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By Jeff Frazee 

Gédjuma is 40 years old. So that means that he was 15 years old when we first moved next door to him in 1999. A little over a year ago, Gédjuma had a stroke. He lost all control of his body. Later, scans revealed that it was a brain bleed. Gédjuma’s left side recovered more quickly, but several months passed before he could speak or feed himself. Recently, his wife, Zerasylla, gave birth to a boy. Heidi and I went over one day to provide them with one of our pack’n’plays. We sat and talked with them, and I asked Gédjuma what he had been doing.

“Nothing,” Gédjuma said.

“Like, what do you do with your time?” I pressed.

Gédjuma replied, “I just sit in this chair all day long.”

I told Gédjuma that was no good. Gédjuma jumped on my suggestion of covering my shop the next day to see how he could help me. His wife came with him as well as their new baby and three-year-old. Gédjuma enjoyed the work. I appreciated his help. He didn’t want to be paid for his work, but we settled at 1000 CFA for a couple hours of work in the mornings.

In the second week, Gédjuma and Zerasylla told me they would be going to Daloa, Côte d’Ivoire, to see a traditional healer about his right leg, which was still rigid. I had a frank conversation with them the next day. I said it was fearful to think of what that traditional healer would do to his leg when we knew the problem was in his brain. Heidi and I planned to take Levi to a hospital up north to visit a Physical Therapist that had recently arrived in the country. I encouraged Gédjuma and Zerasylla to join us. They accepted.

We drove up and paid for Gédjuma, Zerasylla, and their two children to take the bus. The next day we picked them up and took them to the hospital with us. Usually, the hospital only accepts women and children, but they let Gédjuma in. The Physical Therapist from New Zealand listened to understand Gédjuma’s story and tested his abilities. After looking at his scans, she told him he should be thankful that he had recovered well. She said few people would have gained as much function as he had. In effect, everything is back to normal except for the spasticity of his right leg. The muscles are always stiff. She told Gédjuma what he could expect for the future and what he could do to maintain the health of his leg and increase his walking ability to his full potential.

Gédjuma was encouraged by the visit and accepted all that the Physical Therapist said. For the time being, he has let go of the idea of walking unaided through the work of a traditional healer. Since Abel and I are doing a Bible study in Bambara together, Gédjuma helps me prepare before we get to shop work. We have read a lot of Scripture and New Testament survey material together.


Discussion Questions:

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  • Share how God helped you through a time of physical illness or injury.

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