The line of villagers shuffled slowly toward the village hall. Ana’s son, Paku, moaned in his half-sleep as Ana shifted him in her arms. Paku often was sick, and Ana hoped that the doctors and nurses who had come to her village could help him.
At the front of the line a smiling woman asked Ana a few questions and wrote Paku’s name on a paper. She directed Ana to some chairs inside the building. Ana sat down and nestled her son’s head against her shoulder.
A nurse squatted in front of Ana. “Is this Paku?” she asked. “I need to take his temperature.” Ana nodded, and the nurse slid the thermometer into the boy’s mouth.
“He has fevers and sore throats,” Ana said.
“May I look at his throat?” the nurse asked. Ana urged Paku to open his mouth. “His tonsils are infected,” she said. “The doctor will help him feel better.”
The doctor greeted Paku with a smile. Then he looked into Paku’s mouth. “Those are really swollen tonsils you have, Paku. I bet your throat hurts a lot.” The doctor turned to Ana and said, “I’ll order some pills that will help Paku feel better. But his tonsils need to come out, or he will keep getting infections. Can you come to the hospital in Manado in three weeks?”
Ana’s face twisted. “Doctor, I can’t pay for— I-I don’t—.”
“Don’t worry,” the doctor said. “Just bring Paku to the hospital. Once those tonsils are out, he’ll feel a lot better.”
Ana left the clinic marveling that these doctors and nurses had treated her son and given her medicine without asking for money. For the first time in months she felt hopeful.
Manado Adventist Hospital has grown from a medical clinic to a highly respected 95-bed hospital in just four years. Quality care and a staff dedicated to being God’s hands and heart have led a number of former patients to ask to know more about Adventists. Nurses and doctors pray with patients when they are permitted, and the chaplain visits every patient daily. “Prayer is an intimate part of our ministry,” says Dr. Antou, director of the hospital. “We pray over every patient in Jesus’ name, every decision, every treatment we perform. And most patients appreciate that.”
Even staff members are blessed by the hospital’s caring mission. Corry came to Manado Adventist Hospital asking for a job. She had worked overseas as a housekeeper to support her family until she learned that her husband had given the couple’s children to her mother and had spent the money she’d sent on gambling and alcohol. Corry wasn’t an Adventist, but she was a dedicated Christian. She applied for work and was hired.
“I feel a sense of peace here,” she says. “The workers have a joy I had not seen before. The chaplain often stops to chat. I have been a Christian and a student of the Bible for years, so I enjoyed these conversations. I began to learn what Adventists believe, and during a Week of Prayer held at the hospital I asked to join the Adventist Church.”
Corry loves working at the hospital. “I could get a better-paying job elsewhere,” she says. “But I love working here. Although my job is lowly, I’m treated as a daughter of the King.”
Paku and his mother arrived at the hospital, and Paku’s surgery went well. Before Paku and Ana returned home, Ana found Dr. Antou and thanked him for helping her son have a better life.
The hospital’s charity clinics have proven to be an effective outreach. Twice a month hospital staff members volunteer a day to hold a free medical clinic in a town or village outside the city. They offer health talks, provide medical screenings, dental, eye, and medical check- ups, and treat common medical problems. If a client, such as little Paku, has a medical problem that the staff cannot treat on site, they are invited to receive the treatment at little or no cost in the hospital.
These medical clinics open doors for outreach efforts in the area. In three years some 360 people have been baptized as a result of the outreach sponsored by the Adventist hospital. Reaching out to the community and being Christ’s hands of healing and love have helped make Manado Adventist Hospital a lighthouse in Indonesia. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help extend the hospital’s care to thousands more who need physical healing and Christ’s love in their lives.