Hands for Cosmas

Hands for Cosmas

This story began in January 2015 in Jinja, Uganda, and was started by Elder Kim and Sister Nancy Squire, who served as senior missionaries in the Jinja are. It was later turned over to us when the Squires completed their service in July. After a few failed attempts at getting prosthetic hands from charitable organizations, we started our efforts afresh on August 14, 2015 in Gulu, northern Uganda.

Reagan and Cosmas shortly after the accident in January 2015.

Reagan and Cosmas shortly after the accident in January 2015. His hands could have been saved with responsible medical care.

Meet Cosmas Opedmoth, age 23. His life changed in an instant the night of January 12, 2015 while working with a grinding machine. His hand was caught by the blades, and before he could pull it free using his other hand, it too was sucked in. The horrific result was the loss of both hands, leaving only thumb-like stubs. It’s a miracle he didn’t lose his life.

L-R: Reagan and Joyce Opar with their brother Cosmos and Sister RaNae Taylor.

L-R: Reagan and Joyce Opar with their brother Cosmas and Sister RaNae Taylor.

Missing hands due to an industrial accident. The employer bribed the government to be released from all responsibility.

Missing hands due to an industrial accident. The employer bribed the government to be released from all responsibility.

After posting his story here on our website, we were contacted by friends and other concerned people in Utah, asking how they could help. What ensued was heart-warming and miraculous to us.

First meeting to form the Hands For Cosmas committee in December, 2015.

First meeting to form the Hands For Cosmas committee in Mapleton Utah on December, 2015.

With the help of these friends, here is how the campaign came to be:

cosmas_donation1 cosmas_donation2

After many letters, bank statements, and phone calls, the two finally received their passports and visa to travel to Utah.

Today is 8 March. We delivered the two happy travelers to the bus which will take them to Kampala.

Saying goodbye to family at the hut in Gulu

Saying goodbye to family at the hut in Gulu

Sister Taylor delivers a muffin and warm wishes for safe travel

Sister Taylor delivers a muffin and warm wishes for safe travel

Two happy brothers ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

Two happy brothers ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

All aboard

All aboard

On the bus and ready to roll!

On the bus and ready to roll!

Tired but happy, Reagan and Cosmas meet their new Muzungu friends at the airport.

Tired but happy, Reagan and Cosmas meet their new Muzungu friends at the airport in Salt Lake City Utah.

Members of the welcome committee.

Members of the welcome committee.

Steve Aldana meets Reagan for the first time.

Steve Aldana meets Reagan for the first time.

Arrival at Salt Lake International Airport March 11, 2016

Arrival at Salt Lake International Airport March 11, 2016

Brother Reagan provides the model for Cosmas's hands.

Brother Reagan provides the model for Cosmas’s hands.

The technician mixes skin tones to match the hands, palms and fingernails.

Paul Tanner mixes skin tones to match the hands, palms and fingernails.

Taking a mold of Cosmas arms for the new hand prosthetics.

Taking a mold of Cosmas’s arms for the new hand prosthetics.

Phil Stevens fits the steel work hands.

Phil Stevens fits the steel work hands.

Phil Stevens makes a mold for Cosmas's new hands.

Phil Stevens makes a mold for Cosmas’s new hands.

Trying on his new Sunday Hands for the first time.

Trying on his new Sunday Hands for the first time.

Gripping a cup with new hands.

Gripping a cup with new hands.

Cosmetic hands look nice, but are very tight and uncomfortable. They will take getting used to.

Cosmetic hands look nice, but are very tight and uncomfortable. They will take getting used to.

These everyday hands will become Cosmas's favorite. Note he's eating using both hands.

These everyday hands will become Cosmas’s favorite. Note he’s eating using both hands.

Practicing writing with his Sunday hands.

Practicing writing with his Sunday hands.

The men attend the Payson Utah temple to perform baptisms for seven of their deceased relatives.

The men attend the Payson Utah temple to perform baptisms for seven of their deceased relatives.

The men visit the Provo LDS Temple.

The men visit the Provo LDS Temple.

Eric & Suzy Anderson host Reagan and Cosmas on a visit to Temple Square, Salt Lake City.

Eric & Suzy Anderson host Reagan and Cosmas on a visit to Temple Square, Salt Lake City.

Reagan, Elder David R Bednar, and Cosmas.

Reagan, Elder David R Bednar, and Cosmas.

Reagan & Cosmas inside the Mormon Tabernacle on Temple Square.

Reagan & Cosmas inside the Mormon Tabernacle on Temple Square.

Chowin' down on Taco Bell and In and Out Burgers is a real American treat.

Chowin’ down on Taco Bell and In n’ Out Burgers is a real American treat.

Host Steve Aldana teaches the men how to drive his car. Very few Ugandans have been behind the wheel of a car.

Host Steve Aldana teaches the men how to drive his car. Very few Ugandans have been behind the wheel of a car.

This dentist and his staff provided free dental care.

This dentist and his staff provided free dental care.

First time ever for teeth cleaning. Reagan required a few fillings as well.

First time ever for teeth cleaning. Reagan required a few fillings as well.

Incredibly, Cosmas didn't have a single cavity, likely due to his all natural diet.

Incredibly, Cosmas didn’t have a single cavity, likely due to his all natural diet.

The men ride a horse for the first time.

The men ride a horse for the first time.

Standing in front of a Model T Ford.

Standing in front of a Model T Ford.

Our daughter Crystal Krebs and her three kids meet our friends Reagan and Cosmas.

