Daily life in the Health Centre

“JUBILEE HEALTH CENTRE NEWSLETTER”

MARCH 2014

Greetings again from Cape Town! Summer is fast blowing past us. It’s as if nature received a memo earlier this month, reminding it of the need to change seasons, and seemingly overnight the weather has cooled.

The number of patients visiting the health centre daily has not “cooled” though. Every morning we are greeted by a sea of faces, some familiar and many new, referred by friends and relatives from far and wide. One patient told us that our clinic had been recommended to her by a family whose little girl had been healed of an ear problem, with which they had struggled for three years before coming to us. She has now been completely well for a year, and the family is overjoyed. Hence the referral!

Our team had a time of thanksgiving for the past year, and shared amazing stories of healing and encouragement with each other. One of our nurses told us how she had prayed for a lady who struggled with poor vision. A referral letter to an optometrist was already written as they two prayed together. As the lady opened her eyes, she began to read the poster on the consulting room wall, the print becoming clearer and clearer as she read. The startled patient cried out, “Miracles! Miracles!” so excited at being able to read again!

A patient seen by a physiotherapist received prayer to grow her shorter leg to match the other. Sure enough, right there in front of them, the leg grew as they watched! The measurements were then checked and rechecked and rechecked, confirming it had really happened. Both those praying had heard of it happening but never had it happen as they prayed before, so all involved, patient and team members alike, were very excited and encouraged!

Another patient came to see the physiotherapist, this time with a severe hemiparesis (paralysis of one side of the body) following a stroke 7 years prior. He asked if he could be healed. However, the situation looked helpless, leaving the physiotherapist feeling despondent and sad. The only answer he could give was, “All I can do is pray for you.” At this, the man’s face lit up, “as though an explosion had happened in his heart”, and he said, “That’s the best news I’ve heard!” He left with the hemiparesis he came with, but so happy!

A lady came into the health centre “by accident”, having been passing by. Her husband was dying of cancer and she was battling in the situation. One of our counsellors was free to chat to her, and sat with her, taking her through a psalm in the Bible. The lady began to sense a shift inside and told the counsellor that she felt she could now “look to God” rather than being consumed by the problems. A little while later, this lady’s friend, who had told her about the church in the first place, met the counsellor at church and told her that her friend is now completely changed 

Our administrator told us how she has a unique position, stationed outside the consulting rooms, being able to notice the hope-filled changes in people as they walk out, compared with how they look going in. She loves being able to pray for those who cannot be seen that day, always willing to bring them to Jesus before they leave the health centre.

Prayer certainly featured again and again in the stories. One of the doctors told us how a patient had thrown her arms around his neck in gratitude for praying for her. Astonished he said, “I’m not the kind of chap who has these things happen to me!” He noted too that people often say, “How can you pray like you do, knowing all that I need to hear?” A man from a religion that does not allow prayer, except with permission from their own elders, agreed to prayer in the clinic, and then was amazed at how accurate the prayers were, saying “You prayed all the right things!” Of course, the most amazed and encouraged are the team members themselves! How great is our God! We love how He speaks through us, oftentimes without our realising it at all!

Pregnancy crisis counselling had left one of our main counsellors very discouraged, and she asked God to show her some “fruit” of her work. As she phoned those she had counselled, she discovered that 3 out of 4 had chosen to keep their babies. This was good news, as our statistics show that usually one in 3 out of 4 choose to abort their babies after pre-abortion counselling 

Her colleague chimed in, “Sometimes people don’t come back for appointments, or don’t answer their phones when you call, but a year later you meet them with a baby!” saying, “Those who keep their babies are very happy.” She then went on to tell us about a grade 10 student who had everything turn out completely differently from what she had expected. When it was discovered that she was pregnant, she was forced to leave the place where she was staying, but was taken in by a much kinder and more nurturing lady, who took good care of her. So, looking back at how things had happened, the young mom-to-be told the counsellor she was “so happy to have been kicked out”.

A refugee woman ran up to the one who had helped counsel her, meeting her on the train, and gave her a big hug. “Thank you!” she said, explaining that God had answered the counsellor’s prayers when her partner had suddenly returned from Johannesburg, having not been contactable until then. She had decided not to abort her unborn baby as a result, feeling supported and ready to face the future.

