In West Africa, where my husband Dave and I worked for over 25 years, too many people believe that if a child has a deformity or some obvious disability, then he/she is not a “real child” but a witch.
We were introduced to Menwoh through one of our trained Health Teachers serving refugees in a remote village in Ivory Coast. Abandoned under the hot sun, burning with fever, caked with years of dirt, he sat, with only an empty cup by his side. He couldn’t walk, we soon discovered, as his left leg was in a permanent contracture. His puffy face and distended belly told all the signs of Kwashiorkor, a severe form of protein malnutrition.
Without our intervention, Menwoh would probably die within the week. But Menwoh was chosen by God to “live!” His response to our initial approach back in 1993 was to bless us in his deep Gio dialect. We wanted to leave him in the village with extra food, instructions, and support. But the chief said to us, “if you want him to live – take him.”
His name “Menwoh” we found out later, means “human voice”, further supporting the community belief that Menwoh was not a real child — just a human voice.
Menwoh thrived in our home, with good food, physiotherapy and love — his transformation was nothing short of miraculous. He soon had us laughing with his infectious joy and optimism. We needed that.
God knew, we needed Menwoh.
Menwoh spurs our family to pray, spend time reading the bible and always believe and trust in God’s goodness. (His voice is a gift from God!) Menwoh is living proof that “Jesus longs for every child to experience fullness of life” and we all can be part of that story.
Menwoh is a greeter at Tenth church 3rd Service and an active member of CREO (Young Adults). Menwoh also volunteers 16 hours a week with Mission possible that serves people challenged by homelessness and poverty in East Vancouver.
Introduce yourself to him — you won’t be disappointed.