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STAYED TO SERVE

Last fall, Baptist deacon Joe Lusi was suspected of spying. Lusi is a physician in Rwanda, right near the border where the refugees cross into Zaire. Joe Lusi is a Zairian, but the Baptist hospital is in Rwanda. Moreover, the government-run hospital across town had always been suspicious of this missionary hospital. What were they up to anyway? Could Dr. Lusi be trusted?

On the night of October 30, the fighting came right to the door of the hospital, and there were many wounded people who needed attention. Most of the hospital staff had fled for safety, as you might well imagine. But Joe Lusi said to the few who remained, "If we are going to die, let us at least die doing our jobs." And so they set out to attend to the bruised and the battered.

There was no water to sterilize surgical instruments, and no electricity to heat the water if they had it. But Lusi was not to be defeated. He sent villagers who could walk out to the wells to bring back water in mop buckets, bottles, anything they could find. And he rounded up every able-bodied man he could find and asked them to tear down the doors of the hospital and rip up the pews in the chapel, so that they could burn the wood and thus boil the water.

Scores of lives were saved. Many were helped. And a week later, when the fighting subsided and the dust settled, the administrator of the government hospital came to Deacon Lusi and agreed that both hospitals would treat the wounded and serve the townspeople, together.

Deacon Lusi may have been a spy, but he was a spy who stayed to serve.

(From a sermon by Joseph Smith, "Spies Who Stayed to Serve" 7/28/2009)

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