Our daughter Crystal Krebs and her three kids meet our friends Reagan and Cosmas.

The Taylor family hosts Reagan and Cosmas at the home of our daughter Sarah and Brian Clem.

The Taylor family hosts Reagan and Cosmas at the home of our daughter Sarah and Brian Clem.

Our son Spencer and his kids chat with Cosmas at the family dinner.

Our son Spencer and his kids chat with Cosmas at the family dinner. My brother LaRon to the left of Cosmas.

Sarah & Brian Clem with Reagan and Cosmas.

Sarah & Brian Clem with Reagan and Cosmas.

This place is too cold. We want to go back to Gulu now.

This place is too cold. We want to go back to Gulu now.

Saying goodbye to Steve and Diana Aldana, who have become dear friends.

Saying goodbye to Steve and Diana Aldana, who have become dear friends.

Home again with three pairs of new hands and memories for a lifetime. Thanks, everyone!

Home again with three pairs of new hands and memories for a lifetime. Thanks, everyone!

I wish I could capture our final homecoming interview with Reagan and Cosmas. Their gratitude for all that was done to help them both is tremendous. Tears were shed as they discussed the dozens of new friends they made, and the services they received.

On his boda boda (motorcycle).

On his boda boda (motorcycle).

Carrying 40 lbs. of water in each Jerry Can.

Carrying 40 lbs. of water in each Jerry Can.

Can't pull the clutch, so he does not drive his bike.

Can’t pull the clutch, so he does not drive his bike.

Reagan described the future of the Church in Gulu in a way that was prophetic to me. I wept as he explained his visit with Elder David R Bednar and how the Church will become established and grow here because of Ugandans, not because of missionaries or others from outside. Whites provide the support at the beginning, but the real growth and success will come when Ugandans take responsibility and move the work forward. I feel certain that both Cosmas and Reagan will become key players in the establishment of the Church here in Gulu, and expanding outward to other parts of Uganda.

Cosmas attends general conference on April 10, 2016.

Cosmas attends general conference on April 10, 2016.

One more sincere thanks to all who saw a need, donated services, time or money, and provided an epic life experience for two humble and happy men from northern Uganda. God bless you all.

14 Comments

  1. This world is indeed small. Tears roll down my eyes to see my brother looks for survival despite of what he is under going…
    May our Lord Jesus hears his cry and give him blessings the world cant give. Honestly as i drop my sincere heart felt concern to him, i wish i could do something for him. Lets all have a living hope and always ask in faith. I promise you blessings of our Lord Jesus that all shall be well as i talked out of the live experience of the miracle HE performed to me and then why not you. Believe in Him and so shall you receive his blessings.
    I do testify this thing that its true and possible in Jesus name whose atonement was for us all and i live this in the sacred name of thy son. Amen.

    Reply
  2. Our hearts go out to Cosmos. I have contacted a Surgeon and he has given us information of another who can potentially get Cosmos some help or at minimum the right contacts. We are working that angle right now and hope to be able to get him the help he needs. God Bless Cosmos
    Keep the faith all things happen for a reason. The Lord will bless you through this trial and get you the help you need if you believe in him.

    Reply
  3. I have read some just right stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how a lot effort you put to make such a fantastic informative web site.

    Reply
  4. Hello there I am so happy I found your blog page, I really found you by accident, while I was looking on Yahoo for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a tremendous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the excellent work.

    Reply
  5. Really enjoyed this article.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

    Reply
  6. Gotta meet Cosmas & Reagan over the weekend… these dudes are directly from the heart of Gulu, South Africa (my parents’ mission) and Cosmas is here to basically get “new hands” put on where his were destroyed in an accident. It was in a word AMAZING to meet these guys and see how incredibly Happy n’ full of LIGHT they both were (after 35+ hours of travel) They couldn’t say enough good about my parents and I loved how they call my mom “Momma Gulu.” They changed into their best, preparing to go do baptisms for their Mom n’ Dad (and grandparents) who they have been without for 16 yrs. Pretty sure these guys know what a hard life is like and how to smile through it anyway! Go Cosmas and Reagan!!!! Life is good and God is great.

    Reply
  7. I really enjoy studying on this website, it contains excellent content. “Don’t put too fine a point to your wit for fear it should get blunted.” by Miguel de Cervantes.

    Reply
  8. We knew that you could do it and indeed you did. This is what the Savior desires of us and our service to humanity
    I feel blessed to be LaRons cousin.
    Isn’t Africa an amazing place to serve as missionaries😁? Keep up the great work.

    Reply
    • I am also blessed to be Elder and Sister Bernell Taylor’s cousin, who have worked so hard to make this project come to reality.

      Reply
  9. This group is amazing. It was wonderful to see how a few people can make a lifetime difference for someone. Cosmos was blessed when he moved from Jinja to Gulu. Well done!

    Reply
  10. The youth committee designed beanies with the hashtag on them, Anderson said, and they are discussing the best price and best place to sell them. The proceeds will go directly to Hands for Cosmas.

    Reply
  11. I am thinking of buying a joomla template from template monster and importing it into joomla.. . How hard are they to import? Is it plug and play easy? Or will I need to configure plugins etc.. . Thanks..

    Reply
    • I like Joomla, but mine is a WordPress template, which I also like. There is a learning curve with either format, but they are both quite intuitive. Good luck.

      Reply
  12. Here is the happiest post script of all! Cosmas is now Elder Cosmas serving in the Scotland/Ireland Mission and his trainer is my grandson! What a wonderful continuation to his story!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *