Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Alimo's Legacy by Shana Kerttula

Everyone has a heart full of love, not all will share it. Everyone has a sense of right and wrong, not all will listen to it. Everyone can see wrong, but few have the courage change. Everyone has a story, But who will listen. I have a story to tell but it’s not my own. A story of Neglect, a story of love, a story of grief, a story of joy. In 1979 a missionary woman named Esther Nordman was going to a conference in a village. She saw something out of the corner of her eye. At first glance it looked like a dead animal, left lying on the ground. She looked closer. It was not an animal nor was it dead, it was a small child. Esther went back home and brought back her husband Leslie to see the child. She was unbathed, naked and half starved. The couple asked around as to who her parents were. It turns out the father had died and the mother suffered of a mental disability. The family was happy to give the child to the Nordmans. They took her home bathed her, cut her hair, fed her, and poured all the love they could into her. Her name was Alimo. She was severely disabled both physically and mentally. Alimo was very happy, for a time. The couple tried to adopt her but they were unable before they had to returned to the United States. So Esther and Leslie had to leave their dear child and return home. They left her in the care of the CMML mission. The mission hired a nanny to care for her. The Nanny gave Alimo only two jobs. 1. Keep clean. 2. Not to eat anything that was not given to her to eat. So Alimo spent hours sitting quietly not allowed to play because she might get dirty, and fed very little. At this time Caroline Gross was in the United States burying her beloved husband, Paul Gross. She then came back to Nigeria. One Sunday Alimo’s nanny asked for ride to church. Mom Gross having a car at the time agreed to drive her. When Mom Gross arrived to pick her up the Nanny came out alone. She asked where Alimo was. The nanny replied that she was inside. When asked if Alimo was alone the Nanny said no someone was taking care of her. As Mom Gross drove her to church she couldn’t rid herself of the feeling that something wasn’t right. So she left everyone at church and went back to check on Alimo. As she walked into the room she saw Alimo, Alone, Quietly sitting on the bed. Across the room sat a basket of candy. Even though Alimo was very hungry she had not touched a single one of them. She had been so well trained, yet so very neglected. Mom Gross took her home, loved her, and devoted much of her time to Alimo. She decided to adopt Alimo, but when she went to adopt her she found out that Alimo had already been adopted. That she’d have to get permission from the Nordmans. They gladly consented to have Mom Gross adopt her. She ended up adopting Alimo in Nigeria but not in the United States because of some stipulations about the amount of time that she would have to spend in the USA, that she would not be able to fulfill. So when she traveled she got Alimo visa’s and brought along people to care for her while they were in the States. Mom Gross took in more children, caring for them, and loving them. Pretty soon the full time care became too much. The Doctor told her she couldn’t do it anymore. So Mary Edeh, one of the girls who had cared for Alimo while in the USA, packed everyone and everything up and moved them to Otutulu. This is where Mary’s Brother Daniel and his wife Esther lived. So they all lived in a house at the bottom of the hill. Soon they outgrew the house and built a bigger building. Over the years this became known as Ministry of Mercy Orphanage. Mom Gross had to return to the States for a bit of time. On this particular trip she left Alimo home. Alimo got very sick. She was taken to the hospital in Ika. Upon her arrival they performed a surgery on her. Mom Gross returned to more grief. On May 6, 2000 Alimo went home to be with her Lord and Savior. She was twenty-six years old. Loved and missed by many. To this day Alimo’s legacy lives on. I see it as I walk the halls, hear the joyful squeals, and feel the little body’s crowd around for a hug. As listened to this story, and later wrote it out, I was struck by how through it all I could see how God worked in everything. He had a plan. He was never surprised. God has a plan for every life. His greatest plan for us was sending His Son into the world to die on the cross to save us from eternal separation from God in Hell. Trust Him with your life He knows everything about you and what’s best for you!

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