Dr. Sawyer Serving with Samaritan's Purse

Dr. Sawyer Serving with Samaritan's Purse
Papua New Guinea

Friday, July 15, 2016

Red and Yellow, Black and White

Several months ago, a friend of mine and vascular surgeon, Dr. Paul Osteen, shared a story about a patient of his that he had cared for in Zambia.  Her name was Precious.  It was a heart warming story, one that leaves you with tears ready to spill from the corners of your eyes.  At the end of his story he shared the lyrics to the children's song which is familiar to many:

"Jesus loves the little children,
all the children of the world,
red and yellow, black and white,
they are PRECIOUS in his sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world."

Dr. Osteen's story and the lyrics of this children's song have been going through my mind as we serve here in Africa.  Being here in West Africa and reading the disturbing news events of the past week in America leaves my heart troubled and saddened.  Earlier this week I sat in the hospital chapel at 6:45 AM joined by hundreds of the hospital staff as they sang and listened to the morning message.  The hospital chapel is filled to a standing room only capacity with hundreds of people each morning, Monday through Saturday, six days a week.  In the company of my co-laborers, each of us here united in the purpose of bringing healing to the sick in the name of Jesus, I realized that I was one of only about a half-dozen white skinned people in the room.  The best part of it all was that the color of my skin didn't matter.  

Mbingo Baptist Hospital Chapel
My family met with Pastor Mbuh Julius (last names are written first here) to discuss placement of vinyl transfer Bible verses that we had brought with us.  Seventy percent of the patients here are Franco-phones rather than Anglo-phones (French speaking rather than English speaking), and in preparation for our time here we had asked Amanda George (www.etsy.com/shop/babygeorges) to make large vinyl transfers of two scripture verses; two in English and two in French.  My family went to work with Pastor Julius to find places in the hospital and chapel to place these scripture verses.

In the maternity waiting area, my family transferred Psalms 139:14.   

Above the check-in window in the surgery clinic they posted Deuteronomy 31:8.

"The Lord himself goes before you
and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

We were extremely honored when Pastor Julius asked us to place the English version of Deuteronomy 31:8 in the front of the chapel where the entire hospital staff meets six mornings per week.  

Red or yellow, black or white; French speaking or English speaking, no matter how short or tall, small or large, we are all precious in God's sight.  

Indeed, when Jesus was asked what is the most important commandment, his response to the religious leaders of the time was, 

"Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,"
This is the first and greatest commandment.  
And the second is like it:
"Love your neighbor as yourself."  
Matthew 22:37-39

The problems of the United States will not be solved by decree, law, Congress, the Supreme Court, or whoever is elected as the next president.  The problems of the United States need to be solved with a change of heart of the people of our country.  These are heart issues, not political issues.  We would do well to consider what advice Jesus had to say to to the lawyers of the day in biblical times, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" and "love your neighbor as yourself."

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