The following was written by an OMF medical worker serving in China.
We were a team committed to paint the pediatric ward of our hospital, the same project as last Summer. Looking back, I’m still excited and can hardly believe what we saw. Why?
Rarely had I seen locals joining any short-term team and never before a team this big! Beside the eight Hong Kong ladies and teens, eleven local high school graduates and students participated. Since the latter are all good friends of mine I was grateful for the chance to spend a whole week with them, before they’d leave for college. I hoped to share what’s so important to me. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Mt. 18:20
Learning to Adjust
“We can’t paint!” most of them worried. We visited the rooms we had painted last year to help us gain a vision, but it also set high expectations: “We’ve never done something like this before.”
The HK team first had to get used to not keeping amongst themselves. The local students were curious to meet people from Hong Kong, since most of them had never left their small home county. For many, Hong Kong features as paradise.
Gaining Courage and Confidence
Hong Kong provided one artistic leader and we had one local arts student. Drawing lots – green or red sweeties – determined one’s assignment.
After initial hesitation, courage and confidence grew by the hour. Being such a big painting troupe, the same afternoon curious nurses could already marvel at the incredible progress. Soon we ran out of white and yellow paint.
We waited patiently for the paint ordered on the internet, but on the second day it hadn’t arrived yet. Finally, the ambulance driver found a substitute in town!
Volunteering for others makes us happy and proud. In four days we had finished four rooms: 36m2!
“That’s sooo beautiful”, nurses and doctors applauded.
One student expressed what all wished: “May its beauty help sick children to recover faster!”
The hospital kindly provided our meals. At noon nearly 20 of us queued for a canteen lunch. Dinner was especially prepared for us, set on two round tables: very Chinese – only less spicy to accommodate for the Hong Kong taste.
Many Members, One Body
The fellowship grew even deeper and warmer during the nightly meetings in our living room. Christ is experienced in community. The Hong Kong team had prepared English and Chinese songs, which inspired deeper thoughts.
Soon, most had picked a favourite song. When the Hong Kong workers shared their life stories you could hear a pin drop. And everyone loved the fun games.
Heartache in the OR
Each day I took another student to the OR. Why do so many of them want to study medicine? On Tuesday, I was very busy looking after a newborn with respiratory distress. It is not my specialty but lacking any specialist they often call me. The whole team hoped and prayed for the baby. At night I was called for resuscitation – without success.
Many of the young people hurt deeply coming so close to death. This lead to an honest exchange and good prayers during a night walk.
If something is really precious to you, then you’d love to share it with those people who are close to your heart, right? Therefore, I was deeply touched how the Lord moved the hearts of my young friends. Some spoke for the first time to their creator, wanting to walk with Him.