ENID, Okla. — Caring for the sick
Besides treating patients, the medical teams have engaged in training local people.
Enid physician Dr. John Provine, for example, provided instruction in resuscitation of infants.
“We’ve worked our way into the health system over there,” Stam said.
Among Emmanuel’s other partners is Humedica International, a German-based health organization similar to Doctors Without Borders.
“They’ve actually built a birthing clinic,” said Stam. “When we first started going over there the infant and child mortality rate combined was around 25 percent.”
When the medical teams first traveled to Niger, members learned quickly that crowd control was one of their biggest concerns.
“We’ve had machetes pulled on us, we’ve had doors pulled down, we’ve had babies pushed through windows,” said Stam. “What we learned was that the aggressive young mothers were bound and determined to have care for their babies, and if that meant pushing the elderly and the infirm to the back, they’d do whatever it took to see that their baby was taken care of.”
Now before holding a free clinic, the team hands out 200 tickets to the local mayor or leader, Stam said.
“We tell the mayor we want the sickest babies and the sickest adults,” said Stam, “then we’ll see your family members and last of all we’ll see the guards. Usually the toughest woman of the village is at the gate, and she lets in only people with tickets. We can see 200, 250 people in about six hours.”
The ministry has grown to the point they are close to having enough money to purchase a $500,000 office complex in Niger.
“That has come from some major donors here in Enid,” he said. “There’s been a real involvement in Enid.”
The church is branching out, beginning work in Poland with disadvantaged children.
“We’ll be taking one of our first mission trips there this summer,” he said.
Another trip is planned to Guatemala, where Emmanuel has an ongoing involvement with vacation Bible school.
Emmanuel also is involved in a ministry in New York City, targeting the homeless, drug addicts and alcoholics in some of that city’s most troubled areas.
“We have been involved with that ministry on and off for about 20 years,” he said.
Mission work is rewarding but challenging, Stam said.
“About halfway into the trip, when everything has gone wrong, you say, ‘What am I doing here?’” Stam said.
But he recalled a time four or five years ago on a well-drilling trip to an area near Niger’s border with Mali and Burkina Faso. There were myriad problems with drilling the well, but it was finally finished.
“I was sitting out in the desert drinking a Coke and I just thought, ‘I cannot think of anywhere I’d rather be, than right here.’ It’s a headache, it’s hard, but everything we do is on behalf of the ministry.”