A group of us from G.O.D. gathers consistently with Burmese refugees for Bible studies. Recently, our fellowship in the Word resulted in a First Aid seminar. At the end of one of our Bible studies one mother’s prayer request was one that would cause any listener's heart to sink. “Pray for the health and safety of our children and the courage of our mothers,” she asked. She explained how intimidating it was to call doctors because most refugee parents can’t speak English. The confidence and authority of medical professionals only added to the intimidation they felt. Upon some investigation I found that when their children get sick, parents are worried about how to communicate what was wrong, or how to even understand the advice given to them, if they get that far. The result of this fear: they avoid calling the doctor, and pray instead.
That night we prayed with this mother, but we also responded in faith. Fellowship in God’s Word not only brings spiritual health, but also a responsibility to take care of one another physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Jennifer Sherrod, medical assistant with Hopewell Family Care, and myself, Midwifery Assistant with Nova Birth Services, worked alongside Leigh Holdsambeck, RN with Nashville General Hospital, and together planned a First Aid seminar called "Life's Little Accidents." We also created multiple handouts which were translated into the Burmese language by Lulu Nhkum, who has helped translate and organize events with us for the last five years.
Mothers, fathers and even grandparents attended the seminar and learned practical life-saving skills addressing high fevers, medication dosages, falls, cuts, excessive bleeding, when to use certain medications, and when to call 911 or go to the ER. Not only was the seminar taught in their language, but we ensured that we were not teaching about information or supplies inaccessible to our audience. Each attendee was given a first aid kit containing items mentioned in the seminar. We talked through each item in the bag, ensuring everyone knew how to use each product.
Jennifer Sherrod reflects on the experience, “Any of us with children know that sickness and injuries can be unpredictable from high fevers, cuts, falls or allergies. They can really throw us for a loop if we don’t know how to respond quickly in the moment. We wanted to help parents identify when an accident should be treated at home versus one that necessitated a doctor or the ER. I really feel like we did that. It was only one seminar so far, but it was a start.”
After the seminar Lulu expressed how thankful and receptive everyone was to the information presented. Immediately, families were using what they learned. One of the older men in attendance went home and taught several other younger parents what he learned. Another mother went home to her child having a nosebleed and because of the seminar she knew how to stop it. One woman's grandchildren were sick and she knew when and how to give them Tylenol, largely because of the seminar. Yet another woman knew when to take her daughter to the ER because her fever got too high. She would have lacked confidence before, but now she said that God gave her the faith and the knowledge to save her daughter’s life. This truly was an answer to a mother's prayer.