Unconditional Love Then and Now
By: Elizabeth Hodges, MAP International
The father’s love for his daughter was apparent from the moment he walked into the busy clinic. Despite the worry chiseled on his face, the clinic staff could tell that the larger-than-life man dearly loved his little Gladys. No matter how imperfect she may appear, he loved her unconditionally.
Born with a severe cleft lip, she habitually buried her face in her father’s chest. She didn’t want people to stare. At 12 months, Gladys already understood that she was different.
Born in the mountainous region of Santa Maria, Colombia, Gladys had been abandoned by her mother. Exasperated by the care required for a child with cleft lip, and embarrassed by her condition, her mother left Gladys in her father’s care. He was the only family she knew.
Raising a child with a severe facial deformity is challenging. Raising a daughter in a part of the world with limited medical care and social stigmas is overwhelming. Gladys’ father was desperate to help his only child. His love was abiding and ran deep.
He heard of a clinic that might help his small daughter; he dared to believe a miracle for his daughter was possible. Carefully he packed their suitcases for the eight-hour trip to the clinic staffed by medical missionaries from Heal the Children. Gladys’ father had sacrificed so much to raise her.
He cried when he arrived, having witnessed the passion of those who would care for his daughter. Finally, he could clearly see that someone would be able to help his daughter.
“The love between the father and daughter just melted our hearts, and it was apparent that he would do anything to help his daughter receive the necessary treatment to repair her cleft lip as they had traveled eight hours to get to us. Thankfully, we were able to repair Gladys cleft lip,” said Debbie Fritz one of the dedicated medical missionaries. “I want to thank MAP for the suture material that we needed in helping to change the lives of these children and their families for the better.”
Fulfilling our mission of providing medicines and health supplies to people in need was on full display in this story. MAP is honored to partner with medical missionaries who travel the world to change people’s lives for the better. If you are going on a medical mission trip, contact MAP International for assistance: www.map.org/medicines.