HE IS ABLE – The Story of a Long-term Short-termer: Involvement in Yunnan Medical Projects

Edward Sitt


My long-term involvement in the Yunnan medical projects can be exemplified by an initial invitation from the Yunnan chief representative to consider an exploratory trip in the Nujiang Prefecture in Yunnan. MSI was invited by YINGOS (Yunnan International NGO Society) to go to Dulongjiang County to assess the possibility of arranging corrective surgery for some young students who had physical disabilities due to a variety of accidents.


Dulongjiang is a very remote area. It took two full days for us to reach the location from Kunming. The road condition was poor, and transportation was difficult. We met a very humble and kind-hearted school headmaster there, who brought us to different villages to see the potential candidates. I visited a seventeen year old boy with a deformed and shortened leg, (caused by a snakebite), with recurrent severe wound infection.


There was another sixteen-year-old boy with deformed and contractured hands and feet from a burn injury. One fourteen year old boy walked four hours down a mountain with bare feet, looking for treatment of his clubfeet. I assessed seven young boys in total.


My heart was deeply moved with compassion by the conditions of these young boys. Their faces stayed with me. After the trip, I wrote a report to the Kunming office. I prayed for all the children I met, and sought opinions from orthopaedic surgeons. The initial answer I received was that the corrective surgery would be very difficult, and seemingly impossible to perform in China.


However, miracles happened. When a long-termer finished his home assignment and saw the pictures and stories of these young boys, his heart was deeply moved. He was willing to take up this medical project. The operation was started in a hospital in Kunming. By God’s grace, the operations were successful and patients were all safe. The story did not end here. MSI sponsored some of the boys for further education after their operations.


My task did not end either. I went to Nujiang Prefecture year after year, together with long-termers, to all four counties to screen new patients, arrange operations for them and follow up with post-operative patients. Later operations were arranged in Liuku County in Nujuang Prefecture. Many patients with cleft lips and palates, or contracture limbs due to burn accidents were helped. Their functions were improved, self-image was restored, and self-confidence was regained as they were able to resume normal lives. We also visited some of them to show our continued support. After the project ended, I continued to join other medical projects in Yunnan.


In conclusion, I know that my initial invitation was a calling from God. I strongly believe, as a short-termer, and like other short-termers, we can commit our lives with a long-term perspective to contribute to different medical projects as facilitators for long-term workers.


Although the external environment is constantly changing, God’s faithfulness and mercy will never change.