By Eunice Herchenroeder
It had been a full, busy week. We all had plans for Saturday. Mike needed to finish the sermon about which he’d been pondering and praying all week. William had a lot of loose ends to tie up in the finance office before leaving town for several days. Emily was planning to spend time with a friend. I was looking forward to getting caught up on e-mail after I returned home from snorkeling with Jacque and Alta. And Jacque? She was probably going to bake a batch of her husband’s favorite chocolate chip cookies after I dropped her off.
That’s the kind of day we were planning.
A phone call changed it all. It came from one of our close co-workers, a Papua New Guinean Bible translator who lives in a remote jungle village. His family had been the victim of a vicious crime. They had already traveled to the nearest available place to seek medical care and report the crime. It appeared that they needed someone here in Madang to visit the provincial police offices to help start the process of getting the perpetrator arrested. So Mike set aside his sermon preparation to go to first one, then another police building, than back to the first in hopes of providing our co-worker the assistance that was needed.
It soon became evident that the injuries required care at the hospital in Madang. William offered to go get the family. Emily offered her truck for the long drive over the sometimes-not-so-good road. She also offered her time to go along and add a woman’s touch to the care the family so desperately needed.
My snorkeling companions and I cut short our outing. On the way home we put our heads together to make sure the most important bases were covered for the family’s care when they arrived in town. By the time we got home plans A, B, C, and D had taken shape in our heads and hearts. After we parted company Jacque, a nurse, went off in search of medicine we knew would be needed. Mike and I gathered a few food items. We joined them at the hospital, intending to wait with them until they were admitted. Meanwhile Jacque rounded up sheets, towels, and a few other items that they would need for their first night at the hospital. She and her husband Bob delivered them along with a pot of freshly cooked rice.
By now it was nearly 9:00. It had already been a very long day for the family, and it was increasingly clear that no doctor would be available to see them until Sunday. We weren’t even sure how soon the admitting nurse would be free to see them because she was overwhelmed with the needs of a large group of patients who had arrived ahead of them. Weary and wounded, our friends gratefully accepted Bob and Jacque’s invitation to spend the night in their home.
We’re a team. And this is how teams work. We’re the body of Christ. And this is how the body is meant to function. Sure, William will leave behind more loose ends than he’d like. Emily missed much of the time she’d planned to spend with her friend. Mike’s sermon won’t be very polished. I didn’t get any of those e-mails written. And Bob had to wait for his chocolate chip cookies.
But we’re here to show the love of Christ. Without a lifestyle of love, the Word we translate will have no impact. The love of Christ compels us . . . to be here . . . to set aside our own plans at times . . . to serve.
Eunice Herchenroeder serves our team as Director of Support Services and missionary care facilitator.