years!

The first older woman we met lived with her condition for approximately 30 years!  The other two women were a bit younger and suffered for 15 + years.  They were all very hospitable and beyond grateful that MTI (Medical Teams International, the organization Karen works through) changed their lives.

When these women develop fistulas through long, prolonged labor without timely medical attention, their lives change.  First, during the labor and delivery process the baby typically dies so they lose a child.  Second, they are often divorced by their husbands, who regularly take the children with him, due to the bad smell, and third, they are seen as outcasts in their communities.  Finally, many of them don’t eat or drink and suffer from malnutrition and dehydration due to their condition.

As I heard these women’s horrific stories, I hurt knowing how hopeless and desperate they must have felt.  How did they face each new day and were they convinced that God had abandoned them?    Hebrews 5:7 tells us that Jesus offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him. In my thoughts, I could hear these women doing the same.