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Phylis Odindo

One Leg for 25 Souls

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, Oct. 5.

Asharp pain shot up Phylis Odindo’s right leg in 2017.

The pain grew unbearable. Phylis went to the main government hospital in Kisumu, Kenya, but no one could help. The medical staff were on strike.

With no money and few options, Phylis sought treatment at a small clinic. The doctor didn’t have the medical equipment to do an X-ray. He looked at her leg and recommended that it be amputated.

Phylis, a widow with a young adult son, didn’t want to lose her leg, so she returned home. But the pain didn’t subside, and she returned to the clinic. The doctor amputated her leg just below the knee.

Three weeks later, Phylis fell very ill. She couldn’t move.

She went to the main hospital for an X-ray, and the doctor declared that the wound on her leg had started to rot. It had spread far above her knee. He called for a second amputation on the same leg.

Phylis was hospitalized after the surgery. Her health deteriorated so much that she lost hope. She called Anna, the Women’s Ministry director at her Kenya-Re Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Anna took one look at Phylis and felt certain that she was at death’s door. Anna prayed. After the prayer, Phylis felt stronger and asked Anna to keep praying for her. Anna agreed and gave her something to drink.

The next day, Anna returned to the hospital with several other women from the church. They came back the next day, and the next. The church pastor and elders also visited to offer encouragement and prayer.

On her hospital bed, Phylis prayed.

“Have mercy on me, O God, because I have only one son,” she prayed.

Her son, whom she had raised alone, had left the Adventist Church after her husband died 11 years earlier. He was angry with his late father’s relatives for seizing his mother’s house and all their possessions after the death. In parts of Kenya, the wife is held responsible for the husband’s wellbeing, and she is blamed if he dies. Phylis’ in-laws blamed her for her husband’s death and took all her property.

The church members visited Phylis every day during the three months that she stayed in the hospital. They helped pay her medical bills and obtain health insurance.

When she returned to her rented home, the church members continued to visit regularly and help with her daily needs.

Then something amazing happened. Eight hospital patients asked to be baptized. They were so touched by the compassion shown to Phylis by her church friends that they wanted to join her church. After that, seven married couples living in Phylis’ neighborhood asked to be baptized. They also were touched by the church members’ loving care. When Phylis’ mother came from across the country to visit, the Women’s Ministry department from the Kenya-Re church threw a surprise prayer breakfast for Phylis in her home. Phylis’ mother, a staunch member of another Christian denomination, was so impressed that she announced that she wanted to become an Adventist. She and one of Phylis’ sisters were later baptized.

Making Phylis’ joy complete, her son was baptized and got married at the Kenya-Re church in 2018.

In all, 25 people have been baptized since Phylis lost her leg. Phylis thinks that is a wonderful exchange.

“I praise God that my son has come back to church because of the amputation,” she said. “I may only have one leg, but it has brought many spiritual benefits to me and my family. It also has brought 25 people to God.”

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help construct a Seventh-day Adventist hospital in Phylis’ hometown, Kisumu. Thank you for planning to give a generous offering to promote physical and spiritual health in Kenya.