The Treasured Ones [Community Outreach]

Over the coming weeks I will be explaining more in depth about the four main programs of The Treasured Ones, as well as the fundraising needs for each one.  The past six months in Ghana have been a whirlwind adventure of God showing me my new purpose of serving children and families affected by disability, and now I am finally able to explain the back stories of The Treasured Ones and how it all began, along with the specific visions and purposes of each program. I will explain each program separately, but you will begin to see how they are all connected into one God given vision of helping children with special needs, alongside their families, in their physical, mental, and spiritual growth. Today I will be starting off with Community Outreach.

It all started with a little boy named Domfa who showed me that he is more than a diagnosis and more than the stigma placed upon him. Many of you have read his story, and how we were brought back together again in the most unexpected way. When I was reunited with him a few months ago, The Treasured Ones was not established yet, but I began working with his community, educating them on what down syndrome is, what challenges Domfa might face, and how they can work with him in the best possible way. I talked with his kindergarten teacher at school, his mother and father at home, as well as the elders of the village, so everyone was on the same page.

In Ghana, children with special needs are very often shunned from their communities, abandoned by their parents, and seen as cursed. They are many times not even seen as human beings, but a super natural spirit sent from a “God of the sea” to cause trouble on Earth.

Before working with Domfa and his community, I asked them how their viewed him. They responded with, “Domfa? He is just a normal boy. He is so funny and makes us laugh when he runs around.” I was in shock, and so so thankful at the same time. Domfa lives in a very rural and small village, which is often where the drama, rumors, and stigmatization is the worst. His family and community view him as a blessing, and a viable member of the village. He is a very happy and thriving boy who will most likely just need some extra time, assistance, and encouragement through his school years.

DSCN2267The second example is Bright’s case, which is very different. The village where he and his mother were living did not view him in the same way that Domfa’s does. I explained a little bit here about how they were forced to leave the village. When Bright’s hydrocephalus began to worsen, and his head began to grow, people in the village started gossiping and saying that he was a cursed child. They told Bright’s mother that she had done something wrong in her life to give birth to such a wicked child, and that she must abandon Bright to rid herself and the village from the curse. Bright’s mother couldn’t explain why her son’s head was getting bigger, so the community members told her that it was the “God of the sea” filling his body with evil spirits. Because of the pressure, Bright’s mother ran from the village and sought refuge with her sister.

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The Treasured One’s Community Outreach program intends to engage families and communities like Domfa’s and Bright’s.

Community Outreach aims to equip and empower families who have children with special needs with the skills, resources, and training to care for their treasures, along with engaging and educating the community in Gospel focused dialogue on disability.

In Domfa’s case, Community Outreach would help strength the already existing positive sentiment about his disability. This would involve discussing medical information with his family, working with his teachers to assess his learning styles and skills, and having a community forum to address questions and concerns surrounding disability, while incorporating the gospel to show that Domfa, and all children with special needs, are indeed God’s treasured children.

In Bright’s case, Community Outreach would help begin to change the negative sentiment surrounding Bright’s disability. This would be a much more uphill battle, and quite the task, but extremely important. It would involve educating Bright’s mother and close family about his medical condition and the shut surgery he just had, equipping them with the information and skills needed to explain to people about his condition, then begin to tackle the community’s view on disability. Their opinions will not change overnight, but through lots of discussion, question answering, and most importantly, prayer, God willing they will begin to not view Bright, or other children with special needs, as cursed.

Community Outreach is involved with ALL of The Treasured Ones programs. Whether it be the school, medical sponsorship, or the rehab home, every single one of them will involve going into the communities to educate and equip. It might be our most difficult and challenging program as we are up against all form of oppression, stigma, and strong beliefs that children with special needs as burdens and curses, not blessings and treasures.

Community Outreach aims to equip and empower families who have children with special needs with the skills, resources, and training to care for their treasures, along with engaging and educating the community in Gospel focused dialogue on disability.

