A Mission of Mercy

July 3, 2012



We can’t serve God without serving people.  Sometimes that involves doing things we’d rather not do.  I had one of those experiences in Argentina on New years day, 1992.  It involved Andrew, a man who made a profession of faith about 10 days previously in the hospital while he was awaiting a gall bladder operation.


Andrew’s wife, Hilda, was a faithful Christian who has been attending our church for several years.  Andrew made a profession of faith a number of years previously, but we never saw anything to indicate  it was genuine.  He beat his wife and more than once at­tempted to kill her.  More than once she came to church in tears and said that Andrew had kicked her out of the house and told her not to come back again.  Each time I prayed with her and consoled her.  I told her to just go back home and act like nothing had ever happened.  When ever I tried to talk to him he would agree with me in every thing; a typical “yes man” with no indication of repentance.


Andrew had his operation and was dis­charged from the hospital.  I took him home on Saturday and he seemed to be on his way to recovery.  At 6:30 the following Monday morning I went to his house and took him back to the public hospital for a check up.  After waiting for over an hour they finally told him to return home, because they weren’t going to be able to see him that morning.


By Tuesday afternoon he was suffering a lot.  We took him back to the hospital.   That time they dressed his incision and sent him back home.  They told him he should have a nurse to come the next day and dress his incision.  While we were at the hospital it began to rain hard.  We left the hospital through flooded streets and a driving rain.  I took him to our house first because I was afraid I couldn’t get all the way to his house.  They live about 1 mile off the pavement.  Juan Carlos, the pastor of our first church, was working at our house and I thought it would be best to take him along.  We waited for a while for the rain to stop but, when it appeared that it wasn’t going to stop, we went ahead with him.


The next afternoon, New Years day, we were spending a quite afternoon at home.   My wife woke me up from a nap to tell me that Hilda and her daughter had come.  They wanted me to take Andrew back to the hospital.   It so happened that someone had wrecked our van the night before so we didn’t have any transportation.   They went to get a nurse who attends our church, but she wasn’t home.  They were considering going to the hospital to see if they could get an ambulance to come after him.  I was almost certain that they wouldn’t succeed in that on New Years day.   Another problem was that it had been raining all day and it would have been impossible to get to their house with an ambulance.


I felt the Lord telling me that I should go and dress his incision.  I’m not a doctor, not  even  a nurse.   In Bible college I had a one semester course in missionary medicine.  There didn’t seem to be any other solution.  Finally I said, “If you want, I’ll go and do it.”  Hilda, was in agreement with that.  I took a bottle with a few Tylenol tablets in it out of the medicine cabinet and put on my high boots, grabbed an umbrella, and started out with them.  We walked the four blocks to the highway and took a bus to the end of the bus line.  From there, it’s normally about 6 blocks they have to walk to their house, but because of the flooding, we had to  walk about a mile to get there.  The farther we went – the deeper the water.  Fortunately my boots were high enough to get me through.  The house was completely surrounded by water, 6-8 inches deep in places.


After entering the house I clasped Andrew’s hand and prayed with him.  I told him what I was going to do and he was in agreement.  I ask Hilda for a pan of water and soap so I could wash my hands.  I warned Andrew that it was going to hurt when we took of the bandage.  Hilda held one of his arms and I held the other one.  With my free hand I ripped off the bandage.  I washed his incision with soap and water the best I knew how.  Then we did something that sounds unconventional, but it’s a common procedure there.  We put sugar on the incision.  After that we covered it with gauze and taped it down.  I gave Andrew two Tylenol tablets to relieve the pain. That was the only time I had to dress Andrew’s incision.  The next time a nurse did it.  She said it looked like I did a god job.


It’s sometimes said that a servant of God needs to be prepared to preach, pray or die.  In my experience, I have found that there are a number of things that need to be added to that list, like burying dead dogs for widows and driving people to the hospital in an emergency.  The Apostle Paul said, “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” ( I Corinthians 9:22).


Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net



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