Overcoming Death

Editor’s note: C&MA medical worker Peggy Drake knows well the stench of death. She and Jetty Stouten, who serves with CAMA in the Netherlands, initiated Project Life, a medical clinic and pharmacy providing affordable treatment to the ill and dying. Located in Bobo-Dioulasso, the project includes an AIDS-prevention outreach program to local youth.

Following are edited excerpts from a heart-rending story Peggy shared in her 2008 Christmas letter. She describes how serving a dying woman enveloped her unbelieving community in the aroma of Christ’s love.

She came into the clinic waiting room, her face etched in pain. The fearful look in her eyes asked, “What will they do to me here?”

She had no money. So our secretary forgave the small consultation fee we charge and seated her in the waiting room. 

The Smell of Death

Because of the odor, it was not long before others in the room began to move away from the woman. When our African nurse, Elizabeth, admitted the patient, Genaba, she found that for two years, cancer had eaten away at this woman’s breast. 

When I asked Genaba why she had not come to us sooner, she said that her husband had told her they had no money. I began to treat her gaping wound, knowing that nothing could be done to save her. We then covered the costs for her mastectomy, hospitalization, and postoperative care.

Prepared for Heaven

After the surgery, Genaba did well for about one month. When her health began to fail, she knew she was dying. But because of her love for the Lord-and knowing that her pain would soon be gone-she was ready to go to heaven!

The morning of her death I went to Genaba’s home, a small, mud-brick structure on the edge of town. Her two teenage children were there weeping; their father had died six months earlier, leaving them feeling abandoned.

Soon, Christians from the area began to arrive. They gathered at one side of the humble home, while followers of the area’s traditional religion assembled on the other. It was the Christians who initiated caring for the body and helping the children to bury their mother.

Witness to a Community

A few days after the burial, Sara, a well respected woman from one of the local churches, told us a story. She described how all the residents of Genaba’s community were talking about what they had seen: Christians, including our clinic workers, reaching out in love to care for this destitute mother. “Why?” they asked. 

Sara explained that it was because of Jesus. He lived among us, and He wanted us to reach out in love to everyone-rich, poor, young, and old.

Thank You!

Later, a group of women from the community visited us at the clinic. Through song, they thanked us for caring for Genaba and her children.

My friend, I want to thank you! If you have given to our Alliance Great Commission Ministries, you, too, cared for Genaba. In doing so, you helped to spread the aroma of Christ’s love throughout her unbelieving community.  

Yes, a little love goes a long way!

Learn More

Check out Peggy’s and Jetty’s Web site.

Download a video of Dr. David Thompson, among a number of Alliance workers, including Peggy and Jetty, giving hope to the AIDS-affected.


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