I had the privilege of being able to work the first shift of the hospital opening for this Congo field service. It was so exciting to see patients lining up while walking up the gangway, 4 short days after they queued up for hours on patient selection day. Did any of them realise that day how soon they would get their impossible dream fulfilled? How were their hearts feeling at that moment of walking up the gangway?
As they filed into our new admissions ward for pre-operative patients, we led them to their beds. The other nurse and I stood with our day crew to translate and we expressed our excitement that they were here. They responded with thanks and one translator told me later how the patients had expressed that they felt very well cared for and welcomed. Perfect!
The following morning I also worked, helping to organise the nurses and new day crew to orient to their jobs, while we got ready and sent the first patients to surgery.
During the morning the hospital chaplaincy team came in. They prayed first with the room full of patients, translators and nurses and then began to sing. The room was filled with joyful harmonised voices and the beat of clapping hands, singing praises to God. It hit my heart so hard with joy that I wanted to burst into tears. I swallowed the lump in my throat, with a wobbly smile and let the music sink into my soul. This is the reason that I love this place. We bring the patients here to give them a free surgery but the real reason is because we want them to know the free love that God has for them and pours out upon them. I am just a vessel for the pouring.
Here's a little slide show from patient selection day put together by our communications team. I hope it works for you.