Thursday, February 16, 2017

Creating footsteps

For the past 14 years, Dr. Andy has been a big part of the ministry at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital, but due to health reasons, he and Judy will be reassigned to another assignment and continue to serve elsewhere. 

Andy has been a blessing to this Hospital and station in so many ways, but over the past number of years his ministry has been to kids.  Andy has a huge heart for kids and loves to round on the pediatric ward each morning, often developing a special relationship with the patients and their families.  He especially has a heart for hurting kids and wants to do all he can to make them better.  Caring for kids like Anna on one of the ways he ministers and shares Christ's love with the kids.  Outside of rounding on the pediatric ward, Andy has worked and found another way to minister to kids - by helping them walk. 
Some kids at birth, are born with what is called clubfoot or talipes deformity (this occurs around 1 in 1000 births in the US, but is higher in other parts of the world).  This means that instead of the sole of their foot being on the ground, the side of their foot is on the ground.  When the kid is a baby, this doesn't matter much as they aren't walking, but when they get to be one and start walking, they aren't able to walk like you and I walk, instead the outside of their foot hits the ground as they walk.  God make our bodies like they are for a reason and although the kids learn to walk and run this way, it is a struggle for them, especially in the bush of the Highlands of PNG where the roads are dirt paths, full of holes, stones and other hazards, which are hard enough to navigate with straight feet. 

Through the years, Andy has developed a passion for help these kids walk.   He has read books, taken courses and even worked with the doctor who founded the method that he uses - the Ponsetti method of talipes care.   This method uses serial castings, with each cast positioning the foot more and more in the right position, and after about 2 months, their foot is straight.  Following the casts, there is bracing that occurs for another number of months, but in the end kids who weren't walking, or weren't walking well are now able to.  Through the years Andy has cared for a number of kids (newborns to 2 yo to 5 yo and even adults) with talipes deformity and has helped them walk "normally."  This has been a great ministry and very rewarding for the patient and for Andy. 

We are going to miss Andy and Judy when they head out in a few months.   They have served well and the gap they leave won't be easily filled, not only in their talipes ministry, but the storeroom their relationships with their PNGian friends and more.  They have left their mark in PNG in so many ways, but one I will always think of is by helping to create footsteps by those who otherwise would struggle to do so.  Thank you for serving with us Andy and for being the Hands of Jesus healing these feet.