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Hope in Dark Times

September 16, 2021

Hope in Dark Times

September 16, 2021

Entgrance to the Mbingo Baptist Hospital in CameroonA BEACON OF HOPE

At Reach Beyond, we know that we can always do more through the right partnerships with indigenous people and other Gospel-oriented groups than we could ever hope to do on our own. One timely example of how we’re doing this is with the Mbingo Baptist Hospital in Cameroon.

“We originally found out about this opportunity through Eric Moore, who has served as a Reach Beyond missionary for over 45 years. We ran into him at a European conference a few years ago where he told us he had a job for us to do. We were all ears.”

Bill and his wife Emily first became involved with Reach Beyond in Quito, Ecuador in 2000. Bill was the director of the Internet Ministries Department, in charge of the web sites for the various language services as well as the development of secure online giving. Emily worked with the engineering team on the Loreto Hydroelectric Project. After returning to consulting engineering work in Canada in 2004, Bill and Emily became involved again with Reach Beyond in the North Africa/Middle East Region and other international projects in 2018.

Eric let the couple know that a missional hospital in Cameroon had an incredible opportunity to increase what they could offer to their community. But they needed help to get there.

Bill with Mbingo Baptist Hospital staff at the future construction site.This hospital is the only of its kind within a 9 hour drive of it. Currently, patients who need radiation treatment have to make that long (and often dangerous) journey in order to get it. Because it's so difficult, these patients instead often receive chemo or surgery. "Radiation is the best way to treat this. You should have 1 radiation unit per million people, but they're currently limited to about 1 per 8 million. There are quite literally lives on the line."

Mbingo Baptist Hospital has a legacy of being a beacon for Christ to local people while administering the physical care they need. "Every patient that goes there gets some exposure to the Gospel," shares Bill. "It could be a chaplain visit or their network of TV's that broadcast Christian music and programming. Once people are on the hospital grounds, they are told the Gospel."

Reach Beyond works closely with partners who reach people with the Gospel through media and medical means. Mbingo Baptist Hospital fits this bill well, especially with the deep relationships formed over time through Eric, Bill, and Emily's connections there.

"Most of the doctors there are missionary doctors so they take their purpose very seriously. They're there to share Jesus with the people of Cameroon."

Surveying construction site at Mbingo Baptist Hospital in CameroonTHE ENGINEERING BEHIND THE EQUIPMENT

Installing the equipment necessary for radiation treatment takes a massive amount of planning. Even powering this treatment equipment will take an entire hydroelectric facility. Through extensive research, visits, and conversations, Bill and Emily have determined the best means for the equipment to be delivered, installed, and used.

"We actually did something similar in Ecuador and Papua New Guinea, too. Being able to install massive equipment like this isn't just about doctors who use it." The regulations and best practices are extensive when it comes to where the equipment is placed, how it is kept up-to-date, and many other measures to maintain it.

Bill and Emily are honored to do the hard work behind-the-scenes to ensure that the staff at Mbingo Baptist Hospital has all the information necessary to treat their patients well and utilize the equipment for a long time.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

The timing of this equipment's installation comes during a critical juncture in the country's history. Cameroon is currently in a civil war that has been ongoing since September of 2017. This conflict is a reflection of the country's mixed roots in colonization by the Germans, British, and French. Unfortunately, this war has already seized thousands of lives and has displaced more than half a million people from their homes. And there is not a clear end in sight.

Overlooking Mbingo Baptist Hospital in Cameroon "The hospital is a sanctuary. Both sides of the war respect it as a safe zone. Everyone likes to be in that area because it's safe." With people fleeing to this sanctuary, Mbingo Baptist Hospital is a beacon of physical safety and physical healing. The people of the town are thankful for a place where they know they'll be OK.

Of course, COVID-19 has impacted this project significantly as well. "This was already an extensive construction process from the beginning. But the delays caused by the pandemic obviously could never have been foreseen. We're trusting God's timing for this project and the people of Cameroon." They are hoping for excavation for the building to begin in Fall of 2021.

In a trip that Bill and Emily took to the site, they had multiple doctors tell them how immediate the need was for this equipment. "I saw multiple people today who I would've recommended radiation to if we had access to it," was a common sentiment. Their continued work will ensure this urgent need is met soon.

CHARACTER BUILDS IN THE WAITING

Romans 12:12 calls us as Christ followers to "rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, [and] be constant in prayer." The believers in this area have been patient in their prayers for better equipment to meet the needs of the local Cameroon people. Amidst the uncertainty and difficulties of civil war and COVID-19's impact, this equipment's installation and use will be an answered prayer for the staff and medical personnel at Mbingo Baptist Hospital.

We, too, as Christians often find ourselves in times of waiting, whether that's for direction, for a cure, for a call from a loved one... God is oftentimes interested in using these waiting periods to sanctify our lives, clarify our calling, and strengthen our capacity to love others regardless of our circumstances.