Feature

Breaking New Ground

Medical missionaries help save lives and souls

By

He was a desperate man. His wife had been sick for months, and they had traveled to various doctors to no avail. Her illness continued to negatively impact and discourage the family. One day the man heard about a new clinic in the village of N’zao, so he took his wife for a consultation.

Upon their arrival, the wife’s information was taken, and they were given a number. When their turn came, the husband was moved by the compassion Anja Erickson, a nurse from Holland, showed his wife. Being treated with dignity and concern was different from what they had experienced in other places, and it made an immediate impression.

For weeks they returned to the clinic for follow-up visits. Each time the husband’s attention was drawn to the care his wife was receiving. He began to listen carefully to the gospel presentations given by staff members Moise Mamy and Anja’s husband, Jon. One day the combination of the loving treatment his wife had received and the preaching he heard affected his heart, and he prayed to accept Christ as his Savior.

Weeks later the evangelical church in N’zao sponsored a men’s retreat. The pastor told a story about a man who had arrived at a church meeting with his arms full of items. This man explained that he was the one who had accepted Christ when his wife was being treated at Hope Clinic. He was bringing his fetishes to be burned—he didn’t need them since he had become a follower of Jesus.

The hurting and sick come to Hope Clinic, where the diligent labor of the Ericksons, Mamy and others delivers hope to people like that man. The caring medical treatment the staff provided to his wife was as important and pleasing to the Lord as the heartfelt sharing of the gospel. Both acts of love resulted in this man’s salvation and the end of his desire to worship false gods.

Breaking Ground

Before Hope Clinic opened its doors, Jon was a missionary in Liberia until civil war forced him to relocate to Guinea. He learned the Mano language and devoted himself to evangelism and church planting. His heart was saddened each time he witnessed the sorrow of families who had lost their loved ones to illnesses that, with medical care, could have been prevented.

In the mid 1990s, Jon assisted medical teams ministering in Guinea. He drove the truck hauling supplies and equipment to the villages and helped the medical staff in any way possible. He was drawn to dentistry and learned how to extract teeth. Jon’s desire for additional training led him to Bongolo Evangelical Hospital in Gabon, where he received dental training and met Anja.

After more than a decade of experiencing the medical needs in Guinea and having seen the impact of dentistry, Jon and Mamy pursued their dream of expanding their ministry. They had been using a small room for dental extractions but needed a larger office. They began to plan a medical ministry that would include dental care and eventually maternity services. The two men secured a plot of land and broke ground for the foundation of the first buildings.

While picks and shovels turned the soil, new foundations were being laid in another sense. Throughout the years, Alliance ministries in Guinea had emphasized only traditional evangelism and church planting. However, an increased awareness of the needs of the local people was stirring the thoughts of Alliance teams. In March 2003 Dr. David Thompson; his wife, Becki; and Dr. Jeff Amstutz brought experienced medical missionaries into the mix. Their explanations of how medical ministry and missions fit together had a profound impact. New ground was being broken as the Alliance field began to consider the types of ministries needed to impact this country for Christ.

Unexpected Blessings

As the Ericksons approached their home assignment later that year, an unexpected request came from the U.S. Embassy in Guinea. An independent American missionary couple who ran an orphanage in Liberia, with more than 70 children, needed to relocate to Guinea. The Embassy representatives asked if this group could use Hope Clinic as a temporary residence.

The Ericksons, Mamy and local church members prayerfully considered the request and agreed that the people from the orphanage could settle in the clinic for the summer. Because the Ericksons were going to be away during that time, this would give a presence at the clinic as well as provide the housing needs of the orphans. It was a winning proposal for all. An added blessing came when local authorities acted quickly to connect the clinic to the city water supply.

Hope Clinic’s arrangement with the orphanage caught the attention of a colonel at the Embassy. By the time the Ericksons had returned from home assignment, the colonel had collected donations, including a 40-foot-long container filled with supplies and medical equipment, along with a four-wheel-drive truck and water trailer!

The following September, Hope Clinic workers began seeing patients for dental and outpatient care.

Within the first three months, the staff had seen 185 dental patients and had completed 547 outpatient consultations. As a result, four people have accepted Christ.

Answering the Call

As each morning dawns through the forest, people from the village and surrounding areas gather at the clinic. Jon assigns a number to those who need clinical assistance while Anja, Dr. Saskia de Poel and their Guinean colleagues begin consultations. The medical discussions keep Anja and Dr. Saskia busy into the afternoon. While the group waits to see the doctors, Jon presents the gospel. Afterward, he shifts into the dual roles of dentist and construction supervisor: between exams, he checks the construction of the clinic’s fourth building.

We continue to marvel at the Lord’s provision for this ministry. Many from Europe and North America have supported this effort. In addition, the U.S. colonel has continued his efforts, resulting in the donation of two more containers of equipment, an ambulance and a US$40,000 grant to construct the fourth building, which will have an operating room and x-ray machines.

The physical needs in south Guinea are overwhelming. Medical staff is needed to provide loving care with dignity to many hurting and sick people. The spiritual darkness and oppression keep the nationals enslaved to fetishes. Missionaries willing to learn the languages and proclaim the good news are needed. Practitioners and believers working together to live the call can bring hope to south Guinea.

Please pray for the project’s construction and organizational aspects, as well as the Ericksons, Dr. Saskia and the Mamys. Also, the clinic will need more doctors as it expands. We’re excited about the ministry’s potential, but we recognize that the enemy will seek to attack. Please pray against such attacks and join us in praising the Lord for the work He has done here in Guinea.

Editor’s Note: Hope Clinic is a Compassion and Mercy Associates (CAMA) Guinea effort. For more information, contact CAMA Services at www.camaservices.org or 719-265-2039. In the United States, you may call toll-free: 1-866-443-8262. Ask how you can contribute to the CAMA Guinea-Hope Clinic Project.

Past Alliance Life Issues

Share

Get Involved...

Pray.

We cannot “Live the Call Together” unless prayer is central to all we do.
Pray with us »

Serve.

Is God calling you to service? We’re here to help you connect your passion with God’s purpose.
Serve with The Alliance »

Give.

Help build Christ’s Church by supporting the ministry and workers of The Alliance.
Give today »