I’d never seen Greg like this. At lunch, he told me that he had a message that he wanted to share with the whole group at the Christian Health Service Corps orientation. That was surprising in itself, but even more uncharacteristically, he couldn’t seem to wait. After lunch, he asked the director when there might be time in the packed schedule to add his thoughts. The director was open to having Greg speak, but there just didn’t seem to be time. An hour later, Greg was whispering at me with an urgency that I’ve never heard from him that he wanted to go forward and speak then. We had just heard some troubling stories from missionaries about limited resources and unfortunate deaths and were struggling to reconcile the burdens from patients with our own resilience, but there were more videos to watch in our current session before our break. And then the internet cut out and the videos stopped streaming and after a while, it was clear that other sessions were over, for the time being, so Greg was invited forward to speak. He shared from Mark 2, from a time when Jesus was surrounded by so many people indoors that a group of men lowered a paralytic through a roof to reach him. I’m sure a lot of healthcare providers in our group would have identified with Jesus at first, being surrounded by so many people that those needing healing starting pouring from the sky. We are trained in medicine and sometimes think healing is our responsibility and death is our personal failure, but we are confusing our roles. Instead, Greg pointed out that our role was to be the ones who bring the hurting, paralyzed, and outcasts to Jesus. Sometimes we have to break down a roof to get the patient there, but ultimately our roles are to show love and acceptance and the care that we can, and then we lay our patients at the Lord’s feet for him to heal. And if Jesus chooses to bring spiritual healing without physical healing to our patients, we need to trust him in that rather than thinking ourselves failures as his followers. The message that had been pressing on Greg, making him jittery with the desire to stand up and speak it, ended up providing some great context and powerful closure for issues many of us were wrestling with that day.
After our orientation, we continued at the CHSC retreat and conference center for a course on Community Health Evangelism. The material has challenged us regarding how we can work together alongside pastors and community development specialists in Malawi in the future. Just yesterday we returned to California and moved in to our temporary housing in Pasadena. Praise God for Providence Mission Homes and their ministry of blessing furloughed missionaries. In the next few weeks, we plan to reach out to several groups and individuals about becoming partners with us during the next phase in our ministry in Malawi. Please prayerfully consider whether you might be interested in meeting with us and discussing details.
Thank you for your support, Greg and Christina