by Jemima (with Amazon Lifesavers Ministry)
Leidiane is a 10 year old girl we met in the Roque community, in Carauari, Brazil. On our second day serving the community, we received Leidiane with an extensive 2nd degree burn on her right thigh. My first question was, “How did this happen?” She explained that it was because of a hot oil accident at home. She could barely stretch her leg and was struggling with pain.
My second (mental) question was, “How will I dress this wound without causing more pain?” I prayed in silence, asking for God’s help as I cared for her. I told Leidiane that it would be almost impossible for her to feel no pain. I asked her if she believed in God and she said yes. I invited her to pray so that the procedure would not hurt as much. Our prayer was answered on the spot and Leidiane’s pain diminished!
I scheduled the second dressing 48 hours after the first. Leidiane showed up with a smile on her face, walking a little better, sharing that the pain was decreasing. I opened the dressing and to my surprise, it really was better! I offered up another silent prayer in my heart: “Lord, it is my will to stay in this community until Leidiane’s healing is complete. You know that what I am asking is almost impossible because we only have nine days in this community, but I trust in You. Amen.”
The next Sunday when I arrived at the community, Leidiane told me: “Jemima, I was pushed into the river, but I already changed the dressing.” At that moment, I thought that my work was in vain. I warned Leidiane, saying, “You do know your leg can get worse, right?” She just shook her head with an ‘I didn’t know’ look on her face.
Katherine, the doctor, and I became very distressed. We had few medications available and almost no antibiotics to treat Leidiane if her leg became infected.
On Monday, Leidiane came to the clinic with her leg aching and a noticeable odor coming from her wound. When the bandages were removed, we saw the result of the innocent game in the river: green and fetid secretion.
Until then, we had decided not to introduce any oral antibiotics, only local; but when she saw Leidiane’s condition, Katherine decided on a new course of action. We were sad to see that the healing had regressed, but our trust in God made us hopeful. We scheduled a new dressing in 24 hours and prayed again, asking God to perform a miracle.
The next day, the odor had disappeared and the secretion wasn’t leaking from the bandages. We only had seven days left in the community, and I wondered if that would be enough time for Leidiane to heal. Each time we changed Leidiane’s bandages, we prayed for her healing.
The next Tuesday, Katherine and I went to Leidiane’s house to change the dressing for the last time. When we got to her house, I called, “Leidiane, ready to change the dressing?”
Leidiane came out of the house, smiling and walking perfectly. “Jemima,” she said, “I removed the bandage just now and look at how it is.”
When we looked at her leg, Katherine and I could not believe it—her leg was totally healed! Not because of our merits, but because of God’s healing alone! Praise God for His miracle!
What You Need for Medical Ministry to Succeed
Dr. Andrew Roquiz
Idon’t practice medicine just to prescribe pills but rather to see my patients made whole. That means physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual healing. It’s an approach to medicine called medical ministry.
It’s a big vision for just one patient. To achieve this alone would be impossible. I’m just not that talented.
The Vital Connection
For medical ministry to reach its full potential, a foundational principle must come into play: Connection with the church.
More than 100 years ago, a wise woman by the name of Ellen White wrote the following: “This institution has not been favoured with donations as have the printing establishments in America, and there are not here workmen who are thoroughly and understandingly connected with the work. Those who bear the heaviest responsibilities have not been strengthened and sustained by the churches in their prayers and in realizing that the prosperity and success of the work is largely due to the attitude of the church. If the churches do not feel the work done in the Echo Office is a most important work, and that the workers need their sympathy and hearty, intelligent co-operation this deficiency will be a drawback to the work” (Counsels to Adventist Institutions, p. 51).
At our clinic, we seek to become more integrated with the church. We want the church to see us as their ministry. We seek to expand the influence of the church within our clinic.
How We Make The Connection
One of the ways our clinic has sought to strengthen this connection is through the use of gift certificates. There are those in our community who cannot afford a doctor’s visit. Every year, we give the church a certain number of gift certificates. Any person in need can come to the church, pick up a gift certificate, and redeem it at our clinic.
I remember one such patient whom I will call Bill. Bill, a single father and car detailer, worked at a carwash. He came into the clinic with burning on urination and back pain. Bill had a fever and his heart rate was elevated. Sure enough, his urinalysis showed infection. He likely had a kidney infection which could turn deadly if the bacteria made its way into his bloodstream.
I treated him with ceftriaxone and by the time he followed up 24 hours later, the fever had resolved, his heart rate was normal, and he went home on oral antibiotics.
When I asked Bill how he had learned about our clinic, he mentioned the familiar name of a church member.
“Ron sent me. He comes by the car wash regularly and he noticed how sick I looked. When I told him I couldn’t afford a doctor’s visit, he sent me to the church to pick up a gift certificate,” Bill told me.
I’m amazed at how one act of a church member saved the life of this patient. A member of the community had a need, and a church member was there to help.
It is in small ways like this that medical ministry shines best. When we bless others in small ways, God begins to open up hearts. I’m sure that’s what he did in Bill’s case.
Kibidula and the Tafts
by Kibidula Outreach Mission
Thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of one very extraordinary family, exciting progress has been made in Kibidula this past year that helps secure the long-term sustainability of our ministry dedicated to sharing the good news of Christ’s soon return across this region of Africa.
Rocky and Becky Taft raised their family on a beautiful, off-grid farm in Missouri. The Taft family has a rich history and heritage that celebrates hard work and a deep Christian faith. Together, their work experience includes expertise in farming, construction, mechanics and forestry management.
When God opened the doors for them to contribute to the mission and ministry of Kibidula, the Tafts were a perfect fit!
Earlier this year, their 23 year old son, Phillip, accepted the call to be a full time missionary at Kibidula, serving as the new farm manager and developing a 400 acre avocado plantation. This remarkable plantation will help financially support the ever-increasing ministries at Kibidula focused on planting churches and spreading the Gospel in Tanzania.
Since Phillip took over as farm manager, Rocky and Becky Taft, along with four of their children—Nathan, Brianna, Andrea and Melissa—have been taking turns joining Phillip in volunteering at Kibidula. Living in Africa requires an adjustment for some visiting volunteers accustomed to a different standard of living. However, living off-grid on their farm in Missouri helped prepare the Taft family for life in Africa. They are certainly no strangers to living without some of the comforts that many of us enjoy at home.
This past August, Phillip’s older brother, Nathan, arrived in Kibidula and immediately joined in several construction projects underway on campus. By mid-September, Rocky, Becky, Brianna and Melissa joined Nathan and Philip.
Becky, Brianna and Melissa went straight to work painting the interior of several houses previously constructed by ASI members. Rocky joined Nathan and Phillip in finishing construction of a large dam engineered to provide irrigation to the growing avocado plantation. Once the dam was completed, they turned their attention to clearing 150 acres of trees and stubborn brush to prepare the ground for new avocado groves.
During the final week of their stay at Kibidula, Nathan pressed to finish construction of new greenhouses designed to grow avocado tree seedlings, while Rocky completed mechanical repairs on some of the vehicles and farm machinery.
Brianna has chosen to remain at Kibidula through late December to oversee completion of a project that will ultimately see over 20 houses, a new girls dormitory, and the Mission’s office all freshly painted.
From the entire Kibidula family to each member of the Taft family, we thank you for the weeks and months you’ve invested in supporting the mission work here in Tanzania! You’ve aided in numerous ways and hastened the soon return of Christ!