When we returned to Ghana in the end of September, Dr. Nastia Furtak was ready for a break. She had been filling in the role as surgical consultant while I was in the States. The task was much more difficult that first expected, especially since COVID prevented volunteers from coming!
After resting for half a year, she was ready to come back for a visit and to help me for a couple weeks.
One day, a man with a large, recurrent inguinal hernia came to the hospital because the hernia would not go back into the abdomen, it was obstructed or incarcerated.
Before surgery, the patient was very uncomfortable, but he was also uncooperative. He removed the IV line and the nasogastric tube, but once he made it to the OR, he refused to remove his rings. He said that the rings were part of his “juju” practice as a juju man.
While Dr. Furtak was praying prior to the operation, she prayed not only for physical healing but also for spiritual healing.
The following day, while rounding in the wards, Dr. Furtak invited one of the chaplains to help share Christ with her patient. She pointed out to the patient that his juju charms did not heal his hernia. Instead, he came to the hospital founded by doctors who loved and followed Jesus. His operation was done by a doctor who also loves and worships Jesus.
She noted that sometimes God allows physical sickness in our lives to lead to spiritual healing as well as physical healing. She explained that God has made a way for us to be reconciled to him through Jesus – the way, the truth and the life – and that Jesus is the ONLY way to God.
After sharing the gospel, Dr. Furtak gave the patient a chance to respond. He had been listening attentively with a huge smile on his face. With joy in his voice, he said that he had listened to the chaplain’s prayer in the morning and wanted to talk to the chaplain, but didn’t know how to approach him. He was so excited that the chaplain came to him!
Dr. Furtak explained that God is a jealous God (Isaiah 42:8). He doesn’t want to be just one of this patient’s gods. God is the one true God. The patient smiled as he took the rings off his fingers.
“I don’t need these anymore!” he said “it is as if a veil has been lifted from my eyes!”
That day, he chose to follow Jesus.
In the same ward, I watched as one of my patients just two beds down looked on while Dr. Furtak and the chaplain were sharing the Gospel. Later in the week, I was able to sit down with that patient and share the Gospel. He also said he wanted to follow Jesus!
Both patients were encouraged to follow up with local pastors / churches in their own towns for discipleship and fellowship with believers.
Read an article Heidi wrote for IMB about “The Christian Ministry of Healing Where Medicine Is Magic“