The biggest need for Community Outreach is a vehicle. This vehicle will allow myself and the staff to travel to the communities, bring supplies and education materials, and transport children and families to hospitals. The vehicle will be used for all of The Treasured Ones programs, and is currently one of our biggest needs.

I have identified a used, four wheel drive, rugged, well made car that is being sold for $4,000 USD. The owner is willing to hold the car for me until I have raised enough money, but I do have to act quickly.

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[Similar to the car that I want to buy.]

So far $700 out of $4,000 has been donated towards purchasing the car.

You may donate through Paypal below, or send a check made out to “Rebecca Kuntz” to:
Rebecca Kuntz
5332 Fair Elms Ave
Western Springs, IL 60558




Posted in Blog Update, Ghana, Living in Ghana, My Treasures, The Treasured Ones | Leave a comment

Help me bring Little One home?

THANK YOU all so much for the incredible outpouring of love regarding my last post about pursuing foster custody of a baby girl in Ghana. I loved reading every single one of your well wishes and prayers. It means so much to me knowing that friends, family, and people I’ve never met are lifting Little One and I up to our Heavenly Father.

I will be returning to Ghana August 3rd, and (God willing) Little One will be transferred to my care within a month or two. The timing all depends on paperwork, government visits and approvals, and scheduling. Right when I get back to Ghana, I will need to be fully prepared for her to come home at any time.

Most good quality baby necessities, including diapers and formula, are very expensive in Ghana. Since I am coming from the US, I would love to bring over as much as I can. I have created an Amazon Wishlist of items that I want to bring back to Ghana with me. This includes diapers, formula, wipes, toys, bottles, and other baby essentials. When you add the item to your cart, it will give you the option to ship it to the address provided by the wishlist owner. This will ship the items directly to my parent’s house in Chicago. If the address does not appear, please ship the items to:
Rebecca Kuntz
5332 Fair Elms Ave
Western Springs, IL 60558

If you have any other baby items (can be second hand too!) that you would like to donate, please email me at kuntzr@gmail.com.

Will you help me bring my Little One home?

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Posted in Blog Update, Foster Care, Ghana, Living in Ghana, My Treasures | Leave a comment

When you pray bold prayers….[Foster Care]

Over the last 3+ years of working and living in Ghana, many children have come into my life, some for a short while, and others for much longer. With each child that enters my life (and heart), I fervently pray for that child, their family, their future, and their purpose for being in my life. I know that God has a plan and purpose for weaving children into my life, even when that plan is unknown to me at the time.

For countless years now, I have been praying about welcoming children into my home, heart, and life. I began praying years ago.

God, please bring anyone, and everyone who
needs a safe, secure, loving home, and a warm,
cuddly Momma. Shape me. Mold me. Use me.
I am open and willing to follow wherever you lead”.

 I know that it was a very bold prayer to be spoken, but my heart cried out to be a mother, in whatever capacity God chose. In the past years, my prayer has been answered through having the opportunity to empower, educate, mentor, and love on many children who have needed an Auntie, Sister, or stand-in Momma. All of these children have remained in their families, and I have adored coming alongside them to help raise and train their kiddos.

But now, my prayer is being answered in a different way.
A more permanent way.
A way that I have been praying about for what feel like an eternity.
A way that I never expected.

I’m pursuing foster custody of a child in Ghana.

Due to the situation and circumstances, I can’t give you any details about this child until they are in my care. Until they are in my care and I can tell you their name, I will call them “Little One”. I can’t tell you how Little One entered my life just yet, but I can tell you that ONLY God could have orchestrated the meeting and the events that followed. The story is beautiful and glorious, but only transpired because of the broken world we live in. It’s a heartbreaking story, but I am humbled and honored that God chose me to be a light in the darkness, and to be Little One’s momma.

I don’t know yet whether I will be Little One’s momma for a short time or forever, but I am following faithfully and trusting His plan for us. I wish I could show you Little One’s face, because my oh my, this child is beautiful, giggly, lovable, and perfect in every single way. Little One has some potentially severe special needs, but I will never, ever, allow that to be a roadblock in walking the path God has laid out for me. I love this child more than words can say, and am so excited, nervous, joyful, and thrilled to bring them home.

