As the Hospital closes on Africa Mercy at the completion of the second field service in Madagascar, Hospital Director Kirstie Randall reflects ……
We all know what happens when you put a plant by the window, it grows towards the light. I’m looking at a plant doing that right now. Its leaves are, literally, stretched towards the light. It’s like they couldn’t get any closer if they tried. They are desperate for it. Desperate for life.
It feels like a picture of what has been happening here these last months. So many people, desperate for light to invade their darkness.
Back in August when we had the delays getting out of Shipyard, we were reminded that we needed love at the centre of all we do:
As we closed our tactical meeting on board on Monday afternoon and prayed for the ongoing work on the propeller shaft, I had a profound feeling that God said, ‘it is finished’. I had a picture of God filling up the empty shaft with LOVE and then the tail shaft being put back in place and felt God saying – this has brought you on your knees and has been important for me to put LOVE at the core of who we are. I felt that, now His love is in the core, and we are on our knees, we can put the tail shaft back in. ‘It is finished’. (Navigator blog, August 2015)
There are so many examples of love this Field Service. Endless examples of our extravagant Father at work and I am both thankful and privileged to be a part of the work God calls our Mercy Ship family to do.
As we reflect on 10 busy months it’s easy to see that sometimes light can be hard to find. Sometimes the days are long, the battles seem impossible and the challenges relentless. Sometimes, we have to look really hard to find the light. Sometimes we have to actually get up and intentionally turn ourselves towards the light…. towards truth and grace… and then other times, light and life descend from nowhere.
The glistening twinkles of sunlight falling on the ocean blue, the crashing waves at 501, the riches you find in so called poverty, the redemptive song that fills the Hospital corridors, the hope that literally shines through blood soaked bandages and casted legs or the thought that maybe, after nearly 2 years on this beautiful island, we did make a difference… sometimes light and life just seep back in.
917 Max Fac Surgeries
473 Women’s Health Surgeries
238 Plastic Surgeries
817 General Surgeries
162 Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeries
Over 12,000 Dental patients
Light into darkness for 1000s of lives. 10s of 1000s of collective years of suffering. Ended.
Not to mention the 1000s trained and mentored in ways that will enhance their ability to provide safe surgical care to thousands more.
Or the surgical clinic that was renovated and filled with expertly trained Malagasy nurses who will go on to treat some of the 2,000 new cases of obstetric fistula that will form their ugly selves here in the coming year. Light sometimes looks like hope. Justice even.
Madagascar’s population is one of the poorest globally and there are approximately 15,000 children and adults disabled from clubfoot, with an estimated 1,000 children born here with the condition each year. The cost of treatment is often prohibitive for many families with an average income. And so what a joy to be a part of Tamatave’s first ever clubfoot clinic born right here – and with the support of International NGO, Miraclefeet, the work will go on for years to come. These beautiful feet will turn to the light. They will know what it is to walk and run and play… they will do the things they were created for. Light sometimes looks like redemption. Like new feet dancing in the rain.
What beauty He lets us hold.
And so, as we close our time here on this rich island of Madagascar, we are already in full swing with plans for Benin. The hope we promised in 2014 that got snatched by the scare of Ebola will be restored this coming August. We will deliver the package of light with care. It will be generous, it will be full of love and, I pray, will deposit oodles of restorative, hope filled light into 1000s of more lives.
We thank God for our leaders and for love at the heart of all we say and do. We give God the glory for all He has done.
For now, at least, ‘Hospital Out’.