A Prodigal Daughter’s Journey Home

Dr. Renee Valach
Dr. Renee Valach
By Renee Valach, MD, serving at Bongolo Hospital, Gabon, Central Africa

The following is an adapted excerpt from Dr. Renee’s recent newsletter.

She was HIV-positive, a heavy drinker, and suffering from a bad infection after giving birth in Gabon’s capital city, Libreville. So Aimee* returned to her family in Lebamba; her mother and two older, female family members—”grandmothers”—soon brought her to Bongolo Hospital for treatment. (Although the older women are not likely her parents’ mothers, probably aunts, we referred to them as grandmothers; I already knew one of them from successful leprosy treatment.) While these two relatives tended to Aimee, her mother looked after the new baby.

One night during her hospital stay, Aimee became even more ill. I was at her bedside frequently the next day, and when I tried to send her to X-ray, she stopped breathing. Her family thought she was dead.

When people die here, family members often will throw themselves on the ground, flail about, and wail. But I told the three ladies, fairly sternly, to get up and go talk to Aimee, which they did. Later, I noticed that her oxygen level went up when she began singing with them.   

“God is So Good”

The second time we tried to do an X-ray, I stayed with Aimee in case there were problems. While we were waiting, I encouraged her to sing. So we had a ladies quartet in radiology: Aimee, a grandmother-the one who had previously been treated for leprosy-a nurse, and the doctor (me).

After we sang lots of verses of Que Dieu est Bon! (God is So Good!), Aimee prayed, expressed her love for God, and asked His forgiveness. At certain points throughout that day she’d been confused, but that prayer was the clearest, most coherent thing that she had said all day.

At 4 a.m. the next morning, a loving heavenly Father welcomed home His prodigal daughter.

*Name changed.

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Donate to Alliance Great Commission Ministries. In doing so, you partner with Alliance workers—like Dr. Renee Valach—to reach countless prodigal daughters and sons in great need of God’s healing love and reconciliation. 

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