“For the love of Christ compels us”

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The work of the Chaplaincy at Partners in Hope Medical Centre is supported by SIM Malawi Project #MW96853  Medical Discipleship & Spiritual Ministry

The words of 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ compels us”, resonate around the wards and corridors of Partners in Hope Medical Centre in Lilongwe as the spiritual, as well as the physical, wellbeing of patients and staff is cared for

 

It is not uncommon for organisations in the modern world to have a ‘strap line’ or a vision statement; a pithy saying under which the entity operates. For Partners in Hope (PIH) Medical Centre in Lilongwe, that statement is taken from Paul’s Second Letter to the Church n Corinth – for the love of Christ compels us.

Perhaps the question which follows is: compels us to do what? In the case of PIH the love of Christ compels them, in the words of Chaplain Revd Joseph Chirwa, “to serve one another, to make disciples of one another, to care for one another, to reach out to one another, to accept one another”.

Spiritual Care:  Partners in Hope Chaplain, Revd Joseph Chirwa, leading the weekly Chapel Service for staff

Since its inception, PIH has put equal emphasis on both the physical and spiritual welfare of its staff and patients. The spiritual side of this was strengthened about three years ago with the appointment of Revd Chirwa as full-time chaplain.

“Through this ministry, individuals, both staff and patients, will be nurtured in their own spiritual development and the gospel shared with many others,” said Revd Chirwa.

“We pray many will come to know Christ for themselves, as we want to see the truths of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit grow a deep and unquenchable desire for a closer relationship with the Lord, a greater desire for the Word, a genuine heart for the brokenness in our community, and a desire to see restoration and reconciliation to our God.

“An important part of my work in this area is to identify and encourage individuals desiring to grow in their Christian walk, through discipleship activities.  These individuals, will take on ministry activities to the staff and patients of Partners in Hope, their families and their communities, with the goal of witnessing to each individual and providing support for those who make a decision to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.”

Prayer Points

Please pray

for the staff who have been involved in trauma-healing programmes that they would be able to put their learning to good use at the medical centre and in their church communities.

Please give thanks

for the support of the Board and Executive Leadership Team of the spiritual aspects of the ministry at PIH.

A new aspect of the work to nurture the wellbeing of staff and patients has been the establishment of a new sub-committee of the PIH board. This sub-committee has been formed to focus on Spiritual ministry at PIH. The prayer and desire of all concerned is that this group will lead to a higher focus on opportunities for staff to share the gospel of Christ with other staff, patients and their families.

“These issues of serving, caring and accepting each other are very important in the ministry of PIH, which started out as a specialist medical centre for those with HIV-AIDS, especially at a time when there was a lot of stigma and discrimination against those who were infected,” said Revd Chirwa.

Physical Care: A PIH nurse working with a patient

“Times have changed, but the underlying principle and ethos of PIH has not. Christ’s love compels us, and with a new spiritual life sub-committee of the board, we pray that the focus beyond physical care will be further emphasised and be placed on spiritual care for those coming to the medical centre, whether they be staff, patients or their families.”

Spiritual ministry at PIH is growing, and USAID has recognised that spiritual life is an integral part of being Malawian, and has recently added a spiritual dimension to some of the outreach programmes. USAID has recognised that faith leaders, of whatever faith, play a strong role in Malawian communities.

“I have been given a wonderful opportunity to join the outreach teams and engage pastors in the rural areas to assist with promoting good health practices in their communities, especially relating to HIV-AIDS and to encourage positive living. This is a far cry from the deep-rooted stigma previously associated with HIV, and also marks a change for many churches, where believers felt that HIV was a judgement from God on specific individuals,” said Revd Chirwa.

Partners in Hope: A view of the building in Lilongwe