Community members and Church of the Nazarene leaders came together 18 March to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kudjip Nazarene Hospital and Nazarene Health Ministries.
Half a century ago, Wanda and Sydney Knox planted a church in Kudjip, Papua New Guinea, and started medical works in the area. What began as a health center and nursing school for only a few students eventually blossomed into Kudjip Nazarene Hospital and Nazarene Health Ministries, spreading God’s love in Kudjip and six other provinces in the area.
Some of the first missionaries, nursing graduates, and workers at the hospital gave testimonies about the ministry over the years, including Papa Yapo, who has been serving the hospital with his wife for more than 40 years as an ambulance and tractor driver, maintenance man, cleaner, and more. Sr. Kini, one of the first graduates of the nursing college, told about her journey in becoming a nurse and how thankful she was for the opportunity to learn and share Christ’s love.
Jiwaka South District Superintendent Andrew Akus reminded those present that no matter what they do and where they go, the most important thing is to have at least one person come to faith and know Jesus. This has always been the focus of the hospital, and because of this, thousands of men and women hear about Christ and become followers.
"The healing has not been just physical, but spiritual as well—something that will last far longer," said Erin Meier, a missionary doctor at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital. "I have known this hospital and its ministry for the past 10 years, but I feel that its accomplishments have exceeded the number of years I have known the ministry. Listening to the different testimonies, I felt even more encouraged with my chosen ministry, and how I am part of something so much bigger."
Church of the Nazarene Global Mission Director Verne Ward told stories about his family's time serving in Dusin and spreading God’s love to many tribes who didn’t know much about Jesus. He encouraged everyone to continue following Jesus and to obey when He calls, even if it means going out of their comfort zone.
The church originally started by the Knoxes has now grown to 13 organized districts with hundreds of churches. The hospital itself has started 30 churches through the ministry of the chaplains.
"I feel truly blessed for the opportunity to be a part of Kudjip Nazarene Hospital, and how it continues to be the hands and feet of Jesus," Meier said. "Not one person who has been a part of this ministry over the past 50 years could have done it on their own. All of us continue to thank God for the people that He has called and ask for more to answer their call to missions to continue His kingdom work."