And Then There Were None
The Gideon Experience
The LORD said to Gideon,“You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands in order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.” So 22,000 men left, while 10,000 remained. But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The LORD said to Gideon, “With the 300 men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the 300, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. During that night the LORD said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands.”
...Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land enjoyed peace forty years.
Judges 7:2-9, 8:28
In the last month, our team here has had some major changes, and will continue to have some more in the next month. The Harvey family left for their one year home assignment in mid-June. Dr Harvey is the medical director of the hospital, and one among three physicians here (the other two being myself and Stephen Wegner). His wife Becky has done quite a bit of administrative tasks for the mission as well. With their leaving, there were a number of tasks to be divided up among the remaining team members. With this comes the stumbling of figuring out how to do tasks we’ve never done before, even with the instructions left us by the Harvey’s. Prior to this, Sarah, one of our long-term missionaries broke her arm back in March in a bike accident. She runs a leprosy program and is working on building a new center for them. Her fracture didn’t heal properly, and she left a few months ago to return to Canada for further surgery and physical therapy. The tasks she performs were largely assumed by some Congolese, but also by another missionary family, the Marshes. Our pharmacist finished her term here in May, and returned to the US, and thus we’ve taken on some of the tasks she had been doing. She continues to do some of the work from the US.
This Tuesday, the Marsh family is returning to the US before their anticipated time due to a medical problem that we are not able to treat here. They were assuming a number of tasks previously done by Becky Harvey, as well as tasks done by Sarah, which now need to be reassigned to someone else. This last Wednesday we spent our team meeting defining the tasks that need to be done, and clarifying who is doing each task. I think we all felt the weight of additional responsibilities to an already full plate. Being as I will soon be the only missionary at the mission (the rest live on the hospital compound), I have assumed many of the responsibilities the Marshes were carrying. Thursday, we spent about 5 hours going over everything. Nonetheless, I don’t feel too very stressed about it yet. I think I have a peace about it from God that He’ll help me get things done. But I would appreciate your prayers that I have time and energy to get the monthly and weekly tasks done. They aren’t hard, but some just take time.
For those of you who are worried that I’m the only missionary at the mission, don’t worry. There is another family here with whom I am very close, who are Congolese. They are my Congolese family, and are a great help to me here. There are still guards here 24/7 (not that it’s not safe, but they help deter theft and provide a buffer between me and people knocking at my door.) So I’m not alone, there is a truck here for me to use, and I’m only 3 miles from the hospital. And God is here.
In December, the Wegner family leaves for their 1 year home assignment, leaving me as the sole acting physician at the hospital. (There is an internist here, but her main focus right now is helping to open the Eye Center and care for her three young children. Two full time jobs in and of themselves.) God has blessed us with several volunteers who have expressed interest in coming in the months of January-June. This should help me unload some clinical responsibilities so that I’m able to do more administrative duties once Stephen is gone. Currently I am not sure who will become acting medical director in January.
The Marsh family hopes to come back in September, should their funding allow it, to finish their term here. Sarah hopes to come back near September as well. Suzy, the pharmacist, is planning on returning for a month in August. So, we are not without hope.
Is God doing this so that we know the hospital continues to function not because of our own doing but because of His power? Quite possibly. It certainly requires more faith and reliance on Him when it seems we can’t provide things for ourselves. (Though in reality it is God who provides all, we just think we provide for ourselves.) It certainly forces us to work together as a team, to ask for help, to communicate well so that we do not become angry, bitter, and resentful towards one another. Be praying for the former, so that the latter does not occur.