Giving comes full circle for missionaries.

By June 29, 2005

USA (MNN)–New Tribes Missionaries Dave and Joyce Hilt find themselves in an unusual situation. Joyce, who has a congenital kidney disease, got a kidney transplant yesterday.

She and her husband had been missionaries on the field in Papua New Guinea. But when health concerns became serious, they came home.

Here’s where the story gets interesting. The Hilt’s insurance does not cover transplants, so a number of churches in their home area rallied together to raise the necessary funds.

Singing groups put on concerts. Sunday school groups held carwashes and garage sales and a total of $140,000 has been raised so far to pay for the transplant and on-going cost of anti-rejection medications Joyce will require afterwards. The kidney also came from a woman at one of their supporting churches. (the picture shows Joyce, on the right, and her donor, Cori)

Dave says because of the immunosuppressants his wife will require for the remainder of her life, they won’t go back to the foreign field.

However, that doesn’t mean ministry is over. “Our desire is that somehow we might reflect to these people in churches the need of those being reached on the foreign field, and that the Lord will stimulate their hearts to join in on being a part of that effort to advance the Gospel.”

Often missionaries sacrifice to bring the gift of life to those who haven’t heard the Gospel. This time, the example is of the church sacrificing to give life to a missionary.

Dave says it’s humbling. He hopes that their story moves people to action. “I guess our prayer is that as folks have joined in, in being a part of helping, that it might be a testimony that would stand to reach in our own nation with the Gospel.”

The Hilts are now representatives for New Tribes Mission, with a focus on colleges and churches in the East and North East US.

Here’s the latest in an email that came from New Tribes just after the surgery: “A very happy Dave Hilt gave us a quick call to report that Joyce is now in recovery. The surgeon who put the kidney in Joyce reports that the kidney already had a “high output of urine” which is just what he had hoped to see.

He warned Dave that he will need to buy vitamins to keep up with Joyce after this. I always like to hear of pleased and happy surgeons. That usually means the Divine Healer has been at work!

Dave reports they had 20 people come to the hospital to pray over Joyce and Cori and be with him during the surgery. The local news has had people at the hospital since 6:30 AM, covering the story. A local church who heard the news report brought lunch over for those who were waiting and praying with Dave. Dave will send out a more in-depth report later, but he wanted to thank everyone for praying, and to let you know things are going very well.”

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