We have discovered a new aspect of our ministry here. It has come to us unexpectedly, through different circumstances.
We have ourselves made several trips to the doctor here – always a bit scary in a foreign country because of unknown standards, and unknown costs. However, there seems to be quality care available here for a low cost. (For example, you could go in with an infection, see a doctor, and leave with a prescription for less than ten dollars.)
There is also some kind of health insurance that everyone here is supposed to have. It seems, though, that there are some complicated rules regarding how to use it. (Surprise, surprise.)
So we have been baffled when people with medical issues that obviously merit professional attention put off going to the hospital. (Or simply refuse to go.) As we tend to do when confused by something, we have persisted in asking questions: Is it because you don’t think your condition is bad enough to see a doctor? Is it because you think that going to the doctor means you don’t have faith to be healed? Is it because you are afraid of doctors? Is it because you don’t have the money to go?
Bingo. Almost every time, people put off going to the doctor because of cost.
- A young woman who we discover has been weeping instead of sleeping at night for several weeks because of the pain in her chest.
- Our DTS translator who has collapsed on several occasions for unknown reasons (and it was happening more and more frequently).
- A young woman who fell HARD onto cement, landing on her head and back.
So as we ask questions about why people aren’t going to the doctor, and recieve answers that it is merely because they can’t afford it, we have thought, “We can meet this need. Surely we have 30 or 40 bucks that we can carve out of our monthly budget to help our friends get medical care?!”
Its not a “ministry” we planned to have, but we are privileged to do our bit.