Or in this case, teach a doctor to do surgery...
One of the goals of a missionary, as we say, is to "work yourself out of a job." Basically it is the "teach a man to fish" kind of a philosophy. We aren't here just to do things for the PNGian people, but to train them to participate in and more importantly lead the work. That way the ministry will continue on when we missionaries are long gone.
There are many ways this is happening at and around Kudjip. Nazarene College of Nursing is located here on station. We have daily opportunities to teach the nursing students as they do their clinicals. Medical students and residents (from PNG and around the world) come to Kudjip for rural rotations. Just down the road there is Melanesia Nazarene Bible College and the teachers college, where men and women are learning to be pastors and teachers.
As docs and missionaries, one of our great privileges is to help train up young PNG doctors. There is a really awesome program called the rural registrar program. It would be similar to a residency or fellowship back in the States. A registrar has completed medical school, served for two years as a general doctor, and is now doing more specialized training. This particular program is about five or six years long. Each year the registrars work in their sponsoring hospital for nine months of the year, and do three months of rotations at other training sites. The program was founded with the hope of preparing national doctors to serve in some of the more remote and underserved areas of the country. And there are many remote and underserved areas, many hospital that do not have even one doctor!
The first time I met Maggie, she had come to Kudjip to attend a surgery conference for the rural registrar program. She is a first year registrar serving at Kanabea, a small Catholic hospital in the mountains of the Gulf Province. Maggie's home place is the booming metropolis of Port Moresby, the capital of PNG. To get to Kanabea, Maggie has to travel more than five hours by road to a gulf coast town called Kerema. There are flights from Kerema to Kanabea several times a week. A plane is the only way you can get to Kanabea because there are no roads. Although flying isn't that reliable either, because the planes are often unable to land due to weather conditions. Obviously, Kanabea is a pretty remote kind of a place. A hydroelectric dam is being built, but there is no continuous source of electricity. Maggie is the only doctor at her hospital for nine months of the year. The other three months, while she is away doing her training, there is no doctor. It is not an easy place to live or work or practice medicine, but Maggie feels a call to serve the people of Kanabea much like I have a call to PNG. As you can imagine, I was immediately impressed by her!
Over the past three months, we have had the joy of serving along side of Maggie. She came to Kudjip for a surgical rotation and has mostly been working with Dr. Jim. I have especially enjoyed getting to know Maggie as a friend... through Bible study and surgical consults and eating pizza on Friday nights. She is one amazing gal.
We said "see you later" to our new friend last Saturday as she headed back to Kanabea. Maggie... our prayers are with you as you go. Hope to see you again next year!
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
~ Colossians 3:16-17