The newest class of nursing students started this past February. They began with classroom studies and have just recently moved to the hospital for practicals. But even when they are rotating on the wards, the busyness of work limits most of our interactions to patient care.
I had the opportunity to get to know a couple of the first year students this past weekend. Their stories were an inspiration to me, and I wanted to share them with you!
This was Pamela's last weekend in PNG. Monica, her x-ray colleague, arranged for a Saturday morning walkabout. None of Monica's brothers were available, so she asked Thomas to be our escort. He is a second year student at the College of Nursing and a local boy. Thomas recruited first year student Elijah to come along as well. As we walked, Elijah shared a bit of his story. He comes from a remote village on the Sepik, a large river that drains to the north coast of PNG. Elijah had been accepted to some sort of technical college and was making preparations to attend when his mother and sister became ill. His mother developed a severe headache. Since there is no aid post or health center in their village, she died before she could get medical care. His sister then began to bleed heavily during her monthly cycle. Elijah took her by boat, 2 hours to the nearest health center. The staff at the health center referred her further down river to the hospital. She was admitted but never received a much needed blood transfusion. She died two days later. With the loss of his mother and sister weighing heavy on his heart, Elijah changed his career plans and applied to nursing school. His dream is to someday start a health center in his village. He has no idea how you would go about starting a health center. But he is trusting God to make a way to bring health and hope to his people.
A few weeks ago, the Chapman's took Pamela to a bush church pastored by another first year student. Of all the places she had visited, "Bill's church" was one of Pamela's favorites. Diane organized a return trip on Sunday and I got to ride along. Bill is a young man who has never been to Bible school, but this hasn't stopped him from doing the Lord's work. He served as a lay pastor in Kambia for two years. This is a very remote and mountainous part of PNG, a place that has no health care. Bill's heart was broken by the suffering of the people there. He decided to go to nursing school so that he could someday return to Kambia and provide health as well as spiritual care. Bill is now in his first year at the College of Nursing. He attends school full time, and continues to pastor a local church with the help of his younger sister Helen.
These are just two of many similar stories from the College of Nursing. Will you pray for these students, as they study and prepare to become ministers of healing and of the Gospel? Pray that their lives will impact this country as they have inspired you and me.
"Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing
for the would of my people?"
~ Jeremiah 8:22