One of our nurses was on her way home recently, waiting for her evening train, when she became involved in a conversation with a South African lady, just moved to Cape Town from upcountry. This lady told her of her having been turned away from the nearby teaching hospital she had visited to ask for an abortion, because she had arrived without the required pre-abortion counselling. Bit by bit her story unfolded, countered gently by the nurse’s own. Both these married ladies had found themselves unexpectedly pregnant, each having little ones at home and feeling overwhelmed by the news. By the end of the conversation, this lady had decided to keep her baby. She was so encouraged by our nurse’s choices and challenged by her faith in the God who hears in very similar, if not tougher, circumstances than her own. As they parted the lady told her, “You’ve just saved my baby!” Our nurse promised to pray and offered her the opportunity to visit the health centre for anything she may need. The next day this lady phoned her, ecstatic, because her husband had suddenly been promoted, doubling his salary, relieving the family of the financial burden they were carrying (one of the main driving forces that led her to the hospital in the first place).

A week or two ago a young woman came to the health centre asking for help, having spent a small fortune (about R2000) on some pills from a backstreet abortionist. She was 20 weeks pregnant and desperate, and had been told that the pills would dissolve the baby and that she would then bleed a little. Living alone and frightened, she sought counsel before swallowing the tablets. She left the health centre and changed her mind about aborting her baby. When the counsellor phoned her later, it was discovered that she had been wonderfully surprised by both her employer’s and her family’s responses to her pregnancy. Both had celebrated and welcomed the idea of a new baby, rather than reject and shame her. What she had expected to be loss and grief became instead gain and joy. What a story of redemption this is! Our God is awesome!

Please pray for these little ones, that they may come to know their Redeemer personally from a young age, and that they may live for Him and His glory. Pray too for their families, for healing and redemption that even impacts their communities. God loves these precious ones and specialises in turning what the enemy intended for evil into something beautiful and good!

One morning clinic last week saw a line of grieving women come in one after the other. The first came for her regular blood pressure check, but carried heavily the loss of her eldest son to undiagnosed rampant tuberculosis. Another, coming with her youngest child to see me, both with a viral colds, sobbed as she described how she felt about her husband’s adamant wish to take a second wife, quite within his Muslim rights. She still refused prayer on the basis of that same religion, but willingly received a warm hug instead, and so appreciated the ear that listened to her heart’s cry. Then, as I was examining the two youngest children of a woman who had been gang-raped on her way to work a while ago, surreptitiously trying to ascertain how she was doing without the children understanding the conversation, there was a knock on the door, and there stood another well-loved and familiar patient. She just stood there and looked at me. Then came forward for a hug. Happily obliging, I was a little puzzled, having had a consultation interrupted, until she muttered, “I lost my little girl….” That little girl was another of our well-loved patients, a 4 year old who drowned in her family’s friend’s swimming pool on Christmas Eve. This was her mother’s first visit to us since the event. She had come to share the news, and the load of grief she carried. Each one of these women left smiling and encouraged, a lightness in their step, despite the deep-seated grief each was carrying. All they needed was a heartfelt prayer, a hug, an ear to hear them; and carried in each of us, embracing them, Jesus, the Hope of glory. This series of women reminded me of our own need to be filled daily with the Spirit, so that we can pour out love and compassion on all who come to us, so devastated by life’s cruelties, and also so that we can bring these sadnesses to Him, who is so much greater than anything the world deals out. It also reminded me of how we need and value your prayers, both for our patients and for ourselves. Thank you for supporting us this way!

The health centre has undergone some team changes since last I wrote to you. After many years of serving faithfully with us, Glynn, one of our treasured nurses, has left to pursue another career. Please pray for God’s blessing on her, and that He will bring someone to take her place with us. Two doctors, Biddy and Sam, have offered to serve with us weekly for a while. What a blessing! And our other two volunteer doctors, Hans and Estelle, have committed to continue to work with us this year. We have numerous other volunteers lined up to spend varying amounts of time with us for the remainder of this year. Please pray that they will be integrated easily into our team and enjoy their time here, really encountering God while with us. Michael, one of our physiotherapists, has committed himself to be with us every morning the clinic runs, and has quickly become an integral part of us, serving in numerous capacities as the need arises. Rian has joined us from the Netherlands as a counsellor, and has also become cheerily indispensable in a short time. Bolanga from the DRC has just joined us as a volunteer, and our other regular volunteers continue to serve faithfully. We are so grateful for the their love and commitment to God’s work here. Without all these wonderful people we would truly struggle to manage.

Here are last year’s statistics (January to December 2013, inclusive):

3094 patients were seen in the clinic.

383 clients were counselled. Of these, 63 came for HIV testing, 124 for relationship advice, 25 for post-abortion counselling, 86 for pre-abortion counselling, and 126 others for crisis pregnancy counselling.

Thank you for your commitment to walking with us! We value your prayers and support so much.

With love from Caryn and the Jubilee Health Centre Team

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