For years the Operating Theatre (OT) at Kudjip has been a place of healing. Men, women and children have come and willingly placed their lives and the lives of those they love into the hands of the men and women working in the OT. From the surgeon who does the operation, to the anesthesia men and women who provide the meds so the patients aren't feeling pain and aren't moving during the surgery, to the scrub nurses who assist the surgeons, to the central supply workers who make sure there are always clean instruments and drapes for surgery each plays a part in the healing that have occurred.
We took the time last week to celebrate and remember how God has used the building, the old OT in the old hospital, and the people who have worked in the building, to bring healing both physically and spiritually to many lives. We heard stories about the first patient Dr. Jim operated on 30 yrs ago, who have being in a coma for 3 days, woke up, gave his life to the Lord, and is now a pastor in a remote village; how people in provinces far from here, hear the name of Nazarene Church and have stories to share about how their lives were saved at Nazarene Hospital in the operating theatre; and how that OT is the reason we have 2 surgeons now, instead of one, and more.
Margaret Mugang shared history of the Church of the Nazarene and the different mission hospitals that the Church has started and how it came here. She then shared part of her story, starting in the OT at 15 yo, 5 years before Jim came, and learned a lot through the years about scrubbing, and running an OT, which she continues to do for us now 35 years later. Jim shared about his journey, about coming here as a medical student and getting to help a few volunteer surgeons who would come for a couple days a week to do surgery, but knowing there was no surgeon here full time. He knew he was called to be a missionary physician, just didn't know what kind, and didn't really like surgery, but many advised him to do surgery, if he was going somewhere without one, and so he trained in surgery and has become known throughout the country for the lives he has touched. It was one year ago today, that he, himself, was under the knife having open-heart surgery, and he didn't know if he would be back to serve again, but
God sustained him and brought him back and his son also. Ben also shared about growing up as a boy and watching his dad do surgery, how he told God he didn't want to be a missionary and definitely didn't want to be a surgeon, and how one night, 2 years ago, he was standing outside the old OT, looking in at the room, the place where his dad performed countless surgeries, and God called him to return to PNG to serve and carry on the work of his father. There wasn't a dry eye in the place.
The work continues, the old OT building is being torn down to be used by the church, and in it's place, a new road and administration building will go, to carry on the work of the hospital. In the new hospital, the two new OTs continue to be a place of healing for many who come, and now more than ever, with 2 surgeons working. As people come and go, God continues to raise up more staff, both missionary and national alike to continue to the work that He started here almost 50 years ago through Nazarene Hospital.
Jim shared the story of Caleb, who at 80+ years when he was allowed to go into the Promised Land, was asking God if he could take the mountain. Despite his age, strength, hardships, challenges - he was willing to serve yet and wanted to do so, wherever that took him and whatever challenges that lie ahead. The same is true for us today, there are mountains yet to conquer, patients yet to see, lives yet to be changed by the gospel and the Holy Spirit through the ministry of this hospital, and I am so thankful and blessed to be a part of this ministry and thankful for the chance to work with folks like Jim and Bill who have been great mentors for me.