Incredible things happened in Malaysia, and this is one of my favorites. Luckily, I was journaling the whole time, so I’ve added excerpts from that so you can get the real-feel emotion. It’s a long story, so bear with me. I promise that it’s worth it. Sorry if there’s side stories within the story.
Backstory: in high school, I tore the cartilage off my hip bone twice, which resulted in two hip surgeries. I have healed since then. The last surgery was about five years ago.
A few weeks into the mission, we were “off-site” at a village about an hour and a half away from our home village, which meant we were going to stay the night there. We had finished work for the day, and we were watching the sunset against a gorgeous mountain backdrop. Some were singing worship songs. I, on the other hand, had a different idea: I wanted to ride a motorcycle. One of the Malaysians got ahold of a motorcycle and told me she would take me for a ride (the picture at the top of this post is us before we set out).
All was going well until we were going up a hill and the motorcycle was in the wrong gear. It stalled and fell to the right. Here’s part of my journaling for what happened next:
I scrambled off, but I guess something got stuck because my hip twisted and tore and all of a sudden it was pre-hip surgery pain but more intense. I tried to limp it off, and I said I was going to walk home, but William and Mandy drove up at the same time, and Mandy hopped off so he could take me back. I stumbled off the bike and went off to the side and tried not to start crying, but that was a fail. Sam came over, but I shooed him away. Joy came over and she was crying and kept apologizing, and I kept saying it wasn’t her fault. Then they called us for dinner, and I went inside, but just couldn’t do it, so I went back outside. I found a place to collapse and just started sobbing. The pain, and the thought of injuring my hip again, and the thought of another surgery. It was just too much. Soon, Joy came next to me again, along with a million kids. Hah. She shooed them away. Eventually I asked her if she had ice of any kind, and she said she had a hot ointment thing, so her and the aunties took me inside to find a bench to lay on. She started putting ointment on, which ended up being like Icy Hot. My hip tendon was super tender along with the inside of my hip. All the aunties were around me and I was crying and it was just bad. I had to get it elevated and just lay.
As Joy rubbed in the ointment, she insisted on getting our team leader, Steph. I refused. She asked me how I was going to hide this, and I told her that I was going to be fine. I just needed some time. See, at this point, I didn’t want help. I didn’t want anyone to see my weakness. I didn’t want to humble myself to the point of admitting my need.
Time went by, and the pain wasn’t getting better, and I certainly wasn’t walking anywhere, so I asked Joy to get Steph. I closed my eyes, and minutes later I heard Steph yelling my name. I looked at her and repeated, “I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine.” I didn’t understand why Steph looked a little scared until she left the room and Joy told me that she hadn’t actually informed Steph about what had happened. Later, Steph told me her side of the story, and it went something like this:
Joy walked up to Steph and said, “Steph, follow me.”
At the doorway, Joy turned around and said, “Steph, it’s bad.”
Steph asked what happened, and Joy said, “I hurt Amanda.”
Steph could see how broken up Joy was, so in order to put some hope in the situation, she said, “Yeah, but she’s alive, right?”
Joy looked at her with wide eyes and slightly shook her head.
So, at this point, Steph thought I was dead, which was when she ran into the house and saw me laying on a bench, motionless. That’s when she yelled my name. Apparently, I still looked very dazed when I repeatedly said, “I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine,” so her next thought was that I was brain dead. (Side note: this should be comical. It is.)
By the time she came back into the room, I realized that she needed the full story. Once we got to the fact that it might be a torn ligament, her response was, “Praise God, it’s not even that bad!” Haha. Compared to being dead or brain dead, definitely not bad.
We decided not to tell anyone. I hoped that I would be able to sleep it off. However, for the rest of the night, Steph and Joy heroically carried me everywhere–including the bathroom. They are saints. The Lord was slowly opening my heart to be okay with being served.
