Kasahun is 38 years old. It didn’t occur to me until later that he is younger than I am. He looked so much older and just plain worn out. You may remember his photo from a few weeks ago – before he had his tumor taken out. He had the largest tumor of the ones that came a few weeks ago; actually, it turned out to be two different tumors, one from his mandible (jaw) and another from his maxilla (cheek bone.)
Kasahun was born and raised in Gondar, Ethiopia. (Yes, very similar in name to a kingdom in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a series not for the faint of heart when it comes to reading, like some friends of mine…) It is in the northern part of Ethiopia and has a rich history. Gondar has ancient castles from days when it was an imperial capital.
Kassahun owned land and had a wife and children in Gondar. Several years ago, he noticed a fullness in his face that had not been there before. As time went on, it became obvious that he had some sort of tumor. He sought medical care for his condition over the course of the next six years. He visited hospitals frequently, but was always turned away. No one could help him. During this time he lost his land, wife, and children. He was an outcast. He came to Addis to continue to search for medical care. He lived at the Mother Theresa Charity – “Home of the Sick and Dying – Destitutes,” as it advertises on its gate.
Kassahun was destitute when he entered that place. Thankfully they helped to coordinate life-changing treatment for him at CURE. Now he is full of hope and a bright new future. Two days ago he left CURE, after being here for three weeks of care. He grabbed me to say goodbye, as he got into the back of a Land Cruiser. He has a new air of confidence that was completely absent before. More important than the outward change that occurred in Kassahun during his time at CURE was the inner change that occurred. He learned about the One who loves him and will never forsake him, no matter what his outward appearance might be. Kassahun embraced this truth for his own and committed his life to Christ. Now he is truly a new man, inside and out. It will be exciting to see what he does with his second chance at life. I feel privileged to have been a part of it.
This is Kassahun as he leaves CURE. He still has a little swelling – they expect that for about 3 months – and he has some extra skin on the side of his cheek that can be removed later if it doesn’t shrink down enough on its own, but he’s definitely looking like a changed man.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17
Originally posted at: http://ethiopia.thebernards.org/2012/02/20/a-new-lease-on-life/.