Voices from the Field Rick & Debbie Bardin Get to know Rick & Debbie

Right vs Privilege

Published on November 14, 2018

Click here to view this newsletter as a PDF.


Dear family and friends,
Since we last wrote a lot has happened here, which many of you have been keeping up with. We decided to title this newsletter:
Lessons being learned concerning……RIGHT vs. PRIVILEGE

These friends of ours had to leave their home due to danger and have had to divide up the family and now live in 3 different places.

One of our colleagues who has been displaced from her home for several months because of fighting and unrest in the area recently said this, “I always thought that having a house to call home is a right, but now I know that it is a privilege.” She had to leave her home because of danger. Her husband and 2 boys went to one city to live, her father-in-law and daughter to another city to stay, and she was given a room on the hospital compound to stay so she could continue working at the hospital. This happened several months ago and they still aren’t all back together. Others we know have had their homes burned down and destroyed in one way or the other.

We westerners often look at education as a right. The people here in the NW region of Cameroon now see it as a privilege. Most children here have not been able to attend school for more than 2 years now. Some parents who have enough money have sent their children to schools across the country to stay with extended family, or in dormitories, even at young ages. Other more unfortunate kids have found themselves getting into trouble from idleness – theft, pregnancy, etc.

This donated ambulance from US has been used to transport patients back and forth from the closest city.

How do we look at having electricity as a right? It is really a privilege. So many people in the world don’t have reliable electricity. Many here often go without electricity for days or weeks. We experience it very little because on our hospital compound we have a generator. But currently, due to road instability, we were not able to get fuel for the generator and only made it through one night by syphoning gas from some of the cars on the compound. The next day, 10 of our young strong security guards trekked for over 4 km with 2 cans of 20L of fuel each just so we could have oxygen and monitoring for our critical patients.

Being able to go where you want, when you want? Do we consider that a right or a privilege? In the past 3 months many here have experienced not being able to go where they want when they want. Since the crisis here, every Monday has been specified “ghost town”. That means no business, no getting to work if you live outside the village, and no going to market for food, no getting to the hospital unless you can walk there on backroads, etc. This extends sometimes to more days depending on the unrest around. There has also been a curfew for most of the year declaring no movement from 6pm to 6am. The shifts at the hospital have had to be adjusted because of this.

Pray for our hospital, that any patients needing care will be able to get here!

This leads to the next right – collecting your salary every month. Or is it a privilege?
So many are hurting financially. Many businesses are failing and can’t pay salaries on time or even at all. And yet people are still working, hoping one day salaries will return. Because of the crisis, the number of patients having access to our hospital has drastically reduced and it has become difficult to pay salaries and purchase supplies. We are so blessed because we have all of our supporters who have been so faithful in giving to our support, so we still have means to live on.

This is just one of the ways the roads have been destroyed during this crisis. This is not far from where we are.

When we get right down to it, is having life a right? Or a privilege? We have learned in a more dramatic way that life is a privilege given by God, and we truly don’t know what tomorrow will hold, so we must make the best of today. A missionary, Charles Wesco, was shot and killed a few days ago at a place only 30 minutes from where we live. He left behind a wife and 8 children. We may never know all the reasons of why God allowed this to happen, but we do know that when we choose to follow Christ, our life is not our own, it is God’s. If we are following Him and His leading in our life, there is nothing better here on earth. The better life is truly ahead; we are just passing through this earthly life. Our true hope is in Jesus who provided the way for us to have eternal life with Him.

During this season of Thanksgiving we are thanking God for our privileges.
We are thankful we still have each other and our family; we still have a place to work, to serve the Lord here in Cameroon. We still have a home here where it is safe, with running water and electricity most of the time. And most of all, we are so thankful for the privilege of being God’s children!

In His Matchless Love, Rick and Debbie