History of Yulce’s Treatment
August 2010: Back Home
Yulce first came to the U.S. in 2004 for the first of a series of surgeries. During this time she has gone through some dramatic changes. She has grown up in Los Angeles. She speaks perfect English and looks American. Returning to her home on a remote island of Indonesia will be a difficult adjustment.
This photo is taken on her final journey to her home island in June of 2010. It was clear she was nervous but I knew she had to go home. She had her miracle because of the compassion of so many people and the skillful hands of Dr. Peter Grossman. She no longer has the horrific scars we saw in 2004–she is a beautiful young woman. We were looking down on the stunning site of the volcanoe on the island of Ternate when she looked at me and said–I am afraid. It was a much different place in her mind now, that she had been in L.A. but this was her home. I reminded her how much her parents and siblings love her. We landed and were less than two hours from her home. Yulce is a sweet person and I know she was hesitant but I felt she would do fine.
When her mother saw her she was in tears–she hugged and kissed her. Her brother and sister clung to her as they looked at their big sister who came home. Yulce will have some time to adjust but the time will come when this will become home. America was good for her but she needed to be in her home with those who love her.
August 2010: Yulce-Finally Going Home
She stayed in the U.S. for a total of four years. Yulce came in 2004 for the first year and 12 surgeries. She really looked good after the first year and went home to an awesome celebration. She then went back to life in her
village. Her family farms and picked fruit in their remote jungle garden.
In June of 2007, Yulce came back to L.A. for surgeries to treat the curvature of her spine and to finish the plastic and reconstructive surgeries. It was
now July 26, 2010 when she was going to see L.A. for possibly the last time.
She was essentially an American teenager. She had a computer and knew everything about it. Her English language was mixed with all the slang you would hear in the halls of an American High School. This is the toughest
part of keeping a child from a remote region of the world to the U.S. for a lengthily time. They begin to see themselves as an American rather than from where they came from. You have to ask the question–was this the right thing
to do? Well, of course it was the right thing to do–just take a look at the first photo of Yulce. We did our part and now it is up to Yulce to be thankful for her physical improvements and transition back to her own
There were good-bye parties and a final dinner. There were tears and hugs as we entered the Delta Airlines International gate in L.A. Clinging to her computer and logging onto wifi–she said good-bye to her friends. The trip
back to Indonesia was no shorter than when she came here–it was two days and a night in Singapore. Yulce was a really good traveler and presented her Indonesian Passport as she arrived in Manado. She was now in Indonesia.
Looking down from the plane to the blue ocean and volcanoes of North Maluku she said to me, “I am afraid!” She wondered if she would be accepted and how would she be able to stay in touch with her friends in America. It was the
fact that her family loved her and were excited to have her home that helped the uncertainty. The plane set down on the former Japanese WWII airstrip in Kau. The car was waiting and she was only an hour from home.
The reunion with her family was filled with lots looks of unbelief, tears and hugs–they could hardly believe Yulce was finally home. Her family is poor and have a small home with a thatched roof and a dirt floor. This was a
long way from the middle-class life she had in L.A. But this was her home and her family. The next weeks and months will be important for her to transition back to life in her village. Yulce will be invited to visit our
medical base to help bridge the distance between these two cultures. She will be able to talk with English speakers and eat some western food.
This is the price paid to help someone who was in her condition. It is now up to Yulce to make the best of her life. She is a sweet girl and will make the transition. She will have something not everyone in her village has–she
was loved in two cultures–she will find the value in both.
This is possible because of some amazing people. It is encouraging to see the goodness in so many who gave and made give her a life. Blessings to all who partnered in this effort and blessings to Yulce and her family.
December 2007: Yulce’s Continued treatment
Yulce is in Los Angeles and is getting her final touches to her burn treatment. Dr. Peter Grossman has been so wonderful and generous in providing the needed surgeries. When she is finished with her recovery she will go to the Shiner’s Hospital in L.A. to begin the long process of straightening her curved spine.
“A Face for Yulce” awarded a Freddie
Dear Friends– I wanted to share that “A face for Yulce” has received a Freddie. This is like an Emmy for medical documentary. Producer Ruth Riven of LMNO Productions did an amazing job with Yulce’s story. This is a great story of hope and is now getting the highest recognition in it’s category. Here is the link to the award.