A funny side note: at the end of my journal entry for the day, I wrote, “I keep craving donuts… if only…” The next morning, one of my first sentences was, “Guess what was for breakfast?! DONUTS! I think I actually ate six.” Hahahaha. God is good. He provides for everything.
As you can imagine, I hardly slept that night, and when I woke up, nothing had really changed. I was not allowed to work that morning, and eventually, everyone found out what had happened. At one point, Steph did bring me a big branch and a machete to cut up. Some of the aunties had brought me some extra donuts, and it was at this point that I also decided to eat a donut off a machete.
Somewhere throughout the morning, I had it in my mind that I was going to walk. I wasn’t going to be carried around anymore; I was going to toughen up. That happened a little bit at the village, especially when the villagers presented us with beautiful necklaces. I was determined to stand up to receive such an honor, but as you can tell by my eyes (see picture gallery), it wasn’t the most comfortable thing.
We drove back to our home base, and there, I was even more determined to become independent (obviously Jesus still had a lot to teach me about being okay with accepting help). It was to the point where I was trying to do all the stairs. You can see in the picture two of the girls helping me on either side, and that was the most I could do, but I was trying to do it all.
We had evening Mass, and I did all of the stairs (there were a lot) without being carried. However, by the end of Mass, I was in more pain that I knew what to do with. Tears were again streaming down my face, and with one look, Steph and Joy insisted on carrying me back. They were warriors, but eventually, one of our male teammates Sam took over the carrying. He carried me for the remainder of the night and the next morning.
When I woke up the next morning, I still couldn’t walk. It was decided that I should send a message to my mom asking her to make an appointment with my surgeon for when I got home (we hadn’t been allowed our phones, so this was a big deal). We had morning Mass, which Sam graciously carried me to, and I was in lots of pain again. However, I also had a desire to go to Confession. After Mass was over, Father Andy said that he would be hearing Confessions during our holy hour, which was perfect! I had the grace of being able to go to Confession and then pray for an hour. I want to share with you an excerpt from my prayer journal:
Please let this injury glorify You, Lord. I will do whatever Your will is. If it means another surgery, fine. If it means You healing me, fine. Please help me in my weakness, Holy Spirit. Lord, please give me the grace to have an incredible faith in Your healing, free of doubt. I want to be healed. I trust in You and Your timing. I just read John 4, which is the woman at the well… and maybe the Lord wants to heal me in order to convert many, like He did with the woman. Lord, if that’s Your will, please just show me how and where and when. I am surrendered.
After the hour, Father Andy gave me an anointing of the sick. It was absolutely beautiful, because he completely called upon the Holy Spirit. I will always remember the whole chapel singing, “Holy Spirit, she needs you,” over and over again. He anointed me, and as I sat there praying, I realized that my hip didn’t hurt anymore. In the silence, I felt confident that I was healed, but I also felt the Lord asking if I would choose healing… I could trust and get up and walk out, or I could doubt and question and have Sam carry me out. When it became time to go, Sam looked at me to carry me out, but I told him that I’d walk. He gave me that look of doubt, but… I WALKED OUT OF THAT CHURCH! I got up, was able to genuflect, and walked right out.
Let me tell you, we were all in awe of the Lord’s power. After celebrating, I heard that one teammate had seen a picture of Jesus sewing up my hip joint and another had heard the sound of something being snapped back into place during the anointing. Just soak that in for a moment. He miraculously healed me.
I have since seen my physical therapist, and after checking my range of motion/other things, he has said that I’m totally fine. I’ve been working out most days since it has happened, and I have no pain.
Friends, allow this testimony to change your view of the Lord. Let it open up your heart to His power and mercy. What does He want to heal in your life? Maybe it’s physical. Maybe it’s emotional. Maybe it’s spiritual. Whatever it is, accept His healing.
The Lord knew I needed all kinds of grace before I was ready to accept healing (the Eucharist, Confession, an hour of prayer, Anointing of the Sick…). It’s not easy to do, but it is so worth it. Let Him change your life.