Esther at Dr. Gladieux’s Office

Dr. Gary Gladiuex and Esther

Dr. Gary Gladiuex and Esther

Esther is a 10 year old girl from Tanzania. She loves to play and run and be told that she is pretty. She loves to be accepted and cared about. She is a child similar in many ways to any child of ours. But Esther’s face is different. She has a congenital condition known as hemifacial microsomia. The symmetry that almost everyone else has is missing from Esther’s face. Her jaw is very small, and incredibly so on the left side. Because of this, her jaw does not work properly. She can open her mouth enough to stick a thumb into. That’s all. Her teeth do not meet, so she cannot chew. Her speech is not clear, and she cannot make some sounds at all. And at 10 years of age, she weighs just 40 pounds…smaller than most American kindergarteners!

In the African culture, if you look different, you are not accepted. You aren’t told that you are pretty. You don’t play with the other children. And if you can’t eat enough to gain weight, you don’t live very long.

When Esther was seen by Dr. Gary Gladieux while on a missions trip to Tanzania, his heart went out to her. He knew that in America, we can fix that! Esther was brought here by ISOH/IMPACT with help from Zion Lutheran Church in Waterville, the Lutheran Delegation from Tanzania and by donations from individuals who believe that Esther is important to God. Currently, Esther is staying at the LightHouse, a sanctuary for mending broken bodies, bones and hearts. She is under the the loving care and watchful eye of Dr. Linda Greene, President and CEO of ISOH/IMPACT as well as Dr. Jennifer Fallon-DeLucia, ISOH/IMPACT’s Volunteer Assistant Medical Director and the medical committee.

We are so grateful to all the physicians in many specialties, orthodontists, dentists, hospitals, labs, and radiology departments that have all teamed up together to donate their time and abilities to change this one life. Because Esther matters. Jesus said she does. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”. (Luke 18:16)

It is amazing to see the church…the whole church, not a denomination, but Gods people…come together to help transform a life! Each life on this planet touches many other lives. And little Esther from Tanzania is already touching so many other lives around her. We brought her here to bless her; instead, she is blessing us! Welcome Esther! Nakupenda! (That’s “We love you” in Swahili!)

Don’t give up or lose heart – keep believing the promise and be a part of the answer to someones prayer!  Esther arrived safely in the U.S. on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 with the Lutheran Delegation from Tanzania. Linda Greene, Dr. Gary Gladieux, Pastor Steve Bauerle, Marwa Amanullah and others welcomed Esther at the Detroit airport. This tiny forty pound ten-year-old girl will receive life-saving medical treatment for a congenital jaw deformity.

Esther’s first visit to the doctors office went well. No tears, just happy to be a place where she knows she is going to get the help she needs. It is a blessing to witness the miracle of Esther and to watch another child (Marwa) at the LightHouse help Esther feel at home!

We will keep you updated and ask for your prayers.

We are seeking volunteers for a minimum of 2 hours of “play time” with Esther and the only skills required are a little bit of patience and an open heart! If you would like to be a part of “The Esther Project” click here to sign up! Please also read the “Babysitting Guidelines“.

* Paperwork will need to be completed at first visit (forms available at the Lighthouse)