South Sudan – the world's newest nation – has one of the lowest rates of life expectancy in the world. Children born here are at a significant disadvantage and those born with complications even more so.
But the life of one little girl and her family was transformed with the help of a German missionary and MAF.
Arual was born with Spina Bifida and her parents didn't expect her to live long. But God had other plans.
Nicola Limburger, working with German Mission Aid in South Sudan, explains, "I met Arual accidentally when I was making a home visit to her wider family.
"I made enquiries about her at Kijabe – the mission hospital near Nairobi in neighbouring Kenya – and discovered that they are the place to go for such a condition.
"A paediatric neurosurgeon working there is a specialist in deformed spines and treats patients from all over Africa."
Arual travelled from her home village of Rumbek in South Sudan to the capital, Juba and from there she was able to fly with MAF to Nairobi – about a three hour flight. Although the costs of the flight were covered by MAF, the hospital and another charity, her father sold two cows so that Arual's mother could accompany her.
The day after arriving at the hospital, Arual was seen by the doctor and within 24 hours she was undergoing surgery. Unfortunately she developed an infection which extended her stay in Kenya. It was a blessing that her father had sold the cows so her mother could be with her especially for those extra weeks.
When she was well and ready to leave, MAF organised to fly her back to Rumbek where her overjoyed family waited.
The father, says Nicola, "praised God and testified that now he believes God really loves him".
Source: Mission Aviation Fellowship