Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Throwing out an idea

The past three weeks have been extraordinary.

They began with a bouncy little boy heading to the hospital to undergo a serious but routine heart procedure. They ended with Levi coming home, a little less bouncy, but future bright. In between was a case gone wrong, a death sentence, a lot of second opinions, another surgery and a recovery that, I believe, was miraculous.

The future isn't exactly a blank check. There will be more visits to the cardiologist, more tests and constant vigilance. A big question mark still hangs over Levi's lungs. But, we take the events of the past week (his quick recovery and the cautiously optimistic prognosis of the medical professionals) as a promise for what's ahead.

So what's next?

Even though our focus and your focus has been on Levi the past three weeks, it seems like what has happened is much larger than him and us. We have been thinking about ways this community could continue to affect the lives of, hopefully, many more.

Here is what we're mulling.

In Uganda, where Levi was born, there are a large number of sick and disabled children who now do not get the care and medical attention they need. Although numerous organizations have started traditional orphanages there (which is a tremendous need as well) there are many children who live with birth defects or illnesses, and who need either full-time or part-time care as well as medical attention, procedures and devices such as wheelchairs and prosthetics. In Africa, the disabled are often considered outcasts, so although in America they would be able to become contributing members of society, their futures in Uganda can be pretty bleak.

In conjunction with the orphanage that Levi (and three of his siblings) came from, Welcome Home Africa, we are considering laying plans to open a home and day care center for sick and disabled Ugandan children. We are working right now with Mandy Sydo, who runs Welcome Home, to pull together information about the finances and organization needed to open the home. We would also hope to coordinate some regular mission trips to address medical and other needs of the kids there.

Although this is still definitely a work in progress, we wanted to put word out so that you can begin praying and, hopefully, thinking about getting otherwise involved. Please email me at brassl@charter.net, if you have specific questions or want to be personally notified of developments along the way.

This is definitely not the end of this blog. We will continue to post Levi's progress and, hopefully, there will soon be others just like him to add to your prayer list. In fact, we hope this is just the beginning.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Larisa
I see you were up real early this morning! We appreciate so much your updates on little Levi. Yes, it really does appear to be a miracle that he IS being healed! I can see that you and Matt have HUGE hearts! I feel a lot the same way, it is so pitiful to know of the underprivileged in so many places. I have personally been involed in helping 4 children in India. And that is sooooo little.

We are anxious to see the smiles light up Levi's face once again! I bet it won't be long!

Love from Grandma Ruth

Wendy Campbell said...

you guys remember wayne smith? he and his wife are moving to knoxville soon. he just recently got in touch with me and was telling me about the website he maintains (he also is a volunteer [as a pilot and physician] with the organization): http://www.ramusa.org/

seemed synchronous with your latest post, so i passed your blog link on to him.

please congratulate jessie and carrie for me!! i'd love to see some pictures of your niece too (hint, hint) =)

Anonymous said...

Hi Larisa,
Have been out of the loop for several days and just home from Maryland this evening 3/11/08. I showed a picture of Levi to our 5 years old granddaughter Tessa. We have similar pictures of her in ICU. She asked me if she could pray for Levi. The faith of children is precious. The video is wonderful!

Is this Uganda project something that Maranatha International (construction of buildings) might be able to help with? We do have some connections with a few people in that organization.

With continued prayers and
love, Milton and Ann