Yulce is doing very well back in her village. There are plans to bring her back to the U.S. for more surgery for the curvature of her back. Keep praying for her. Vino who is the nine year old boy who was also badly burn in a kerosene spill accident continues to receive therapy at the Grossman Burn Center. His infant sister died this summer and finally his mother has joined Vino and her husband in L.A. Vino is expected to stay in car until December of 2007. Thanks for all your prayers and support.
Yulce’s Story was aired on the Learning Channel (TLC)
February 6, 2006
I wanted to share some great news with you–the “Yulce Story” will be aired on The Learning Channel on January 23rd at 10 p.m. in most time zones (check your local listings).
This will be a story of hope and was filmed by LMNO Productions from L.A. The producers are very pleased with the final version. The name of the program is “The Face of Yulce”.
If you can tune in and know you had a part in this amazing story of an impossible situation becoming a message of hope to so many.
I remember the feelings I had when I met Yulce in her village for the first time. I know how the Lord made a way for her to get the expert treatment here in America. I understand that it took a lot of caring people to see her through all the stages of her miracle. I took her and her mother home in September 2005 and joined in the “homecoming” celebration when she was reunited with her friends and family. The look on the face of her father when he saw his “new Yulce” was priceless. I also know how hard it is to dance in a dress as I was wearing the traditional garments at the celebration. It was all worth it to see a life changed.
Thanks for being a supporter or for praying for Yulce. We have another little boy in L.A. getting his treatment. Please keep praying for Fino. He is eight years old and was also severely burned and is seeing his life changed because of the reconstructive surgeries. I say–God is good. He answers the impossible prayers of boys and girls.
10-20-05: Yulce’s Homecoming – the daughter of the village comes home.
Yulce’s eyes were wide and filling with tears of joy as she looked at the hundreds of people standing in the main street to welcome her home. It was a year earlier (August 2004) that she left her village with only a hope for a future productive life. The year past was to be a turning point and the answer to a little girl’s prayers. It proved to be that and much, much more. Her life had been given back to her—after the horrific scaring from the burn accident of November 2002. She was now home.
This was far more than she expected as she was the guest of honor in a huge celebration. I was asked to dress in the traditional garments and walk with her down the main street. I was happy to join her but the traditional dress was just that—a dress. I wore a dress down the procession with my white legs in full display. I could care less—it was the day I had looked forward to and a day that celebrated a miracle. She was met on the street by a children’s choir, many of her friends, singing a welcome song. We walked on as a percussion band played music along side us as we continued walking—the sound was very Polynesian. The crowd was now behind and some running ahead. The old woman of the village dancing beside us as we walked toward Yulce’s home. I was interested in presenting her to her father. I promised him that we would take good care of her while we had her. She was now home and a short walk from her father’s arms. He had prayed and cared for her after her injury and now he was waiting for her just down the street. I could see their split bamboo home as we walked closer. There were several little girls in traditional dress and one little boy who wore the warrior’s garments standing in front of the home facing us.
The young warrior began his war dance toward us. The street was lines with people which made a natural corridor. He was serious and very fierce with a shield in one hand and a sword in the other. The band of dancing girls followed him in a gracious dance that felt more like a welcome than the wielding of the little warriors sword. The music was now at a high pitch as the people pressed in and the dancers, young and old, surrounded us. The little warrior led us to the front of the house. I could see her father at the doorway. He has only one thing on his mind and that is to see his daughter. This is the moment I have thought about for a year, I am sure he has also—he must have wondered how she was doing. Was she O.K. or was she having a rough time? This was the moment when all his questions will be answered. I watched him take her into his arms. He shed tears as he kept looking at her. It was a miracle. She was rebuilt. She was his little girl again. He kept looking at her. This was an answer to many prayers.
