Kathy and Congolese family practice residents
Can God Use A Rusty Old Nurse?
I punched my last time card at the hospital 24 years ago, walked out the door, and became a full-time mom and homeschooler. Back in 1989 we still had paper and pen medical records, 8 hour shifts, timed IV rates with our watches, and took blood pressures without machines. Last week when my father-in-law had surgery I was amazed at some of the “new” procedures and equipment used in nursing. So how can God use such an outdated nurse?
Walk with me to Vanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. Here on the banks of the Kwilu River is a 500-bed (open air) teaching hospital. Although the operating room has a generator, the rest of the hospital only has electricity from 6-9 p.m. each evening. Health care is very basic, but effective. No CT scan or MRI. No IV pumps or electronic monitors. What we do have is nurses and doctors trained to use the health history and physical examination and basic diagnostic tests (labs, x-ray, ultrasound) to deliver good health care. These are skills that even a rusty, old nurse can teach!
Not only do we teach excellent skills to treat physical problems, we also must address the spiritual dimension of health. Many people in Congo believe that illness and injury are caused by a disgruntled person putting a curse on the patient, especially if it is a chronic illness such as cancer. This strongly held belief and the fear it generates can defeat even the best Western medicine. I met a young mother who had just delivered a baby and within a couple of days went into a coma. There was no obvious medical reason for the sudden change of events. Within two weeks she died and the baby went home to live with the grandma. Fear is a powerful emotion.
Who can deliver us from THIS disease, the disease of fear, superstition, animistic belief, and satanic power? Thanks be unto Jesus, He has won the battle through the power of the cross. As we train nurses and doctors, we also teach and model taking care of the spiritual dimension as well. Jesus came to people in villages and cities in his day that were very similar to what we find today in Congo...and he came to heal and deliver them and forgive sins. God's power is greater than any other power. We pray with patients and ask the residents and nurses to lead in prayer. We confront fear by pointing to the Truth found in Scripture. Even a rusty, old nurse can do that.
In the sovereign plan of God, He chooses to call me, a nurse whose skills are insufficient in America, and sends me to Africa where my skills are a perfect match for the technology and needs there. And yet, except for God's enabling power, I feel so inadequate for the job, especially confronting the lies of Satan in such a direct way. In the West, we have little experience with this kind of oppression. Please pray for our family as we transition and minister in Congo. We hope to leave the U.S. next August and need many, many financial and prayer supporters to see that happen. Will you be one that walks with us to Vanga Evangelical Hospital in prayer and giving? Subscribe to our network for more stories and information at http://internationalministries.org/teams/639-rice where you will also find the “Give button”. Believe me, if God can use me, He can use you! Let's journey together!