We never know how the people we meet will change our lives. Even those who only know us for a short period of time can help us see the world and ourselves in a different way.
When Hilary Mackin of St. Louis, Missouri was a nursing student, she and her classmates took a short medical mission trip to Uganda. While she was there, she met an incredible nun who served on the hospital grounds.
Sister Lucy Arombo took out a loan to afford having Hilary and her classmates over for dinner. While they were there, the two women bonded. And when Hilary went back to the U.S., they kept in touch, exchanging emails for five years.
One of the subjects they discussed was Hilary’s desire to find true love. So when she found out she was getting married, she asked Arombo to attend the ceremony so they could celebrate together! With help from her family, Hilary arranged for her sweet friend to travel 8,000 miles for the event and a monthlong stay.
But when Arombo arrived, Hilary quickly realized something was wrong. She went to pick Arombo up from the airport, but despite her welcome sign and greetings, Arombo didn’t see her until she was about 5 feet away.
An eye doctor offered to give Arombo a free exam, and they discovered her vision was “20/725 with severe bilateral cataracts.” To correct the problem, she would need surgery. In the meantime, the doctor donated a pair of glasses to help her get around.
As soon as Arombo put them on, she started crying tears of joy. It was the first time in 10 years that she’d been able to see clearly!
Eventually, Hilary was able to find a surgeon who would correct Arombo’s vision free of charge! Her stay in the U.S. was extended to give her time to recover, and now she can “see well enough to follow the hockey puck when the St. Louis Blues are playing.”
Before she went home, a local dentist also provided her with a free cleaning. Then businesses and churches around St. Louis heard about her work and donated shoes, clothing, and other supplies to her convent in Uganda. Additionally, Hilary started a GoFundMe page that has raised nearly $7,000 to support women, children, and refugees in Arombo’s community.
These two are such a beautiful example of the power of friendship. We’re so glad they were able to reunite after five years and continue shaping each other’s lives in such amazing ways!
Learn more about Hilary and Arombo in the video below, and be sure to share their story with your own friends.