Tuesday, September 3, 2013

God's Emergency Department

Saturday Night- Fremantle Street Chaplains

The first real incident occurred directly opposite the Newport Hotel near closing time. Myself and another Chaplain were sitting praying and talking on the bench opposite the pub. We had just discussed how Fremantle can appear quiet but can flare up in a moment's notice. Part of this due to the many spiritual undercurrents that Fremantle has. As a seaport Fremantle is like Corinth, many conflicting ideas merge from around the world, from hippies and backpackers to Italian Catholics, Fremantle is a spiritual melting pot. No sooner than finishing our conversation we heard a crashing sound and looked up to see a young woman spin around on her high heels as if in the air to then land crashing onto the road, about two meres from our feet.

She had been hit by a car.

Immediately we moved forward and surrounded her. I reassured the young lady thankfully she was conscious and breathing. She could also talk. I was most concerned about spinal damage and so told her not to move, then placed my Street Chaplain jacket over her bare legs. There was about 50 onlookers. Bouncers ran over and we informed them to ring ambulance. Some people tried to take her arm and I was quite forceful in telling them to move back, telling all I am a nurse and that she is not to be moved in case she has spinal damage. Then I would speak quietly to the girl again reassuring her. Some bystander of about 25 came over saying he was a doctor. I told him I am a nurse and you have been drinking so you are no good to me. Go away. The man seemed confronted (by the truth) and so stayed back. As always most out on the streets that are not part of any particular  helping agency are more annoyance than good. They may mean well, but more often than not can get in the way. 

Police came and allowed myself and the other Chaplain to manage the situation. Again it was very good interdisciplinary contact, as all were seeing Chaplains helping and in control. The ambulance arrived and took over, taking her to hospital. The young girl thanked us for our kindness and that we were there with her during it all. If we had not been present I am sure the outcome would have been much worse. God certainly had us at the right place at the right time. Later on I contemplated the reality of a human being who had been hit by a car and then landing at your feet, at the feet of a Street Chaplain that happens to be a nurse? I felt annoyed the following day that few seem to see the reality of such being God's doing and not coincidence, karma or luck. The sheer possibility of this happening is staggering when you think about it. Even the police were amazed at where she landed as they saw the whole incident on closed circuit tv! (Again God's doing).

15 minutes later outside Hungry Jacks (a burger restaurant) a fight erupted between two small groups of men. Both chaplains intervened as police were not present yet. We tried to keep the men apart however at one stage one man shoved another into the restaurant window, cracking the glass. Thankfully no punches were thrown and both myself and the other chaplain were right in the middle of the action when police came and broke the men apart forming two groups . Police took our details for both incidences and I sensed we gained their respect at being part of the solution. Including how we had stayed with one officer as he questioned three men.The two chaplains forming his backup until more officers arrived. The Senior Sgt spoke with us and good relations were built upon. 

Both incidences reaffirmed  how working in Fremantle means maintaining spiritual awareness, prayer and being vigilant. A lesson from God.

I also felt God gave me direct personal experience/tuition as I move my own career toward the Emergency Department. Last night I felt like I was in one on the streets. God's Emergency Department.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jesus Loves you

Last night I prayed, I always pray between half an hour to 2hrs every day. That took 6 years of spiritual disciplines to get there. Now its part of life. In my prayer I told God I loved him. How I miss him.

Anyway I asked God if He loved me. (I know He does) I just wanted to hear it. I tell God I love Him all the time. I can safely say I’m into God. Editor of http://www.thechristiannetwork.com, A Street Chaplain, Trainee Male Nurse (as part of missionary training), Pastor (even got the theology degrees) and run http://www.harvestofhope.com.au All of which, of course, isnt enough :-)

So amongst all that and planning to head off on mission to Africa (India was 6 months ago) I ask God do you love me. Because I want to hear it. I even said - well everyone wants to hear it. Women want to hear it from their husbands, Kids from their Parents. Lovers from each other. I suppose even dogs like the odd cuddle and told I luv you rover..

So I want to hear it....

