African teen working to 'pay it forward' after getting medical t - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

African teen working to 'pay it forward' after getting medical treatment in Myrtle Beach

Brian Wasonga is planning a trip home to Africa later this year. (Source: Coles Family) Brian Wasonga is planning a trip home to Africa later this year. (Source: Coles Family)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's been exactly six months since a teen from Africa arrived in Myrtle Beach for treatment for a devastating leg injury that had been plaguing him most of his life.

Without any friends or family, and with little knowledge of the English language, Brian Wasonga took a leap of faith, trusting in God that his journey to America would be successful.

"I can't say I'm special to come to America," Wasonga said. "What I can say is that God was in my journey."

He said it was a scary journey at first as he stepped off the plane in Myrtle Beach.

"When I came to America, I was not sleeping at night in Kenya," Wasonga said. "It's a lot of pain, a lot of pain, pain in my bone. I use to cry a lot."

His goal has been to get better. At just 9 years old, Wasonga scraped his knee playing soccer and that small cut turned into a major infection.

"When I wake up in the morning, I said, 'God, why now I wake up in the morning, and I told you tonight that you take my heart away?'" Wasonga said.

He said he was once in so much pain, he prayed for death. However, in just a matter of months in Myrtle Beach, doctors told him the infection in his knee was gone.

"My life has been changed," Wasonga said.

There are plans for further surgery, and the help he's seen has fueled Wasonga's passion to one day become a doctor himself.

"I can make this thing like a promise," he said. "I will try my best to treat my patient the way my doctors are treating me." 

While that goal is perhaps some time down the road, Wasonga planned to pay his progress forward with a return trip to Africa in July. Once there, he plans to use his newly-found knowledge of the English language to translate for others seeking help in his community.

"This time I'm going to translate it to my people who I know," he said. That's cool." 

He'll be traveling with the same group that brought him to America, Touching Lives Ministry, along with his adopted father, Bobby Coles.

"We've been privileged to be a part of that and watch God do what only he can do to change lives and heal people, not just physically but spiritually," Coles said.

However, the members of the Coles family haven't been the only ones touched by Wasonga's story.

"Just listening to the story, it's amazing that Bobby and his family were able to step up and take care of the situation," said Brian Goans, a sales manager with ARS Rescue Rooter. "It's even more amazing it got as bad as it did before somebody had to do that, but it just kind of brings to the forefront how lucky we are here."

ARS Rescue Rooter in Myrtle Beach will be holding a car wash on June 11 to help raise money to get Wasonga and Coles to Africa later this year. Goans said whatever money is raised will be matched by the company.

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