The first Sunday of every month the missionaries get together for English Lotu (lotu - pidgin for worship). This Sunday they had a sending/receiving service for me. My time with World Medical Missions' Post Residency Program comes to a close as of Sept 14th, but my time as a missionary is just beginning. As you know, I will continue to serve the people of Papua New Guinea here at Nazarene Hospital. I am staying, but now without the support of the Post Residency Program, and instead with the support of the family of God. Since I am not going home for a while, my church family here sent me and pledged to stand behind me in the work God has called me to.
The notices put on the various bulletin boards around the hospital brought in a lot of our staff, which was encouraging to see. (This also created a lot of confusion, as numerous people this past week came up to me and asked me when I was leaving. I told them I wasn't, and they were happy to heard it, but seemed confused about the whole thing.) As I shared, I saw folks packed into the chapel and even sitting outside on the sidewalk and peering through the windows. It was an encouraging service to say the least.
Previously, when I left Texas, my church there had a sending/commissioning service, but in my mind that was for the 2 yrs that I was pledged to serve in the PRP. As I walked out of my house today on the way to the service, it hit me what today really was. I was going to stand up in front of God and His church, and testify to what God has done in my life, what He has called me to, and what I am committing to - to serving Him as a missionary physician in PNG until He calls me elsewhere. I was hoping to keep it together during the service because I was going to be sharing how God has worked in my life, but my walk down there didn't help much.
The missionaries did a great job with the service; the kids shared different Bible verses; Allison played a song on the piano; they all sang, "Here I am Lord," (one of my favorite songs from my Catholic church days); I shared about God's calling on my life; Bill shared about the church of Antioch sending out missionaries, and talked of this church and how they pledged to be with me, as God is with me; they took an offering; Susan played the flute; and they prayed for me. I felt very loved, encouraged and blessed. Then we all gathered into the new Pediatric Ward for refreshments and fellowship.