Nothing, no reply, hello darkness my old friend (due to my eyes being closed, something I tend to do when praying, call me old fashioned)

Oh well I know you love me.

The following day walking around the University Campus I happened to be looking down. I live on campus in a one bedroom studio flat that God gave me right across the road from the School of nursing. Much to the annoyance of most fellow nurses (there isn’t any flats around) And no one believes me (of course) when I say God gave me it. After people ask how did you get that place?! I might aswell say from an alien.

Anyway, looking down as I walked, in an area I’m very accustomed to, I noticed a small section of concrete near a road drain had some words edged into the stone work. They dated back to when the concrete was first set so they were not recent as it was not new work. I’m also not one to look down much. Joy of the SPirit, Missionary purpose in heart, clouds giving messages. No point looking down I’m not depressed. Thus it was by chance (which I dont believe in, more a providence type of man myself) that I noticed these words I had never seen before. After living next to them (the road drain was only 5 metres from my front door) for over two years.

The words?

Jesus Loves you

Friday, July 19, 2013

Nurses, Street Chaplains, Police and Bikies - Seek and Find

After finishing another three week nursing practical, this one within acute medical, I left with mixed feelings. Witnessing dying patients and people taking the very last gasps of breath, whilst you pray earnestly holding their hands (pretending you are involved in taking Heart Rates so as not to arose suspicions) you stand begging God for answers. I had learnt a great deal, including helping to control emotion. My last practical within palliative care for the dying had been an emotional rollercoaster, this one was more like the dodgem cars. Quite smooth until you bounce against something! As a missionary and Pastor the learning curve is steep. I drove away from the hospital choking back tears, literally begging God to console me. Such was the impact a particular patient had just had on me.
During the practical i asked God for signs of His presence, feeling alone amongst unbelievers. All be it unbelievers with compassionate hearts. Nurses are compassionate and often shine far brighter than many a ‘Christian’ I have met. No sooner than voicing that prayer, God introduced me to a fellow senior Nurse who was also Christian. I had worked with her for three days prior to knowing. The day after my prayer I noticed a crucifixion around her neck and within hours was invited to share testimony at her church! God is always present when you sincerely seek Him (Mt 5).
Yet upon leaving the hospital I really needed to be used by God in a way that was completely non secular. I wanted to be used spiritually again. To be affirmed as His servant and not only a Nurse within the health industry. God answered that yearning only a few hours later.
The Street Chaplain backpack needed replenishing and placed in the Closed Circuit TV Control room, ready for the Friday night Fremantle Shift. I was at my mother’s house a good hour drive away. I contemplated when to go. Now or later? Tired from the final shift and emotionally drained I was unsure. My phone rang at that precise moment. My Indian friend, a follower of Christ and fellow nursing student was ringing me. He had an amazing experience with God he wanted to share. I smiled knowing God was involved, I needed the fellowship with a true believer. One whose eyes were open spiritually. We arranged to meet an hour later in Fremantle.
He shared how he had asked God to ‘take’ a particular patient in great suffering (aged 84). How he had prayed holding their hand. Only 10 minutes later he noticed the nursing board had been updated with a cross beside the patient’s name. Only ten minutes after the prayer, God had taken the patient! My friend had to hide the tears that welled in his eyes, knowing God had answered his prayer. The contrast and message for me was startling. I was continually holding on to older patients, begging God to not let them go. I felt answers and direction. Refreshed and consoled I took the backpack to the CCTV room.
No one was there.
The room was unmanned thus I could not drop the bag off. It was near seven o'clock now and I just wanted to go home and rest in front of a movie. I had been on my feet since 5am. Standing praying asking God why no one was here. Knowing God was in control I tried to trust and wait. After 30 minutes nobody turned up. The Street Chaplain shift doesnt start till 11pm. I walked off into Fremantle wondering what God was doing. I knew there was a reason, I just didn't know what it was. As usual.
Drawing near the main street of town I noticed Police everywhere. Something was happening. Looking around, the Street Chaplain bag in my hand, the focus of all the attention came into view. Five Bikies, wearing their Rebel patched leather jackets and surrounded by at least ten officers, three cars and a Police Commissioner! This was the reason I was still here in town.
I sat and began to pray, watching the area but remaining incognito. ‘Brother undercover’. As I prayed my Indian friend rang me. As he called he drove past ! He drives a taxi and was looking for a sick bag, something we Chaplains carry. I could literally see him on his phone and he had no idea I was sitting and praying about 20 metres from the bikies. I told Him where I was and he turned the taxi around and came back. Handing him the sick bags he stated he would also pray for the bikies. Two sons of God were now praying for peaceful resolution and for the bikies to leave town, without any aggravation.
No longer than 4 mins later, the first Harley Davidson roared to life. The bikies left. As they did so, i felt what could only be described as fire in my veins. A surging, wether it was adrenalin or completely spiritual I could not stay, yet all I did was praise God and His supreme Authority over ALL creation. Standing I walked off hoping someone saw a solitary figure lift up a Street Chaplain bag and leave the precise moment the Bikies left. Mission Complete.
Arriving back at the CCTV room the staff where now in residence. God’s prefect timing. I was so filled with Joy I told the on duty staff member how the bikies had came to town and how I had prayed for them to leave. He laughed sincerely, not mockingly. Testimony complete.
Seek God and you will find Him.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thank you Street Chaplain

