Managing Christian Mission Hospitals – Lessons from the life of Jesus

26 Nov

Christian mission hospitals today face a plethora of external and internal challenges. Some are flourishing inspite of the challenges, several have closed and many are just holding on.

In 1992, within a year of our marriage, my wife, Ann and me visited the Makunda Christian Leprosy & General Hospital in a remote rural part of Assam in northeast India. The hospital had been closed for the previous 10 years and faced severe problems that appeared almost insurmountable. We felt that God was leading us to join this hospital because it was in a remote rural thickly populated area with no other high-quality healthcare facility nearby – thereby having a high potential for transformational impact. We restarted medical work in March 1993 with a commitment to stay on till January 2022. (1) Today, Makunda is a thriving community bringing transformation in many areas, especially to the poor and marginalized.

How did a hospital with severe local problems and enormous challenges renew itself to become a transformer of many communities? It is all because of the grace of God and the hard work of numerous staff who joined us – especially those who had no obligation to do so and in the early years with all its difficulties.

Our main contribution to the work at Makunda was perseverance. Many mission-hospital workers give up too soon in the face of adversity – we simply stayed on, doing the best we could each day, plodding on till major changes started to happen. We also learnt to put ourselves in the shoes of the people we are called to serve as well as the people we had been given to work with. We thank God for each other – Ann and me complemented each other in our work, God had blessed each with an unique set of strengths and we played our roles, Ann with her gift of empathy and comfort and me with my gift of analysis and planning. As we go through Christian life, we yield ourselves to the Master, to be chipped and shaped into what He wants us to be, learning through trials and mistakes, becoming better each day. As a couple, Ann took on more of the soft role of prayer and personal involvement with people while I took on more of the hard role of being blunt and uncompromising when required. Both roles have their place in Christian management and must be administered in the correct doses.

A few days ago, I was invited by the Dr. Jyothsna M.J., Medical Superintendent of Unicorpus to speak to the “Healthcare Community Fellowship”. The Unicorpus Health Foundation was started in 2015 by 4 alumni of the Christian Medical College, Vellore and is today growing in many areas providing services to people in Hyderabad and beyond. I thank them for inviting me – may God bless their work and make them a blessing to many.(2)

Through our 29-year experience at Makunda, we have been guided by verses from the Bible in developing the correct attitudes. Successful mission hospital work happens when we are able to interact with our staff, students, patients and partners in the correct manner – this brings people to us, to join us as staff or use our services as poor patients, thereby fulfilling the mandate for which we exist. In the short video that follows ( a recording of my talk to the Healthcare Community Fellowship), I have reflected on key Bible verses, “golden drops of wisdom” that guided us to the right attitudes to adopt and which led to the major changes at Makunda. May these verses be a source of wisdom, strength and encouragement to others working in missions across the world and help them become ‘salt and light’ to the communities they serve.

References:

  1. https://the-sparrowsnest.net/2018/05/12/early-days-at-makunda/
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skTMoXiEB2s

Please click on the link below to view the video:

2 Responses to “Managing Christian Mission Hospitals – Lessons from the life of Jesus”

  1. arkilang synrem November 26, 2021 at 11:20 am #

    well written and presented Sir. thank you.

  2. Augustin November 27, 2021 at 12:39 am #

    Thank you sir.

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