I am starkly reminded of the reality of living in a heathen land. Today the sun streams down with scorching heat. The people around me are sick – really sick. In every village the plaintive woes of the people greet my ears.
It seems they have just sat at home, sick and waiting for me to return from America. They are so dirty. They need to make so many changes, but they are so steeped in the practices of their culture. It takes so long and so much work to see just a little tiny change in their lives.
Our first week back in BYT we are very busy. Two men stagger into my clinic just now. One is drunk and holding a major abscess on his right jaw.
The other man is just skin and bones. His temperature is 103 degrees. He is septic. He fell twice just trying to make it to my front door. I recognize him as the one who almost died one year ago. He was bleeding out from everywhere at that time. We got to him just in time and His life was saved. But he continues to use heavy doses of opium. What will it be for him today?
I see the heinous results of sin. Smoking, alcohol, and opium seem to be at an all time high. I look into the sunken eyes and note the shaking arms and legs before me and want to weep. His blood pressure is around 80. To start an IV on him is very difficult because he is shaking badly, his veins are already hard and knotted from main lining heroin, and his blood pressure is so low. I add vitamins to his IV. We wait and pray.
Two other men enter with fevers, dysentery, loss of appetite and gastritis. The smell of alcohol is strong.
I want to be overwhelmed at the great need around me. Just tonight, after we retired for the night, we heard voices outside. A baby just 3 weeks old is septic. Her breathing is irregular. She breaths rapidly then nothing for 11 seconds. She is septic and has a HUGE cough! I tell them they MUST go to the hospital right away or she will die. Fortunately they have a motorbike and they go. (The baby lives)!
Also that same night, a small child was intensely sick with pneumonia and a temperature of 104.8 degrees. She has been sick a long time they tell me. Her lungs sound frightful.
Now there are 4 people that I would have taken to the hospital immediately if only I could, but for the first time in my four years at BYT I have no truck. Here at my house are three workers, BletJaw, Tucker and myself. We have strong legs to walk and carry backpacks, and one motorbike, but what is that compared with so many desperately sick people?
My words here remind me of the story of Andrew in John 6:9. When Jesus asked, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” Andrew answered, “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes, but what are they among so many?”
Mrs. White makes this comment: “He has bidden us: ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’ Mark 16:15. But how often our hearts sink and faith fails us, as we see how great is the need, and how small the means in our hands. Like Andrew looking upon the five barley loaves and the two little fishes, we exclaim, “What are they among so many?”…But Jesus has bidden us, “Give ye them the eat, His command is a promise; and behind it is the same power that fed the multitude beside the sea.”