50 years ago the Church of the Nazarene started Medical work in the Highlands of PNG at Kudjip. A church had been planted through the work of Wanda and Sydney Knox and from that grew a desire to help share and show God's love, through medical work. From a health center to a hospital, from a nursing school with only a handful of graduates to a nursing college with 40 graduates + a year, from primary, rural and community based health care around the hospital to know spread throughout 6 or more provinces - Kudjip Nazarene Hospital and Nazarene Health Ministries has reached the Highlands of PNG for Jesus through Medicine.
This week, we are celebrating the past 50 years that God has worked, at Kudijp. We are hearing testimonies of some of the first missionaries, of some of the first nursing graduates, of some of the first PNG workers at the hospital and hearts are being stirred.
DS Andrew Akus shared the first night, and reminded us that no matter what we do or where we go, the most important thing is having one person come to know Jesus. Praise God that has been the focus of the hospital and through the years 1000s of men and women, boys and girls have heard of Jesus and become followers of Him. The church that was originally started by the Knox's, has now had almost 80 churches started as a result of that first church. The hospital itself has started 30 churches through the ministry of the Chaplains. The healing that has occurred hasn't just been physical, but spiritual, something that will last far longer.
We heard from Papa Yapo - who I knew as our ambulance driver for the first number of years I was here, but who served here for over 41 years with his wife, raising his family here, doing everything from tractor driver, to cleaner, to maintenance man, to toilet cleaner, to ambulance driver and more. He too was a missionary, losing his place, his home and serving with his wife here at Kudjip. They gave 40 years of their life to Kudjip and we are blessed because of it.
We heard from Sr. Kini - one of the first graduates of the Nursing College, who after finishing 6th grade went and asked a missionary nurse if her and her friends could become nursing students. A few years later, the nursing college opened and they learned how to become nurses and were so thankful for the chance to work mission, to share Christ's love.
Dr. Verne Ward, the Global Missions Director, shared the 2nd night, reminding us of God's love from everyone, of His desire for all to come to know Jesus. He shared his story of how him and his wife got to go and serve in Dusin and share God's love with many different tribes who didn't know much about Jesus, and how many came to Jesus as a result, how lives were changed and continue to be changed today. He encouraged us to continue to follow Jesus, and to obey when He calls, even if He calls us far away or to somewhere hard, God's desire is for his people to know Him, and He uses us to do that.
As I have listened, my heart has been encouraged, and reminded that I am a part of something so much bigger. I have known this hospital and it's ministry for the past 10 years, but it is so much bigger than 10 years. Over the years hundreds of thousands of lives have been impacted by the hospital, with 1000s of them coming to know Jesus through the men and women who have given their lives to serve. This hospital continues to be the hands and feet of Jesus and I am thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of it, to be one of the fingers, at times, serving those who come. Not one person who has been a part of this ministry over the past 50 years could have done it on their own, and we continue to thank God for all that He has called and ask for more to be sent (both PNG and expat missionaries) to serve God in PNG and continue this kingdom work.
Photo credit Jeff Myers