Ms. Ruha'mah Stadtlander
I am most humbled when I hear someone call me a "Miracle
Worker" even "another Sister Theresa," for simply, in "my" mind I only
try to "Make a Difference - Give Hope" to a medically needy child. So often I am asked: Where
does your story begin? How did you get started? I'd like to share that "beginning"
with you. As an ex-military aviator, being the recluse at heart that I
am, I returned home to Central America and began building my "retirement' home in a jungle.
Oh those were the days! As I chopped the "bush" with a machete
to clear the land for my new home, I had to wear a bandanna over my mouth and
nose to keep from breathing in the swarms of disturbed sandflies and mosquitoes that arose from their hiding places in the tall bush. Living in an area that had no
electricity or running water I would go to a nearby river each day
and bathe. In those days I had no idea herds of crocodiles called this river home! As I
lived out of a 14' housetrailer, gradually, my two story cement
block house "grew."
One day, while laying roofing on my house, a friend from a far
village stopped by, and climbed up the ladder to talk while I worked.
Our casual conversation led to news of a child in a distant village that had been born looking like
a "freak." Suddenly something "exploded" within
me. I just "knew" I had to come down off of that roof and do "something!" Immediately, I grabbed my camera, jumped in my vehicle, drove to that distant
village and found the little baby. My heart broke for the parents
as I told them (that) I couldn't "promise" anything, but I would do my best to help. When I drove back home from that village I cried for five miles!
I am not one to easily shed tears! But, with only basic medical
knowledge at that time, I knew, without help, this baby was going to die!
I knew the struggles of my "sisters" in so many villages as
they raised their children alone. For at an early age, I too had found myself
living the role of a single parent. No one knows the literal heartbreak a mother experiences
when Death has so cruelly snatched from her arms, the life of a precious "Bundle of
Joy." For I too had had a part of my life "die" the day I realized that
I would never again look into the smiling face of one of my own precious little ones. There is no grief like a mothers grief! But the reality of how
"fortunate" I had been to have later had two healthy
children, suddenly sank deep within my spirit. Something I had, indeed, taken for granted!
Back home, I got on my wind charged, battery operated, ham radio,
pleading for help. And it came! At the time of this baby's
surgery, it had no more than three months to live!
Once back home, I immediately went back to my roofing job.
However, the news of this baby's survival had travelled fast to various
villages. Within a matter of days I learned of another child that was in desperate need of medical care
that was only available "abroad." I had found help for one child.
Could I do it again? Again help came. At the time of that child's
surgery, it had no more than three weeks to live!
Back home again. Back on the roof. Within a week five more
medically needy children had been brought to my attention.
That has been over twenty years ago. The rest of my story is history.
Today, my house remains unfinished and my roof leaks badly in the
rainy season. I neither have the time nor the financial resources to
complete that project. But my "passion" has gone from the construction of a house to the
"medical construction" of yet another child's life!
As word has spread about this work, my "borders" have expanded. . .
from the jungles of Central America, to the Islands of the Caribbean, to
Russia, to the Ukraine, even into deep dark Africa.
There is a story in the "Good Book" of a Jewish woman named
Esther. A question is asked, "Who knows whether you have come into the
Kingdom for such a time as this?" Perhaps this question might also be asked of "this"
Jewess, Ms. Ruha'mah.
Trust me when I say, "I've been through the "fire" as I have
attempted to seek help for the medically needy children that
continually come across my path!" We have a couple of old Jewish Proverbs that says, "No Good Deed
Goes Unpunished." (and) "Whoever Saves One Life, Saves the World
Entire." Who know? The child's life (that is) being saved today,
may, one day be a great Ambassador to his/her own country! I go forth, facing one day at a time,
always remembering this:
I Was Not Created To Walk In Anyone Else's Shadow.
Whatever I Do . . .
If I Fail; At Least I Tried.
If I Succeed . . . Great!
No Matter What; I Live As I Truly Believe. . .
And No One Can Take Away My Dignity!
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