By Elizabeth McCormick*
Missionary Elizabeth McCormick shares this short story of Nevalda, a young girl she met in Mozambique who has struggled with mobility issues throughout her young life. She receives help from the physical therapy department at Chicuque Rural Hospital, a partner with the United Methodist Abundant Health Initiative.
Some days, it is abundantly evident that God has prepared us for this moment and has cleared the path before us. One day, I saw a young girl with oversized crutches at the hospital entrance. She looked tired and alone. Another mother approached her and confirmed she had walked by herself and was alone. I could not keep myself from scooping her up and carrying her to the busy consultation block.
That was the beginning of my relationship with Nevalda. I learned that Nevalda lives a half mile away and comes to physical therapy three times a week. She lives with her grandmother who has some health issues. Her parents and siblings live three hours away. Nevalda stays nearby because the physical therapy department has been working with her since her birth. She is 10 years old but has only been able to walk for two years. She has a community—her grandmother and cousins in the household—that support her. Her grandmother, Graca, boldly asked if I could get Nevalda braces so she could walk better. I had no idea how this could work out, but God had already made a way.
I contacted my pediatric physical therapy friend and a former doctor at Shriner’s Hospital. They helped me connect with other people, and we were able to bring back braces! Nevalda wore them for a while, but they were too much trouble for her. But that’s not the end of her story. The physical therapists at Chicuque will continue to work with her and search for other ways to help her growth and mobility as she grows older. To God be the glory!
*Elizabeth McCormick is a United Methodist missionary who served at the Chicuque Rural Hospital in Mozambique (2016-2018) with her husband, David, and their two daughters. She worked on various projects within the hospital, helped to coordinate a WASH project at a secondary school and helped local artists start a small business. The McCormicks currently serve as mission advocates with the South Central Jurisdiction.