With daytime temperatures in Niger regularly soaring above 40C (110F), the swimming pool is the one place for a hot and tired mission worker to cool off!
However, semi-retired doctor A’dele* spent most of her short-term mission working at SIM’s Galmi Hospital, where hundreds of men, women and children visit the outpatient clinics every day.
And despite having a salaried staff of around 250 Nigerien personnel, the hospital relies on international volunteers willing to share their expertise.
A’dele worked as a GP for many years while raising her family and today, works part time both in the UK and in the USA (doing short term locum Family Practice work), but after hearing about the staffing shortages at Galmi, she felt called to put her background in obstetrics and gynaecology to good use.
“I’ve wanted to be a mission worker since I was in my teens, so I was pleased and grateful to the Lord, to finally have the opportunity to fulfil my dream,” she says.
There are more than 20 million people in Niger and very few have heard the good news of Jesus, so A’dele was grateful to join the dedicated mutlicultural team, who use opportunities to share the gospel with patients, especially in the clinic.
“It was a privilege to be used by God on the mission field where the light of the gospel is very much needed,” she says.
And despite it being more than 25 years since she last worked on a maternity ward, A’dele – who is supported by Parkside Elim Christian Centre, London, UK and the Family Christian Centre in Maine, USA – was pleasantly surprised by how easily she remembered her obstetrics skills during her three months at Galmi.
“It all came back very quickly – like muscle memory – and it was like I’d never been away!” she recalls.
“Unfortunately, many mothers don’t make it to hospital or their babies are born too premature, so I was thankful to God for the chance to help the ones that do make it to hospital and to save some lives in the process.
“One teenage mother (met on my most recent trip) spent a month on the unit following a botched home birth in her rural village in which she lost her first baby and ended up with massive complications. But I believe she saw and felt God’s love demonstrated in the care she received and it was good to see her smiling a few days before she was discharged to await further surgery.”
In February this year, A‘dele returned to Niger to help with staffing shortages partly caused by Covid and also took part in a health care mission outreach to four remote rural villages in the same region en route to Galmi.
Now returned, A’dele says her flexible schedule makes it possible to volunteer when she wants to and is keen to urge others to use their God-given gifts for short-term missions.
“There’ll always seem to be more reasons to ‘not go’ than ‘to go’,” she says, “but the rewards are plentiful, both on this earth – including the joy and help brought to others and the sense of fulfilment in the person going – as well as eternally.”
By Kerry Allan
- Give thanks A’dele was able to communicate with the patients and staff in Hausa.
- That people’s lives will be transformed when they come to Galmi Hospital.
- For more helpers to do various gospel work in West Africa, from church planting, youth work, healthcare and teaching, to admin and Bible translation.
Are you up for a challenge?
Go to our website www.sim.co.uk/serve/ministries to search for opportunities to serve, or contact [email protected] to talk to our team of mobilisers and discover which ministries and locations may be best suited for you.