The country of Sierra Leone in West Africa has been ravaged by civil war (1991–2001) and an Ebola epidemic (2013–16) that took the lives of 90 percent of the country’s medical professionals. There is currently one doctor for every 30,000–40,000 patients.
From May 4 to 14, a seven-member LCMS Mercy Medical Team visited Sierra Leone to offer physical and spiritual healing. During the week-long clinic, a total of 1,450 individuals were served, from 12-day-old babies to 100-year-old women.
Injuries and conditions treated included amputations and stab wounds from the war, high blood pressure, fevers, malaria, dehydration, parasites and more.
At the beginning of each clinic day, a devotion was shared with the crowds who were waiting to be seen by the medical staff. As patients completed their medical evaluations, a pastor prayed with them before they began their journey home.
The congregation of Gambella Lutheran Church began meeting under a tree in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp in 2006. In 2017, they were relocated to the Kalobeyei refugee camp. Because there is no pastor, but only a few evangelists who lead the congregation, members had gone nearly five years without receiving communion.
This March, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Aadland, LCMS career missionary to Kenya, visited the Gambella congregation with seminarian Okach Omot Opiew. Once he completes his studies, Okach, who is from Kalobeyei, will return to serve the church there. Rev. Aadland did a review on the Lord’s Supper, with Okach translating, and 60 people received Holy Communion after going many years without.
Posted June 21, 2018