Medical mission in Zimbabwe

Sanyati

This year our ACTS Harare team has had the privilege to host a medical missionary team that flew in from Louisiana. The team travelled with medical supplies and equipment all the way from the United States and landed in Harare ready to go out for days of intensive work. On the team of 16 were two veterinarians, a surgeon, nurses, doctors and some non-medical church members (including 3 teenagers) who were there to offer whatever support they could give. This team was joined by a local doctor and his team of four as well as a pastor affiliated to the Baptist Mission in Zimbabwe.

The team set off for Nenyunga on an overland truck. Nenyunga is a remote area about 700km from the capital city and it takes between 10 to 12 hours to travel there depending on how poor the roads are. This part of the country is hilly and mountainous and does not provide an environment for sustainable agriculture for the inhabitants who are living in poverty. It is in a remote area, with the nearest shopping point being Gokwe, about 60km away.

The team operated out of a hospital that is under construction near Nenyunga Secondary School. Here they converted rooms that are still under construction into five doctors’ consultation rooms, a theatre and a pharmacy. A shed was set up too as the pastoral room. Scores of villagers had heard the news of a medical team coming to the area and over the four days that the team was in operation, some people camped at the site, braving the weather elements and any other danger as they desperately waited for their turn. The surgeon’s first patient was our very own ACTS driver who had a lump on his back removed. He recovered very quickly and well.

At least 1500 people came through each day, but the doctors could only attend to about 300 per day.  There were three police officers employed to maintain peace and order as there was a huge scramble of people all the time. At the end of the four days, about 1150 patients with varying ailments had been seen, about 22 surgical procedures performed (mainly to remove growths of various nature), several drug prescriptions disbursed (it seemed the team had done the relevant research and knew exactly what sort of ailments they would need to be addressing – they were well equipped with the correct drugs) and hundreds of people gave their lives to Christ!

While the rest of the team worked with people, the two veterinarians would go out into the community and conduct animal dipping and treatment of various livestock. While they were doing that they made it a platform for evangelism and had about 80 people give their lives to Jesus in the time they were roaming about the community.

The team was sad to have to turn so many people away and to them scamper for the bits and pieces of things that the team left when they packed up. However, it was amazing how much hope and joy these people have despite their circumstances. This was evident in how they celebrated in worship at the Sunday Church service.

From Nenyunga the team set off for Sanyati Baptist Mission Hospital where they were to tour the hospital and offload all the leftover medical supplies. A shortcut route was chosen to cut the travel time by about four hours. The road was alright to start with, but then they encountered a dry riverbed and then a trench along the path! This trench was about 5 metres wide and a metre deep, they would need a miracle to make it to the other side, and that is exactly what they were granted! There happened to be grader vehicle out there, in the middle of nowhere, that piled some earth into the trench for them, and away they went!! What divine intervention! They arrived in Sanyati just after dark.

This trip was phenomenal. The number of lives touched was incredible. The response to Christ and his word was even more astounding. While enjoying some down time at Chengeta Safari Lodge the team and their guides reflected on these events. They would all do it again despite the challenges! Our values of friendliness, passion, family and courage were clear features of this trip as the ACTS crew became part of the team and served passionately, whether it was helping with translating or making sure that the team was well fed and their camping experience was as comfortable as possible.

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