Emmanuel (God with us) used to go by another name. His name today reflects a change that has come about in his life. But he did not always believe that God was with him.
He was afflicted with a disease known as “elephantiasis” characterised by massive swelling of the arms, legs and body. Emmanuel believed that it was caused by evil spirits.
When a Reach Beyond nurse saw Emmanuel for the first time, he was waiting with all the other patients under the hot sun to be seen by a doctor. She saw that his lower leg was covered with filthy rags so decided to go ahead and clean it up to make it easier for the doctors to see what the problem was.
As she took the rags away, her heart sank at the sight of what looked to be a huge open sore on Emmanuel's leg and foot. “Necrosis” usually needs to be surgically removed and the nurse was fearful that Emmanuel would lose his foot. However, as she gently cleaned the wound, she realised that the black appearance had to do with local remedies and leaves that had been applied. There was a huge sore there, but maybe this leg could be saved?
Abandoned by family and friends because of this horrendous condition, he had nobody to take him to the hospital and nobody to help pay his bills. We praise God that at Reach Beyond we have supporters who care about people like Emmanuel and so we agreed to pay for his dressing changes. The local Ghanaian church agreed to pay Emmanuel's bus fare to the hospital each week!
Two months later, the missionary doctors who treated him went back. His leg was healed and through receiving love and kindness from the local church he listened to the Word of God and had committed his life to Christ. He was transformed! Now no longer in fear of the spirits who he thought had attacked his life, he changed his name to Emmanuel, God with him—all the time!