Mbingo Baptist Hospital: view from Mbingo Hill

Saturday, August 24, 2013


August 23: God does many things that I don’t understand. Yesterday, we wrote, very excited, eagerly anticipating God’s miraculous hand at work in young Chrystabelle’s life - her surgery for a new heart valve had finally been scheduled. Today, after her story had pulled at many or our hearts, and after raising greater than $10,000 to support her in this journey, Chrystabelle quietly slipped away post-operatively, leaving her uncle Valentine speechless, Lindsay and I in shock, and her medical team in despair.

God chose to take her from this world and to bring her home. I suppose I ought to be joyfully celebrating her final reunion with her Lord and Savior, and yet here I am, speechless, confounded, and wondering “why God, did you place her burden on my heart, only to take her away just as everything was coming together?” I am speechless.

I don’t know why God chose to prick my heart with Chrystabelle’s story, or why for that matter, we shared her story and raised funding to support her if this was the end result. Praise God, that when our knowledge fails, when our hearts can handle no more, and when our endurance gives way, God remains steadfast, sovereign, and true.

God tells us in Isaiah 57:1-2 “the righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”

August 24: I spoke with Valentine again today. I tried to express our sincere condolences, but fumbled for the right words. He told me, “Doctor, God is in control. It will be all right.” We will be attending Christabelle’s funeral on Monday. We praise God for letting us know Christabelle, being encouraged by her bravery and her steady faith, and we thank God that she is finally home.

Please pray for Valentine and Christabelle’s family. They are trusting in God’s provision and plan, but there is pain in the loss.

God uses situations like these to teach us something. I am sure I still have much to learn. However, one thing that is very clear is that you are all amazingly generous, Godly people who without hesitation raised money for a girl you didn’t know to give her a new chance at life. Thank you for offering of yourselves and freely giving to offer Christabelle hope. Praise God for each and every one of you, and praise God that our true hope is in the Lord.

Much love and many blessings,

JR & Lindsay

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chrystabelle Update: God is Bigger

"On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand."

Tomorrow, Friday, the 23rd of August, Chrystabelle is going to surgery at 8am for her mitral valve replacement surgery. I just got off the phone withe Valentine, her uncle, who called me to let me know of the newly formed schedule.

Chrystabelle left Mbingo on the 13th of August and made the difficult trip to Shisong Cardiac Center by multiple taxis with her uncle. When they arrived, Valentine called me to let me know that all had gone smoothly. The staff at Shisong also called to inform us that she had arrived and was being set up for her cardiac and anesthetic reviews and to continue her peritoneal dialysis. The following morning, shy and soft spoken Chrystabelle called me at 6:45 am to wish me a good morning and to tell me that she was "doing fine."

 August 13 - ready to travel to Shisong

We have been waiting anxiously for word on her upcoming surgery, and just this evening learned that she is scheduled for tomorrow morning. We had hoped to give you earlier notice, but we are just pleased that she is finally on the schedule.

Tomorrow is a big day for Chrystabelle. We are praying for a miracle - a healthy heart.

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." 
- Philippians 4:19

When we wrote in June about Chrystabelle, we had hoped to raise perhaps half of the money needed to support her for her surgery. Within one month, God had touched the hearts of many people, and abundantly provided the financial means for her to receive coverage for her entire surgery. God is still working miracles in the lives of His children, and it is awesome to be in the middle of Chrystabelle's miracle. Thank you for taking part in her story.

"Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God." 
- Mark 10:14

Before Chrystabelle left for Shisong, I had the chance to sit down and talk with her in more depth about Christ's love for her. She is a believer like her Uncle Valentine, and although scared about her upcoming surgery, she is at peace. She trusts in God's perfect provision. We were able to provide her with a new Bible before she left, and Valentine told me this evening, that reading the Scriptures has been a great source of joy and encouragement for them both.

Chrystabelle & Valentine

"As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice."
- Psalm 55:16-17

We trust in God's unfailing love, His perfect provision, and His sovereign plan. Please join us in praying for Chrystabelle, for her surgery, for her recovery, and for her continued walk with the Lord. Thank you for partnering with us and with Chrystabelle in this journey of faith.

We love you all and cherish your prayers and support.

JR, Lindsay, and Cathen

Lindsay, Chrystabelle, & JR