Patients are lining up and filing into one end of the Specialized Care and Surgical Centre, while TLC construction employees install roofing on the other end. Can you picture it? Hardly.
After all, it’s hard to picture a miracle, until it happens right before you. Then you smile to yourself and quietly rejoice with joy unspeakable. And then the next minute, you join others with a cheer for God’s orchestration and provision.
|TLC staff member greets patients in the early morning.
The SCSC building is far from finished, but last week the first campus outreach in that building served more than 400 patients.
|TLC staff sing their thankfulness during prayer circle around the patients.
Consider this perfect timing! The foundation and trusses were in the largest building yet to be built on The Luke Commission’s campus. But the shipping container full of insulation and other materials was stalled in Durban, South Africa. That’s not unusual, and TLC administrators knew it might arrive later rather than sooner…
|Thulani (left), on-site manager for this outreach, and Fletcher, senior medical doctor, know what a special day this is!
The day after the container was pulled onto the campus, trucked overland from the Indian Ocean seaport, TLC’s asset crew began putting up the insulation and covering the insulation with roofing sheets.
“It’s a big building,” said Assets Manager Mandla Kunene. “Each side takes two sheets, not one sheet of roofing. That’s four sheets across, instead of two sheets like our other buildings.”
|Patients line up to register for treatment.
A team of 10 or 12 men, fluctuating with the construction needs elsewhere on campus, worked a few days. “It’s a new group of guys roofing for the first time. With supervision, they are doing a good job.”
|Meanwhile, Mandla directs the construction crew atop the roof.
Little did these men know, however, that Emaswati throughout Eswatini who needed medical help, had been calling the 24-hour patient line, asking when they could come to a Miracle Campus outreach.
(Those who require immediate care or need to refill their anti-retroviral treatment medications for HIV can come to the campus seven days a week.)
|Build on…while patients are cared for behind the tarps.
“We told eye and medical patients to come on October 24,” said Tiffany Riggleman, senior strategist and a nurse who has become an eyecare specialist.
|Underneath the insulation and roofing activities, TLC counselors get ipads ready to record patient records.
At the time, the administrators did not know exactly what building or outside area could accommodate campus outreach. The vehicle building used for daily medical services was packed with TOMS shoes at one end and other supplies. Outgrowing facilities is a common occurrence on the Miracle Campus, one of those “problems” that keeps you trusting and wondering but not worrying…
The day before patients were scheduled to arrive (and arrive they did, some as early as 4:30 am), the roofing crew finished a little more than half the building. TLC operations team set up the nine stations used at mobile rural outreaches, stringing up tarps for counseling rooms and shade, erecting square tents for eye equipment, and setting up chairs specifically so patients could see where they were headed and why.
|Room 1 is where patient care starts.
At the prayer circle the following morning, executive director Echo VanderWal told the 300 staff members and several hundred waiting patients:
|Patients are seated outside and will be taken “inside” soon soon.
“For many years we have wanted a facility on the Miracle Campus to take care of our Very Important Patients (all patients are called VIPs). Today we have it, even though the building is not completed.”
She continued, “Lord, we give you all the honor and praise for the work you’ve done here. Lead us into the next season in Eswatini. Thank you for doing above and beyond what we asked or thought.”
|Moving along as another group heads into registration, sick or anxious patients are reassured that “every last one” will be treated.
Mandla added: “God stretched us. The Lord knew where we were going to put our VIPs, even when we did not. Here we are using the building for the first time, even when it’s far from finished. May His grace and mercy continue to fall on us.”
|Tiffany explains the young boy’s eye tests to Zonke. On this one day alone, 25 people who were examined need eye surgeries. More will arrive soon.
Pastor Brian Schmelzenbach recalled that a Bible was placed in the corner of the SCSC building when the foundation was poured. In the foundation of every TLC building is a Bible. “Jesus is the foundation,” he said simply.
So without walls and with the assets team busy roofing at the far end, the outreach started, then continued all day and after dark.
|View with joy the Specialized Care and Surgical Center’s first day from the highway that runs along side the Miracle Campus…
It was the very first day such an outreach would have been possible. We know you understand by now, however, that the impossible often becomes possible on the Miracle Campus – not just in facilities, but in the lives of people. Oh, the marvel of it all!
by Janet Tuinstra