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Looking Out the Window: Jennifer Slattery, Dr. Ohaju and His Nigerian Medical Mission


A Warm Welcome to Jennifer Slattery

Jennifer's visited my blog several times, and I'm so happy to have her here to share a touching personal story about meeting Dr. Ohaju. She tells readers how she grew to admire him and his passion for his Nigerian Medical Mission
 
From Jennifer

How many challenges and setbacks can one man encounter before he decides to give up?

I hate to admit it, but if I’d experienced even half of what Dr. Ohaju, director of St. Joseph's Trauma Center.) endured, I fear I may have retreated. Thrown my hands up in defeat and turned down an easier path.

I could learn a great deal from Dr. Ohaju, not only about perseverance but about gratitude, humility, and what it means to have a servant’s heart.

I met this man during a very frightening and stressful time. My mom-in-law had gone into the emergency room with stomach pain and a distended abdomen. After an emergency scope, she was rushed into surgery where Dr. Ohaju saved her life.

I shudder to think what might have happened had God not placed my mom-in-law under his care that week, and it was a good week that she spent in the hospital as she began the difficult and painful process of recovering from major surgery.

While dealing with a cancer diagnosis. That stung, and created all sorts of questions and uncertainties. You could feel the apprehension in the room, a tension that instantly dissipated whenever Dr. Ohaju walked in. God’s love flowed from him and instantly set us all at ease. We knew immediately not only that we were in the presence of a brilliant and compassionate surgeon, but also that, through him, God had absolutely everything under control.

That’s what happens when we surrender our gifts and passions into God’s hands; He uses our every act as a love letter from us to His hurting world. As he did for us through Dr. Ohaju, and as he does for numerous impoverished Nigerians to this day, also through Dr. Ohaju.

He grew up during the Nigerian Civil war, also called the War of Biafra. It was a brutal, terrifying time where innocent people were slaughtered and masses of children and the elderly were abandoned. Many starved to death.

During this time, Dr. Ohaju did whatever he could to survive while helping his family put food on the table. One would find him standing outside the train station, waiting to sell oranges or bananas or whatever he could find to hungry travelers. He went to school in starts and stops, when he was able. Until it came time for him to enter sixth grade, when, in Nigeria, one must pay to go to school.
There was no way Dr. Ohaju’s family could pay his tuition.

Until one day, a teacher had mercy, and offered him an opened doorway. One of many to come. Because God saw something in Dr. Ohaju—God saw past his devastating beginnings to the gift that poor little boy would one day grow to be.

I’ll be telling his story, which is quite extensive and nothing short of miraculous, over the coming year, but first, I’ll give you the ending. Well, not the ending, as his story is still unfolding, but what this godly man is doing now.

By God’s grace and with the help of others, Dr. Ohaju came to America where he pursued a degree in medicine. It was an incredibly difficult and long journey. One marked by heartbreak, for while he was in America, his father, back in Nigeria, died. From a treatable condition. Like so many others in Dr. Ohaju’s homeland.



Many Nigerians are dying daily from illnesses and diseases that are easily treatable, a tragedy Dr. Ohaju is determined to do something about through the medical missions nonprofit he started.  In 2004, the VOOM foundation, named after his deceased father, was born. The mission’s goal: to bring medical care to the poor and indigenes of Nigeria. More information is available at
And you can help. I encourage you to check out his foundations website http://www.voomfoundation.org/ and visit them on Facebook

I also invite you to visit a blog, Truth in Fiction, where I’ll be sharing bits of Dr. Ohaju’s story in more detail. In addition, I’m hoping to capture the essence of his story in a full-length novel, one he’s graciously agreed to help me with.

In the meantime, pray for us both: pray that he stays encouraged and focused on the call God has infused in his heart, and pray for me that I can capture the beauty, miracle, and perseverance of his story in novel form.

Now it’s your turn. What thoughts came to mind as you read about Dr. Ohaju’s story? How do you typically respond to setbacks? 

To learn more about Jennifer and her books visit her web site 

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hi, Gail, thanks for having me on your blog today and for highlighting Dr. Ojahu's work.
Gail Pallotta said…
Hi Jennifer,

It's my pleasure.
Setbacks can be hard. My faith in God helps me with setbacks in health issues and in every day life. Thank you for this post.

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