We were then seated in a place of honor. It was beautifully decorated and all the people pressed in to see Yulce for themselves. I was just a little concerned about the dress I had on—with absolutely no experience wearing dresses. This was not a zip up model this was a cloth wrapped around and tied with a knot—not the greatest assurance to a novice like me. I wanted the memory of this celebration to be the miracle in Yulce’s life not when the knot came undone. The knot was like steel all night. We danced with sword and shields for three hours. The men of the village gave us the chance to try our warrior dance moves. I have to say we had some original moves. It was a night filled with music, laughter, dance, food, and speeches. After the three hours of warrior dances we settled in for the speeches. It was great to hear the gratitude of the people. The Pastor of the village said it this way, “We do not have anything to give other than our thanks and if I could think of a more beautiful word I would use it. The best we have is to say, ‘Thank You.’” The father spoke through his tears and then we started more dancing. This next dance was the celebration dance. It was a kind of line dance that had a slow and intricate hand motion that both men and woman did. There was a prompter like at a square dance calling out the change of direction or next move. We all danced and danced. Some of us were actually getting the dance moves down and any thought of loosing the dress was dashed. The Westerners (Americans and Australians) were definitely the worst dancers. We were really bad and I am sure that the villagers would agree—but we celebrated and laughed together for hours. Yes this was a time of laughter and great joy. It must have been like that when the Prodigal Son came home. That must have been some kind of party. This celebration was a homecoming of a new daughter coming home. She left a year earlier with unbelievable scars over her lower face and upper torso. Both of her arms were burned to her side. She could not close her eyes or mouth. She needed expert care and a miracle door to open. That is exactly what happened when Dr. Peter Grossman, his wife, Rebecca, and the Children’s Burn Foundation partnered with International Friends of Compassion, Gereja Bethel Indonesia (of Los Angeles), and Shepherd of the Hill Church to provide that miracle. There were also hundreds of people who gave support and prayers for this day of celebration to become a reality. I did tell the hundreds gathered that night that there were thousands of others, who were not there, who deserved our thanks for what they had done—so thank you all for making this day possible.
The follow-up to the homecoming is that Yulce is getting back into her life in the village. She has come from a place where she could go to a mall, Pizza Hut (her favorite food), or go to Universal Studios. She came from somewhere where you go to the store to get your food—not to the jungle gardens. She will have return culture shock. She is a tough little girl and knows she is loved by her family so that helps. She has her brother and sister to watch. She is in school now. She is being tutored by her teacher because she was so far behind. She could not read or write when she left for America and now she is in school catching up. She is also in English language classes each week. Some of the struggles she has faced are different than you would expect. Her new clothes were so nice they caused some comparisons and so she gave a lot of the clothes to friends and mostly wears here worn-out village clothes. She seems to be happy and has lots of friends. Keep praying for her future. She has a very bad case of scoliosis as a result of the burn. Her spine is severely curved. She will need more surgery to stop the twisting of her back. Her scars need to flatten and heal. She could have more work done to her burn surgeries at a later time.
There will possibly be a documentary done on this year of her life. LMNO Productions has taken video footage of her recovery and surgery. They documented her life for over a year and wanted to make it into a story of hope. The “Yulce Story” will be on the Learning Channel. I will send you more information on the showing later.
I have thanked so many who have been a part of this miracle year. It is out of a true compassion that so many have wanted to help this little girl. I do not want to close this part of her story without giving thanks to God for answering the prayer of a little girl in a hopeless situation. This story is just a series of miracle doors opening. It is a testament to some very kind and compassionate people and organizations and to a loving God who delights in answering impossible prayers.
Carl Cady—U.S. Director for International Friends of Compassion
8-20-05: Yulce Goes Home!
I shed some tears when I saw Yulce’s recent photo. Please join me in gratitude for this wondrous miracle. It has been one year and 12 surgeries for this brave little girl. She has faced so much since the horrible day of her injury–but today we rejoice in the transformation of her appearance and her growing confidence.
I leave at 5 a.m. to go to L.A. to coordinate the return to her home village. I made a promise to return her to her father who has waited at home this entire year. How many times he must have thought of her as he missed his daughter and wife. How he must have imagined the changes in her appearance as he worked in his jungle garden. I will look deep into his eyes when he sees her for the first time in a year. I believe I will see him in awe at her new likeness. He is like the rest of us fathers with a deep love for his daughter. I will bring her back to her him, her family and village. This is a testimony of the goodness of God and the compassion of so many key people.
