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.
Our mission hospital opened its doors to the public on October 22, 2007. Since then, our doctors and nurses have served more than 120,000 patients. The superb reputation of the hospital is founded on its modern equipment, inexpensive prices, and last but not least on the friendly care by our staff members. In the morning, long lines of patients crowd at the main entrance. Our patients come from all 25 states of Peru. It is not rare to have four patients from four different states in one single room. Most of our visitors are needy Quechua people as is obvious by looking into our waiting room. The great majority of Peruvians have heard about Diospi Suyana through some 30 TV reports and countless articles in the press. The mass media of Peru have named Diospi Suyana “the Hospital built on Faith”. There are 3 principal reasons why we think that this expression is well chosen.
1. Diospi Suyana is a modern high-tech hospital serving the Quechua Indians of the Peruvian Andes. It offers a standard of care on par with western medicine anywhere. This “miracle” project was made possible through answered prayers and a chain of individual events. The story reads like a suspense novel, fascinating to both Christians and non-Christians alike. As pioneers of this work, we saw God at work in the establishment of Diospi Suyana with our own eyes. For this reason, the book detailing the work of Diospi Suyana is titled “Seeing God! The miraculous story of the Diospi Suyana Hospital.” Many readers can’t put the book down once they start, reading the book in a single night. The 6th edition was published by BrunnenVerlag in 2013. The first English edition will come out in September of 2014 by Lion Hudson.
2. Jesus Christ himself was dedicated to healing the sick and bringing relief to the poor. His disciples follow his example and Diospi Suyana is leading the way – just like the founders of the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Christian Blind Mission, World Vision, and countless others who were and are dedicated Christians. Our commitment to serve the poorest of the poor in Peru is due to our desire to follow the “Great Samaritan,” not solely for humanitarian purposes.
3. Even though Diospi Suyana practices medicine on a daily basis, we know that the ultimate solution to end human suffering is not found in prescribing medications, nor in procedural interventions, nor even in life-saving surgeries. Sooner or later, we will all die one day. The key question is “What comes after death?” Jesus Christ promised that anyone who believes in Him will have eternal life in heaven. The staff of Diospi Suyana is convinced this is true. Therefore, each working day at the hospital begins with a chapel service and a prayer reminding all why we are here.
I read with eagerness almost every post on the Diospi Suyana Hospital website, and I usually copy and post them on my own blog (the ones in English). When I read a post like this, I get both excited and nervous. Excited that I get to be a part of God’s compassionate work in the world, and nervous that maybe I am getting myself into something for which I am not completely ready.
Friday morning: The hospital church is full which means that all seats on both levels are taken. More than 30 people are standing in the entrance area. Nine A.M. marks the beginning of examinations by the hospital’s doctors and nurses. The waiting room is full to bursting. Dozens of patients are waiting outside the entrance door in the hope of being allowed to step inside the building in the next hours. The clock hand is moving towards six P.M. The team’s end of day is still way off. Patients are sitting and standing everywhere. Most of them are easily recognizable as Quechua Indians. It’s wonderful that so many poor patients receive treatment at Diospi Suyana Hospital. On some days, however, work takes the upper hand.
11 am. 120 chairs are taken up.
The waiting room seen from the opposite angle. Note the queue outside on the left – all of them would love to get inside the waiting room.
An Indian lady pays her bill. Annually, patients’ contributions cover approx. 30% of the hospital budget.
People waiting in front of the small kiosk in the waiting room.
It’s 5.40 pm. These three Indians are still waiting for their test results.
Still a lot of work waiting for our doctors (Dr Leticia Garcia from Mexico, Dr Luz Pena from Peru, Dr Martina John from Germany and Dr Katharina Leeb from Austria.
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.)
John and Viola Lentink work in the radiology department and in the laboratory of the hospital.
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