By the time Dorothy arrived at CURE Malawi with her son, Evance, you could see in her face the journey she had endured. The extra farming jobs she picked up to afford the long trip to CURE from her village, her determination to do anything to help her son walk, and the hope she felt as she entrusted Evance, whom she’d carried for most of his life, to the care of CURE’s surgical team.
She told us, “When you are expecting a blessing, there are a lot of trials that you go through. It acts like a test to your faith, but we must choose to press on . . . I trust the doctors are going to do a good job with Evance’s operation and pray that we should not leave here the same.”
After all Dorothy and Evance had already been through–to expect a blessing was an act of radical faith–like asking for a miracle. But it’s what parents do when they are out of options and their children are suffering.
God used generous partners to make it possible for the healing Dorothy was expecting and praying for. Read on to learn how!
Born into Adversity
Evance, the youngest of Dorothy’s seven children, was born shortly after his father passed away. For a farming family living in one of the world’s poorest nations—that in and of itself is obstacle enough. But right away, Dorothy noticed something about Evance’s feet. He was born with a condition called clubfoot, which caused both of his feet to curve inward.
Without early intervention to encourage the feet to straighten out, surgery is the only option. But for most families in the countries where CURE serves, it’s an impossible option when there is little to no access to affordable medical care.
Dorothy said, “When Evance was born with his disability, it was very painful for me to accept that my child would not be able to walk properly, but I loved him so much from the beginning and my love for him could not be changed.”
As Evance’s condition worsened, eventually forcing him to walk painfully on his ankles, Dorothy searched unsuccessfully for medical help.
“We went to many clinics and many hospitals over the years, but no one could help. After every visit, I went home with all hope lost,” she said.
In the meantime–Evance was growing into a bright and industrious young boy. Determined to get him to school, Dorothy carried him each way on her back. When he got too heavy to carry, Dorothy got him a pair of flexible pink Crocs to serve as shoes. (He wore them so much, it became painful to remove them. So, he never took them off!)
School presented challenges of its own as some students ridiculed or avoided Evance because of his disability. (In some communities, disability is viewed as a curse.) When it became harder and harder for him to get to school, Evance had to stop going. Even so, he found ways to contribute to the family.
“Evance has skills!” Dorothy says. “He is able to make toy cars out of wires. He then sells them and surprises us by buying things like vegetables or light bulbs for the house with the money he made. He has a kind heart!”
When education equals hope for the future, to be kept from school by a treatable disability was devastating.
“I know healing is coming”
Eventually, someone in their community suggested that CURE Malawi might be able to help Evance. From then on, Dorothy found extra work to afford the trip to CURE.
“Transportation money was not easy for us,” she says. “I had to take on a few contracting jobs farming, working hard and long hours to provide for both of us to get here, but I know healing is coming and am very thankful to God.”
Once they arrived at the hospital, Dorothy and Evance could rest easier knowing that CURE would provide life-changing surgery at no cost to their family. But they could not have imagined just how much would change.
In addition to the surgical care he needed to correct his feet, CURE provided assistive devices like the wheelchair and leg braces that kept Evance mobile throughout his stay. Between surgeries and physical therapy sessions, Evance enjoyed meeting new friends in the playroom, learning about Jesus from the spiritual ministry team, and even found a new hobby: photography.
For his final surgery, Evance’s brother Robert accompanied him to the hospital so that Dorothy could stay home and continue working the family farm. Robert was so impacted by the heart of the gospel he witnessed throughout CURE’s times of worship, discipleship, and prayer, that he decided to become a pastor.
“Thank you for helping Evance. He is now free,” Robert says. “Going to CURE, I have learned a lot. I learned how to preach, and this has changed my life. It was a privilege to receive the gift of a Bible (from CURE). It’s been so valuable to me.”
A Miracle that Continues
Evance made a promise that he would return to school once he could walk. Just under a year after he had his first surgeries at CURE, Evance was able to walk to school–where the transformation continues. His teacher, seeing the difference CURE made in Evance’s life, has referred another boy in the village with clubfoot to receive surgery at CURE.
A team from CURE visited Evance at home to witness him take his first steps–unaided by crutches. What a joy to be part of making miracles happen for children like Evance–and those who love them, like Dorothy.
“Today I am so happy and so relieved that my anxieties are gone,” Dorothy says. “Because of the prayer life we now have, my life has changed.”
It’s a change that you can see just by looking at her face.