One of the things I have been a little sad to see as we have been interested in medical missions over the years is how they are diminishing. In some ways, maybe that is good. Countries are doing a better job at providing for their people, so perhaps there is less need. On the other hand, sometimes it is not so good. The cost of running a mission hospital is very high, and it takes a lot of work and commitment. A mission hospital is not usually financially sustainable within the context of where it has been placed. These hospitals are in the poorest areas of the world. So they need money from the West. Christians in Europe, the United States, and Canada give of their own resources to maintain hospitals so that people who cannot fund them will have access to care. I noticed a lot of mission agencies were leaving this type of mission behind because the cost is too high. And I think that this is a shame, because as Christians our witness of the work of Jesus Christs is both in words (of course) but also in deeds. Compassion often wins hearts where logic will not. Check the article below to see how hard Dr. Klaus John works traveling the world to keep our little hospital to the Quechua people open.
It was a bumpy flight and even at an altitude of over 30,000 feet, the view was obstructed by clouds. But then, somewhere over the Atlantic, suddenly was the bright morning star, a small dot in the sky. Last night, Dr. John arrived in Oxford for two important appointments on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Friday, the journey continues to Barcelona, where five lectures and interviews are waiting for him. A Spanish women a few months ago had read the book “Seeing God” during their return flight from Peru to Spain. A few days later, she sent Dr. John an invitation to Catalonia. On May 15, the mission doctor will begin a tour of Germany. So far, over 75,000 people have attended one of the 1,843 presentations given by the Dr. John.
We have patients come from all over Peru. Sometimes they come from so far away that is almost unbelievable. I cannot help but wonder what we are doing that makes them willing to travel for so long. The truth of the matter is that they have to pass several hospital to reach us. There is a social safety net in Peru, but for some reason for many people it does not function well. They are either mistreated or abandoned in the bureaucracy of the medical system. Everyday I have patients who have come through a journey of many day with hopes that we will be able to cure them. So we try to treat them with compassion and let them know that we see their worth as they are made in the image of God. Maybe this is the difference that they are looking for? Here is a short post from Dr. Klaus John regarding how far people come to receive medical care at the hospital from the Hospital Diospi Suyana website. (The original is in Spanish again.)
Claudia Nickel cares for a patient after her endoscopy.
Why do patients come from so far away?
Wednesday Morning: Four gastroscopies are scheduled. Nurse Claudia Nickel and colleagues have made exemplary preparations. I just need to push an endoscope through the esophagus into the stomach and then write a short report of each exam.
My first patient comes from the department of Tacna. She had traveled 18 hours to the hospital, she told me. Her confidence in us makes me happy. The second case was a woman in the department of Arequipa. She had traveled for 12 hours on the road to be treated by us.
My third patient comes from Puno. His trip has probably lasted about 10 hours. And the last patient lives in the city of Cusco. The three hour trip was relatively short. Four patients from four departments in a small endoscopy room are many for a single morning. / KDJ