At Nicaragua’s only child cancer hospital Bible Society is bringing vital practical help and spiritual support to children and their families.
Every child on the cancer wards at La Mascota hospital in Managua is offered a Bible. Bible Society in Nicaragua also pays transport costs for some families so that children can get to and from their treatment. It gives them toiletries during their stay and provides food for children and their parents staying at a shelter in the hospital grounds.
Bible Society has recruited a team of 235 volunteers from local churches who visit the hospital three times a week to pray with and support families. Parents and medical staff have welcomed the work.
Five-year-old Genibe Lopez was diagnosed with cancer when she was just 14 months. Genibe lives with her mother Maria, 43, in a small hut on the outskirts of Managua. A bus ticket to La Mascota hospital costs $2.50. A single mum, Maria scrapes a living by washing and drying clothes, and $1.40 is the most she can earn in a day.
Bible Society has been paying the bus fares so that Genibe and her mother can get to hospital for appointments. Maria says Bible Society’s help has been crucial because without the money for transport Genibe would have missed her appointments.
She says, ‘It was absolutely important because without the help that Bible Society gave me for transportation my daughter couldn’t receive the treatment and if she didn’t get that treatment my daughter would have died.’
Genibe and Maria also draw strength and hope from the Bible they were given by one of Bible Society’s volunteers.
Maria says, ‘We’re sad, but there we find encouragement. God is telling us we’re not alone. The faith I have today I didn’t have before.
The hospital’s Head of Oncology, Dr Luis Fulgencio-Baez, says, ‘The children not only receive healing from medicine, but also from God’s word. It’s important because they can pray and be positive.'
Freddy Fonseca, General Secretary of the Bible Society in Nicaragua and founder of the project says, ‘Parents are reading the Bible, by night. When the hospital is silent, they’re reading and praying. For me, the most important treatment they have is the Bible.’
Picture: Genibe Lopez and her mother Maria at home in Managua, reading a Bible given to them by Bible Society. Credit Bible Society, Clare Kendall.