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Helping Them Find the Way

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Every week at Bongolo Hospital in Gabon, at least 20 people find their way to Jesus. At a recent Friday chapel, Pastor Pascal, the head chaplain, reported that since the previous Friday, 47 people had accepted Christ. The week before that there were 37, and before that, 66!

As I walk by their office, I often hear the chaplains praying with a patient, delivering someone from an evil spirit, comforting a patient who is HIV positive or rejoicing with someone who just found Christ. Amazingly, since January, more than 1,200 patients have prayed to receive the Lord Jesus Christ.

over-crowded truckOne of them is Thiery, a young man from our town. His story illustrates the need to follow up with those who make this first step on the way of Christ. Last January, he was riding with at least 15 others in an open pick-up truck when the driver lost control and the vehicle rolled. A passing motorist brought Thiery and four other injured passengers to our hospital six hours later. He had an open wound in his upper arm that seemed innocent enough when we treated it. But a severe infection set in that within three days had devoured most of the skin and some of the muscles on the back of his upper arm and elbow.

During the month that Thiery was in intensive care, our team prayed for him several times during rounds, and Jonas, one of our anesthetists, talked to him about giving his life to Christ. After several weeks, Thiery prayed a prayer of faith and told us that he had decided to follow Jesus. When he was finally discharged, we encouraged him to attend the local Bongolo church. But after he left the hospital, Thiery went back to his old way of life.

In June, we put out the word that plastic surgeon David Chang from the famous MD Anderson Hospital in Texas was coming to Bongolo. Thiery showed up, his right elbow severely scarred and his arm essentially useless. Dr. Chang released the limiting scar tissue, moved a flap of skin from Thiery’s wrist up to his elbow and restored Thiery’s arm to normal function. During this hospitalization, our team again encouraged Thiery to follow Christ.

We have the privilege of introducing thousands of people to Christ each year. Pastor Pascal told me that unlike Thiery, most who pray to receive Christ at the hospital are from provinces other than ours—in fact, from all over Gabon.

At the end of a recent chapel, Pastor Pascal invited our hospital staff to take as many gospel tracts as they thought they could give away. I was delighted to see that more than half of our employees responded. When I announced that I had several “evangi-cubes” to help explain the gospel to patients, the head nurse of our recovery room requested one.

The challenge for our team and for the churches of Gabon is to encourage and help these vulnerable new believers to follow in Christ’s footsteps. Would you pray for Thiery? Someone from our team has plans to visit him soon.

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