I wish you all could join me for her homecoming. There will be a huge celebration on the 29th in her home village. This will be a celebration of all that is good–there will be lots of dancing and joy that this “daughter of the village” has come home. I can already see all of her friends who will be standing in wonder looking at the “new” Yulce. How she will tell them the stories of her treatments and the place called America. She can tell them about Disneyland and Pizza Hut. They will sit in wide-eyed wonder when they hear of all the good people in this far away land. Yulce will also be a walking testament to answered prayer. The God of the impossible does what He does best–bringing hope to hopeless situations.
How can I thank the skilled hands and wisdom of Dr. Peter Grossman who sculpted the transformation. He is an amazing man and has transformed her with every surgery. I also give a big thanks to Barbara Freidman and the Board and staff of the Children’s Burn Foundation for their generous gifts that made it possible for the surgeries. Sherman Oaks Hospital who provided the facilities for the surgeries, Gereja Bethel Indonesia for hosting Yulce and her mother. They have been wonderful and loving–especially Tina Johnson and Pastor Adinata. Gene Richardson from Shepherd of the Hill has been so supportive and generous in many, many ways. I also want to thank so many who have prayed for Yulce every step of the way.
We now have to pray for Vino who is the eight year old who was bought to the Grossman Burn Center. Vino is also a burn victim who is severely burned over his neck chest and right arm. He is joined by his father for the treatments. He has had his first surgery and had a rough time. He was is capable hands and is doing great now. I ask you to pray for him as he goes through six to nine months of surgeries and therapy.
Keep Looking Up–
Carl Cady–U.S. Director for International Friends of Compassion.
11-12-04: Yulce’s fifth surgery.
I couldn’t wait to see Yulce. She had already had her fifth surgery since coming to L.A. in late August 2004. I left the day of her first surgery without seeing her after surgery. I wanted to see this little girl who has captured my heart. I have the memory of the first time I met her engraved on my mind.
When I saw her at the host home in L.A.–I could hardly believe my eyes and ears. I looked at her and remembered the words of Dr. Peter Grossman when he freed her neck in the first surgery. He said, “I found a little girl beneath the scars.” Yes—I could see a little girl!! I greeted her with the afternoon Indonesian greeting, “Salamat Sore”. She hugged me and looked up at me and said, “HELLO”. Wow– was I blessed. She was very happy and you could see the strength of this child.
Dr. Grossman is an artist. I cannot believe how nice the lower lip looks. I looked at it from every angle and it is shaped perfectly. We were not even sure at the beginning if she had a lower lip. Dr. Grossman found the lip and in the fourth surgery began to shape it. I cannot understate how great she looked. She jabbered on and on. She counted to twenty for me in English and we laughed a lot together.
They enjoy going to church and the adult daughter of the host family has become close friends to Yulce and her mother. They are going all the time. They love to stay up and watch videos. I could not be any more delighted with the love and security that they have in this home.
The kind donation of the Children’s Burn Foundation of Sherman Oaks, California provided the funding for Yulce’s treatment. I want to give a special thanks to Barbara Freeman, her staff and board of directors for the compassion shown to Yulce.
Tina Johnson, who is the coordinator and translator, deserves a special thanks for the well being of Yulce. She is an amazing lady and is truly a gift from God. She has worked so hard and always with a smile. She has told me many times how thankful she is to be a part of Yulce’s miracle. Pastor Adinata is also a key in the success of her time in L.A. he has united his church to open their arms for them. He is a man of wisdom and compassion.
Continue to pray for Yulce. She has seven surgeries ahead. She will need to be tough to get through them. She will have the most painful grafting on her chest ahead of her. She has been so strong and positive about everything. I want to remind all of you how amazing this girl is—she has survived eight months of pain and suffering as she recovered from the scaring. She had accepted the disfigured scars as the way she will look for the rest of her life. She worked in her family garden and lived day-by-day. She is now living a miracle. This miracle is not without pain and discomfort.
The next surgery will be in mid-December where the eyes will be shaped to look normal. They will no longer be pulled down exposing the pink under the lower eyelids. That will be her sixth surgery and mark the half way point.
