Weekly Newsletter – Feb 22, 2019

Weekly Newsletter, 22 Feb 2019

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away~ Revelation 21:4

She was a beautiful, happy-go-lucky two-year-old child, except that her eyes were a bit crossed. Her strabismus surgery to correct the problem went flawlessly, and our anesthetist extubated her without any difficulty. She was breathing spontaneously fir about five minutes, but then her breathing rate slowed. Everything went downhill from there. She was masked, reintubated, given ampules of intravenous medications, and finally, CPR was initiated.

We did not have a defibrillator, nor did the Adventist Clinic in downtown Lusaka, Zambia. It took us half an hour to find an ambulance emergency service that did have one, and it took another half hour to find an ambulance emergency service that did have one, and it took another half hour for them to arrive. But following a long two-hour battle with life, and after the ambulance arrived confirming an agonal heart rhythm (and eventually no rhythm), we pronounced her dead.

Although there is tremendous joy that comes from working in the mission field and bringing restoration of sight to many, I am acutely reminded of the risks involved when we leave our comfort zone to participate in God’s work. I wanted to be a missionary doctor since I was 16. But when my husband and I came to Zambia in August 2011 to serve as medical missionaries, we had no idea how challenging it would be.

Some of the obstacles, including the obvious culture shock, involved uprooting everything we knew to live in a developing nation, dealing with insects and pests of every dimension, and learning to practice ophthalmology and dentistry in a foreign setting with very limited resources. Yet, despite all these challenges, it has been rewarding to know that we are part of a bigger work, an opportunity to serve as an active part of the medical ministry. We know that we are making a difference, not solely because of the talents and skills we bring to the table, but because God has chosen to use us for His purpose.

I may not ever completely understand why, in my first year of mission service, I had an innocent child die in my operating room. And as medical professionals, we may never fully understand why complications occur, even when we are doing our very best to help our patients. But ultimately, it is up to us to leave these things in God’s hands. We must trust that He is in control and that He will work in His time, in His way, for His purpose.

I take comfort in believing in a God who knows our pain and struggles, One who grieves as we grieve, and One who cares and loves humankind with all His heart. Despite some of the trials and tribulations on this side of eternity, I look forward to that glorious day when the trumpet will sound, and we will be taken to a place where there will be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, nor pain. It will be a place where peace and joy will reign, a place where our profession as physicians will no longer be needed. -Jamie Yoo, assistant professor LLUSM, department of ophthalmology.