Back in 2012, I was sharing my Solomon Islands/ Papua New Guinea slide show presentation in my living room with a group made up of people from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. It is quite normal for me to invite 10 -15 people over to my home for an evening of showing my pictures and telling lots of God stories from my numerous trips to Goroka, Papua New Guinea and Fa’arau, Solomon Islands.
However, this particular night, there was this guy named Rick Bass in attendance. I knew that Rick was a core leader for one of the IHOPKC internships and that he was part of the full-time staff at IHOPKC, but that’s about it. Part of my slide show included photos of sick people in the Goroka Hospital in Papua New Guinea. As I was sharing about the smell and filth of the Goroka Hospital, including the poor quality of care given to patients, I noticed tears streaming down Rick Bass’ face.
During my Islands Presentation, I shared how God had spoken to me that my next trip would be doing medical clinics for the poor in both the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. I explained that God had supplied $2,000 for the purchase of $50,000 worth of medical products through a program offered by Johnson & Johnson called MAP. MAP requires a licensed doctor and this program is offered for third world countries, as long as you offer “free for the poor” medical clinics.
At the conclusion of my slide shows, I always ask whether anyone is interested in sowing or possibly going with me. I also made it known that I was waiting for God to provide our doctor for our 2013 trip. It was then that Rick Bass made known to me that he was a retired OB/GYN. Rick shared that in his 24-year career of doctoring, he had delivered 3,678 babies and performed numerous surgeries. Rick went on to share with me that when he was a little boy, his grandmother had prophesied over him that one day he would be a medical missionary to the nations. He told me that he needed to go home and pray a bit more about whether he was to become our doctor for our 2013 trip. The next day, Rick confirmed that he was to be our doctor for both 2013 ministry trips to the South Pacific Islands!
Wow, what a journey this has been for both Rick Bass and me. We have prayed together and watched God release provision for medical supplies, well drilling equipment, musical instruments, Bibles, and more!
It’s important for you to know that Rick Bass arrived to Fa’arau (Trip #1) on Aug 7, 2013, and there were some fun looks on his face as we took the boat ride from Honiara to Auki, which is the port city on the Island of Malaita, where God birthed a 24/7 House of Prayer in a jungle village without electricity or running water. These jobless people are poor by worldly standards, but rich in their worship, prayer, and praise to God!
I’ll never forget the look on Rick’s face when we all piled into the back of a truck transporting us from Auli to Fa’arau. During the 12kl ride, it poured down rain and Rick got drenched. We all laughed and said welcome to the Solomon Islands! Many things impacted Rick, but I’ll mention the two main things that kept Rick wanting to come back with me on future ministry trips.
- #1 The presence of God during the worship and prayer at Fa’arau Church. Rick loved it there! I don’t recall how many times he told me that he was sure he heard Angels angels joining in the singing.
- Rick also recognized that there was something special in this village. Rick told me from day one that he felt like he was family.
Rick loved the village bush hut that was provided for his medical clinic at Fa’arau. Over the two weeks, 1300 poor and needy people were diagnosed and treated, and each and every person would receive prayer. It was amazing for me to watch Rick in his element. He listened to each person explain their ailment. It was very hot and humid, and with no electricity, and he never complained. The compassion and care the people received was truly remarkable. There was a special grace on Dr Rick that allowed him to see an average of 80 patients a per day!
Next we flew together to Goroka, Papua New Guinea from Aug 24 – Sept 18. In Goroka, Rick did medical clinic’sclinics. He also helped me with nightly preaching. He even got involved a couple of days in helping with the installation of a water well for a couple of days.
One of the highlights of the Goroka medical clinics was setting up his clinic in a poor rural village. It was outdoors and the people had a table, but no chairs. , So so they brought an empty 40 40-gallon drum which that Rick used as his chair. We called it the “Rick Bass “Bush Barrel Clinic”.
At this clinic, a mother brought her infant child, which was dying of double pneumonia. Rick smiled and whispered in my ear that the Johnson & Johnson MAP program had included a very expensive antibiotic which that was for infants with Pneumoniapneumonia! That baby lived and who God knows if whether that child will grow up to be another Billy Graham. My point is that we marveled that God had supplied exactly what we needed. And iIf God had not sent us to that village on that day to that infant, it never would have lived, according to Dr. Rick.
Well, I’ll wrap up by saying that we were so looking forward to doing what we do in Papua New Guinea together again from May 31 – July 2 and then spending our final weekend with our friends at the Australian HOP in Adelaide, Australia July 3-6. In fact, Rick shared with me that he wanted to minister again in the Solomon Islands for 6 weeks October & November 2015. The airfare was bought. Our itinerary was set. Our Johnson & Johnson medical supplies were purchased and organized. Then then accident that took Rick’s life on May 4, 2015. In fact Rick shared with me that he wanted to minister in the Solomon Islands for 6 weeks again this Oct & Nov 2015.
When something so unexpected like this happens, what is one to do? At this point, I’m simply praying for Rick’s wife Deborah and all the family. I say Yes & Amen to God’s promises even when I don’t understand. I acknowledge that God’s ways are higher. I know that Rick would want me to continue with our trip. , So so I’m expecting God will to supply another Doctor doctor and everything needed. I believe that Rick’s death will be a seed in the ground for the expansion of the work in the South Pacific. Nothing will hinder the plans of the Lord.
In honor of my friend
Dr. Rick Bass (August 5, 1951 – May 4, 2015)