Yulce is a symbol to all of us—that God is good. He answers desperate prayers of little girls. He will move heaven and earth to answer this kind of prayer. We are all in a small way parts of the answered prayer. I reminded Yulce that she needs to thank the Lord for His goodness to her. She didn’t hesitate for a second and said—I know He is answering my prayer.
Never give up— Carl Cady
9-23-04: Yulce’s third surgery.
I just received this photo from Dr. Grossman. This is the progress Yulce has made after three surgeries in less than a month. He is very happy with the results so far. The next surgeries are tentatively scheduled for October 15 and 19. He will reconstruct the lower lip and free the left arm. In the first three surgeries she has had her neck released from the burn scars and right arm freed from her side. She has had two surgeries to do major skin grafting. Yulce has been absolutely wonderful and brave every step of the way. She is a special child who knows her impossible prayer is being answered. Everyone has commented on what a beautiful little girl she is and how she understands this is a long process. She still has eleven more months of treatments. Pray for her strength and for her mother as she stands with her through all of surgeries and therapy. Yulce will be going to a Christian School soon. She is excited about learning English and making some new friends.
The Indonesian sponsors are doing such a great job in making her feel welcome and guiding the schooling and all the adjustments to her new home. I thank all of you who have prayed and supported this child. especially what to thank the Children’s Burn Foundation of Sherman Oaks, California for providing the funds to cover all her surgeries. It is fun to watch a miracle unfolding before our eyes. Imagine what Yulce must dream about now–she has the same dreams of every little girl. I believe those dreams seem a lot closer today than they did a month ago. She went through unspeakable pain in the injury and eight months of healing and now she has to endure a year of surgeries and treatment–at least now she is seeing progress. She just wants to have her lower lip and upper lip close normally. It seems like such a small thing to us–but a dream for her. Please pray for the next surgeries. Dr. Peter Grossman is a man of compassion with great surgical skills. Please pray for him and his team as the reconstruct the lower lip. This is important to Yulce–please join us in prayer.
Never give up on your impossible prayer.
9-8-04: Yulce’s second surgery a success, preparing for #3.
Yulce has now had two successful surgeries. She looks a lot different than she has for the last two years. She is looking in the mirror often now–she is excited about the changes she is seeing. After she woke from the first surgery she asked Dr. Grossman, “Would you go with me to Disneyland?” She is a brave little girl and has a really fun side. In her village, she works everyday in the gardens, except Sunday. She has a simple life. This miracle year will include a trip to Disneyland with this Doctor who is the answer to her prayers.
Tomorrow Yulce will have another surgery to repair a small area on her neck where the first skin graft did not take. Please pray for this procedure.
I have received many requests for an address to send a note to Yulce. This is the host home and you can send the notes to this address.
c/o Andoko Setiady
North Hills, CA 91343
The Indonesian Church has been wonderful and is providing everything she and her mother have needed. They have show love and concern for Yulce and her Mom. The coordinator is an outgoing and warm woman. She is organizing transportation, translators and is in all the daily details of her life. I am especially happy with Pastor Adi who is giving spiritual care and support.
Thanks for your prayer and heart for this child. I will keep you updated on her progress.
9-3-04: Yulce’s first skin grafts look good.
I spoke to Esther who is in L.A. with Yulce. Esther has been in both of Yulce’s surgeries. Esther reported that the skin grafts Yulce has put on her face, chin, and neck on Monday look very good. Dr. Grossman is very happy about the new grafts. They look healthy and he is positive about her future. Thanks you for praying and giving for her future. The most critical and evasive surgeries are behind her–she faces 10 more procedures. Please pray for her strength and health. She is an amazing and brave child. She needs your prayers for all the physical and emotional changes she will face. Thanks for caring for this little one!!!
8-26-04: Yulce has her first surgery in the U.S.
The words I have been waiting for came this afternoon with a call from Dr. Peter Grossman. He said, “I found a little girl behind those scars.” This is the first step but a major one–Yulce’s first surgery was a total success. She went in to surgery at 6:40 a.m. at the Sherman Oaks Hospital and the whole procedure was video taped and shown in closed circuit to the nursing staff. Dr. Grossman was positive about finding her lower lip. We all thought it was gone but be said it is there and the muscular structure is in place. She now has her neck free and the right arm is also free. Dr. Richard Grossman, Peter’s father, led the team that freed her right arm. Keep praying–on Monday the process of removing her good skin and grafting it to her neck. This will follow with two weeks recovery including therapy.
