Stories by Matt Anderson – physician from the medical team
“John” was a 19-year-old who came into the World Wide Village clinic in Haiti a bit disengaged. He complained of back pain from working a manual labor job and his eye contact was poor. As his medical exam was finishing it was proving to be a bit difficult to engage him in further discussions about Christ. He had attended church before and it seemed that he thought believing in Jesus was an OK idea but he didn’t see the relevance to his life. Knowing that this was not necessarily unusual we asked if we could share some scripture that God had laid on our hearts that morning in hopes that we could at least leave him with God’s words that would hopefully sow some seeds of salvation in his heart. We began to read from Colossians 3 and as we did we came to the following in verse 8:
“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”
At this moment John interrupted and asked “what if I’m angry with someone”. We asked for clarification. He was now more engaged, looking intently at myself as his physician and our discipleship team member who had been working with him. As it turns out, John was an orphan of sorts. His father was alive but involved in voodoo and never around. His mother had been murdered by a man in the village several years previously. He voiced his anger towards this man and then, shockingly, he shared with us a murder plot that he had against his mother’s killer who was still living in the village. John told us that avenging his mother’s murder was part of “being a man now that I’m 19” but he understood that the words of scripture appeared to be contradicting his plans.
At this point our discipleship team member decided to share his own testimony. He had not received Christ until adulthood and prior to that acceptance and reliance on Him he had been ruled by anger and pride. He, in short, had felt very similar emotions in his flesh to what John was feeling then. He proceeded to share how Christ had redeemed him. He explained to John what being a man of God meant and used scripture to share the good news of Christ with him. This went on for over two hours as these two men sat and talked back and forth. What an amazing way to spend your time!
At the end of that time John prayed to accept Jesus as his personal Lord and savior- praise God! He then returned to clinic the next two days to continue learning more about Christ. He was given a Creole Bible and set up with one of World Wide Village’s employees- a local Christian man who had agreed to continue meeting with John and sharing Christ’s calling and love with him after we came back to America. Additionally, John would benefit from ongoing discipleship that was occurring between a WWV supporting pastoral team and his local church leadership.
We praise God that He uses us when we take time to use His word and share it with hurting people. We have seen repeatedly how He uses access to healthcare as a tool to set up divine appointments between people He is calling to Himself and people whom He has called to be His ambassadors to the lost. What an awesome God we serve! Photos from past WWV medical teams.
After Claude received an antibiotic injection and an oral antibiotic treatment for his STD diagnosed in our clinic, we discussed the use of condoms and the importance of informing his past sexual partners about his sexually transmitted disease. We then asked ourselves, “Does any of that really solve the core problem in this young man’s life?” The glaringly obvious answer was NO!
In most medical mission clinics, sadly, the story ends here. In those cases the young man moves on, and in the next year he likely has a recurrence of this or some worse problem because the root problem in his heart is not addressed. In this case the answer was not simply the treatment administered or a recommendation to wear a condom. Instead, those things were discussed but a much more important discussion also took place- one about what it means to live out the role of Biblical manhood.
As our team shared with Claude how God calls us to purity and servant leadership we could see that he was tracking. Like many young American men he had a desire to “do the right thing” but was relying on his own power to win the battle. He had heard of Jesus but had never fully understood why he should care about Him. As we shared the power of Christ in our own lives and presented him with the saving power of the gospel you could see this young man soften and we heard him repent of his sin right then and there and profess saving faith in Jesus Christ.
It was a beautiful proclamation in what could have been a very sad or difficult circumstance. We connected this young man with a local pastor that we work with and they agreed to meet together to help him grow in his walk with the Lord. We were so blessed to have this experience and we praised God for calling Claude to Himself.
We are continuing to work with our Haitian pastoral partners to equip and support them in leading and discipling young men like this long after we have left Haiti. The process isn’t perfect but as this patient’s future will hopefully demonstrate, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!
Jean came to clinic with a history of diabetes but she was troubled by irregular medical care and poor access to her medicines. She was very thankful that we had come to serve in her village. As a believer in Christ and regular church attender she was encouraged by our team to continue to walk in her faith and she encouraged us with scriptures that she had memorized and shared with us. We prayed with her and we were able to give her two months’ worth of medication for her diabetes.
Despite the joy we felt from getting to know her better and being encouraged by her faith there was a gnawing dissatisfaction that emanated from our visit at the same time. This is because, despite the amazing ways that we have seen God move during our clinics in Haiti, we know that we are still falling short of our desire to provide better and more consistent physical medical care to the people in the villages of Luly and Williamson. The primary reason for this shortcoming is our lack of a permanent building from which we can operate our clinic. Not having such a building prevents us from hiring full-time, qualified clinical Haitian staff who can serve their community on a regular basis. It prevents us from being able to train and support those same staff while it also limits our ability to acquire additional equipment that would allow us to do further diagnostic testing and monitoring that would be necessary to optimally help people like Jean.
With a permanent medical clinic Jean would have access to a nurse or physician who could help her to learn more about diabetes and how to make good food choices when she goes to the market. She would be able to learn how to check her blood sugars periodically to know if the changes she was making were helping her. She would be able to receive quarterly testing to monitor the overall effectiveness of her diabetes medications while also looking out for complications from the medications themselves.
The computer hardware that we could obtain and house in the clinic would also enable a record system to be implemented to help with patient tracking and follow up. A permanent medical clinic would also allow for us to provide basic eye care and examinations to not only identify any diabetic-related problems with her eyes but also perhaps to remove cataracts that develop and impair so many of our Haitian brother’s and sister’s quality of life and ability to read the Bible.
In short, a permanent medical clinic building is entirely central and imperative to our efforts to further bless thousands of Haitians’ lives through the provision of physical bodily care. God is doing great things through the WWV medical clinic already, but we know that He wants to do even greater things to help our brothers and sisters physical plight while continuing to make His name famous in these communities! We would so appreciate your support of His calling by supporting WWV in this effort through City on a Hill!