Little One (God willing) will be coming home shortly after I return to Ghana in 3 weeks. I have a lot to do to get my home ready, including a long list of items I need to bring back to Ghana to be fully prepared. Would you consider buy an item to help me get ready? I have created an Amazon Wishlist where you can simply add an item to your cart, check out, and it will be shipped to my parent’s house in Chicago.

Thank you friends for all your prayers, love, encouragements and blessings.
Little One and I love you all so very much!

[For those wondering, Little One is not Blessing or B]

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Posted in Blog Update, Foster Care, Ghana, Living in Ghana | 1 Comment

We are human beings. We are ONE. (The Treasured Ones video)

The Treasured Ones is a 501c3 non-profit organization
that assists children living with special needs, alongside their families,
in their physical, mental, and spiritual growth.

We aim to:

Enable children with special needs to receive life saving and life enhancing  surgeries, treatments, and therapies through Medical Sponsorship.

Emulate the Father’s love by creating an emergency, transition, Rehabilitation Home for the treasures of Kumasi, Ghana.

Educate children with special needs at Kumasi Children’s Home Inclusive M/A Primary School.

Equip and empower families who are blessed with children who have special needs with the skills, resources, and training to care for their treasures through Community Outreach.

Coming next: Needs list that needs to be fundraised for ASAP. It’s extremely daunting and overwhelming, but our programs are being launched immediately!




[I am in the US for the month of July fundraising for the HUGE needs of The Treasured Ones. I will be in California from July 12-22nd and in Chicago/Midwest all other time. I would love to come to your church, school, work place, non profit, or group to share all that God is doing in Ghana with His precious treasures. Please email me at kuntzr@gmail.com.]

Posted in Blog Update, Ghana, Living in Ghana, My Treasures, The Treasured Ones, Video Update | Leave a comment

Thank You Medtronic!

You might remember me posting these two photos to Instagram a month or so ago…..

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….in the chaos of announcing The Treasured Ones this blog space got quite neglected and I kept the white packages a secret….whoops…. sorry about that!

During the next four weeks in America I hope to catch you all up on the INCREDIBLE things happening in Ghana, beginning with this story about how God brings the perfect people together for His purpose and glory and how He is going above and beyond what I ever expected.

Two months ago I posted Ronald’s story on this blog and my social media pages, in just 24 hours, his entire $2,000 USD shunt surgery was funded. The outpouring of support and encouragement was incredible and my inbox was flooded with emails and my posts stacked with comments. Someone who (I’ve never met before) was following me on Instagram, tagged her friend named Natalie (who I’ve also never met) in the comment section, who then asked me to email her with my contact information. This turned into a rapid back and forth of emails and I couldn’t believe what was transpiring before my eyes.

Natalie works for Medtronic, the world’s largest medical technology company. Their mission is to contribute to human welfare by application of biomedical engineering in the research, design, manufacture, and sale of instruments or appliances that alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life.

But Natalie doesn’t work in just any Medtronic department…she works in the Neurosurgery Department (!!!), the section of the company that develops innovative surgical devices and implant therapies for the treatment of various cranial, spinal, and orthopaedic conditions. She works in the department that researches, develops, and constructs the newest and best shunts in the world.

Natalie was able to connect me with the Medtronic people in charge of their donation sector and I was able to apply for shunts to be donated for all my treasures with hydrocephalus. I kept my fingers crossed…and days later received an email saying that they wanted to donate some of their top-of-the-line products for my kids in Ghana!!

I called the neurosurgeon at the hospital in Ghana to tell him the fantastic news, and he responded with, “Rebecca, I was just about to call you and tell you that I went and checked the supply room at the hospital and there were no more shunts left. I used the last shunt in the entire hospital on Bright and was calling to tell you that we have to push back the other kids’ surgeries until we were able to order more from outside Ghana, which would be at least a few months. But now…wow! We can do surgery for the other 3 children whenever the shunts arrive from America. I thought I was calling to tell you disappointing news, but you shocked me with this exciting news! God is so good! He always provides!”.

