Years ago I had the privilege of working alongside my mother-in-law in a small make-shift clinic with a dirt floor and a straw roof in East Africa. There as I acted as her “nurse” (before ever attending nursing school) I helped her bandage wounds, care for infections, treat spinal TB and while doing so share the love of Jesus Christ with these poor, hurting individuals. In them I saw so much more than a patient with serious physical need. I saw a soul hungering to be ministered to in both body, mind and soul. In those moments in that small dark clinic, Jesus revealed to me how to become the hands and feet of Christ in missions ministry.
Fast Forward some years…a bachelors degree in nursing….a husband skilled in missionary aviation and a passion for unreached people group… this small seed that was planed 12 years ago in a bush clinic in East Africa is coming to fruition in a different location, with different people groups, but with the same needs and desperation and yearning for so much more than physical care.
We have known we were called to Papua New Guinea for almost two years now, and over time the passion and heart for the people there has blossomed inside of each of us. Wojtek’s ministry will look different from mine, but both have the ultimate goal of furthering the work of Bible Translation and reaching the people there with the Good News of Jesus.
This last week I had the privilege of speaking to one of the physicians located at the Ukarumpa clinic in Papua New Guinea (PNG). He shared with me the incredible operation they have there and how the clinic has partnered with the PNG government to increase the accessibility to health care to the Papua New Guineans in an extremely underserved area. The medical services are offered to the Papua New Guineans at a very subsidized rate enabling them to seek care when in the past this had not been an option to them. The clinic also ministers to the missionaries and their families keeping them vibrant, healthy and able to keep on serving in their roles. Currently the clinic operates with 5 doctors on staff, 2 Physical Therapists, 3 dentists and a small handful of nurses. They have a high-tech microscope for lab diagnostics, digital x-ray and diagnostic ultrasound available.
One of the things I learned that really struck a cord with me is how many patients are presenting with serious burns due to cook fire injuries, as well as dehydration and more serious diseases such as TB, HIV, meningitis, malaria, cholera and various other tropical disease nightmares. The nurse in me is itching to get over there and make a difference by helping these people who are suffering!
Certainly, the physical needs are many, and the workers are few and overworked considering the number of patients needing care. But what a better way to be the hands of feet of Jesus then to minister to the physical needs of both the local people and the missionaries residing on and near Ukarumpa.
Jesus was our primary example of healing the physical body in order to minister to the soul as it says in Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.” Healing was a vital part of Jesus ministry. He fed the multitudes, he cared for the physical needs of his disciples, and he healed the sick, lame and blind.
While we may not possess supernatural healing powers, we do possess the skills and resources to touch the physical body and make it whole again. When a person is ailing and physically troubled, there is little stamina left to care about their own soul. However, when the physical body has been rejuvenated that individual can then make room in their lives to hear and then respond to the life changing gospel message of the Bible.
Please join with me in praying for the medical ministry at PNG! And pray for me (Jen) as I further my skills and knowledge to be prepared to join this amazing medical team.
If you have any questions feel free to give me a shout!