Should she visit the healthcare centre again? It would steal away precious hours of her day just to walk there and back. And would it even do any good? They had given her ointment for what they called some sort of skin allergy, but it had done nothing to relieve the itching or the irritation. Any medicine they had for her gastric issues would likely have a similar result. Would she ever get relief?
Isolated from Help
In Petrina’s remote village in the shadows of Mount Everest, inadequate health care is like an epidemic. But it isn’t limited to her small corner of the globe. Half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services. 1 Far too many people in Petrina’s village had suffered from conditions that were curable because proper treatment was unavailable. Even if the ailing could trek or be transported to the nearest medical facility, they were likely too poor to pay for any needed medication.
Petrina had grown up in this village, grown up witnessing people suffer from the limitations caused by their isolation—their lack of healthcare, proper roads and other necessities. The local clinic was a bit primitive. It was often run by volunteers, with no doctors and limited medicine available. At the age of 52, Petrina likely knew of people who were among the 8.6 million people worldwide who die every year from lack of quality medical care. 2 Would she be the next victim?
What would happen to her family then? Petrina wanted to take care of them. She had three sons, a daughter-in-law and a grandson living under her roof to feed. She cultivated a small piece of land to help provide food, but when the pain became unbearable, her work remained undone. She had suffered from stomach pains for nearly a year. Her skin allergy had plagued her for three years. Visiting the clinic had done nothing but cost her time away from her work, away from caring for her family. But her ailments also prevented her from caring for them. What was she to do?
A Heart To Help
GFA pastor Tallan had also grown up in this village. He, too, had witnessed the suffering of untreated diseases. Though he was half Petrina’s age, the situation had improved very little in the years since her childhood. He had witnessed people die without medical care. He remembered people being carried for two days through hilly terrain and narrow paths on a stretcher or the shoulders of others to reach the nearest healthcare centre. Though roads had improved, the trek could still be treacherous in rainy seasons, and it would still take five or six hours to reach medical help.
And then there were the financial obstacles. In this remote region, job opportunities were limited. Many people could barely feed their families. Some earned less than $250 a year. Even basic medicine for headaches or stomachaches was beyond their reach; treatment for serious ailments was even more unattainable.
Pastor Tallan longed to help his people, to ease their suffering and show them Christ’s love. Conducting a free medical camp would be the perfect way to achieve both.
After making the necessary arrangements, Pastor Tallan set up the medical camp at the local church building. He brought in trained medical professionals and proper medicine to treat people’s ailments. He did this not once, not twice, but three times, caring for patients like family members in need.
“Christ … has taught us to love,” Pastor Tallan said, “and I think through free medical camps we can express Christ’s love to people who are in need, people who are going through hard difficulties because of sickness.”
The third medical camp came at just the right time for Petrina. The medicine she did have had completely run out. At the GFA camp, she received new medicine which, she quickly learned, was much more effective than what the clinic had given her.
“The medicine worked very well,” Petrina said. “I don’t have a pain or any problem in my stomach due to gastric [ulcer]. And … I don’t have itching right now. So, I feel very good, and I want to thank God for the treatment I received.”
Now she can work and help take care of her family.
“When I’m healthy, and if I have no physical problem, I will go to the field and work,” said Petrina,” and I will do anything that is there, whether cooking or taking care of the family or all the work I would do by myself. … But yesterday [before coming to the medical camp], I wasn’t able to do because I was … not feeling well. I even couldn’t cook the food.”
Petrina is stronger both physically and spiritually thanks to the medical camp. Already a faithful believer, Petrina experienced special nurturing as the camp provided for her physical needs. God used the camp to draw her closer to Him and show her how much He loves her and cares for her. Her children, too, were moved by the tender attention given to their mother and drawn closer in faith to God.
This is evidence of the two-fold ministry GFA missionaries such as Pastor Tallan offer through such camps.
“I feel blessed when I am able to help my people both physically and spiritually,” Pastor Tallan said. “Through medical camp[s] and prayers, people can be healed and saved.”
I feel blessed when I am able to help my people both physically and spiritually,
Many people remain in need of medical help. They lack access to vital services and suffer needlessly with treatable ailments. Some even die because proper medical care is unavailable. A free medical camp, however, offers these people health and life.
Petrina has experienced such suffering and such relief. She knows firsthand the difference the help from a medical camp can make.
“If you conduct this kind of free medical camp in those remote areas [where no medical facilities are available], so many people like me can be benefited and save their valuable life,” said Petrina.
You can show Christlike compassion by helping suffering people like Petrina, caring for both the body and the soul. By supporting medical camps, you can provide urgently needed medical care to people in need. This care guards peoples’ health and protects them from debilitating illnesses, possibly saving them from premature death, all while demonstrating Christ’s love and giving them hope of eternal life.