“If you love God, who is the main source of love, you will have an endless source of love to give to others.”
This is one of the audio messages heard through the speakers in the corridors and offices of the Ate Vitarte Emergency Hospital, a modern hospital in Lima, Peru, that provides care for the most serious cases of patients infected with COVID-19.
As, quite often, the strength of patients seems to be ebbing away, a word of Bible-based encouragement and hope can reach their hearts. Those messages also benefit doctors and nurses, after hours of caring for the sick and seeing people lose their battle against COVID.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church-backed initiative resulted from new guidelines for mental health issued by the government of Peru. After witnessing the heavy toll many people are paying due to the sorrow and suffering resulting from the pandemic, the federal government released tips for better mental health, which include the importance of spiritual support in moments of distress and sickness.
Junelly Paz, an Adventist psychotherapist who is part of the mental health team in the hospital, offered to contact Nuevo Tíempo Peru, the Adventist radio and TV network in the country. She requested the production of customized audio messages with texts that generate hope and motivation in patients suffering from COVID-19.
Hospital mental health staff said they firmly believe that, as several studies have shown, feelings of hope and peace have a direct influence on physical health.
“Not only for patients but for health personnel who work on the front lines, it can be a motivating force,” they said. It is what drove the group to find ways to underpin the mental strength of patients and staff.
Paz agreed and said that even though the messages shared do not have strings attached, some people are getting to know more about God and His love through what they hear on the public hospital speakers.
“The state of affairs is very sad here [at the hospital],” Paz said. “But as patients fight for their lives, they manage to learn more about God.”
According to Paz, Nuevo Tíempo Peru is regularly producing new messages through its Bible School for the patients and personnel of the hospital. Audio messages are broadcast four times a week. Topics range from “True Love” and “Faith in the Midst of a Crisis” to“The Power of Friendship,” “Prayer,” and “Health.”
“It is a project that was born out of prayer,” Paz said. “So far, it has proved to be much better than I imagined.”