This little girl is no longer trapped behind the grotesque image she bore for nearly two years. She is no long the bent over body that invites endless stares. She is Yulce a remarkable, courageous, fun, and bless girl. She has a long way to go–but every step is forward progress.
I remember a friend of mine who used to tell me–the job is half done when you start. He is right. It took a lot to get to the morning of the first surgery. It took a lot of help from partners and a huge window in heaven to open. Thanks to all who prayed and others who gave support. Please keep praying. I hope to have a photo of her maybe next week.
She told me that if she could have a future (like Zubiada who Dr. Grossman freed from the same injury) she would dance. I can’t wait for that dance. I don’t think she will be dancing alone–do you think angels dance when a child has her impossible prayer answered? This is the music of heaven! Who could just stand there when this music is playing–why not throw your head back and dance.
8-25-04: Yulce arrives in U.S. & prepares for surgery
This is a miracle week!!! Yulce is in the Sherman Oaks Hospital tonight (August 25) preparing for her first surgery. This day was made possible with a partnership of several organizations–IFC and their staff found Yulce in Indonesia and provided all the travel, passport and visa funding, the Children’s Burn Foundation of Sherman Oaks California provided the funding for the surgeries, Grossman Burn Center will share the expert surgical skills of their team, the Sherman Oaks Hospital will provide the facilities for her care and Gereja Bethel Indonesia is providing translators and host home for Yulce and her mother for the year she is in L.A. She will begin the first of twelve surgeries that will repair and reconstruct her burn injury. Dr. Peter Grossman, his father and staff are all wonderful. They have gathered around her a team of specialists called “team Yulce” and made her feel comfortable with her new home. She is in good hands tonight .I hope she is resting and dreaming about a life as a normal girl.
Today (August 25) is her 13th birthday. This will be a birthday she will never forget. Some American girls think becoming a teenager is major–how about spending the day at Disneyland, that afternoon you get admitted to the hospital and in the morning you have the most important step in rebuilding your future. What a birthday.
Yulce and her mother are living in a wonderful host home in L.A. The home is owned by an Indonesian couple who have their parents and their daughter living there. Yunice, Yulce’s mother, is growing more and more at ease and is able to communicate with others in the home. They have their own room and are learning about T.V.’s and coo-coo clocks. They have had their greatest challenge with the food. They are used to a simple diet of either fried fish or fried chicken with rice. That is what they like and even some of the Indonesian food they are getting is not to their liking. One of the nurses is confident that in two months they will have a main diet of chicken nuggets from McDonalds. It all has been fun and yet we all know why this door has opened.
Esther Scarborough, IFC medical director, escorted them to the U.S. Esther has been a blessing and the important information she adds is invaluable. She understands the culture, the medical procedures, and the language. She has been a friend to Yulce and her mother as well as the bridge between their fears and their future.
Esther has also got into full swing with the outings to Universal Studios and Disneyland. Yulce is a fun girl–she has a little bit of a wild side–she wanted to ride the biggest and fastest rides. I hope you all know that she comes from a jungle village and she works nearly everyday in the gardens and is responsible to take care of her twin brother and sister. Life for her is simple and hard. Disneyland for her will like be going to heaven for us. Everything is new and beyond belief.
I ask you to pray for Yulce and the surgery in the morning of Thursday August 26. Dr. Peter Grossman and a team of four other doctors will start the delicate procedure of freeing her neck. The critical issue is being able to get an airway. Yulce is bent forward because of the way the burn healed. It will be hard to get an tube into her throat. They will use the nasal passage at first until they free the neck. While the neck is being freed the right arm will also be cut from her side. She will then recover over the weekend and on Monday (August 30) they will remove some of her good skin and graft it on her neck. She will have two weeks recovery in the hospital after these two surgeries. These will be the most evasive surgeries and will dramatically change her appearance. Please pray for her this morning and over the rest of the two weeks of recovery.
