The mobile x-ray team extraordinaire has arrived. Already God is raining down blessings and throwing in minor and major miracles.
Dr. J.D. Crooks and Jerry Sparks were on the ground in Eswatini in late March, determined after nine months of planning and organization and purchasing and compiling equipment in Oklahoma to implement a portable x-ray department for The Luke Commission rural clinics.
Set up and ready to go in a rural Liswati schoolroom is TLC’s new portable digital x-ray system. The classroom has no electricity, so TLC transports a large generator to power this system.
Radiologist Crooks and electrical engineer Sparks attend the same Sunday school class at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene in Oklahoma City.
When Dr. Crooks met The Luke Commission in 2009, he came away knowing that diagnosis and treatment would be greatly enhanced if Harry and Echo could take and view x-rays right on site. He went home, sought God’s face in the matter, and joined forces with his church friend.
Technology has advanced, Dr. Crooks explained, so x-rays can be developed on electronic plates (DR plates). “TLC will have the latest,” he said. It’s possible to see the x-ray image in 2 or 3 seconds on a laptop.
That pivotal March week, the men arrived in Eswatini to assemble the system and teach TLC staffers here how to use it. Wonder of wonders is that all the parts and pieces to the system arrived with them in special cases built by Crooks and Sparks.
Being x-rayed is a young Liswati at a TLC mobile clinic. In a few seconds, an image will appear on a nearby computer. This system will enable TLC doctors to know almost immediately if a patient has TB. Some 80% of HIV-positive patients also have tuberculosis.
Critical to implementation is a heavy-duty 10,000 watt generator. A Honda 6500 was purchased by TLC and put on a container in Ohio destined for Eswatini and Potter’s Wheel Church.
Harry and Echo were told that the generator had arrived in country the first of March. That Friday in mid-March, however, the VanderWals discovered “accidentally” that the container with the needed generator was still in Durban, South Africa.
Dr. J.D. Crooks reads the x-ray just taken. He personally delivered the sophisticated but hardy system to Eswatini in late March and stayed to teach TLC’s staff how to use it.
Echo called John Thompson, owner of the largest electrical company Mormond Electric in Eswatini, to ask if he knew where TLC could get a generator big enough to handle the x-ray system that could be stepped down to 110 volt.
“There’s not one in the whole country, except at the US embassy,” the executive answered.
Echo looked at her watch – 1:39 pm. The embassy closes at noon on Fridays.
Time for a miracle, God.
Echo’s phone rang. It’s Thompson again. “You won’t believe this. Kevin Ward (pastor at Potter’s Wheel) brought in a generator that we just repaired. I thought it was a 240-volt, but just went and looked. It’s a 110-volt.”
“That’s a miracle,” responded Echo.
“You better believe it’s a miracle,” laughed Thompson.
Dr. Crooks inputs the young patient’s data, so any x-ray taken in the future can be compared to this initial x-ray.
Two days later on a sunny Sunday afternoon, Crooks and Sparks gathered everything together on the front veranda of TLC campus and assembled the system for a clinic early the next morning.
Once again, “God has supplied all our needs according to his riches in glory.” Philippians 4:13
Can we but say, “Thank you, Jesus!”
by Janet Tuinstra of The Luke Commission