I started doing ministry in Africa over a dozen years ago. From the beginning it was very obvious to me that next to spiritual needs health issues are near the top of the list of concerns. Things that can be easily treated here in the west can be devastating there. A non-exhaustive list would include malaria and other parasites, infections, injuries, dysentery, cholera, HIV/AIDS, and problems related to poor nutrition or starvation.
I remember visiting a village where a man was outside lying on a mat, writhing in agony from malaria. At another place we prayed with a mom as she held her screaming child, also suffering from malaria. And I can never forget the night we were in the hospital praying for a 16 year old boy who only hours later died from that terrible parasite. I also participated in the funeral of a 1-year-old twin who also succumbed from malaria.
Most of the medical problems could be treated with a high degree of success with our capabilities. But Malawi, Africa is a different world than here. What can I do? My repertoire is growing blueberries and mechanical stuff.
We started with the basic need for good water. We repaired water sources and preached the Gospel. We saw the need for Bibles and started that program. By God’s Grace people responded to the Gospel and a few churches were started. Now leaders needed to be trained and so another aspect of ministry is begun.
A few years ago we began helping some families with food in the lean months. And then the childrens’ feeding program began. Recently the sponsorship program for school children was begun (see the last newsletter).
Church buildings, classrooms and widows houses have been built in the last few years. I have discussed this with those who are directly involved, right out in the villages and we all agree– Here is invariably what happens: God shows us a need in such a way that we cannot ignore it—He basically puts in front of us in such a way that we have to respond. And that is how the various aspects of this work have begun.
Back to medical things: All of us who spend any time at all in the field see how valuable medical help to the villages could be. In the last few years we took Misozi (Ruben’s daughter) who is a registered nurse with us a few times as we travelled to various villages. She was very well received and a great help to a lot of people. But she has other obligations and could not be with us a lot. Tracy reports that malaria in Malawi has been extremely bad this year with many cases and many deaths. Several times after the Chimoto feeding program Charlie and Tracy would transport many individuals from the near villages to the hospital for treatment of malaria and other problems.
The needs in the Chimoto area became so great that Pastor Daniel arranged for a nurse to come during the feeding program. The first time she saw over 100 people, tested and treated malaria, detected pneumonia, scabies, treated wounds coughs and more. They did the nurse visit a few more times. I am going to quote Tracy here:
“The ladies in the kitchen came to us and asked us to start praying for a medical clinic or something in Chimoto…so many cannot and do not make it to a hospital for treatment resulting in many serious complications and death! The same day they asked us to pray we had a car full to take to the hospital .. we decided to take them to Blessings (which is very near our mission house) in Lumbadzi. That day we saw an Azungu (not a native African) across the room and she spotted us and made her way over to introduce herself and to see what we were doing there. We told her about Chimoto and in the conversation found that she had made a three year commitment to work there.”
The Blessings Hospital runs a mobile clinic and is adding more locations this year. Ruben filled out an application for them to come to Chimoto and they promptly made a visit. They will determine whether to run the mobile clinic in Chimoto in the near future!
Our desire is of course to help those we are in contact with daily. But at the same time we realize the need is tremendous and Blessings staff can only do so much. But it is awesome to know that God has led this compassionate American lady—Ashley Malloy to Malawi and that He has orchestrated the connection with our ministry! You can find out more about Blessings Hospital on Facebook: Chikondi Health Foundation.
Keep Praying as we respond to these needs!
1 John 3:17