“There is a God at CURE”
Betty claps as she holds Rosemary during a time of worship in the ward.
CURE Children’s Hospital of Uganda is a world leader in treating hydrocephalus and spina bifida. However, the healing the patients and families receive goes further than the life-saving operations. The mission of the hospital is “healing the sick and proclaiming the kingdom of God.” This is achieved by co-workers purposefully seeking the Lord and showing God’s love to the families at the hospital.
As families wait to see a doctor in the Outpatient Department, the sound of worship music plays in the waiting area. Sometimes, they will meet a pastor sharing the gospel to those patiently waiting. After families are admitted to the ward, they are invited to join in on a chapel time each afternoon. It starts with singing and dancing, followed by testimonies from parents, and then a teaching by a pastor or hospital co-worker follows. On the day of surgery, as their child is being taken to the OR, a nurse prays with them. Again, right before the first incision, the operating room staff takes a moment to say a prayer. Meanwhile, a member of the Spiritual Department meets with the child’s parent to encourage and counsel them.
“When you pray with them, they feel relief,” said Immaculate of the Spiritual Department. “Sometimes, they come here when they are worried. They are upset. They are stressed. They are depressed…. Some parents testify, ‘When you prayed for me, I found relief. I got peace through that prayer, and you encouraged me. I see that God is a loving God.'”
The spiritual team’s focus is to minister to people spiritually while the medical team meets their physical needs through medical care. The spiritual team spends their days counseling, encouraging, and sharing the gospel.
“That is my joy. That is my heart’s desire is to see people turning to God from the kingdom of darkness,” Immaculate continued. “My joy is to preach the gospel.”
The spiritual ministry programs of the hospital are not limited to the patients. Three times a week, you can find co-workers gathered together for discipleship opportunities. On Mondays, the sounds of worship songs can be heard throughout the hospital during chapel. On Wednesdays, co-workers gather to hear a traditional sermon, usually taught by Pastor Fred Wangwa, Spiritual Director, or Pastor Simon Peter. Then, on Friday, each department meets to study a few Bible verses. In addition, the Spiritual Department offers classes after work hours to learn more about the discipleship journey as a Christian.
“We need to come together as a body of Christ,” said Pastor Simon Peter. “Number one, because we cannot grow spiritually in isolation, but in fellowship. For a Christian, fellowship is not optional, but mandatory. A Christian that does not belong to any fellowship is like a football player without a team, a sheep without a flock, a child without a family. We really cherish fellowship.”
After being encouraged by the teaching and strengthened by the worship, co-workers head to their departments better able to serve those around them. For the nursing team, that includes praying for the patients before they are taken to surgery.
“We pray for patients basically because we don’t know it all. We can’t do it all,” said Nurse Manager Anita. “God is the ultimate Healer, and we believe He gave us these gifts to care and to heal. Our hands are extended hands of God. We believe when we commit these patients into His hands, He will complete the work He began in us. So, that’s why we commit our patients to God before they go to surgery—so they will come out successful.”
Anita went on.
“I have seen God at work at CURE Children’s Hospital,” she said. “We had a patient critically ill and prognosis was very poor. The patient needed manual bagging (resuscitation). The nurse would bag through the night, through the day, day in and day out for about three days. It was overwhelming. One day, we were weary, Olivia and I, and we decided that most of us had given up on this. We are leaving it in God’s hand. We prayed for the child that God would restore the breathing, and God did it! The mother was very excited and became a Christian. She left the hospital saying, ‘There is a God at CURE.'”