Fortunately a volunteer was arriving in Ghana the next week and was able to hand deliver the Medtronic shunts directly to me. Once those white packages were in my hands, I rushed to the hospital to bring them to the neurosurgeon to inspect them to make sure he knew how to use them. The very next day Ronald had surgery, and a few days later Daniel and Yaa Atta had surgery, all 3 with Medtronic shunts. The 3 of them are doing incredibly well and are recovering smoothly. The doctors are actually shocked at the amount of progress they have made, and many of the doctors called each of these 3 “hopeless” because of their severe hydrocephalus.

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Thank you Medtronic for believing in the value of my treasured children with special needs. Thank you for helping me advocate for the best and most innovative medical care for them. Thank you for providing their shunts, as otherwise they would not have received surgery. Thank you for always pushing and striving to make your medical technology better and more effective. Thank you for helping save the lives of these three precious children, we are all forever grateful.

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[Ronald]

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[Daniel]

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[Yaa Atta]

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[Check back later this week…a video about The Treasured Ones will be released!!]

Posted in Blog Update, Ghana, Living in Ghana, My Treasures, The Treasured Ones | Leave a comment

America Bound!

Surprise!! I’m coming to visit the US!!

A few weeks ago a door opened to allow me to visit the US, and after lots of prayer, I decided to take the opportunity. It is way earlier than I ever expected to visit the US, but I know that it is the right time.

I am coming to the US from July 4th to August 4th to see family & friends, but also to  fundraise. I am in the middle of compiling a long list of needs for The Treasured Ones, and just looking at the list is a bit intimidating. There are A LOT of major needs, some which are pressing and time sensitive.

I will be in Southern California from July 12th to July 21st.

I will potentially be somewhere on the Easr Coast/South East for a few days.

The rest of the time I will be in Chicago/Midwest.

If you are interested in having me come to your church, school, bible group, non profit, or workplace to share all of the incredible thinges God is doing here in Ghana through The Treasured Ones, please email me at kuntzr@gmail.com.

See you soon America!

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The time is FINALLY here….[The Treasured Ones]

As most of you know, I have been living and volunteering in Ghana off and on for over three years now. When I first came to Ghana in June 2011 I was a young, new international traveler. My decision to come to Ghana the first time was very spur of the moment. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and I didn’t know much about the country I would be spending three months in.

That one decision forever changed my life.

When I made the decision to move to Ghana, the Education Center was about halfway done. I knew that when I moved here, I would be working on finishing the construction, planning programs, and eventually opening and running the Center. But I knew that wasn’t the only reason why God was calling me to Ghana. I knew there were other reasons…I just didn’t know what those reasons were. I felt in my heart that God was up to something else. Something that I wasn’t expecting, or wouldn’t see coming. I prayed that whatever He had in store, that His will be done, and He make it clear what I was supposed to pursue.

I packed up my suitcases, said my goodbyes, and moved across the ocean.

I landed in Ghana in January 2014 and got right to work making my house a home, reconnecting with my Atonsu kids, and working on the Education Center. I was busy working on all my projects, but I still felt like God was doing something more, and was going to reveal something soon.

Just a few weeks after I arrived in Ghana, I was able to reunite with Little Boy in Blue, named Domfa, whom I thought about and prayed for ever since I met him during the summer. He has Down Syndrome and does nothing buy spread joy and smiles every minute of the day. He is a cherished and loved member of his small village community.

A few days later (February 2014) I got an email from a Ghanaian named Eric. He said he lives in northern Ghana and he found my website through searching Google. His email explained that his wife’s sister had passed away leaving behind a set of 10 month old twins who were “underdeveloped”.

