Saturday, April 4, 2020

Greetings from Mindoro!

"I'm sorry, but you all must leave!" the village captain croaked, clutching his sides in an attempt to stop the chills from his fever.

"Sir," I tried. "My Tawbuid healthcare students and I are doing mobile clinics as part of their practicum. We have gone through all the right channels. We have the permission and the thanks of the government to do mobile medical clinics now during the Covid-19 scare. We received permission from the tribal government, and even from the elder of this village. We're not here to bring sickness but to heal. Nor are we here to trick you into becoming Seventh-day Adventists. If you allow us to treat the sick in your village you will be under no obligation to us."

I was standing with my ten Tawbuid healthcare students, and behind us the village was starting to collect. Mothers lined up with sick babies and old med wiggled rotten teeth that had been hurting for years. They were excited to get treatment, and from their own Tawbuid healthcare workers too!

"I didn't know you were coming," the captain insisted stubbornly. "We haven't had enough time to make sure that it was all right with the people in the village. You'll have to leave. We'll call you if we want you."

It was pretty obvious that the people lined up behind us wanted to be treated, but I tried one last tactic.

"Sir," I said. "I can see that you're suffering from a high fever. Won't you at least let us leave you some medicine to help you feel better before we go?"

"No! No! I have piles of medicine. I'm just fine. It's time for you to leave now!"

During the long hike home through the burning heat I had plenty of time to reflect on our world today. Wherever I looked people were frightened. They were frightened of a new variation on an old virus. They were frightened of change. They were frightened of the loneliness which had been haunting them for years, but which was now forced into their awareness.

"Lord," I prayed silently. "Thank You so much for the peace which passes all understanding. Thank you for the promise, "Fear not for I am with you." Thank you that wherever I am thrown, whether in quarantine, or in prison, or in sickness, or even in death I can go in peace, resting in you to take care of it all.

"But Lord, so many people are living in fear and loneliness. Today the people in the most developed cities are no better off than Satan's slaves here in the jungle. Lord help them to find peace in you. And make me an agent of your peace wherever in the world you put me!"

John H