The day after Christmas, terror began for Hmong Pastor Sawan’s (Heaven) family. Toddler Sophia, almost three, fell into a big pot of boiling water, causing massive second-degree burns, from her shoulders to knees.
They rushed her to the burn unit at Suan Dok Hospital, Chiang Mai. Every five days doctors removed burns and applied medical “skin,” costing $300 each procedure. Pastor Heaven could not pay these costs, and Thai insurance would not. So he asked believers for prayer.
“Sophia had excruciating pain for three weeks,” her mother Pink said. “Every day felt like eternity, because of so much pain.”
Two weeks later, students, staff and parents at Grace International School (GIS) interceded and begged God to prevent infection and heal Sophia’s damaged, tiny body. They cried for stamina, daily spiritual encouragement and strength for Heaven and Pink, who couldn’t calm their agonized toddler, while they also nurtured their two-month-old. Then Grace began to give, raising $372 in 24-hours. Two weeks later, GIS had raised $3,000 toward medical costs, of the $6-9,000 expected for surgeries and care.
Seven days later a GIS parent, RN said, “Sophia slept through our visit, which was a blessing. I viewed her burn photos; they are horrific! Some burns are down to the muscle.”
Repeated dead skin removal was excruciating. And after urination or a BM, skin removal cleaned again. Although not yet 3-years-old, Sophia realized quickly that food results in BMs and more pain; so she ate very little.
“I won’t pray! Where is God?” Sophia screamed as her parents intercessed for her daily.
Eventually, nurses inserted a nasal feeding tube, to provide protein for recovery. The toddler decided quickly that eating was the lesser of two evils, so she resumed minuscule bites. Then as she ate more solids, she felt less pain and slept longer.
That week Sophia begged her parents to please pray while nurses changed bandages. At 3-years-old, she recognized only God could help her. Two days later she needed surgery to harvest grafts from her scalp.
Six weeks after the accident, Pink said they told the Hmong district they wouldn’t return to the church they deeply love, where Heaven was pastor 11 years. They needed to move near the hospital, for possibly years of medical care, and bring their 5-year-old with them. They requested prayer for a new church to serve.
One month later in the Burn Unit, doctors suggested Sophia might move to McKean Hospital, for better family space in a Christian environment. Sophia was up and walking, though stiff and not fully upright. Her hair was growing, and grafts were 85% healed, using tubes of special cream. But these lasted only two days, costing $10 each. Her parents hoped for her move within two weeks, with daily physiotherapy.
By now, Sophia’s parents were fearful to do wound care. And they worried about her future. Would any man ever love their scared daughter?
“Take it one day at a time and cast each care on the Lord, as it enters your mind,” the nurse said.
But medical bills were less worrisome, because the GIS community had donated $4,200.
Less than three weeks later, Heaven and Pink moved Sophia to McKean Hospital, expecting two more months for rehab. But after a thorough examination, doctors released her! That day she ran and smiled.
The family claimed another miracle when Suan Dok hospital charged only $120—total! As they drove home, they brought Sophie to GIS, where staff and students said hello and gave her new play dishes.
“I thank Grace for your generous prayer and support for our medical bills,” Pastor Heaven said.
Praise God Grace students rose to the need with funds and fell to their knees in prayer.