After six weeks of tough investigation into the stories, situation, and case, it was determined that the twins needed to be placed at a babies home until a better solution is found. The day that the twins were brought the 10+ hours from the north, I met them at the babies home. It was the first time that I had seen the twins in person, as everything up until that point had been done through hours upon hours of phone calls.

I laid my eyes on them and my heart was stolen immediately. They were so tiny, frail, and fragile, but they were they beautiful and perfect. I knew right when I saw them that they weren’t just “underdeveloped” like Eric had said, but they both potentially had many medical conditions and special needs. I got them settled into the babies home and began visiting them every week, taking them to the hospital for testing, and loving on them every possible second.

The next week I went to do a follow-up visit on a project in another rural village that I work in. I saw a little boy standing in the corner by himself, and a bunch of kids pointing and laughing at him. I went to see what the problem was. I picked him up and noticed he had no shoes on. I looked closer at his feet and realized he had severe clubbed feet that had never been treated or corrected.

I started trying to connect the dots between the twins, Domfa, and this little boy with clubbed feet. They all came into my life in different ways, through different circumstances, and from different places. But they did have one thing in common, all of them had special needs. Upon this realization, I began to pray.

Did God want me to explore the possibilities of working with children with special needs in Ghana?

Why now? Didn’t I already have enough on my plate with the Education Center?

What was He trying to show me through these four specific children?

Was this the “something more in store” that I had been feeling for a while?

I continued to pray for His will to be done, and for God to make it 500% clear if this was a ministry He wanted me to pursue. In my head was already thinking that I couldn’t even begin to consider taking on another ministry, as I was already overloaded with Education Center work. But I knew that God was bigger than that. And if it were something He wanted me to pursue, He would orchestrate it perfectly.

When I asked Jesus into my heart and life, I didn’t just ask Him to come in and tidy up the things I was already doing and working on. I asked Him to break my heart for what breaks His.

I didn’t ask Him to send me to the places I wanted to go. I asked Him to send me where He wanted me.

I didn’t ask Him to come into my life as just an addition. I asked Him to take over my whole life.

I asked Him to send me wherever, serve and minister whomever, and go whenever He called.

I have held steadfast to that promise I made to God the day I was baptized, and it has become my heart song to Him.

A week later I went back to visit Domfa’s village for a project assessment.  I prayed specifically that morning that God would show up. That He would show me where He wanted me. I prayed that He would reveal if He wanted me to pursue a ministry in the realm of special needs. I prayed that prayer as a longshot. I didn’t really think anything significant would happen that day. (How’s that for putting God in a box??)

I got to see my Domfa once again and my heart was so happy. The day took some crazy twists and turns and it was 3pm and I was rushing to the car to bring a little girl with a blazing fever and potential malaria to the hospital an hour away. I sent her home to bathe and told her to meet me at the car in 5 minutes. I was running from one end of the village to the other to gather up my supplies and people were calling my name left and right to ask me questions. I was overwhelmed and frustrated. I did not think I could take another thing. I was walking straight to the car and prayed that God would show up. That He would bring peace to the chaos surrounding me. I turned onto the main road of the village and I see a little girl walking towards me whom I had never met before. The first thing I noticed were her severely bowed legs. We got closer and she stopped infront of me and said “Hi, Rebecca!! I am happy to see you today!” with the biggest smile on her face.

And that’s the moment when it all clicked.

In that moment that I knew what God was calling me to do. I knew that moment was the confirmation that I had been praying for.

The day was stressful, hectic, and pulling me in many directions. Before that moment, I wanted to walk straight to the car and head home.

In the midst of chaos, God shows up. He always shows up.

And that’s the moment when I said “YES” to this new journey God was laying out for me. YES to the chaos, YES to the blessings, YES to the ministry, YES to the unknowns, and YES to joys.

Over the next few weeks more children entered my life, I was introduced to the people who would help me develop and run this new ministry, and every single day it was confirmed that this was the path I am supposed to walk down.

