Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"Rise and walk"

This is our newest patient, Michael. He is 21 years old and was just diagnosed with lupus. He has been hospitalized for the past month because of persisting infections all over his body due to his compromised immune system. Michael's family is very poor and certainly cannot afford his medications, which cost up to $85 per vial.

When I first met Michael in the hospital, I thought he was surely dying. He was covered with open wounds and rashes, and he couldn't sit up without support or feed himself. We purchased a lot of medicine as well as an electric fan to keep him cool in his isolation room. He is now slightly improved. His parents are very devoted to caring for him, but their faces reveal both exhaustion and worry for their oldest son.

Michael receives daily visits from the physical therapist to help him practice standing and walking. Lying in bed for the past month has caused a large bed sore to form on his backside, and he cannot leave the hospital until it heals. We hope to transfer Michael to the mainland to be treated by a rheumatologist, who will be able to prescribe daily maintenance medication for his lupus.

As a missionary frequently encountering serious illnesses, I realize how little I can do, and simultaneously how much Christ wants to do through me. Michael is generally rather nonresponsive, at least to me, a stranger and a foreigner. The most alert and interactive I have ever seen him was the day we read to him from Scripture the story of Jesus healing a paralytic.

"Jesus said to him, 'Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.' And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked." -John 5:8-9

We believe in miracles! And we trust that Michael, too, will experience Jesus' healing touch, so that he may rise and walk again.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Be healed!

This morning I read the Gospel account of the woman with a twelve-year hemorrhage who was healed when she touched Jesus' cloak. I sighed internally, wishing that I could see such signs and wonders in my own life, and then I caught myself. How often has Jesus performed miracles in my midst, and how easily I forget them!

Last week I accompanied a 30-year-old woman named Emilie and her husband to the gyno-oncologist. Prior testing revealed a cyst-like mass, possibly cancerous, in addition to a UTI. We had not yet arrived at the hospital, and I was already mentally calculating how much an operation and a hospital stay would cost. Did we catch it early enough, or would Emilie experience tremendous suffering and eventually leave behind her husband and four young children, as has happened with other patients we have met "too late"?

Before her first appointment with the specialist, Emilie was quite nervous, so we prayed for a spirit of peace and trust in God and for a miraculous healing.

"I see nothing," the doctor explained, "but sometimes it's too high in the cervix to see. She'll need an ultrasound." A second consultation with another doctor after the ultrasound revealed...nothing!

"Why did you come to me if your symptoms are only that of a UTI?" The gyno-oncologist raised her voice at Emilie, clearly misunderstanding and sounding slightly annoyed.

"You see, Doc," I fumbled, "we were told she had a cyst. But the Lord has healed her!!"

The doctor seemed to consider that for just a moment before turning to write a prescription for the minor infection, but for Emilie something had changed.

"And she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease" -Mark 5:29

Perhaps only she, who had been battling the what-ifs, the worries, and the fear of the unknown could truly experience the depth of peace and freedom that comes from the healing hand of Jesus. Praised be God, now and forever!