A Long Walk

Did you know that most people in rural Madagascar must walk to their local hospital for treatment? On top of that, many of the sick need to be carried on a long and arduous journey.

Dr. Jesh and Julie Thiessen, Fellowship International missionaries serving at the Good News Hospital in Madagascar, were reflecting on how they often see large groups of people needing to carry the sick to get help. It’s a sombre time to watch a crowd of 20 or more friends and family taking turns carrying the sick on a sheet of canvas held between two long poles.

This reminds me of the story in the Gospel of Mark

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”...So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”  Mark 2:1-5 and 11-12 (NIV)

Already in these early days of Jesus’ ministry, he had a reputation of being compassionate towards the sick and was able to heal them. As soon as these friends heard that Jesus was in town, they quickly went to their friend who was paralyzed, placed him on a mat, and took him to find Jesus. Imagine how excited they all must have felt as they walked towards where Jesus was staying, but then I can imagine, were filled with anxiety and fear mixed with determination as they saw the size of the crowd of people in their way. “What are we going to do now?” must have gone through their minds. But their determination and faith that Jesus could help their friend was so strong that they carried their friend up onto the roof, tore open the roof, and lowered their friend down in front of Jesus. Imagine their excitement when Jesus healed their friend and also forgive his sins. WOW!!!

This same need for the healing of a loved one is what motivates people to get the sick to the Good News Hospital in Madagascar. Once there, doctors and nurses can provide the urgent medical care needed and also meet their spiritual needs through Jesus. What an amazing parallel to Jesus’ ministry.

To help us in Canada understand a bit of the journey people must go through to get to a hospital in Madagascar, FAIR has organized the Walk for Madagascar. On November 14th, people are encouraged to walk to their local hospital with family and friends to pray for the new Christian surgical residency program and help raise funds for this important work. To learn more, click here. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me (click here).

We hope you’ll participate in this special event!