A TLC’s national staff member brought her uncle to an outreach a few months ago, sensing it was his last plea for help.
He died a few days later, but not before a story of transformation and hope unfolded…
Ncobile Gamedze called Phineas Gamedze, age 63, her father, because he was the uncle who had cared for her after her dad left her mother.
Phineas had only been sick three months, but he had esophageal cancer. The government hospital in Mbabane told his family “to go back home. There is nothing more to do.”
The Gamedze family heard on the radio that The Luke Commission was coming.
Traveling 80 kilometers, Phineas’ brother-in-law brought the sick man to a TLC mobile hospital outreach in the back of a small pickup.
“I knew if anyone could help him, TLC would,” said Ncobile, who is a relatively new staff member. As the eldest child in her family, she bears the burden of support for her mother, a baby son, and six other children at home.
|Taking a moment out from the surgical unit, Ncobile greets her infant son, Ngcebo, and her mother at her dying uncle's side. Ncobile's mother said proudly, "She is our breadwinner."
Cheerful and accustomed to hard work, Ncobile shines as a translator assistant in TLC’s surgical unit. “I love my job,” she said.
On this day, her Uncle Phineas could no longer eat or drink. TLC nurse Tiffany Schlueter started him on IV fluids. Longtime national staff member Sipho Mabuza, who is used to witnessing miracles at TLC, spoke with Phineas.
The tumor on the sick man’s neck restricted his speech to barely audible. Sipho asked him if he knew Jesus. “I know about Jesus, but I think I need to know him here,” he answered, patting his heart.
|Sipho talks to Uncle Phineas about Jesus, while Tiffany hooks him up to IV fluids.
Sipho prayed with Phineas in the back of that old bakkie. Quiet, reverence, and peace surrounded that pickup, even while the outreach with hundreds milled around waiting to be treated.
“Now his name is in the book of life,” smiled Sipho
When a Bible was placed beside Phineas, tears rolled down the side of his head. “I cannot read,” he whispered.
Sipho assured him he would find someone to read to him. The man’s sister-in-law stepped up with the smile on her face and opened God’s Word.
|Phineas gratefully accepts his first Bible from TLC a few days before he passes. His sister-in-law read regularly to him during those last days and hours.
“I believe God sent The Luke Commission to help this man today,” noted Sipho. “We are just here because we are followers of Jesus. These kinds of people make us strong.”
Then Sipho said quietly with tears shimmering in his own eyes: “We will keep on hunting people like this, until God says, ‘Well done, guys.’”
By Janet Tuinstra, privileged to be on the ground with TLC staff