Each morning the gospel goes forth over the intercom and around 100 people will hear the message. Patients will often ask for tracts and bibles. There is always a good supply of tracts where we see the outpatients and at the theatre. It is usual to see patients reading the tracts as they await their turn for surgery. We try to pray with each patient immediately prior to surgery. There are gospel texts throughout the hospital. Our sisters often have informal meetings with singing in the maternity ward, the children’s ward and the woman’s ward. There is also a little hospital village where patients awaiting surgery and their relatives can stay for a time. Sometimes the assembly brethren and sisters will go there with the gospel and one sister is very faithful in going there each Monday. She told me that one lady trusted the Lord a few weeks ago.
The need for medical missionaries of all disciplines is greater today in our world than it has ever been in history. There are a multitude of reasons for this, not least the huge population increases, a high incidence of HIV infections (around 10% in the Chitokoloki area). There is a chronic shortage, often absence of doctors in many parts of rural Africa. The believers at these hospitals pray constantly for doctors and nurses. The government makes every effort to facilitate them coming and there is a whole hearted community welcome.
We have also been greatly blessed by regular overseas visits from doctors from the UK, North America, Australia and New Zealand which are a big help to us in dealing with the high-volume workload.
As I conclude this article I have to record that the little baby operated on with the intestinal problem mentioned earlier sadly died a few days later as a result of an overwhelming infection. His death was a sad testimony to the truth of the UK medical journal article that I mentioned at the beginning. Delays and inadequate services have led to a disaster for this family and the needless filling of another little grave in Africa.
I trust that these few paragraphs convey a little of the intensity and variety of medical missionary work as well as the joy (although often tempered with intense sadness) and excitement and fulfilment that it entails. I trust also that some Christian doctors or nurses reading this article might prayerfully consider coming to Africa, with their skills and the message of the gospel, to help alleviate what is the real and awful inequality of our modern world.