How a few screws saved the life of a Cuban pastor's daughter.
You will LOVE this true story.
Chapter 1. It begins in Cuba, with a young girl named Adriana. She is the daughter of a Cuban pastor I’ve already introduced you to. (He’s the guy who has been threatened, then befriended, by a Cuban official.)
Adriana needed spinal surgery for severe scoliosis. When her problem was first diagnosed, she had a 30% deviation in her spine. But in Cuba, the screws and rods needed for the surgery were completely unavailable. Inferior materials are used there— and when they fail, it’s gruesome…
Adriana visited a Cuban hospital and saw patients who had been subjected to surgery with such materials; it was so horrifying, she determined never to have the surgery.
But without surgery, she was in danger. Her deviation had quickly advanced from 30% to 60%. It could collapse her left lung or suppress her heart.
All we knew to do was to pray. But prayer works!
Chapter 2. Adriana’s parents learned about the top surgeon in Cuba. He’s very busy, of course, with a waiting list of more than a year. But Adriana’s father is a bold man of faith. He walked into the clinic and asked to speak with the surgeon directly. “Tell him I am bringing him a message from the Lord!”
The receptionist went into the surgeon’s office and added her own spin to the request: “A crazy man out there says he has a message from God for you!” The doctor laughed and said, “Tell him to come in.”
Adriana’s father appealed for his daughter in the name of the Lord. He shared her story, and he shared his profound faith and commitment to the Lord and His work. The doctor caved in. “I will operate on your daughter for you, don’t worry anymore,” he said.
“We don’t have the rods, clamps, and screws here, but if you can get them here, I will do it.”
Felix, our coordinator, contacted me and asked if I would help find the materials. Of course I wanted to help. “Consider it done! We have Lowe’s and Home Depot on many corners. I’m sure I can get the hardware!”
Well, of course it was a joke. I knew these devices were more sophisticated than that. But I thought they must be relatively accessible. Wrong again! I was yet to find out just how sophisticated “rods, clamps, and screws” can be.
Chapter 3. Soon I happened to be making another trip to Cuba, this time with a wonderful group of guys from Fort Worth, Texas. We had great times of evangelism and edification. It felt like a traveling sports team, but the victory and the wins were of an eternal nature!
One team member, Mike, was a “people person,” a guy who loves to help others, anywhere, anytime he can. We conducted a training session for a group of more than 30 workers in the western part of Cuba, part of a larger team planting more than 300 churches in the region. Among them: Adriana’s parents.
During breaks, they were proudly sharing photos from Adriana’s “quinceañera,” the traditional debutante party for a girl arriving at the threshold of young womanhood. The photos made the rounds, Mike saw them, and soon he was inquiring about her sad medical condition.
Instantly, he was sharing words of help and hope. He co-leads a Sunday school class, and his partner is an orthopedic pediatrician! Mike was sure his friend could help. We were all thrilled, feeling God had answered prayer.
Chapter 4. Wrong again! Back in Fort Worth, the doctor explained the complexity, and the obstacles, associated with such a task. Each little screw is made of titanium: $5,000 each. You need 20 of them. You could hold $100,000 worth of these “little helps” in the hollow of your hand! And we hadn’t even gotten to the cost of the clamps, the rods, the operating room, the intensive care, the post-op therapy…
Even if we could afford the materials, taking them to Cuba was out of the question. As the orthopedic pediatrician explained, Cuban surgeons lack the expertise— simply because they don’t have the materials. “You become an expert by working many hours with those materials,” he said. “In short, it would take a miracle!”
A miracle? A miracle! Wait, we know Someone who has this expertise—because He’s been doing it for so long!
Another member of the same Sunday school class pointed the way: “Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas does stuff like that.”
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
Chapter 5. Scottish Rite said we needed to put it all in writing to make a request. A committee would review the request. The news ran throughout our little network— Adriana’s family and friends—like the fuse that would unleash the dynamite of prayer. Thousands of people were praying.
Mike would talk with Scottish Rite; I would get the forms filled out by the parents in Cuba; then I would forward them to the secretary in charge of Adriana’s case. Then they needed even more papers—then still more. They also wanted X-rays. They wanted medical reports.
Then—suddenly—the requests stopped. There was silence. And then… he answered!
“Everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened!”
Scottish Rite Hospital was pleased to inform us that Adriana qualified for their program. An official letter would follow which would enable the family to secure the necessary visas for travel!
There was joy. There was jubilation, and there were tears. The whole World Link family… workers and churches in Cuba and elsewhere… were rejoicing.
For some, the greatest miracle was for Cuba to allow a minor to leave the country to be treated in the U.S. (I am not as sure about this. They have been quite kind in granting us the opportunity to do our ministry.) For others, the greatest miracle was the provision of such an expensive operation in such a sophisticated hospital. For still others, the greatest miracle was the prospect of a normal, healthy, life for Adriana. Anyway, it was a miracle!
Chapter 6. In the operating room, the surgeon took a full seven hours—to make sure every clamp, every screw, every rod would last her a lifetime. The operation was a great success.
Yes, the pain of recovery was been great. Intensive care was intensive. But God is great, and Adriana has handled post-op gracefully. All the reviews were very positive. Adriana is doing extremely well.
We are praising God! Truly, His wonders never cease! His miracles are new every morning!