It looks like the baby has hydrocephalus. I think the mother will need a C-section,” Carrie Hann, my fellow missionary, told me after performing an ultrasound on Risa, our name for the young mother-to-be. Hydrocephalus occurs when cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain, enlarging it.
Risa came to our mountain clinic for a prenatal checkup. After Carrie told us she suspected hydrocephalus, I visited the OBGYN with Risa in Brooke’s Point. The doctor confirmed Carrie’s findings and scheduled Risa for a C-section. She said the baby would probably die when it was born; that was about three years ago.
Our next mission task was to try to get help for baby Ardie. The doctors said he needed major surgery to save his life. Risa, her husband Raddy, baby Ardie and I then traveled to the capital of our Island, Puerto, to see a neurologist. The news we received was not the best: Ardie would need repeated surgery with his growth. The expense would have been too great for the government hospitals offering the level of surgery that Ardie needed. And the procedure was only available in Manila. So Ardie was not able to have surgery. Time passed.
One of the ministries we enjoy participating in is the branch Sabbath School (church plant) in the village of Cabungaan. It is led by Kuya Jun, our lay pastor of the Malis, Ipayu Seventh-day Adventist Church. I was happy to see Risa and Ardie attending worship services there in 2019 and early 2020. Praise God he did not die as the doctors thought, but unfortunately, his head is twice the size it should be, making it impossible for him to walk.
Because of COVID-19 lockdowns, we did not return to Cabungaan for the rest of 2020. Then we went on furlough to the U.S. When I first saw Kuya Jun after returning, he said he continued to lead worship in Cabungaan and that 11 people were ready for baptism. On September 25, 2021, I had the joy and privilege of attending the ceremony — including the baptism of Risa! I was so happy for her decision, and am thankful that you and I had a part in her journey. Thank you so much for your prayers and financial partnership. God is using us to make a difference in lives here in Palawan!