I contacted World Medical Mission about going to a Christian third-world mission hospital to work as a surgeon. It was recommended that I go to Meskine, Cameroon, since their long-term surgeon left in May. I learned that the hospital was built as an outreach to the community. Meskine seemed to have the greatest surgical and spiritual need. I first heard about Medical Centers of West Africa (MCWA) when I received a call from Cheryl Yennie, the Executive Director of MCWA. I later received a phone call offering me an invitation to come to Meskine Hospital.
I arrived in Meskine in Oct 2012. I thought I would be teaching and performing operations that could not be done until I arrived there; that was the plan. However, most of the time I was asking for advice and assisting in operations I had only ever read about. One of the seasoned Meskine surgical techs was willing to teach me dozens of operations that I hadn’t seen before and assisted me as I performed them myself. We thoroughly enjoyed working together and grew very close. The hospital’s employees were extremely warm and helpful. They were very understanding about my being monolingual in their dominantly French and Fulfulde speaking community. I came to serve and teach, but left certain that I had been served only to better prepare me to be able to serve others in the future.
I came to serve and teach, but left certain that I had been served only to better prepare me to be able to serve others in the future.
The most valuable lesson God taught me while I was there was humility. I went to Cameroon planning to teach what I knew and I ironically found myself the student. Being among the Fulbe brought Romans 12:3-8 into sharp focus. “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” I will not often be the part I plan to be. Depending on the grace given, I have to stretch, struggle, and strive as God places me in unfamiliar roles.
This was my seventh surgical trip to Africa. Lord willing, I will return to Meskine and often. MCWA and Meskine Hospital have a culture of extending love and affection to visiting workers. I encourage anyone with a heart for missions to go serve there. God is on mission in Meskine; join Him.