Nurse Nancy stood outside her little home and studied the sea. She had worked as a nurse and nursing instructor on this small island in Vanuatu most of her life. Now it was time to step aside and let someone younger carry the load.
But Nancy wasn’t ready to retire. She looked into the sky and prayed, “Father, I want to keep on serving You. Please show me where You want me.”
Then Nancy learned that the aging aid station in her home village was being rebuilt and upgraded to a full clinic. Her eyes sparkled with excitement. She knew what God wanted her to do. Eagerly she traveled to her village. “You’ll need a nurse,” she told the pastor. “I want to volunteer.”
The pastor smiled. God had sent the most qualified person on the island to work in the new clinic. Nancy’s love for God would make her a fine ambassador to the people who sought her care.
Nancy smiled with joy as she took up her new duties. The sick and injured could receive quality medical care close to home instead of walking for miles in the steamy heat to the government clinic.
“This job is my way of thanking God and my church for all they’ve done for me. When my father couldn’t pay my school tuition, the mission sent me to an Adventist secondary school and then to nursing school. During this time I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I’ve worked as a nurse and taught nursing for many years. Now I want to use my gifts to share my faith with others.”
Nancy lives a short walk from the clinic and can tend to people whenever she is needed. She cleans and bandages injuries, gives medicines and provides care, and if necessary, she sends those who need further care to the only hospital on the island, more than two hours away by vehicle.
Marie arrives at the mission clinic for her regular prenatal checkup. If this clinic weren’t here, she would have to walk several hours in the hot sun to the government clinic. Another woman arrives with a gash above her eye. Nancy speaks soothingly as she cleans the wound and stitches it closed. She urges the woman to return in two days to check for infection. Without the clinic’s care, this woman’s injury could have proven deadly.
Even more than sharing her medical expertise, Nancy loves sharing God’s love with the people she serves. Many people in the area have no faith in God. “I’m so happy to give back to God and my church,” she says.
Nancy’s favorite patients are the mothers and their babies. She weighs and measures the infants and gives them their vaccinations. She tells new mothers how to keep their infants healthy and well nourished.
Nurse Nancy knows how important the Adventist clinic is to the thousand people who live in the rural area surrounding it. “I’ve seen patients who would have died without proper medical help. I’ve seen babies who were malnourished and struggling. Their mothers were desperate to help their infants. With the proper medical care, so many will heal and thrive who before might not have survived. I wish everyone in the South Pacific islands could have a clinic such as this,” she says wistfully.
Several years ago the South Pacific Division began a program to upgrade aging medical clinics across the South Pacific. Some clinics were little more than thatch-roofed huts with limited supplies and an aid worker with only the most basic training. Churches across the division began adopting a clinic, paying for medical equipment and building materials, and sometimes sending members to rebuild the clinic. Trained nurses are being called to staff the new clinics, and the government provides medicines.
But some remote areas in of the South Pacific still have no access to medical care. Building a clinic to serve these isolated regions will be more costly because the materials will have to be airlifted into the region. But without a clinic, thousands of people are at risk. They must walk for days to reach a clinic or hospital to receive treatment for diseases or injuries. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build at least four medical clinics in the most isolated regions of Papua New Guinea or one of several other island nations across the South Pacific.
Once a clinic is established, the people realize that Adventists care about them. They warm to the gospel message and seek a better life through Christ. Our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help strengthen outreach in these uttermost places of the world.