This ministry is one that I was never on my radar, I didn’t expect it at all. But that’s what happens when you surrender your entire being and plans to our Creator: He surprises you. He knocks you to your knees with blessings and grace. He throws you curveballs. He changes plans in an instant. He redirects your path and forges new ones. And that’s exactly what He’s done with my life in the last six months in Ghana.

I am so excited to introduce you to…..

Caleb_Photographs-11The Treasured Ones is a 501c3 non-profit organization
that assists children living with special needs, alongside their families,
in their physical, mental, and spiritual growth.

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The Treasured Ones aims to:

Enable children with special needs to receive life saving and life enhancing  surgeries, treatments, and therapies through medical sponsorship.

Educate children with special needs through an inclusive school.

Emulate the Father’s love by creating an emergency, rehabilitation, transition home for the treasures of Kumasi, Ghana.

Equip and empower families who are blessed with children who have special needs with the skills, resources, and training to care for their treasures.

Engage a global community to begin to view children with special needs as blessings, not burdens.

hooray

Explanation of the name, details of programs, and profiles of my sweet treasures will be coming soon. I promise I will answer ALL of your questions surrounding this new ministry. In the mean time…LET’S CELEBRATE FRIENDS!

I can’t believe all that has happened to allow this ministry to get off the ground, and I am so glad that I can FINALLY begin to share with you all the incredible things God has been up to. I am incredibly humbled and astounded that He chose me to serve the special needs treasures of Ghana.

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[Domfa, aka Little Boy in Blue]

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[Brigid, the little girl who God sent to confirm everything]

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[Emmanuel]

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[One of the twins]

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[Ronald]

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[The legal process to become a non profit is quite long & I have completed the first steps of applying for 501c3 US status and am waiting to hear back from the IRS on approval.]

[Most photos in post taken by Caleb Alvarado]

Posted in Ghana, Living in Ghana, My Treasures, The Treasured Ones | 4 Comments

Tomorrow the BIG secret is revealed!!

I’ve been posting little teaser images on my Instagram and so many of you sweet friends have been commenting, asking questions, trying to guess, and wondering about when I can finally let my secret out. Well that day is….TOMORROW!!

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Little do most of you know…I’ve been keeping a BIG secret about the past 5+ months of life & work here in Ghana. Not just any ol’ secret, but I’m talking a life changing, God-sized, massive secret. BUT I can’t quite let the cat out of the bag just yet. You must check back here TOMORROW to read about everything. I can’t wait to let you know about all the incredible things that God has been doing in Ghana. I can’t wait. I just can’t wait until you finally know!

Posted in Blog Update, Ghana, Living in Ghana, My Treasures | Leave a comment

Ronald: Surgery Scheduled

The past few days have been nothing but busy and crazy and I haven’t slept or stopped moving for even a minute. I don’t have much time to write a long post, but I did want to update you and ask for major prayers.

 

To understand the back story of this post, please read:

Ronald: The Beginning

and

Ronald: Fully Funded

I have been waiting to post an update on my blog about Ronald, because over the past few weeks I have been meeting with neurosurgeons and doctors about Ronald’s condition, the surgery process, and what the outcome of the surgery could be. The neurology team has been meeting and discussing everything, and I was told they would most likely be able to do the surgery before the end of June. I have been waiting for two weeks to hear back from them to set a date for the surgery…until yesterday (Wednesday) I got a call from the hospital asking if Ronald could come for surgery on Friday…this Friday…which is tomorrow! We of course took them up on that offer and began getting ready as quickly as we could.

Today (Thursday) Ronald was admitted to the hospital to begin preparations for surgery tomorrow. Faustina, his mom, is so thrilled that her beloved boy is finally getting the shunt he desperately needs. She and Ronald are both in high spirits, but she is also nervous about the surgery and recovery.

Ronald’s surgery is scheduled for Friday morning, but I’m not sure exactly what time yet. The surgery shouldn’t take more than two hours, and I will be able to see him once he is in the recovery room. I have met with the neurosurgeon who will be placing Ronald’s shunt, and have been given the reassurance that he has done this surgery many times before and he doesn’t foresee any complications.

