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  • Writer's pictureRandall P Garretson

Milk Lady

Have you ever experienced the impossible? I have seen God do some pretty amazing things through me, to me and around me for others up to this point in my life. Rachelle and I have witnessed things like; answered prayers that only He can fulfill, safety in unexpected moments, provision coming from the unknown at just the right time, healing happening through the laying on of hands, perfect timing and order of events that we did not plan for, extreme favor in situations where the odds were against us and I personally had been on the receiving end of a physical, miracle healing but to see the extraordinary unfold and take place before your very own eyes is truly incredible. A real something from nothing moment that may otherwise seem impossible. Every word in the Bible is true and I am not saying that the impossible won't happen to those who aren't looking for it but we have learned that when you set your expectations high for God to do something, that attitude of faith provides the right atmosphere for Him to show up big time. Basically, if you are willing to reveal who God is to others, you are making yourself available for the impossible to flow through that faith of His goodness. There is not a switch we can flip on, nor is there a formula we can use to cause the impossible to happen but scriptures says, "Faith pleases God" and He has never, NOT shown up in some way when we had that kind of expectation in Him. The following is a testimony that took place the day before the "cabby hat testimony" that I shared in my very first blog post. This was a mission trip where the team ahead of time, purposefully set our expectations very high for God to work through us for those who needed to encounter Him the most.

It was our second mission trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa and like the previous year we toured Celpa Hospital in the heart of Bukavu where Dr. Sosthene, our primary contact in country, is the director of medicine. The visit to the hospital grounds had a two-fold reason. First, Dr. Sosthene wanted to show us the additions to the property that had been made since the previous year and second, we were giving an introduction walk through of the Hospital facility for our close friends on mission with us, Heidi Rickard and Michaela Von Seydlitz Riemer (aka Mickey). Prior to our first trip to Bukavu, Rachelle and I had limited experience outside of the USA and our ignorance to the world around us gave us a false imagination of what hospitals in other countries would look like. The hospitals in Congo are very different from those of the United States. A noticeable difference is the separate buildings on the property that make up the hospital as a whole. They are not buildings big enough or tall enough to contain everything under the same roof as ours in the States. Dr Sosthene and his wife Betoko, started us out in the reception area. We continued though the triage area and then went on to a few rooms visiting some patients. We met a man whose leg was injured in a boda-boda accident. Boda-boda's are motorcycle taxis, very popular in Africa but also can be very dangerous. They are the primary mode of public transportation and there are literally hundreds on the roads all the time. I believe Dr. Sosthene specializes in the repair of broken bones and he is known for being an excellent orthopedic surgeon, along with his studies, experience and skill in female reconstructive surgeries due to rape. In his earlier years Dr. Sosthene studied under Dr. Mukwege (2018 Noble Peace Prize winner) who is a world renown surgeon in female reconstructive surgery of raped and mutilated women due to rebel attacks in the Congo. The second patient we met was a middle-aged woman who was shot in the arm during a confrontation of some kind. As we made our way around the hospital grounds, we moved to the theater building, also known as what we call the operating room, which was a beautiful new addition and much needed for the doctor. There had been times in Dr. Sosthene's career when he performed procedures only from the light of a window. He is very deserving of a proper facility to perform his procedures. After that we visited the Pharmacy, laboratory buildings, the board room which we used to work with our girls each day and the skeletal structure of the new dental office that was being built. We then continued through an outside corridor that served as a waiting area where five women were seated for whatever reason on our way to visit the last building, the Maternity Ward.

The maternity ward was a place that Rachelle and I had some familiarity with. The year prior we met eight girls on a very similar tour of the hospital and half of the girls we met were survivors of rape. The team that year made good use of that time as we went around praying with each girl privately. This particular year there were only three girls in the ward during the time of our visit and none of the three had been a victim of rape. We wanted to speak life and hope into each of the three women by praying for and encouraging them, but one stood out because she looked very depressed and didn't seem too excited about us being there. We asked Dr. Sosthene what her story was, and he told us she had been there three weeks after giving birth and they could not afford to pay the medical bill. He told us she will have to remain here until her husband or family can pay the bill, that is how it works in the Congo. Remember, I said hospitals are very different there and another major difference is; it is the family’s responsibility to bring food, water and provide for you while you are in the hospital. There are nurses there however, they do not attend to you like those here in the United States. Their purpose is mainly to facilitate the doctor.