Thank you for your heart and support of her. I say–God is good. He is the one who hears the cry of a child in a forsaken corner of the planet. He showed His mercy on her and now we get to watch this miracle unfold.
If we could comprehend just how much the Lord will do to answer a simple prayer–we would stand in wide-eyed wonder at the depth of His love.
February, 2004: The Story of Yulce (Yulchee)
I was told to get into the vehicle—we were going to find a child who was a burn victim. Esther Scarborough, the IFC Medical Staff Director, drove down the side roads to the village of Paca (Pacha) just south of Tobelo in North Maluku. She drove with abandon and paid little attention to the road. I was a classic back seat driver and tried my best to keep her interested in the road we were hoping would get us safely to this village. We did at least three unintentional off road tours—Esther would deny it but I had two other witnesses, Peter Scarborough, her husband, and Greg Dixon.
We had finally arrived in the village and after asking some of the locals where to find this child we came to the split bamboo home of this burn victim. I had seen burns before and have never been comfortable with the sight of the scars. We waited for this child to be brought to us. It wasn’t’t long before a large crowd had gathered around this simple home. I sat in the small room and felt little hands touching my arm. I slowly looked to see the children outside reaching through the window to get a feel of some white skin. It didn’t bother me and I just sat as a rare white skinned specimen. I know what a zoo animal feels like.
It was nearly an hour before she was brought to the house—a hush came over the crowd. I did not need an announcement—it was a silence she must have grown all too accustomed to. In a minute she entered the small room and I saw her for the first time. She was shocking. I felt that “butterfly” feeling in my stomach. She looked at me with her big eyes and I now was introduced to her, “This is Yulce (pronounced Yulchee).” She was not just a burn victim she was a 13 year old girl who unfortunately had an accident while pouring kerosene into a lamp in December of 2002.
I could see that she was uncomfortable and yet she knew these people were here to help. She remembered Esther which eased some of her anxiety. We wanted to make her feel safe as we took photos of the extent of the burns, so we went into a small bedroom in this split bamboo house. We wanted her to know she was special—I asked the Lord to use us as His voice of comfort. She was so sweet through the photos and videos. Her mother was by her side the whole time knowing this was a moment of grace. How many times would she get someone who could help her child. She is like every parent who loves their child and feels helpless in giving even a moment of hope to the disfiguring scars on her little girl. She looked at us like—could these people be the answer to my impossible prayer.
Please know this is not just a remote corner of the earth. This region was a war zone. There have been thousands murdered here and hundreds of thousands who fled this region to refugee camps in North Sulawesi. The last six months have been relatively peaceful and the refugees are returning and there is a lot of rebuilding both of lives and homes going on. This region is holding to a shaky peace and has no resources for burn victims. Yulce lay in bed for six months with no treatment. She has had no pain medicines during the months of healing of the burn wounds. She suffered unbelievable discomfort and saw her life changed forever.
The damage was extensive—she lost most of both ears, both arms are fused to her sides just above the elbows, her face from about mid-mouth is melted into her chest (she looks like she has no neck), her chest has heavy burns down to the waist, and her face was pulled downward with her lower eyelids stretched revealing the pink flesh. She has a monstrous appearance.
She is just a little girl with a beautiful laugh and the same hopes as the other girls in her village. She must have wondered—why did this happen to me?? Will I ever have a life or will I always be this disfigured woman. We tried to show her compassion without giving her “false hope”. I am not a burn specialist. I could not make her any promises. I wish I could just take her to any one of a number of burn centers in the U.S. If I had the money I would gladly pay for it. I do not qualify in any of these ways–I am just a voice for this little girl. I hope I can be a part of the answer to the prayers of Yulce and her mother. Please join me in being a voice for her. Please pray with me to the “God of all comfort” to open a door for her to get help. There must be someone who will show this beautiful child some hope.
I sat with Yulce a couple days later. I wanted her to feel comfortable and safe. I sat next to her and she put her hand in mine. She looked at me and seemed to say—You look like someone I can trust. I prayed for her and without a doubt I put my trust in the Lord. If ever I want a prayer answered, it is this one.