Please meet Angel and her mother Pamela from Maua, a rural area near Meru in Central Kenya.
When Angel was just four days old, Pamela went out to use the privy behind their small, wood home. While she was out, a kerosene lantern – their sole source of light in the evenings – exploded in the house where Angel was sleeping. The flaming kerosene landed on Angel’s head, face, left arm and upper torso. The top part of her body was engulfed in flames and after she was rescued from the fire by her mother and aunt, it was discovered that she had lost the skin on the top half of her head (down to the skull itself), her left ear and most of her right ear, her lips, her eyelids, her nose, her left forearm (which was later amputated), and the skin on the front of her face.
Angel was taken to Maua Methodist Hospital, a hospital which is funded mainly by donations in Maua. Angel was provided with the best care possible while at MMH. The doctors did everything they could with the resources available, but Angel was not expected to live more than a few days. However, Angel forgot to read that “memo”, and showed a remarkable resilience in the face of all odds!
Angel was at the hospital when a UT Medical Student from the United States was on a mission trip to the hospital and worked with Sue to begin the process of getting her accepted at the Shriner Burn Unit at Shriner Children’s Hospital in Galveston, Texas. Once the application was ready, a doctor from Texas hand delivered the application to Shriners. Through the efforts, donations, help, love and prayers of many, Angel and Pamela arrived in Galveston mid-August and have been made as comfortable as possible. While it may take many months for the doctors to fully assess her, they have begun treatment and the healing process.
Pamela’s mother shared with Pamela this sage bit of advice: Never see your child with human eyes, as burnt and handicapped. Instead, look upon Angel with the eyes of God. What you will see through God’s eyes is a beautiful, perfect human being filled with grace, love and hope…and full of life! And that is how we all view Angel. To hold this child is to experience a force of life and spiritual power that transcends human understanding. Angel has become a touchstone of faith and hope for the entire Maua hospital. Against all odds, she is not only surviving, but thriving! She has an incredibly sweet disposition, does not fuss (much) when her dressings are changed, and is now using her good hand to shake, rattle and roll her new rattle. Angel melts hearts with every crooked little smile and with her sweet, determined, courageous personality.
In this process, Pamela has grieved and grieved. Her sorrow is beyond words. Yet she has discovered that she too is in the presence of God. Her faith also speaks hope to her and she says that in spite of Angel’s severe facial burns, she knows that Angel has a special purpose in this world. Why else would God give her such a strong spirit and will to live? Perhaps, she says, Angel will be another John Wesley who was also snatched from the fire to do great things for God.