Saturday, 25 June 2016

Thinking, praying, planning together

The last 36 hours have been a blur.

The Harriet Benson Memorial Hospital family has been blessed to be visited by Dr. Sunil Abraham who is a Professor of Family Medicine at CMC Vellore (the first in the country!) - and a dear friend of ours too.

We are going through a strategic review and are looking to develop a 5 year programme to take HBM through 2016-2021.   So we wanted to tap into some of Dr. Sunil Abraham's experience at the Low Cost Effective Care Unit and Shalom Family Medicine Centre of CMC Vellore.

Sunil very graciously squeezed in a visit to us as we at the HBM hospital have three Family Medicine Specialists on staff currently (Tony, Asangla and Sheba) and are working to understand which way the hospital needs to move in the next 5 years .... and beyond!

What a privilege to have Sunil with us.  Here he is sharing with the HBM staff family at the morning devotions.

We kicked off the process late last month with a 'dreaming session' where our staff wrote down what they would like to see happen at HBM.  Over the past few weeks we have been running focus groups with different groups of staff, have done a man-(or-woman)-on-the-street survey about hospital use in Lalitpur, have done an HBM patient satisfaction survey and are trying to understand the patterns of geographical access to our hospital.

The reality of the matter is that HBM Hospital has been struggling financially for some years now, with some big liabilities over our heads and a changed environment where we are not able to function in the way we used to because of new regulations and restrictions on our medical practice.

But as we spent this past day and a half in conversation, sharing, discussion and prayer together with Dr. Sunil, we come away deeply encouraged by the amazing dedication of our senior leaders and so many of the staff.  A joy of seeing a whole raft of new faces who have the potential to be do great things for God (and the energy to match!).  And the knowledge that in all our weaknesses and short-comings, our heavenly Father is so gracious and wants to work in and through us.  And the amazing potential we have to impact not only the town of Lalitpur, but all 6 blocks of Lalitpur district as well as the neighbouring districts in Madhya Pradesh too!

It was particularly appropriate to be meeting as a core 'Transformation Team' along with Dr. Sunil in the historic 'Bacon Bungalow' - the very building that Mrs. Elizabeth Mercy Bacon had purchased in 1890 when she established the Reformed Episcopal mission in Lalitpur.

Here we are, 125 years later, discussing and listening to each other to see where the next steps should be for HBM hospital.

A few years ago, generous funding for the HBM Palliative Care programme helped us to rennovate this beautiful historic building.  And so it continues to be used for building others up!

One thing that came out very clearly from our discussions was just how important each one of us are to take things forward and see transformation happen - but that we have to go forward as a team.  In EHA we aspire to be a Fellowship for Transformation through Caring.

As a unit, the HBM Hospital and all the ministries linked with HBM want to live this out in practice.

And in some ways, we are doing so.  But, of course, we have much more work to be done - and many ways that we can improve.

Sunil tasted a bit of our fellowship in our Thursday night cottage meeting.  We of course pressed him into service - maximum squeezing for the 36 hours he was with us - and so had the blessing of having the HBM family meet at our place and continue learning about the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

And so we step into the next level of moving forward.

We have expressed some of our dreams.  We have discussed some of the opportunities we have.  We have come up with some possible solutions to the challenges we face.  We have been meeting for specific prayer for the past 3 weeks on Monday nights.

Now we need to synthesize what we have been talking about and develop concrete, visionary-but-doable-with-God's-help steps to put what we are hearing from God into action.

Here is the 'word cloud' from the short exercise we did where we asked our staff to write down how they would like to see HBM Hospital in 5 years from now.  Amazingly to me, the Epi Info 7  programme which we use to analyze our surveys has this function.  I was thrilled to see what came up.  Obviously the whole exercise is to capture some of what we as a staff team would like to see happen at HBM Hospital:
It is striking that the word 'should' is word No. 1 - the biggest word since it was used most often.  "Should" talks about change - and the desire to move into more than just the status quo survival mode. We must change... and with God's help we will!

Thanks for being along with us on this journey.  Please write to us at if you would like to be part of the exciting new opportunities that we are hoping and praying will be implemented in and through us very, very soon!

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