Will you please by praying over Ronald’s surgery tomorrow?
For wisdom and guidance for the surgery team,
for peace and comfort for Ronald’s mother Faustina so she knows her little boy is in great medical hands and in the arms of our Father,
for the hospital staff and nurses who will be caring for Ronald pre and post surgery,
for myself as I navigate the waters of hospital bureaucracy and an unstable medical “system”,
and for warmth, love, and comfort for Ronald, as I know he is scared and worried and has no idea what is going on.

Again, thank you so much for your donations, prayers, encouragement, and support that has allowed Ronald to receiving life saving shunt surgery tomorrow. I wish you all were here to hold, cuddle, and pray over Ronald, but your prayers and encouragement from around the world are surely felt here. We are so thankful for each and every one of you.

Because I will be away from my computer all day tomorrow, you can find updates on Ronald’s surgery on my Instagram.

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Posted in Blog Update, Ghana, Living in Ghana, My Treasures | Leave a comment

Bright: Post Surgery

Before reading the post below, please read–
Bright: The Beginning

and
Bright: Surgery

Wednesday May 7th (Surgery Day):

After the madness and drama of the morning, I was so relieved when I watched them wheel Bright into the operating theatre for surgery. I walked back to Surgery Director’s office and we sat and waited for the call from the surgery team to say they were finished. About an hour later we got the call, so we headed back to the surgery unit to check on everything.

When we arrived I was greeted by Bright’s momma who was waiting outside the door. She asked me if Bright was finished and if he was okay. Her face showed anxiety and worry and a little bit of panic. I hugged her and said I was going to talk to the neurosurgeon and come back to tell her the news.

Surgery Director and I met the neurosurgery team as they were prepping for the next patient. They said the surgery went well and the shunt was placed successfully. Exhale. They said Bright was in the recovery room and would be brought back to his ward in about an hour. Big exhale. Surgery Director asked if I could put on a mask and gown and go into the recovery room to see Bright. They agreed. Bigger exhale. I ran back to Bright’s momma to tell her that I was going to see her baby boy and would give her a full report when I returned. She hugged me and smiled real big.

I put on Crocs and a green gown and a blue mask and entered the recovery room. All the beds were filled with people who were slowly waking up from surgery. I scanned the room and looked for the tiniest person. I spotted a tiny body with a green blanket covering it and I knew it must be my Bright. The nurses brought me over to him.

He was slowly waking up from anesthesia. His head was half shaved. He had a gauze and tape over the little incision where they put in the shunt. He looked exactly the same as he did before surgery, but I knew that underneath that bandage was an incision, and underneath that incision was a shunt. A little piece of plastic. A life saving piece of plastic. There was a piece of plastic in his skull cavity where all the fluid was. There was a tube going from his skull cavity to his abdomen, allowing the fluid to drain at a very slow rate. Those pieces of plastic would give Bright a chance at life. They would give him hope of a future.

I held his tiny hand and told him that Auntie Rebecca was there and momma was waiting outside. I told him how brave and strong he was and how he would start feeling better soon. I told him that God loved him and he was His treasured son, and He weaved us all together for this mighty purpose and how He provided every dollar for his surgery. I kissed his head, left the room, and walked straight to his momma. She let out a huge sigh of relief when I told her the surgery was successful and her beloved son was recovering well.

About an hour later Bright was brought to ward B3, the ward where he was staying before surgery. The nurses kept a very close eye on him to make sure he was recovering well.

I took a little walk outside the hospital to breathe in some fresh air and begin to process all that had happened that day. I couldn’t believe that I met Bright on Monday, confirmed him for surgery on Tuesday, and it was Wednesday and he just had major brain surgery to place his shunt. Only God. Only God I tell you.

When I returned a few hours later with dinner, Bright was completely awake. I took one look at his head and almost collapsed to the ground. The fluid was draining. The shunt was working. His head was becoming smaller. It was only a few hours post surgery and I could already see a difference. That’s when everything felt real.

