One never knows what the next day brings. We open our eyes as the sun rises, yawn and wait for the day to begin. Whether we like it or not. And that is just what is going to happen come January 1st, 2017. Covenant Medicine Outreach will be born, transitioning from Medical Mercy, to a new medical ministry.
A long way back in years, I sat with an elderly Cambodian woman who I had seen on a previous visit. She was telling me how she remembered how I held her hand and offered her comfort and prayer as I told her about her about the lump on her throat. It had felt like a goiter and I assured her that it was not serious and that with medication it would resolve over time. It was now a year later and the lump was bigger, firmer and causing her to have difficulty breathing. This was not a goiter. It was thyroid cancer. She smiled at me, happy to see me again. I smiled back, thoughts racing through my mind as to how I was going to tell her that this “goiter” was now cancer, and that I had been far off the mark when I diagnosed her a year ago. But really I wasn’t. There is no way to know if a goiter will transition into cancer. I held her hand and began the hard conversation that I have had with patients many times. She listened but didn’t hear. She just simply smiled. I referred her to a local hospital with a note asking for some tests and that I would pay for them, hoping that I would get the reports back and decide what to do next. She went, I got the reports, communicated with the doctor, surgery was done, full recovery and she smiled.
What does this have to do with this new medical ministry? Medical Mercy has come to an end. But I did not want to let the opportunity of being able to be present when present with those who are less fortunate than ourselves and who come to us for help. I wanted them to smile. I needed to continue the journey. I often hear God whispering in my ear telling me to “wait for it.” I heard Him again a while back when I was sitting on my porch thinking about what I was going to do when Medical Mercy was gone. He said, “wait for it.” And then it came. After my book Covenant Medicine was published, it was met with great reviews. I wrote about the therapeutic relationship between physician and a patient, in fact the therapeutic relationship of all healthcare professionals and patients. A relationship based on trust and faith. Of being accountable, responsible and there for the patient always. I listened to Him, and it was clear that Covenant Medicine Outreach was where He wanted me to go: to take that philosophy of being present when present and bringing healthcare and faith to those who have nothing in underprivileged countries.
I still listen for His whisper. He tells me what to do next and I’ll do it. Maybe you too will hear His whisper, “wait for it.” He may even whisper, “go be present when present.” I’d be privileged and blessed to have you join me.