Monday, March 31, 2014

Trusting God for Kaium's healing

The bandage on her left calf looked as if the doctor had wrapped a baseball on her leg.  Pastor Gideon had called us last night asking if we could arrange a visit to a "private doctor" for this little two-year-old.  We arrived at the pediatric ward in our government hospital during the mid-day visiting hours to see how we might be of help to the family of this little toddler who had just recently arrived from the village of Inapoas on the island of Tanna.  We had never met them before today, but they are related in various ways to some of the Nazarenes here in Port Vila, including Pastor Gideon.  We began last night praying for God's healing touch upon this precious little life, and asking for wisdom to know how to help.

Even though it has been more than ten years since I was practicing as a registered nurse, my heart still feels drawn to these opportunities whenever they come available.  David and I spent some time visiting with the family for a while to hear their thoughts and gather what we could of what was going on.  The doctor was recommending amputation of the leg and the family was wondering why he couldn't just remove the baseball-sized mass that had begun growing last July.  Before coming to Port Vila, they had already tried "kastom medicine" but the mass only seemed to grow faster.  The mysterious thing to them is that the little girl is not in any pain, has no other signs of feeling sick, and is eating and drinking well.

The nurse on the ward was helpful in arranging for the doctor to meet with the father and his brother while we could go along with them.  The doctor clearly and compassionately talked with us about the tumour (sarcoma) that was growing in Kaium's leg.  Chemotherapy and radiation are not available at our government hospital which excludes the possibility of saving the leg.  His main focus is to save her life.  As we walked back toward the ward, the uncle asked if we had medicine that could help.  My mind instantly thought of Kudjip Nazarene Hospital and the patients who were receiving chemotherapy for various cancer diagnoses because of the generous donations from loving people around the world...and I wished we could be there.

We returned to the ward and discussed with the family a little more, making clear the available options.  I was so blessed by Helen's contribution to the discussion when she shared beautifully in Bislama that God can heal through surgery too.  (Helen attends the Prima Nazarene Church and is also related to Kaium.)  We agreed with her and talked about God's power to heal and that we can trust him.  Then we gathered around as I gently laid my hand on Kaium's head and asked our all-powerful God to restore her health and prayed for her family to have God's wisdom to know what to do.  Would you please join us in praying for Kaium and her family?  They will be making the decision regarding the amputation of her leg in the next day or so.  Pray for them also that they will come to faith in God through the loving witness of Pastor Gideon, Aleck, and Helen.

Kaium's uncle, Aleck, walked with us to the parking lot.  We had met him four years ago when we took a Youth in Mission team to Tanna.  We visited his village of Inapoas and stayed in his home.  He and his wife had come to Port Vila with the hopes that he would be able to travel as a migrant worker to Australia or New Zealand, but it hasn't worked out.  He shared with us as we walked that he will be returning to Inapoas soon to build a shelter where people can gather to hear about Jesus.  He and his wife will be the leaders.  Today, we are thankful for his faith in God and that he is here in Vila to help his family through this difficult time, but will return to Inapoas where he can continue to be a support and encouragement.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Milestone of Discipleship

Rachel and Abu Man in action in 2004
Rachel and Abu Man (Grandpa in Bislama) came to Vanuatu with our first Youth in Mission team the summer of 2004.  One of the students was great at writing puppet skits which Rachel and Abu Man helped to present to many children that summer, then the team passed the puppets and skits on to us to use again if we wanted.  I pulled out those skits recently and discovered that we had one about David and Goliath, the theme story for our first-ever children's camp scheduled for April 5th.  Just one problem, Rachel and Abu Man, the two puppets, had been lost for more than 5 years.

Nazarene Sunday School teachers preparing for children's camp

In a meeting earlier in the month we had split up the teaching responsibilities for the camp among the teachers. Taku shared with me then that she knew where Rachel and Abu Man were located and would bring them to the next meeting.  Taku has been helping in children's Sunday School for at least 9 years, and helped the Youth in Mission team that came in 2004.  She was willing to help organize her team to present the puppet skit.  

Susi (on the left) singing with the NYI at Vila North Nazarene

This last Saturday, we all met together again to make some final preparations for the camp.  It was so great to see our long lost puppets, Rachel and Abu Man, once again!  It began to dawn on me that the Church of the Nazarene in Vanuatu had reached an important milestone and her name is Susi!

Susi, one of our teens from the Vila North Nazarene Church, had come to join our camp preparations last Saturday and is planning to help with the puppet skit. Susi was the first girl to come to our Sunday School back in 2003 when we were beginning the first Nazarene Church in Vanuatu.  As a nine year old, she had been part of the activities with the Youth in Mission team.  Susi came to trust Jesus as her Savior through the ministry of the Church of the Nazarene and has grown and matured in her faith.  Now, ten years later, she is sharing Jesus and helping to make disciples. Praise God for his faithfulness!
Susi as a nine year old in 2004

Please pray for our Children's Camp scheduled for Saturday, April 5th, that many children will give their lives to Jesus Christ and become his disciples.  Pray for the teachers and helpers that they will not be anxious, but will trust in God for the wisdom and knowledge to present the lessons and activities clearly.  We are hoping for 50-75 children to take part in the event.

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  
I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of god like a little child will never enter it."
Luke 18:16-17