As the fluid began to drain from his skull cavity into his abdomen, all the pressure in his head began to go down. His skull bones were still in the distended shape they were pre-surgery, because hard bones like that don’t just shrink back to normal size. His forehead had a deep V shape in it because of draining fluid, which made him look a little strange. But Bright was awake. He was alert. His shunt was working. And his eyes were more open than I’d ever seen them before. Oh how I loved seeing his sparkling brown eyes.

Post Surgery:

After two days of recovery in the hospital Bright was released and scheduled to return in one week for a post surgery assessment. The doctor took one look at him at that appointment and was in awe of how well the shunt was working and how well Bright was doing.

A week later I went to visit Bright and his momma at their house. His momma and I were talking about the surgery and recovery and how Bright is feeling. His momma said to me, “I will know that he is feeling better when he cries. He only cried before his head started to grow. When his head was big he did not have energy to cry. He did not have strength. I will rejoice when he cries for the first time because that is when I will know that my son is doing well.”

Less than a week later I got a call. Bright cried. Not just a wimper, but a loud, ear piercing scream. I was in the middle of buying vegetables when his momma called and I screamed so loud in excitement that I nearly scared the veggie seller half to death. My precious boy cried. He was feeling better.

Last Saturday was June 7th, exactly one month post-surgery. Bright’s momma calls me every week to update me on his progress. Every time she calls she tell me another milestone he has reached. “He smiled today. He started making noises today. He moved his arms today. He is eating well today.” Every time I get another call I rejoice. I rejoice and give thanks to our Father who is turning a broken, sad, hurting baby boy into a recovering, happy, and pain-free treasured son. The process is incredible to watch and I am so blessed to be playing a part in the journey.

But Bright’s story does not end here. Oh how it is far from over. Bright is recovering remarkably and making strides every single day. I will continue to track and monitor Bright’s progress and take him to all his doctor appointments to see if the next steps involve physical therapy or a special diet.

As for his momma, I would love to see what she is interested in and to potentially provide some vocational training in cooking, tailoring, or business administration. Her biggest dream is to be back in the village where they were living before Bright’s head began to grow. His head began to fill with fluid when he was around 3 months old. Everyone in the village began to tell her that her son was cursed and that she must have done something wrong to produce a son with such a condition. The villagers were telling her to abandon him by the river so she would be able to have a normal life. She decided to move away from the village with Bright and sought refuge at her mother’s sister’s house in Kumasi.

It’s my hope and hers that we are able to go back to the village to begin to talk to them about the condition Bright has and explain about the surgery he had. We hope that by showing them how well Bright is doing now, that they will slowly come around to the idea that he is not cursed, but has hydrocephalus, which is a medical condition. It won’t be easy by any means, but I know how deep of a desire it is for Bright’s momma to return to the village. So I am going to do my absolute best to make it happen. I hope that the village allows them to return when they see that Bright’s condition is improving, and his momma has training, skills, and resources to be able to set up her own business.

The journey has just begun….

[Bright pre-surgery]

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[Bright 24 hours post surgery.
You can see that the fluid on the top of his head had already decreased so much.
Everyone was amazed at how quickly his shunt began working!]

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[On May 7th Bright received life saving shunt surgery. Because it was an urgent emergency, I was not able to fundraise before to cover the cost of the surgery. I had to pay for his entire surgery out of my own pocket. In Ghana, the doctor will not do the operation unless everything has been paid for. I had no other choice but to use my personal money that day and pray that the funds come to pay myself back. So far, $1,139 has been raised out of the total $2,000. This means that $861 needs to be raised to fully cover the cost of Bright’s surgery and hospital stay. Would you please consider making a donation & be apart of the incredible story that God is writing for Bright? You may donate through the donation button below, or send money directly to kuntzr@gmail.com through Paypal to avoid fees.]

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[If you already have a Paypal and would like to contribute, please send money directly to kuntzr@gmail.com to avoid fees.]




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