An antiseptic swipe, a large adhesive dressing, some hand wipes and a chemical ice pack. I threw these items into the Street Chaplain backpack. The regular backpack, which contains the full medical kit, was in my mother's car. I had forgotten about it and now she was  at a friend's house. I could not get it in time for my shift. Thankfully we have a spare backpack so I placed some water bottles, a few flip flops and the aforementioned first aid supplies into the spare pack. The first time you do not take them you will need them. The thought had crossed my mind as I filled the pack.

At the police station two lady Street Chaplains greeted me. We prayed and headed out for the night. Our prayer had specifically asked to share the good news of Christ with someone. Twenty minutes later we gathered in a huddle sharing testimony with a forty year old man outside a pub. He had approached us and before long was sharing his life story. One that involved alcoholism, losing his car license (for ten years) and divorce. It was a familiar story. I had been through most of it myself prior to Christ saving me. The shared experience formed an immediate connection.

By the end of the conversation we were all hugging in a group prayer! We prayed for the man to get a job he had recently attended an interviewed for. A second chance. He was greatly encouraged. So were we. We left him with a spring in our step, thanking the Lord for the obvious answer to prayer.

The spring in my step soon waned. After recently returning from mission to India, the re-entry to the west was difficult. The sin on the late night streets was blatant. At times almost anarchy and complete debauchery. It was all in stark contrast to the purity of remote Indian villages. I sat praying for peace outside one of Fremantle's night spots. The Lord kept the peace, but I felt dejected. After five years as a Chaplain I suppose it is easy to wonder if you are making a difference. To wonder if your time would now be better spent elsewhere. I softly said to God.. "I'm not sure if I can keep doing this Lord". The drunken revellers played heavily on my heart.

By 2:30 am it was time to go home. We headed back to the police station. As we arrived a young man came out of the station compound, shirtless, with blood oozing from a swollen wound above his right eye. I almost smiled. God knew. He had prepared everything for this moment. The items that had been hastily placed in the back pack (five hours prior) were exactly what was needed.

The hand wipe soaked up the excess blood. The antiseptic swipe cleaned the wound. The large adhesive dressing was the precise size required. It not only fitted, it contoured above the eye socket perfectly. The icing on the cake was the icepack. I popped the package, instantly the chemical reaction turned the pack freezing cold. Placing it into the young man's hand I didn't have to tell him twice what it was for. It would reduce some pain and any further swelling. He was incredibly grateful. His last words being.."Thank you Street Chaplain, Thank you"

As we walked off the spring in my step was renewed. God had clearly shown his interaction and preparation for the first aid incident. We all prayed and thanked God for the night. Driving home the statement repeated in my head.

Thank you Street Chaplain.

I felt reaffirmed by God.

God Bless