American missionary nurse, Beth, reports back on her first three months at the Frontline Fellowship mission base in Sudan:
Another emergency occurred after we showed the Jesus film in Kotobi. It was obvious when I saw him that he had either appendicitis or a strangulated hernia and his abdomen was rigid. So… in the early hours of the morning, we drove him through the river to Lui hospital. I think he would have died if we had not been there.
I also had to treat a dislocated knee when Hansie dislocated his knee playing soccer with the students. He was in excruciating pain until we could re-set it. The next day he was hobbling around with a knee brace and crutches continuing his work!
The needs here are so great. Last month I saw over 300 patients. Some cases require only a band-aid and some ointment. Others are so sick that they die even though we rush them to the hospital. Sometimes our whole team gets in on the act. A few weeks ago we were alerted about a gunshot wound in Nyon. John and I drove there and picked up the patient, I started an IV on him and gave him a shot of pethidine. When we arrived at the hospital, Hardus donated a unit of his own blood for him! It was a real team effort.
As a single woman without children, I have only had my cats and dog to think about before leaving for work in the mornings when in the U.S. These days, I have 40 to 50 Sudanese children coming each morning for a Bible class, racing up the road to see who can get here first. We sing, memorise Scripture, have Bible stories and sometimes play games. If I had to choose my favourite part of being here in Sudan, it would be the children’s ministry. Ironically, I struggled terribly with the children’s ministry in my home church and made a conscious effort to avoid it. However, in coming to Sudan, it has brought me more pleasure and fulfillment than any other activity. "[His] strength is made perfect in weakness" 2 Cor 12:9, and "we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" 2 Cor 4:7.
Their courage and resilience is amazing. The prize for successful memorisation that day was a stick of gum and a balloon. I looked at one boy laughing, chewing his gum, and holding his big yellow balloon. I got a thrill from seeing that. Childhood should be fun – especially Saturdays. To see that little snapshot of childhood joy in the midst of so much suffering here was my best moment of the day.
That seems to be a theme here – finding small joys amidst a bad situation. Students singing late at night, the carpenters sitting around a fire laughing, people eating unlimited ripe mangos after a long dry season with no fruit – these are life’s small treasures here, and I feel very rich to be able to enjoy them.