Showing the Way

Here is a nice post from the Diospi Suyana Hospital website.  You never know when you are making a difference in someone’s life.  The article challenges us to stay faithful in all circumstances remembering that we are often serving as the hands and feet of God on this earth.  It is amazing that he has chosen to present himself to the world through us, such weak vessels.

With Sir Eldryd Parry and Lady Helen Parry in London

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Prof. Eldryd Parry and his wife Helen have devoted their entire lives to Africa.  They have given invaluable construction work for the health system of Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Ghana.  For these exemplary services the professor was knighted by the Queen.  When the medical students Martina and Klaus John visited Ghana in 1983, they met the missionary doctor in the town of Kumasi.  Without the encounter with the Parry couple, the Johns would probably have abandoned their dream to become mission doctors three decades ago.

Yesterday, Dr. John showed the old professor (84) and his wife the presentation on Diospi Suyana.  The couple was deeply touched when they heard what a great influence they had been to the John’s.  The German-Peruvian couldn’t resist reading a passage from the English book “I Have Seen God” out loud.

Ghana 1983: Medical student Martina John observing the people taking the bus.

Ghana 1983: Medical student Martina John observing the people taking the bus.

We were wondering whether to just ditch our plans to serve as missionary doctors when things suddenly took a remarkable turn. We made the acquaintance of Professor Dr. Eldryd Parry, a gaunt, rather serious physician from Wales, who proved to be the positive influence we had hoped to encounter during our internship in Ghana. Not that he dispelled our misgivings with clever reasoning or patted us reassuringly on the shoulder: he did nothing of the sort. In fact, he said very little. Still, he was the incarnation of hope in the midst of injustice. Much to the sorrow of his family in Britain, he had left behind a promising career in order to help build up the Ghanaian healthcare system. Wherever he went, he was preceded by his noble reputation. “He even shared his last slice of bread with his gardener,” some whispered. Others murmured, “He is a good example from head to toe.”

Shortly before leaving Ghana, we spent the night at his home. As we drifted off to sleep, we heard him singing softly – not radio hits, but psalms from the Bible. The man had not allowed his unanswered questions to derail or defeat him. He drew his strength from his faith in God, a steady faith that seemed unaltered by mood swings or tumultuous circumstances. Professor Parry’s life was a clear message to us, and he became one of our most significant role models….

Update: In 1983 Prof. Parry was 53 years old, the same age as the Johns today.  Yesterday morning Dr. Martina John was able to send greetings to them by email.  Through the research of a New Zealander, the Johns were able to reconnect with the legendary physician in 2012.

A Follow Up on the President’s Visit

A follow up on the presidents visit.  It is good for our hospital to have a chance to meet the president.  It really is the work of God.  In one week we have gone from being completely blocked in our ability to get our CT scanner through customs with little help from the government, to now having the unofficial backing of the president.  We are thankful for his help, as we try and serve God and serve the people of Peru.  Who would have thought things could change so quickly.  We have been working long and hard through all the appropriate venues, and then through the help of God (through the president of Peru) it is all better.  It reminds me of Matthew 26:19  “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  God help us to remember to turn to you when we need help.  Here is the update from the hospital website.

Presidential Couple Hosts Medical Missionaries in Government Palace

From left to right – Dr. Jens Hassfeld, the First Lady Sra. Nadine Heredia, President of Peru Ollanta Humala Tasso and the medical missionary couple  Dres. Klaus and Martina John.

From left to right – Dr. Jens Hassfeld, the First Lady Sra. Nadine Heredia, President of Peru Ollanta Humala Tasso and the medical missionary couple Dres. Klaus and Martina John.

A PowerPoint presentation held for the President and First Lady of Peru

Only six days after the President’s visit to Diospi Suyana Hospital, Drs. Klaus and Martina John together with Dr. Jens Hassfeld were granted permission to meet with the President and First Lady at the Government Palace.  The three medical doctors travelled to Lima the night before, having learned of their approved visit only a day earlier.  According to the report given by Dr. Klaus John, the President congratulated the three missionaries on the success of their work, adding that the many hurdles they had to overcome were  a testimony to the character of the mission doctors.

The President’s office wants to assist Diospi Suyana with the bureaucratic difficulties often faced when running a hospital. Almost simultaneously, the OTAN authority released the computer tomography machine that had been stuck in customs for many weeks.

Last Friday, the Peruvian President took a quick tour of the hospital. That visit opened up the door for this meeting at the Palace and provided the President with an opportunity to learn more about how the hospital was originally started and how it helps the community.  Before and during the meeting, many missionaries and Peruvian employees in Curahuasi were praying for God’s blessing.  Our prayers have been answered.

