Papua New Guinea: After living and working in Papua New Guinea for 9 years, many of the things that used to be new, bizarre, challenging, interesting, depressing or hard to handle have now become normal. Stressful and out-of-the-ordinary situations such as domestic violence, deaths, cancers, lack of medicines and supplies, shortage of staff and doctors have now been reduced to everyday occurrences that I have grown accustomed to and think little of.
Recently on medical ward, I met a woman who had a wound infection at the back of her legs – an unfortunate incident inflicted by her husband. Ironically it was also the husband who brought her to the clinic, and he showed no trace of remorse whatsoever to what he had done. Another patient who was brought in tried to kill himself with a weed killer, just because he was angry at his family. Shocking and strange as they seem, these circumstances don’t faze me anymore. They’re just same old stories.
But if there’s one thing that I hope never gets old, it is getting to share Christ and encouraging patients in their walk with Christ. This is the reason why I continue to love what I do – being given the chance to introduce someone to Christ or to inspire and help someone grow in their relationship with God. In the hospital, I have the privilege to pray with patients and share Jesus’ love for them.
In the case of the husband and wife, I shared the Christmas story and prayed for their marriage. I also found one of our Chaplains and asked him to counsel the couple and share God’s love for them. I was able to talk to the patient who attempted suicide and explained to him alternative ways to deal with anger, which included praying to God- to find strength in Him during the difficult times.
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These might not be the medical breakthroughs that doctors dream of, nor they may not even be the spiritual breakthroughs that missionaries dream of, but we never know what sort of fruit will sprout from the seeds that are planted. I know many seeds were planted in my life before my relationship with Christ grew and I am happy to keep planting seeds, as the opportunities arise. I am also thankful that I am not alone in this process, that everyone at the hospital- from the cleaners to the nurses, chaplains and doctors- are all working each day to plant seeds along each patient’s way, showing and sharing the Love of Christ.
These small seeds that have been planted are starting to bear fruit! This year, hundreds in Kudjip have come to know Christ, new churches have been planted and lives have changed as folks have grown in their relationship with Christ. What great news to end the year and to celebrate the Christmas season!
-Submitted by: Erin Meier