It’s been one week since I returned from my working trip to the USA. As I wrote in my last posting, “Home for the Holiday” I had found myself carrying the prayer burden of several families we work with in Ankara, their lives fraught with a kind of suffering I do not personally know but with whom we have chosen to share our lives.
It was with a bit of trepidation that I met up with the KARDELEN staff to discuss the various projects which we were working on. I had delegated the management to several of the co-workers. I was so pleased and relieved to see that they had done a great job of running things. More than that, the heart of loving service had been hugely evident through their various activities. I was particularly moved by what had happened out in K. with Fatosh. Moved and reminded how strange and wonderful our “Forever Family” connections are.
When I got the email telling me that Fatosh was dying from major organ failure in the hospital, I brought this need to the attention of a group of people who had gathered to pray for Turkey in Austin, Texas. That night, thousands of miles away from this desperate woman and her handicapped son, men and women who deeply cared about this my adopted country, gathered in groups of three or four to pray for the workers at Kardelen as well as to specifically pray for Fatosh. I had shared her story of grief and loss turned to hope after having a vision of Jesus and her older son Ali and how four years before she had moved away from depression right into a willingness to care for her other son who had cerebral palsy, Ali.
That evening in Austin, a man spoke out a prayer which we all immediately agreed with, “Lord, You have told Fatosh to care for her son. Spare her life that she might be able to do just that. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
I heard nothing about her after that until I went in to the Streams of Mercy Center to talk to our co-worker, Nina:
Norita, believe me; I had no hope for Fatosh. When I got the phone call from Soraya, the woman we’ve hired to care for her and her son out in the village of Kasha, I phoned a friend of mine who offered to pick me up and bring me the 100 or so miles out to where she was. I was out of gas and out of money and had no way to get to them otherwise. Vittal is one good friend who often comes to my aid when things are tense. God bless him.
Anyway, we arrived in the village only to learn that someone had sent for an ambulance and brought a very sick and apparently dying Fatosh back to the little hospital where she’d had surgery the week before. I didn’t even get out of the car (you know my wheelchair is light but still it’s a hassle sometimes) and off we drove to the hospital. That’s about 45 minutes away.
When we got there, Soraya met us in the lobby. “Nina, please pray. Fatosh almost died today before getting here. She’s in intensive care right now, but it looks really bad.” I knew that Fatosh was not well. After all, we’ve been buying medication for her for tuberculosis treatments for years. But what I learned about her general health was so upsetting then I could hardly take it in.
Fatosh has developed diabetes which has gone untreated for so long that she had major damage to the vessels to her heart and kidneys. The week before she had gone into hospital where they had evidently opened her up and managed to clear away some of the occlusions to her heart but were waiting to do more work on her kidneys. After a couple of days in the hospital she’d been sent home to Kasha to rest up and recuperate before the next treatment.
That morning she’d complained of feeling worse than normal. Soraya had helped her to the door to get to the toilet when Fatosh had passed out on the floor. Lying there, her stomach had appeared to be growing larger. Soraya had phoned Nina to ask for her to come out and help, phoned an ambulance from the city to come out, then went to the neighbors for more aid. Several came out and suggested that they put Fatosh in the back of their car and bring her to town; there was no time to waste. One look at the woman on the ground and they knew that her ashen, gray face was not a good sign.
“’No, let’s wait,’ Soraya continued telling the story. “Something inside of me told me that we should wait for the ambulance. When they finally arrived, however, Fatosh was really gray. They took one look at her and her belly and said that she was having internal bleeding. The doctors just told me that the med students who had had the job to sew her up last week botched the job and the stitches supposedly didn’t remain stitched!!
“Anyway, no sooner do they put her into the ambulance that they see that her heart has stopped. They use one of those electric machines and apply shock to her. Nothing happens. I am screaming at her to hold on, not to let go. They apply the shocks again and her heart starts beating again and off we drive. She should have died, but came back at least for now.”
When I asked about Ulash and where he was and how he was going to get cared for since he couldn’t walk, talk or feed himself, Soraya told me something that brought so much peace to my heart.
“Nina, our village has completely decided to care for them whenever I can’t be doing all the jobs. Why this year we petitioned as a village for the Governor’s Office of the province to come out and fix her terribly leaking roof. After this was agreed upon, they chipped in and painted her two rooms. One of the neighbors paid the ambulance fee and all of them have set up a schedule for bringing Ulash to their homes, feeding, changing and caring for him while his mother is in the hospital. Everyone loves them.”
I gave God glory then again for this woman and for the entire village. I thought about how I had been fearful about Fatosh and Ulash being there in the past, thinking that people were so superstitious and nationalistic. Now I knew that God had brought my friends to exactly the right place.
For the next two nights it was touch and go for Fatosh. I got a room at a hotel so that I could be close by and went to look in on her every day. I also wanted to support Soraya who was her practical nurse.
The third day when I rolled into the lobby, Soraya was waiting. “She’s been taken out of Intensive Care. I just spoke to the doctor who says that Fatosh is a living miracle. She still has major issues with her kidneys but is up and talking and eating.”
I had to see her for myself. I guess all the tension and fear of the past few days got the better of me, because no sooner had I come into the room and set eyes on her emaciated body that I started crying.
“Nina, please, don’t cry,” she called out. “Look, I’m alive but you need to know that I am not afraid of dying. Actually the thought of going to heaven to be with Jesus and Ali is a wonderful one.
“When I was lying there on the ground, my soul left my body. I could see everyone down below crying and wringing their hands. I saw the ambulance come and the men putting the machine on me. I didn’t feel anything, just peace. But then I heard Soraya crying ‘Don’t leave us. Ulash needs you. Your son needs you.’ And I knew that I still needed to remain for him. Jesus had told me, hadn’t he? ‘Fatosh, your son needs you. Look after him.’ So I came back. The doctors say that I am getting better somehow and will be ready to return to the village soon. Please don’t cry. I’m not afraid at all.”
Norita, she is physically speaking so sick, so full of problems and things which don’t work right in her body. But she is ALIVE and ready to look after her son. I can’t figure it out other that to say. God’s ways are NOT ours. You need to write all the people who were praying for her and tell them just what prayer does. It’s a mystery but it sure makes a difference.
I sat back in my chair so aware again of the invisible spiritual network I am a part of. From Ankara to Austin to the farthest corners of the world where people know that the Kingdom of Heaven is the one “place” that has no physical or spiritual limitations!! Don’t give up; hold on. Whatever the Father has told you to do; whatever your call He is able and willing to martial the angels and the brothers and sisters for His Glory.