This edition of the SteffeScope is unusual in that it about what other people have said and not about our ministry. However, we think they are well worth passing them on.
Often, we get the suggestion that containers of supplies from North America to a mission hospital are the answer to the problems they face. Not always so. We received these notes from a missionary in the Republic of Congo. He demonstrates that shipping containers to help a mission hospital is not always all it is cracked up to be. Spiritual warfare is everywhere. Please pray for them!
Dear Friends & Family,
This is the third week out of the last four that I have been separated from my family and patients in order to try and get a shipping container of medical and maintenance supplies and equipment from Samaritan’s Purse / World Medical Mission for Pioneer Christian Hospital out of port. I spent 2 weeks in Brazzaville trying to get the Attestation d'Exonération from customs, which we received last Friday. Praise God! Saturday I traveled here to Pointe Noire to work with our Transitaire to get the approval needed (26 signatures) to get the container out of the Port Autonome de Pointe Noire.
This is an expensive process. Even though we are exempt from customs and taxes, so far we have incurred over $10,858.14 in fees and required contributions to such things as the “Customs Agents’ Sitting Fees” and “Contribution to the Community of Integration” and “Extension of IM-9 Time Limits” and “Certificate of Verification.” The airline that we’ve used before now charges $35,000 for the charter cargo flight to Impfondo. Last time we paid $16,000 (in December 2004).
I am writing for your help, not so much for the money (we have some), but for your prayers (this is war), because I would like to get back home to my family and work in Impfondo, with the bandages and suture and oxygen machines and new used tractor that we desperately need to keep PCH running. Would you please join me in praying for:
- Our container to be released today, March 18, 2011.
- The shipping company Delmas to forgive all or a majority of the $100/day parking fees since our container arrived in port January 20, 2011.
- A plane and pilots to safely transport me and the container’s contents to Impfondo for $20,000 (or less) by Sunday morning.
- While you’re at it, please also pray for us to recover a suitcase that has been lost since December 2, 2010, which contains costly probes for the hospital’s ultrasound machine, and Christmas presents and homeschool books for some of our precious MK’s in Impfondo.
Joseph Harvey, MD
I received this follow-up note this morning:
I don't have the words to describe all that I have been through since our last PrayerNet. The brief facts: Our shipping container was released from the ocean port Friday. It is now sitting empty at the airport in Pointe
Noire. All the contents have been weighed and are on pallets on the dirt under tarps next to the plane that is supposed to take them to Brazzaville tomorrow. This took 12 hours on Sunday, and involved the seizure of the tractor and table saw by customs officials under the false accusation that we did not declare these items, 5 hours of fruitless negotiation, death threats against my person, the intervention of the Minister of Health and 8 other high ranking government officials, and moving every single item by hand 6 times. The plane was supposed to be loaded yesterday, but now they say maybe tomorrow. We couldn't afford to pay for a flight to Impfondo, so now we'll have to move/lift everything at least 11 more times.
It is pouring rain now. Please pray that this tropical downpour stops immediately, and does not damage the 611 boxes under those tarps. If it does, how can we possibly move 10.9 tons again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again, by hand, before everything arrives at Pioneer Christian Hospital in Impfondo? How many more days will I have to spend being hassled by customs?
Standing in the need of prayer, in need of lots more miracles, For Health & Hope,
Joseph Harvey, MD
Field Director, Global Outreach Mission Congo
Medical Director, Pioneer Christian Hospital, Impfondo, Republic of Congo
Reverent Stan Key has become a good friend and one of our favorite Bible teachers. He has a great ability to communicate on a common sense level. The following article came from the CMDA’s E-pistle, an e-mail letter to missionaries:
The problem today is not so much the absence of Jesus as the confusion that surrounds his true identity. How many Jesus’ are there? Will the real Jesus please stand up!
Many today believe in Jesus-Lite. The most profound thing that can be said about this Jesus is that he is, well…. nice. Always smiling, this is a deity whose supreme purpose is to ensure that your day goes well. Jesus-Lite tastes great, but he’s not very filling.
Genie-Jesus is another option high on the list of many today. Do you have a need? Just rub the magic lamp, say the proper words and poof…out comes Genie-Jesus to grant your wish. One of the great benefits of this Jesus is that he comes and he goes on command. Once he does what we ask him to do, we send him back to his lamp until we need him again.
An older version of Jesus that is now back in vogue is Jesus-Plus. What makes this Jesus so popular is that he is happy to sit on your god-shelf next to your other favorite deities. You can worship Jesus-Plus and the money-god, the sex-god, the pleasure-god, the security-god, etc.. all at the same time.
You’ll hear people talk about Jesus-Chic on Oprah, at the Academy Awards and in the tabloids. You’ll find bumper stickers evoking this Jesus on late model Lexus’ and Mercedes. Warning: this Jesus in not omnipresent. He is not found in areas of poverty, hunger, disease or suffering.
One of the latest variations to emerge in recent years is Designer-Jesus. Many prefer this Jesus because he adapts so easily to his environment. He morphs into the deity you desire: a long-haired rabbi, a psychotherapist, a CEO, a fishing buddy, a teenage revolutionary, or a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
The problem we face today with these multiple versions of Jesus is not new. Paul faced the same situation in the first century.
“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached…you put up with it easily enough.” (II Corinthians 11:3-4)
What about you? Which Jesus do you worship? Only the Real Jesus has the power to save. The only place to meet Him is in the New Testament.
Praise and Prayers:
- Please pray for Dr. Harvey and for the situation he is facing.
- One of our PAACS residents, Domain Fuka Bananga is coming close to the end of his 4-year payback time at Impfondo and wants to return to his home area in the Eastern Congo. Please pray for his family and him as they make these crucial decisions and one more within PAACS comes back home, thereby bringing the vision to full flower.
- We are heading this Thursday to Atlanta to attend the Global Health Conference at Emory University and while there, will be speaking to the Atlanta CMDA (Christian Medical and Dental Association), to mission pastors from several churches and to some potential donors.
- Pray for Bruce as he prepares for the upcoming spring meetings of both PAACS and the CMDE Commissions to be held subsequent weekends in April.
Bruce with Micky and Sean