We left Morobe Station today, marking our half way point for this outreach. There was a lot to contemplate as the ship began to turn towards open seas. A few people showed up in their boats waving goodbye to us. I sat on the starboard deck and watched the small village slip from sight as a few tears slipped down my cheeks and those of the nurse and dentist beside me. I often find that visiting a place, knowing that you will not be there for long, makes each memory made there like a ruby in the treasure chest of memories. This visit was no different. I and those with me had a lot to process on our short two hour voyage to our next anchorage in Maiama.
After we were safely tucked away in a quiet bay there was nothing else to do for the day except rest after a long week of hard work. A lot of us just sat on the various decks and watched the world around us. This place is so still and quiet. Every once in a while you will see a school of fish jump out of the water. The water is glassy enough to perfectly reflect the sky and heavily vegetated hills around us. The birds in the trees sang their songs, but other than that everything is quiet. Existing here in this place is the embodiment of Psalm 46:10. Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
It grieves me to admit this, but one of the things I have struggled with this week has been my pride. I have immeasurable joy in serving this ministry, though I have only been here for one week. However, I have also realised some ungrounded frustration. I have watched many of the nurses, who are around my age, dress wounds, give needed medicine, remove eye dressings, and immunise children. With different nationalities comes different training backgrounds, many of which have been shorter than my own. The difference in training can’t be seen though. They all are exemplary, not only in the way they care for patients physically, but also in how they care for them spiritually. My frustration comes from reflecting on the time, money, and hoops I seem to constantly have to jump through in my pursuit to be a nurse when, in a different situation, I could be out here now. This frustration reveals the deeper problem within my heart, pride. Pride, the foolish and irrationally, corrupt sense of one’s personal value, status or accomplishments. In my mind being a missionary now or a RN now gives me more personal value and accomplishment than being a missionary or RN a year from now. So my pride has been hurt watching God use my peers this way and not me, yet.
The reality is I am in God’s plan, which is perfect. I know I still have much growth and maturity to gain in this area of sin. Perhaps that is why I must wait, so the extra time will wear my sharp edges into humility and patience. As I contemplated this in the quiet bay tonight, I was reminded that God never called me to fix myself as I so often try to do. All I need is to be still and know that He is God. Be still and know that waiting on Him will bring about the change I need in my heart. Be still and come before Him with fear, saying, “Here I am Lord.” Because he will be exalted among the nations and in the depths of the earth, not by His glory in my soul alone, but by His glory in every soul created.
This week, through the teamwork of the 100 people on this ship, 388 glasses were provided for patients with vision problems, 71 eye surgeries were done to restore sight, 15 neonatal check-ups were done, 3,684 immunisations were given, and 190 patients had their teeth either extracted or restored. In addition to all this, the microbiologist and her lab team were able to test 48 patients for TB. Of those 48 patients, around 50% tested positive. Because the lab team could give immediate results of the TB test these patients could start receiving treatment. During a normal week at Morobe Station, these patients would have had samples taken and sent away to be returned in three months. Healthcare regulations in Papua New Guinea prevent treatment of TB until a positive result is confirmed. The TB patients will usually pass away waiting for tests to confirm why they are dying. Our lab’s immediate results saved lives this week. For this God can be glorified. In God’s glory we can find our strength!