Many, many children are not as blessed. Every year, there are over 1 million babies born with congenital heart disease worldwide. Most of these children live in countries where surgery is not an option. These children are the reason for the Children's Heart Project (CHP), a ministry of Samaritan's Purse. Since 1997, CHP has arranged life-saving operations for more than 800 children from Bosnia, Kosovo, Honduras, Uganda, Mongolia, and Bolivia. Currently, over 200 more children have been identified and placed on a waiting list. These children, along with a parent and translator, are flown to the United States to have surgery in top-quality hospitals across the country. Surgeons and medical facilities donate their time, expertise, and equipment. Host families provide a place for these children to stay and offer support and encouragement through the whole process.
I have to admit I wasn't sure I was going to like the movie at first. In the beginning, it seemed to focus on Cissie's internship with CHP and her schedule conflicts. But as soon as the team traveled to Mongolia to meet and bring back three-year old Toggie and teenagers Otga and Uugna, I was hooked! All three suffered from tetralogy of fallot, a condition that is most often corrected in infancy and is usually fatal by age twenty if left untreated. The two boys, ages sixteen and eighteen, had been unable to attend school because of their condition, and the stress on their hearts over the years meant time was running particularly short for them.
I was completely drawn into the stories of these three young people who were in what appeared to be a hopeless situation. And yet through CHP, they were given the opportunity for not only physical healing, but spiritual wholeness as well. Watching the interaction and the deep bonds that formed between the doctors, host families, and the children and their parents was incredible. The host families, medical professionals, and others involved were just as deeply impacted as the children and their families!
The tension I felt as I waited to see the outcome of each child's surgery was intense. My heart broke for Toggie's mother as I watched her hand her sweet baby over to be taken back for surgery. I can't imagine being halfway around the world from my husband and having to go through that. My heart was filled with joy as I watched Otga and Uugna wake up and realize that they had pink lips, fingers and toes rather than blue! I was moved to both laughter and tears more times than I can count.
My kids' reactions were similar. They were immersed in the story. The movie has spurred great discussion in our family and motivated every one of us to support the Children's Heart Project in any way we can.
I know that my fumbling attempt to put words to the effect this movie has are not doing it justice. Please get your hands on a copy of Three Hearts and watch it! It's a wonderful movie to watch as a family or with your bible study group or Sunday School class. Watch it as a group and then pray for the project and children and discuss how you can join forces to support CHP in their efforts.
Here's the trailer to whet your appetite:
As I was gathering information for this review, I came across updates on two of the three children since their surgery. Sixteen-year-old Otga, now nineteen, and his mother, led fifteen family members to Christ. They started a nomadic church that currently has thirty members. Otga works at Children's Heart Project Heart Camp in Mongolia and is finally learning to read!
Reading that Uugna passed away just last month, nearly four years after his surgery, hit me like a ton of bricks. Please pray for his family as they adjust to life without him. He spent the last four years of his life proclaiming God's Word to his family and friends, and expressed the desire to bring glory to God until his final moments on earth.
I couldn't find any information on adorable three-year-old Toggie, but her beautiful face adorns the cover photo on the Children's Heart Project Facebook page.
The Children's Heart Project is worthy of support. Please visit their website to learn more, pray for all those involved, and prayerfully consider financially supporting them if possible. If you live in a city that needs host families, maybe God would lead you to consider hosting a child traveling here for surgery.
Thank you so much to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of the Three Hearts documentary to review and share with others! This movie has the potential to have a tremendous impact for good.