Sunday, October 11, 2009

In Sickness and in Health

(the photos & following experience of Martin Poetzinger, is on pgs 155 & 156 of the 2009 Yearbook)
Martin Poetzinger served in several Central European countries before being assigned to oversee a group of pioneers in Yugoslavia. It was during this time that he met Gertrud Mende, a zealous pioneer sister from Germany, whom he later married. For the pioneers, health care was a matter in which they had to rely fully on Jehovah. Although there was no insurance, they always got the help they needed. Sometimes in critical situations Jehovah used those who were favorably disposed to help. For example, when Brother Poetzinger became seriously ill in Zagreb, Sister Mende was there to offer assistance.

Gertrud recalls: "In the mid-1930's, Martin and I were both assigned to serve in Sarajevo. But things did not turn out as either of us had expected. One evening Martin did not feel well, and during the night he developed a fever of more than 103 degrees Fahrenheit. The next morning when I went to the place where he was living to see how he was doing, his landlady was worried about his condition. She and I tried to cure him with a local remedy of boiled wine with lots of sugar. However, his condition did not improve. I phoned a number of doctors I found listed in the telephone directory, but no one was willing to come immediately. They all had excuses.
The landlady suggested calling the hospital, so I called the head of the hospital and explained that Martin was in bed with a fever that had gone up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The man was very friendly and sent an ambulance. When Martin was carried into the ambulance, the landlady said to me, 'You won't see him anymore.'
"If that were not stressful enough, there was the problem of money. The only money we pioneers had was what we received as contributions for the literature, and that was barely enough to survive. We did not know what to do, and we did not know how much the treatment would cost. Dr. Thaler examined Martin and made the diagnosis: 'Martin has pleurisy and needs surgery. It will take some time before he will be fit again.'
"Dr. Thaler must have understood our difficult economic situation because he said, 'I want to support people with faith like yours,' and he did not charge Martin for the surgery. With Jehovah's help we managed to cope with this difficult situation. Because of Martin's sickness, we could not go to Sarajevo but had to return to Germany."
*this is one thing that I've seen with my own eyes again and again growing up as a Witness. Pioneers always manage to keep their heads above water and receive what they need...usually just in the nick of time too. It's especially apparent in modern times, since not only has the cost of living gone up and people in general aren't as hospitable as they used to be in the old days, but with the exception of special pioneer missionaries (who are only allocated a very small amount from the branch office to help them survive) -regular pioneer ministers don't receive any monetary compensation, and they don't keep the contributions made towards the literature (the way they sometimes used to do in the past)...which makes it all the more obvious that Jehovah manages to sustain them so that they can continue to pioneer, even when economic difficulties or unexpected health expenses arise, which they're unable to afford with the wages from their secular employment alone.