Saturday, March 29, 2014

Standing in New Life

I’ve just finished up an intensive Wilderness First Responder course, where I’ve been learning about everything from snake bites to concussions to basic splints. The training will be extremely helpful when I’m in the villages of Papua New Guinea—but thankfully, it’s not all up to me! We have a fantastic clinic in Ukarumpa with highly regarded doctors and nurses (and even dentists!) who are able to provide excellent health care not only for missionaries like myself, but also for my national friends. They are a critical part of the team bringing the translated Bible to Papua New Guinea. Enjoy this story I wrote last year after interviewing one of our doctors, Dr. Jeff.


One of the rooms in the UHC!
Dr. Jeff had never seen anyone like this before.

Like stewards carrying a royal litter, the men gently lowered the chair onto the floor of the clinic. The elderly man’s eyes hid the pain as his family members bustled around him. “Please, will you help us?” they pleaded. “He can’t walk.” Why isn’t he on a stretcher? Dr. Jeff wondered—then realized the man couldn’t straighten his legs. He was bent in the shape of the chair! Crippled in that position for nearly five years, he had sought help from doctors around the country but without success. The Ukarumpa Health Clinic was his last desperate chance.

What could it be? On a hunch, Dr. Jeff ordered a lab test, gave him some medication, prayed with the family, and sent the chair-bound man home. Would it work? Only God knew. Incredibly, when he returned a week later, the pain had decreased! Over the next few months of treatment, the pain subsided completely, and the man regained slight movement in his knees and wrists. With a fierce determination, the man tackled the painful rehabilitation process with unparalleled tenacity. At one point, he lay down on his house floor with a rope tied around his feet. His wife tossed the rope over a roof beam, attached a weight to the other end to pull his legs straight, and then sat on his knees to press them flat! After a year of medication and therapy, he finally was able to stand up and walk. Joy radiated from his face—he had a new life!

2,000 years ago, when a paralysed man was lowered through a roof, Jesus showed Himself to be God by offering new life both physically and spiritually. This holistic testimony continues today through Bible translation and medical care, and the results are the same—“all were amazed and praised God exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”” (Mark 2:12)