Tuesday, November 21, 2017

My Missionary Heroes

As I was growing in my Christian faith and started exploring missions, I read a number of missionary books about missionary doctors and how they used their skills to impact the people both medically and spiritually really encouraged me and kept me pursuing missions. Many of the doctors wrote stories about how they learned from older experienced missionaries as they were starting out and how the wisdom from others helped them do what they were doing today.  At the end of each book, I would say, I hope I can be like that when I am a missionary, and certainly was praying for there to be someone that I could learn from as a missionary, and God certainly answered that prayer. 

For the past 10 years, I have had the privilege of serving alongside Jim and Kathy Radcliffe and Bill and Marsha McCoy.  Both having served for over 30 years on the mission field, most of that together in PNG.

Bill and Jim have seen and treated just about everything a medical missionary will ever see in their career, and have spent years passing that knowledge onto others.  Marsha and Kathy have mastered the ins/outs of caring for their family, cooking delicious meals, showing hospitality, while working in various ways to help keep the mission and hospital running, and have passed that knowledge onto so many women over the years who have come to Kudjip.

I can't even begin to count all the ways these two couples have blessed me in the past 10 years.  From cooking advice, to rescuing me from a failed breech delivery, to providing meals, to teaching me how to give diagnose TB and care for cancer patients in PNG, to answering life questions, to answering all my OPD clinic questions, to helping me find a house helper, to teaching me to do CSections, to being available to talk and be a sounding board, to answering questions about joining the Church of the Nazarene, to teach me how to garden, watching movies, having bible studies, going on hikes, playing games, having dinner and so much more.

They haven’t just touched my life and other missionaries, those are the extra benefits to their pouring their lives out on the mission field.  Their calling has been to the people of PNG (and Swaziland) and they have touched countless lives in the past 30 years through their service.  Jim’s surgical skills have saved many PNGians, and have brought healing to many more.  His passion for making sure people know Jesus has brought many to know Jesus.  Kathy’s hospitality and spirit of giving has blessed numerous patients, pastors and PNGians.  She shares her faith with everyone she comes in contact with and praying and encouraging everyone in routine conversations.  Bill’s medical skills have saved countless lives.  His knowledge rivals a textbook and he has been able to make diagnoses that others can’t because he just knows more, and remembers how to treat rare diseases that no one else does.  His ability to find an IV in a dehydrated child has helped many children get lifesaving hydration.  His care and compassion for the sick and the hurting, his jokes that bring laughter, his willingness to build relationships with patients are just some of the ways that he has touched many.  Marsha’s love of kids, her prayers and willingness to help Bill's patients, and her contagious smile and laughter, along with all the work she has done with Pastors and their families through the Child Sponsorship Program are just some of the ways that she has/is touching lives.

Unfortunately, many good things come to an end and soon this quartet will be divided in two.  The Radcliffes will be retiring from PNG, at the end of the year, to head back to Ohio, and the McCoys will stay for about another year before they retire to California.  This mission station is going to be a lot different when they leave, a huge hole will be left behind, one that can't be replaced or filled in by another.  The wealth of experience and knowledge these two couples have isn't something someone just learns or can quickly acquire, no one remaining, has been here for 20 yrs, much less 30.  No one will ever be the Radcliffes or McCoys, but parts of them will be seen in many of us for years to come.   We have seen Jesus in them and have taken from their knowledge, experience and example have adapted it to the missionary God is making us, or the Christian the Holy Spirit is making us and we are all better missionaries and people because of it, I know I am.

So Jim and Kathy, Bill and Marsha thanks for serving at Kudjip, for sharing your knowledge and experience, and your love of Jesus with me and so many.   You are my missionary heroes and I hope I can continue to grow in my missionary life to become more and more like you.  It has been a privilege to journey together these past 10 years, you will be missed, but know part of you will live on in each of us.  THANK YOU FOR SERVING.