Saturday, April 25, 2020



Dr. Mark and Dr. Alex attend to patient with
near amputation of the hand.
Twenty-two. TWENTY-TWO. Twenty-two surgical procedures in the past FIVE days. To say that I am exhausted is a bit of an understatement. We are only scheduling 2-3 elective cases on each surgery day (Tuesdays and Thursdays), but the number of urgent and emergent cases seemed to explode this week, filling every day of my schedule and pouring over into next week. Appendicitis, ruptured ectopic pregnancies, small bowel obstructions, abscess in the chest, abscess in the abdomen, abscess in the leg, and so, so many traumas: Stab to the back, chop to the upper arm, chop to the lower arm, partial hand amputation, gunshot to the bladder, gunshot to the neck. Of all the cases I treat, trauma is by far the most physically and emotionally draining. Most people can’t control when an infection will occur, but violence is preventable.  Why do tribes perpetuate the age-old feuds? Why do husbands abuse their wives? Why all the fighting and violence? Some days, I feel like the biblical prophet, Habakkuk, crying out, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help....Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?” (Habbakuk 1:2-3). It is easy to become discouraged or angry as we labor to piece together broken bodies and broken lives. But when the huge tidal wave of traumas comes during an already busy week, it is simply overwhelming.

Thankfully, our prayers do not fall on deaf ears. On Thursday, when I had about hit the wall, one of our leaders at prayer meeting shared from 2 Kings 6. This is the story of Elisha, a man of God who is surrounded by enemy forces. Starting in verse 15:

 “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?’ the servant asked. 
‘Don’t be afraid, ‘ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”


             Those who are with us are more than those who are with them. And in that moment, during prayer meeting, God opened my eyes to see that we are not struggling against flesh and blood. As much as I despise those who inflict physical injuries on others, they are not my enemies. This is a spiritual battle. The forces of evil, agents of darkness, pain, and destruction, are engaged in an epic war against God’s army of light.   But those who are with us are more than those who are with them.  As my fellow missionaries prayed over me, I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders, and the presence of God enveloped me with his assurance and peace.  And once more I was overwhelmed... overwhelmed by the presence of God and his angels of light standing guard over us. 
             Please continue to pray for the hearts of the people here in Papua New Guinea and around the world who are gripped by fear and darkness. Pray for God’s light to break through. Pray that they may be overwhelmed by the presence and peace of God. 


  1. Have you heard the new song The God of angel armies? It comes to my mind so often when I am praying. I have prayed for Papua New Guinea since 1970 when my friend went there for many many years. It will continue in my prayers.

  2. This my second attempt to write a comment, so if both come through, forgive me. Judy and I will make you a special focus of prayer this week. We know that your skills are up to the task, so we will pray especially for strength, and for a reduction in the number of cases. You are a great surgeon and a great missionary!

  3. Praying for the people of Papua New Guinea and for you and your team Dr. Sheryl.