The Government Palace, the venue of the meeting

The Government Palace, the venue of the meeting

An Apologist Hears about Diospi Suyana Hospital

From the Diospi Suyana Hospital website.

Valuable Hours with Prof. John Lennox

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A stimulating experience and a great honor

For many, he is currently the most important apologist for the Christian faith. His two public debates with the voice of the “new atheists” Richard Dawkins have made history.  But even with Christopher Hitchens, Victor Stenger, and Michael Shermer – all leading thinkers of the atheistic worldview- he was already in the open game.

His book, “God’s Undertaker” could be described as perhaps the best response to books like “The God Delusion.”  The mathematics professor from Oxford discovered in the micro-and macrocosm much evidence for the existence of God.  We see in the history of Diospi Suyana equally clear references to the God of the Bible, who answers prayers and strengthens our confidence in Him.

Yesterday, in a private laptop presentation, Prof. Lennox heard for the first time about the “Hospital of Faith” in Peru.  The German accent of Dr. John did not seem to bother him.  In any case, the Northern Irishman is fluent in German, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.  The hearty lunch at Green Templeton College, Oxford University, to which the professor had generously invited him, gave the missionary doctor the necessary energy for his presentation.

Diospi Suyana wishes John Lennox many more productive years, ingenious ideas when writing his books, and God’s abundant blessings.

How Do You Keep a Place Like This Open

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.

The medical missionary visits England, Spain, and GermanySlider-Dämmerung-900x330

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.

A stopover in Paris, en route to London

A stopover in Paris, en route to London

A Long Trip

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.)

When the endoscope becomes a long trip.

Claudia Nickel cares for a patient after her endoscopy.

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

Repeat Post: A message from Dr. Klaus John

I have posted this in our blog before, but I thought I could share again.  Dr. John sent this to me in the spring of 2012, so the numbers have changed, but the message is the same.  This is what we are doing and it is why we are here.

Dear Will,

We train nurses and a few national residents. We help 400 children every week to come closer to Christ. And in fact the existence of the mission hospital is to thousands of Peruvians proof that God loves them. Over the past 4 ½ years we have celebrated 1,200 church services. Every day at least a 100 new people enter the hospital for the first time. That means that so far 120,000 different people have been exposed to the gospel at our hospital during the first 4 ½ years only.

In June we will be starting the school project. The school could touch thousands of lives with the good news of Christ as well.

Klaus

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Allison, Will, and Dr. Klaus John

Its not the facilities that make a Mission Hospital

There is a story to tell from our own history about how we ended up at Diospi Suyana Hospital.  I don’t know if it is interesting or not, but at the root of it is the desire I (Will) always had to work in a Christian mission hospital.  I was reading the the Diospi Suyana Hospital website and translating with GoogleTranslate some of the German articles into English, and I came across this one.  It explains a little bit about the difference you may find at a hospital like Diospi Suyana.  As patients, we don’t really have the opportunity to go to a truly Christian hospital in the United States.  We might find a Christian clinic, but even that is somewhat rare.  It is a great thing to be in a hospital that has as a purpose of glorifying God at an even higher position than patient care, service to the community, or making money.  See the following article . . .

(At the bottom if you hit the link to extend the post you can see the original German followed by the GoogleTranslate translation to English.  It is humorous, and my apologies to Dr. John if he does not feel my efforts at fixing that translation conveyed his thoughts as he intended.)

The packaging is not important but the content

What makes a hospital a mission hospital?

John and Viola Lentink work in the radiology department and in the laboratory of the hospital.

John and Viola Lentink work in the radiology department and in the laboratory of the hospital.

hree flags on the roof of the Lentinks. These are the flags of Peru, the Netherlands and Germany.

Three flags on the roof of the Lentinks. These are the flags of Peru, the Netherlands and Germany.

Three times dignitaries from the state of Puno have travelled to Curahuasi with the intention to learn how to build a hospital like Diospi Suyana in their own region.  And every time I look at them skeptically and say to them that you cannot copy a mission hospital with only money. The true essence of a mission hospital is not the building, its medical capabilities, or its facilities. The secret ingredients of a successful mission hospital are the missionaries who fill them with faith, love and passion, bringing the buildings to life.  It is people like the Dutchman John Lentink and his German wife Viola. They have recently built a house near the hospital. They are investing not only their money, but in reality they are investing their lives with a long term perspective. To make such a big step, they are unprepared. But the greater the sacrifice of a missionary, the more credible is their commitment to serve God and people.  Sayings, slogans and dogmas do not interest patients that often sit ten hours or longer on the bus to come to the hospital.  These patients hope to find help, sympathy and consolation. They see in Curahuasi exactly what they are looking for. Otherwise they would not go past other state hospitals to form such a long line at the entrance of the Diospi Suyana Hospital. / KDJ

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