As we made our way around to each girl, praying for them and blessing them, we ended up with the young woman who had the three-week-old baby. We gathered around her bed with Rachelle, Heidi and Mickey up by her head. Dr Sosthene and I were at the foot of the bed and Betoko in between, who serving as an interpreter. My wife, who is always anxious to do so, held the little baby and loved on her. Mickey had pointed to the woman’s chest and asked if there was something going on there. Her reply was, "I have been in the hospital since giving birth and I am unable to breast feed my baby because my milk is dry". At this point she proceeded to pull up her shirt and demonstrate to us all that no milk was coming out. Dr. Sosthene had further explained that this was causing tremendous sorrow because it is a heavy burden on the family not only to have to pay the medical bill but also to feed the baby. In light of hearing the news we prayed over her body following Mickey's lead. Right after, Heidi moved in close and asked the question, "are you a musician or a singer of some kind?" The young woman replied "yes, I sing in my church choir and it used to be my passion." Heidi was quiet for a moment then responded with "I believe the Lord wants you to sing a song to Him and praise Him with it and as you do, your milk will flow." She did not say "might" flow, she said "WILL" flow. I would just like to pause the story here to share something and what went through my mind at that moment. I whole heartedly believe in miracles, healing and the power of prayer. I have seen it work so much in those years and at that time in my life, plus I had experienced it myself. I fully know that all things are possible with God. He is in the miracle working business and I do not doubt, however the statement I said in my head was, "WOW, that was a very bold statement Heidi just declared, because if she sings and nothing happens, that could be devastating to the woman's belief." Admittedly I also thought, could it really happen that easily and did Heidi really hear from God on this? I had a split second to make a choice with what my mind was processing. I chose to side with her declaration and silently stood in agreement believing in the God of the impossible. The young woman's response was, "No, I do not feel like singing and praising". After another short pause, Heidi came back with, "OK, then we'll sing for you!"

Heidi, Rachelle and Mickey, laid hands on her and started singing a song that I cannot recall the name of, but the new mother sat there looking depressed and slumped in her bed. Not too long into the song the young mother moved from her slumped position into an upright posture with a look on her face as if she saw a ghost. As the singing continued, she looked down at her chest and one side of her white t-shirt started to become wet with milk flowing out. She lifted her shirt in front of us all and confirmed that yes, her milk was indeed flowing. She immediately grabbed her baby from Rachelle and the newborn latched on feeding from her mother for the first time since her birth three weeks ago. As the other side of her t-shirt became wet, tears of joy streamed down her face and she cried with an uncontrollable yet overwhelming excitement. A miracle, which seemed impossible, had just taken place before our very eyes and the creator of the universe restored her body to function the way He designed it. This mother was now providing nourishment for her child. Simply amazing and words cannot describe how awesome that was to witness. The group of us started thanking God including Dr. Sosthene and Betoko who seemed to be genuinely surprised and were in tears at what just took place. We all started laughing because of the excitement and it was then we heard intense screaming from outside of the Maternity ward. We immediately went outside to see what was happening and the five women in the waiting area, apparently the young mother’s family, were praising God and celebrating with screams of joy. Someone obviously went out there to tell them what just took place. Several of them ran over to us and started thanking us, we directed the praise toward God and celebrated with them. As we discussed with the family what happened, there was a loud song coming from the maternity ward. We made our way back inside only to find that the mother was now singing and praising, standing with one hand up in the air, swaying back and forth, while holding her baby girl in her other arm as she was nursing. It is safe to say that this encounter changed the lives of that family forever.

I cannot speak for everyone else who was there, but their actions would show that they all had the same faith in the situation and none of us partnered with unbelief. Admittedly I was challenged though. I was not challenged with the fact that God was able or willing to perform a miracle like that, I was challenged with the boldness in which Heidi made that declaration without hesitation after hearing so clearly from God. I suppose though, that if God is telling you something, why shouldn’t you be? Since then I have come to the conclusion that God is in fact talking to us all the time. He is the living God that speaks to his children if we are willing pause our own agenda, motives or thoughts to listen to Him. It is important to have that intimate relationship with Father God as though He is right next to you all the time. He is available to reveal what is needed for any situation. How does hearing from God start? Ask Him for it. God is a gentleman He will not interrupt us unless He deems it necessary to do so. He is loving, patient and excitedly waiting on us to seek Him and have a dialogue with Him. Just to be clear though to those who say they don’t hear him; it does not have to be an audible voice to the natural ears. I believe that most of us do hear from God, but we don't always trust or have faith in what we He is saying because it defies our natural understanding of things. If what you are hearing is good, uplifts, edifies, encourages and lines up with His Word and will, you can trust in what He is saying and be bold in stepping out for someone in need as in this testimony.

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