Mission life: THE KUKMIN DAILY

Funeral for Devoted Philippines Medical Missionary Park Nu-ga

2018-08-30 17:08

Missionary Park Nu-ga (original name: Park Byeong-chul), called “the Schweitzer of Southeast Asian backcountry,” died of chronic illness on August 26, at the age of 58. He was survived by his wife Kim Jeong-ok and two sons. Though his life was not long, it was brilliant. Though he could have enjoyed an affluent life as a specialist in surgery, he did not choose that path. What he considered the worst sickness was not to know God.

He was a doctor, but also a believer who was convinced that healing was in God’s hands. Even in March 2004 when he found out he had stomach cancer, he wept as he prayed, “Isn’t medicine a science made by persons, and isn’t healing the work of God? Isn’t that right? Save me. You must not take me now. Please, no bad luck now. I still have a lot of work to do.”

God answered this prayer. Park was granted the opportunity to do God’s work for the next 14 years, and finally God took him.

It was 1989 when Missionary Park began medical mission work in the Philippines. He chose as his place of ministry the mountainous region of northern Baguio on the island of Luzon. It was a backcountry area, a 12-hour drive from Baguio over unpaved roads. Park was drawn by the fact that nobody went to this place. From then on, with the Philippines as his base, he spent all his time in remote areas of Southeast Asia. He infused life into many people who were on the brink of death. He remodeled a large bus into a mobile hospital, and traveled around sharing his healing arts with people who ordinarily put their trust in magic.

Though he was a doctor, he lived with disease. During his extensive travels in the interior, he suffered endlessly from typhoid, cholera, dysentery, dengue fever, hepatitis and other ailments. Finally in 1992 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but fortunately it was in the early stage and he recovered following surgery. In 2004 he was attacked by stomach cancer. He did not lose heart. Believing that “healing is God’s work,” he underwent an operation and returned to the mission field. But late-stage cancer was not something to be cured easily. Because he continued to drive his body, its complete recovery could not be expected. In 2009 he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, and this was complicated by diabetes. In May 2016 the stomach cancer relapsed. As his pain worsened, his humility increased. He said thankfully, “Being sick gives me better understanding of my patients.”

If they had not met Missionary Park, thousands of people would have accepted treatment with chicken blood and their lives would have been lost. Park was a saint: the sicker he became, the more love he shared. At the time of his funeral in Daegu, great sheets of rain fell without letup for three days, perhaps due to the sadness of this parting.

*The late Missionary Park treats patients in the Philippines. Kukmin Daily DB

Reporter Jang Chang-Il (jangci@kmib.co.kr), with Marion Kim (marionkkim@icloud.com)
Top photo provided by Pyeonggang Church

Original Article in Korean:
자신의 육체가 아플수록 아픈 이에 더 큰 사랑 남기고…: 필리핀 의료봉사 헌신한 박누가 선교사 발인예배

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