While we were on furlough, we attended a training seminar by Dr. Ron Fleck and the Second Hope Ministries International team in Walla Walla, Washington. What a breath of fresh air it was to hear again the council from the pen of inspiration to embrace medical evangelism, apply simple water treatments, and adopt the wisdom of house-to-house work! It fanned a spark God had ignited in us years ago to be medical missionaries.
In Balimo, with a government hospital literally across the street from us, we have not needed to treat peoples tropical ulcers, skin diseases and injuries as we did while in Kotale village. Nor are we awakened at 3 a.m. to rush someone to the hospital or tend to snakebites or whatever the emergency might be. Dare I say that I miss it? Those were blessed times when we felt Gods presence helping and encouraging us and those to whom we ministered.
For instance, one day a little girl, about five years old, was brought to us. She had been using a bush knife to open a coconut for dinner and accidentally severed the end of her index finger. Her parents did the best they knew, wrapping a leaf around the wound and binding it up with grass. When she came to us, her poor finger was really paining, as they say here.
As gently as I could, I removed the leaf and cleaned and bandaged the wound. Though I tried my very best to be careful, it was impossible not to hurt her. She cried, and I wasnt far from it. I begged her parents to take her to the hospital, but I knew I was wasting my breath. Her only hope for quick healing was that God would answer my prayer. And so I prayed, God, you see us. Will you please help this little girl? Will you please help her finger not to swell or get infected? And God, you see that she is young. Will you please take her pain away? Amen.
I will never forget that day or the days that followed. A few days later, she returned. The bandage was several shades darker than when I had applied it. I cringed as I saw her coming up the stairs, anticipating how the wound would look. Oh Lord, help! I cried in my heart.
Knowing there was no way I could remove the bandage without causing the girl great pain, I asked her mother to tell her to take it off. To my shock, the girl took hold of the tape and ripped the bandage off without even flinching. I carefully cleaned the wound again, all the while glancing up at her face for any sign of the excruciating pain I expected her to feel. Nothing. She seemed to be totally oblivious to what I was doing. She fidgeted as she sat watching her friends playing on the path.
It suddenly hit meGod had answered my prayer! Praise His name! Over the next few weeks, each time she returned to our veranda for a new bandage, it was always the sameno pain, no swelling, no infection. During the final bandage change, to my surprise and delight, her mother drew a baby wallaby from her pocket and gave it to me as a gift of thanks.
I miss caring for hurting people, praying with them and pointing them to the Greatest of all Physicians. After our weekend with Dr. Fleck, refreshing our skills at suturing, hydrotherapy, massage and CPR, I wonder how many other people God will touch with our hands and through our prayers.
Please keep us and the Gogodala in your hearts as we head into a New Year full of promise. Indeed, He is faithful!