Wednesday, January 2, 2008
The Hospital...or something like that
Today, as has become tradition at this time of year, a few members from our churches went to the local Hospital, Angau. The hospital is becoming a sorry state, much of it quite dilapidated. Many of the wards have been hit by the interminable power of termites and like a strong brigade they stealthy bore through ward after ward and leave a skeleton in their wake. Thankfully, some are still standing and the government is now funding some steal studded and iron clad units. Some of the former funding has come as far away as St. Albert, Alberta, Canada. The rotary club chipped in a few years ago--how they found out about this need in Lae, PNG defies reason.
So there we were some 10 people, three men and seven women. We entered fitted with the Bible, a guitar, our voices, some sandwiches and cordial (like kool-aid). We were given permission to go to as many wards as we could manage and so we started with the TB ward. A young girl of about 19 years of age from our church has been in this ward for the past 6 weeks or so. There I preached a short message on Romans 8:34-37, another person prayed, and we all sang. This was followed by greeting each patient in their bed (probably about 20 per ward, plus relatives) and distributing the food. We followed the same procedure for another five wards for the next two hours.
Two things one notices in such visits. First, there is a willingness and hunger for the Word. All of the people are seemingly willing and ready to listen. One could not envisage such a reception in our nice sanitized, well-equipped wards in Canada, though the need for the Gospel may be more pressing. The second thing we notice is that they receive but a fraction of the care that patients in Canada, Australia or Holland face and yet one would be hard pressed to hear a complaint. They endure so much. The smells can be rather putrid (thankfully, it is quite open), the food is barely enough to keep one alive, men and women and children are mixed into the same ward with no real privacy to talk about, the washrooms are like a dungeon of waste and I could go on.
And yet, when they received what we gave them both the spiritual and physical food (which wasn’t much) they were so thankful. We thank God for that. And in His strength we proclaim the hope of the Gospel and pray that His Spirit will administer the tenderness, the compassion, the forgiveness and the peace of Christ to their souls.