Sunday, September 2, 2018

We need each other

September 2, 2018

Medical Care and Discipleship in Pairs
This week I have been helping our Samaritan's Purse nursing friend, John Troke, with training procedures for donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE).  We have been training small groups of nurses and
physicians and continue to do so this week.  We have been focusing on the fact that patient care and decontamination is always done in pairs, one that can directly check and assist the other.  We saw first hand that the people who did the best at this skill were those who collaborated and learned from each other well.  It took the others considerably more time to perform the skill with more mistakes, some of them crucial.  It was encouraging to them to realize that they would never be alone when asked to care for a patient in isolation.  

 There is a Biblical lesson in all of this.  The first lesson is that we need each other.  Everyone is important.  Everyone.  We need others to see our blind sides, and to protect us.  There are dangers all around us; if we recognized them all we would rarely leave the house!  Ebola is a very serious disease, and one in which it is necessary to take every infection control measure to prevent contracting or spreading it.  The spiritual parallels are profound from spiritual warfare, to discipleship, to marriage, to accountability with others.  There is an enemy.  This enemy seeks to undermine us, to break down our relationship with God and others.  When we are out of communion with others who can help and keep us accountable, we can start to make serious mistakes.  I am learning that our partner is just as important as the personal protective equipment that we are wearing.  Oh how we need to value one another highly.

In the New Testament Jesus sent out the disciples in groups of two.  It wasn't an accident, convenience, or convention.  This was intentional on the part of Jesus.  They were told to declare the Word of God boldly.  They had the support of each other.  They had different giftings and could relate to people differently.  There are many examples, among those: Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, and Mark and Barnabas.  Two people provide a credible witness of something, teaching and miracles included (John 3:11).  The testimony of one person was not considered acceptable by God (1Corinthians 14:29).  "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses" 2Corinthians 13:1.  Then there is the issue of credibility of two persons (Mark 6:11) when someone rejected the teachings of Jesus.  Not to mention it is always more fun to do something alongside another person!  I continue to learn Biblical truths from medicine.

Emmanuel's 4th Birthday
Last week our son Emmanuel turned age 4!  
We celebrated by doing one of
his favorite activities, going for an airplane ride!  We sang and ate coconut cake in the plane over eastern Congo.  Our friend Chad said that it was his first in-flight birthday party.  Then over the weekend we had a birthday party at the house with a water theme.  The kids painted things that live in the water.  Some of the Congolese kids were not so familiar with things other than fish, so we had some plastic examples to copy.  Then we swam, fished out sunken fish toys, threw water balloons, and slid down the slip and slide.  There was a lot of activity going on!  It is a blessing to be part of a larger missionary and village community.  Emmanuel has a rich childhood.  We are so grateful to God for the gift that he is to us.  

Thank you for so many of your personal messages and prayers for us and our hospital.  This is a  period of high disease vigilance and a time when we want to limit hospitalizations to only essential cases.

-Pray for the control of ebola in eastern Congo.  Pray against fear that keeps people from seeking care and infecting others.
-Pray for the witness of Nyankunde Hospital, that we would be faithful witnesses of the Word of God.
-Pray for Emmanuel as he starts preschool again next week.

Blessings from eastern Congo.