Thanks and respect
December 1992 in a packed hall in Bridgeport, USA. Thundering applause started as the result of a questionnaire was read out. The staff of a large city hospital had voted assistant doctor Martina John as the worthy recipient of the “The George B. Longstreth Award”. The prize honoured a doctor whom hundreds of colleagues found embodied humaneness in her dealings with patients.
Yesterday the staff of Diospi Suyana celebrated the 60th birthday of the foundress of the missionary work. In all speeches those attributes were praised that 29 years before had made Martina win the highest prize in Bridgeport. Her unconditional caring for people in need and her selfless devotion to better the circumstances of those broken by the world are the things that stick out again and again in her life.
It was almost typical that the birthday child was only able to the leave the intensive care unit at 2a.m. only to be called back for an emergency at the missionary hospital 3½ hours later. A proof that her husband was right when in his first book he called her “the heart and the soul of the missionary station”.
When she was 18 the devout Christian, hailing from Wiesbaden, decided to live her life for God. The alumna from the “Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes” (German Academic Scholarship Foundation) has consequently lived out this decision regardless of personal cost. When in the autumn of 2003 the John Family founded a base station in Curahuasi she slept the first three months on mattresses on the floor of a mud house. For the PR work of 2004 she sent out more than 1,000 hand-written letters in order to drum up support for her and her husband’s life-dream of building a modern hospital for the poorest of the poor. Due to her husband’s presentation tours she has lived a total of six years separated from her husband and often shoulders the hospital’s management alone.
As a doctor she has surely treated more than 0.1mio patients, but not only in a medical sense, but also in that she encouraged and upbuilded them. Her trademark-attributes are her charming smile and her warm, empathetic voice. Without her 150% dedication Diospi Suyana would never have come into existence. For people from many countries who either got to know Martina through TV-reports or who met her personally she is an example of a lived-out faith.
Both the German and the Peruvian Governments have honoured her with Orders of Merit. The honorary citizenship was bestowed upon her by the Andean Country. She has spoken with seven State Presidents and First Ladies and one cannot count the number of dignitaries that she has led through the corridors of the Hospital Diospi Suyana. In her heart she has always been faithful to herself: simple, humble and approachable. Years ago the Bayrischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Radio) asked her what gave her the energy for her lifework. Her answer: “Praying every morning and reading God’s Word every day.” She sees herself neither as a humanist nor an altruist, but as a follower of Jesus Christ. The cross of Christ and the empty tomb are the cornerstones of her and her husband’s hope.
May God continue to protect Martina and may she be a blessing for many until he calls her home.