It has been nearly 7 years since we began sponsoring Ato Sam, a decision that changed our lives and continues to.
He is one of five children we sponsor in Ghana, and our most prolific writer by far. In fact, it was through Ato Sam's letters that we were inspired to action in 2011 for the child slave rescue mission, and again in recent years for the provision of a library in his community.
Over the course of the last few photos that Compassion has sent me of Ato Sam, I noticed a growing disfigurement in his left jaw area. At first, I brushed it off as the possibility that he'd had a tooth pulled and was experiencing some swelling, but as I continued to receive photos from time to time, it was apparent that something was seriously wrong. He was reluctant to mention it in his letters (I suspect he didn't want to worry me) so I called Compassion and asked for a report on Ato Sam's health.
We received the report a short while ago. Compassion Ghana has officially confirmed that Ato Sam's disfigured jaw is in part due to a tumor and a growth/enlargement on his jaw bone.
He has been brought to the teaching hospital in the capital city of Accra several times for tests, scans and consultations. His family and Compassion leadership are very concerned. To proceed with a surgery in Ghana this point would completely disfigure him without guarantee that his health would be restored, in fact, the doctors are not willing to operate on such a complex case. The doctors are instead consulting specialists from outside Ghana in order to form a plan of action if at all possible.
We booked our flights a few hours after we received the news. Although we were awaiting for confirmation about flying to Ghana to see the library progress in person, this provided all the confirmation we needed. We look forward to spending time encouraging Ato Sam, praying over him, affirming his value and the love we have for him, his family and the Compassion leadership team who are doing an excellent job advocating for his needs.
He has nicknamed me "My lovely mother I love you" in his native Fante language, to which I respond by calling him "Son of my heart". He truly is like a son to me. My mama heart just aches for my boy.
Please pray as we continue to prepare for the trip, for Ato Sam's strength as he endures the ongoing health crisis, for the funding to complete the indoor plumbing and other needs for the Greater Grace Community Library, and for God to provide the doctors with the skills that Ato Sam desperately needs.