May 2010 - Issue 19

May 2010 - Issue 19


about writing a newsletter today. I mean, it's good to step aside and take stock of life here, but also the physical fact I'm managing to sit in the house for long enough to get this done is quite a relief.

Work in the hospital has been so crazy. Taking stock of the last, well, couple of months forces me to acknowledge the many good things I have seen. Some patients have become Christians, and I'm having some great times speaking Aekyom with the patients.

We've had times of desperately needing rain to supply the hospital tanks - and had great downpours. Our long-awaited medicines and supplies have finally
arrived, finishing a difficult time of being without aspirin and many
basic things. Last week I took the health worker student devotions and
delighted in discussing the probing questions of one of them afterwards. Numbers of patients are going home well. Actually, God is at work and many prayers have been answered!

But at times I have been walking through a fog of sleep deprivation, gathering resolve to face another emergency surgery at an unsocial hour and struggling to speak to the staff patiently when yet another set of my orders has not been
followed. The hospital is bursting at the seams, and there has been little let-up.

Having a look at the World Health Organisation statistics is a bit telling. New Zealand has two thirds the population of PNG, and what a wealth of resources. PNG has such difficulties in patients even getting physically to a health centre, in getting supplies there too, and also having the staff to do something with them.

Dr Addy and I have joked recently about putting a sign up saying "No medicines available, we only offer tender loving care". But even the TLC is severely stretched. I realise that our staff simply don't have enough time to do much more than hand out medicines and do daily dressings. There goes measuring the urine of a postop patient or giving the extra milk feeds the tiny baby needs or turning the unconscious patient. My time and knowledge is so limited too.

I think I'm getting the idea that its not all up to me or my fault what happens to the patients! Call me a bit slow, but I do need reminding. We are a team in our hospital and this is a resource poor country with huge geographical and spiritual challenges. More than that, who is actually in charge of everything?

Success has to mean a different thing here to what it did for me in NZ. I mean, it should have meant a different thing for me in NZ too! Hospital work is not all about getting the greatest good to the greatest number of people and there's no way I can hold up the standard of the latest "best practice". I wonder what submitting to God being in control of my work would look like? The ways of God are not worry and fear and guilt.

I think that was part of the point of Jesus telling the story of the good Samaritan. Jesus made such an expansive claim of who is your neighbour and made it clear what love he requires. But the story was in response to a question about how to receive eternal life. For the guy who asked the question it was plain he just couldn't be that neighbourly to everyone, it was an impossible standard. And Jesus knew that. He wanted the guy to believe in him and be saved by his grace not his own careful following of the law!

So please pray that I will learn to enter into God's rest, so I can meet the trials with joy and knowledge of his grace, and know the reality of his burden being light. Pray that God will reveal himself to the people here. As usual, the most therapeutic thing to do is to look to God. The old song says "turn your eyes upon Jesus... and the things on earth will grow strangely dim..." Actually, I think it brings great clarity.

From Sharon Brandon

Test your guess quiz

1.Childhood deaths before the age of 5yrs in
PNG are:

a) 73 per 1000 live births
b) Twelve times more than in NZ
c) Both the above
2. Mothers dying in pregnancy and
childbirth in PNG is:

a) 30 per 100,000 live births
b) 300 per 100,000 live births
c) 3000 per 100,000 live births
3. Maternal mortality in NZ is:
a) 7 per 100,000 live births
b) 70 per 100,000 live births
c) 700 per 100,000 live births
4. Which statement is false?
a) NZ has 8190 doctors total in the country
b) PNG has 275 doctors total in the country
c) PNG has a smaller population than
NZ and less roads
Answers below.

Prayer Points

  • Thank God for all he is doing through the hospital.
  • Thank God for my wonderful Aekyom family who are looking after me.
  • Pray for T------ dismissed from the staff for discipline reasons. Restore him to God and provide for us when we miss his great skills.
  • Addy is away from 6 May for 2 weeks. Thank God Dr Sharmini is coming to
    help for most of that time. Pray for us!
  • Pray for PNG leaders to govern with integrity and provide for rural health

Quiz answers 1=c, 2=b, 3=a, 4=c

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