Every single day people die unnecessarily here in Filipino hospitals. Its not due to poorly trained doctors or nurses but its because no matter how well the doctors prescribe, if the parents or families don’t have the money to do tests to find out what’s wrong with their patient or the money to buy them medicine then they will die anyway! It’s terrible to watch children die from dehydration or asthma attacks just because parents couldn’t afford cheap medicines.
I remember one of my first experiences of the hospital in 2001 was watching a 7 year old boy die of rabies. It was horrific. The mum wasn’t able to afford to injections needed immediately after he was bitten and so she had to watch her son suffer a horrible painful death knowing that it was somehow her fault. I remember thinking that someone should do something to help families like this but I didn’t realize God was starting to call me to do it that very night.
The hospital ministry is the practical helps ministry. We have a team of 8 people who man the hospital offices daily and tend to the needs of the patients and their families. We literally stand in the gap for the parents by buying the vital medications and doing the tests that they were supposed to do for their children or relatives. As you can imagine they are shocked at first that complete strangers are offering to help them but we assure them that there’s no strings attached and that we are helping because we love God and we know that He loves them so very much that He sent us here to help them. Its a wonderful moment when you get to be part of saving a child’s life and rescuing a family from the horror that unfolds in front of them when their child is in an emergency situation.
Once we help the families to settle in up on the ward, we thoroughly interview them to obtain as much information as possible about their home life and financial situations. They also have to bring a certificate from their local barangay (the equivalent of a local city government official) to prove that they are actually indigent. (Poor and in need). We have to be good stewards of the money that’s donated to us so we offer full assistance to some and partial assistance to others, depending on their circumstances. We want to help as many as we can. Saying no can be difficult as you know that your ‘no’ means someone may lose his or her life.
Once we help get families settled on the ward, we get to begin sharing the gospel with them. Every afternoon, we have activities on the ward. Some day’s its film showings, some day’s puppets and other days its arts and crafts. No matter what the activity, they still hear the Good News that there’s a God who loves them deeply and has great plans for their lives.
Often children stay for extended periods of time on the wards and we get to know their families personally. We have had the privilege of leading many of them to the Lord and have watched them get involved in church life and grow. Some are even missionaries already!
The hospital is a place to realize that you need God… There are some things you just cannot fix yourself! We pray for the sick and lay hands on them and ask God for their healing. I hope you can partner with us and help us pray. You never know, just as you pray there where you are, we may be standing over a dying child and doing the same. Your prayers matter to them!