“Did we really see this? Is this really happening?” exclaims nurse, Nicky Tiltman.
Medical staff at OM Lake Tanganyika have discovered a new kind of medicine—a kind of medicine that only He can give. It’s so powerful that for the present time they are leaving all other conventional medicine aside when out on medical outreach trips.
Since the beginning of 2013 it has been the goal of the Good News II team to undertake two medical outreaches per month. Usually, the team loads up its boat with medical supplies before heading out to the rural villages, where it sees on average, 150 to 170 patients per trip.
However, after each trip the team soon became disheartened by the lack of improvement in the area – why wasn’t the health situation in the villages changing?
Nicky vents, “Every time we’ve gone back to the same village or a similar village, it’s the same picture over and over again.” The nurses would see the same patients in the same villages with the same problems trip after trip. They diagnosed symptoms and handed out medicine, but where was the long-term change? Were the villagers making up symptoms to try to get something for free? What was happening?
It was time for a change in strategy and heart. God confirmed to Nicky and her colleague Lenie that He was asking them to take a step of faith and reach out to the people with a new medicine: prayer. It was time for the team to place their faith in the Lord over their faith in modern medicine, and to address the spiritual problems of the people rather than just the physical.
So during the next outreach to Tongwa village in Zambia, the nurses left their medical supplies at the base, bringing only their faith in the Lord. He didn’t let them down.
A ‘Prayer Room’ was opened, in which a team of missionaries gathered to treat patients. Excitingly, many people were miraculously healed, including the village’s community health evangelist, whose foot had hurt for several months. She could barely walk. Lenie held her foot in her hand while she and others prayed that Jesus would bring healing. According to Lenie, while she prayed, she felt in her hands ‘cracking’ and ‘movements’ inside the foot. The community health evangelist felt it too. “She jumped up and down after that, where [before] she couldn’t walk for weeks!” reports Lenie.
During the next medical outreach the team travelled to Chipwa village and again decided to leave the modern medicine aside, depending completely upon the Lord. Just as in Tongwa village, many people were miraculously healed.
According to Lenie, a young woman of approximately 15 years of age came complaining of back pains. It was obvious from a quick physical inspection that she suffered from scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine.
The team prayed together for healing for several minutes. “And then we let her stand, and her shoulders were straight! We sort of didn’t believe it, so we made her sit. It was straight as can be. And then the pastor there of one of the churches sat with her and led her to Jesus. It was just amazing,” testifies Lenie.
Watching God heal people has been quite a learning experience for the nurses. According to Lenie, “What we learnt is the authority we have in Jesus. Him in us. We in Him. You don’t have to be a special person or specially anointed or stirred up. You just have to believe God’s Word.”
Nicky admits that seeing God at work has increased her faith ‘one hundred fold’: “I’ve heard stories all my life of God doing stuff ‘round the world, but to actually physically see it is just something else.”
Lenie realises that she is torn about how and when to use modern medicine now. “Yes, we still want medicine, but we will depend on God more now. Before, we depended on the medicine. Yes, we prayed. We prayed before the trip. We pray[ed] after the trip. We pray[ed] for patients when we [saw] them.”
What the Lord is currently doing through these essential medical outreaches will greatly help the long-term work of changing the villages. According to Lenie, “People must be changed spiritually before they will listen to teachings about how to live healthy lives. So we know that as God changes these people from the inside, they will become more fertile for the health education and change in lifestyle [that we teach].” Brad Livengood