Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Welcome to the Central Africa Medical Mission, a 50-year legacy of healthcare in Zambia and Malawi. The volunteers and national staff see many faces and have been a light of Jesus to many people. Their work is one of humility, patience, commitment, and sacrifice for people that they may never see again. It is leaving a place of comfort and entering one that brings constant reminders of pain, disease, sorrow, and loneliness. Yet, it also brings the blessings of new friendships, lessons in perseverance and character, and a strengthened faith in the One who sustains, cares for, and loves all people.
The Medical Mission is a program in which WELS or ELS health care professionals can use their God-given abilities to spread His love in a different area of the world. This ministry is a tremendous benefit to the Lutheran Church in Central Africa and our fellow sisters and brothers in Jesus.
Lutheran Mobile Clinic
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galations 6:9)
This past June, my husband Gary and I spent 10 days in Malawi, Africa. We had both worked there in the 1980’s, and had talked about returning ever since we were married 30 years ago. As a former medical mission nurse, and a current member of the CAMM committee, I was excited to see the work of the Lutheran Mobile clinic again firsthand. Gary also checked on some of the water projects he’d helped build when he was a VSO British volunteer. It was good to be back. We were able to spend time with our friend Alison Westphal, clinic administrator, and Amanda Oswalt, nurse in charge, as they did their daily tasks and errands, and spoke about the Lutheran Mobile Clinic’s latest challenges and successes.
A day spent at Suzi clinic brought out both the similarities and differences of this mission work compared with 3 decades ago. First, the familiar drive in the ambulance over rough roads, watching the daily activities of people in the villages we passed. Men on bicycles with heavy loads of firewood or sugar cane, women with large buckets of water on their heads, children driving oxcarts, sellers of tomatoes in neat piles on the roadside, boys holding roasted mice on a stick to sell - these could have been the same sights we had seen before. These same friendly, hard working people, who care about their children and elders, living with poverty, drought, and sickness every day, still come to our clinics in need of healing of body and soul. Here they still see the love of Jesus at work.
When we arrived at Suzi, the endless line of women with babies on their backs had formed, and the patients were being registered and weighed. The children received immunizations and mothers received food supplements and nutrition counseling. The Malawian nurses and medical officer examined patients and prescribed medications not just for bacterial infections, malaria, and worms, but also for epilepsy, hypertension, diabetes and asthma. Patients suspected of having malaria are tested, then treated. Others are tested for HIV, receive counseling and are sent for treatment. Preventive health teaching is still done, along with instruction in sustainable gardening. Antenatal patients are seen as well, and receive exams, instruction, anti-malarials and vitamins. All of this takes place in a building which was built to double as a LCCA church 32 years ago. The true gospel is being preached at our churches amid the spread of Islam and the growth of a “prosperity gospel” influence in Africa.
Back in the city of Lilongwe, much has changed. Traffic jams and poor roads make accomplishing tasks in town more difficult. Cell phones and computers make communication with friends and family easier. The use of internet (when available) has allowed networking with other non-governmental agencies and sharing of health expertise. One example of this is a British organization which helps women who develop fistulas after difficult or prolonged labor and childbirth, receive life-changing surgery. “Freedom from Fistula” volunteers came out to our clinics to access women who are suffering with this and trained our staff to be able to identify women who might benefit from a referral for surgery.
God has blessed our medical missions in Malawi with competent staff and the financial means to continue despite government problems which have limited local funding. With your gifts and prayers, this same “Mission of Love” continues as both physical and spiritual needs are being met. We came home with a sense of amazement and gratitude for those who “do not give up” this work.
(Former CAMM nurse and current CAMM committee Nurse Coordinator)
September 17, 2016 (Saturday) Luther Days
Shoreland Lutheran High School (Kenosha, WI) (9:00-4:00) www.lutherdays.org - Linda Liesener/Kari Belter
October 1, 2016 (Saturday)
Women's Society Beautiful Savior (Austin, MN) (9:30am) - Linda Liesener
October 6, 2016 (Thursday)
St John's Ladies Group (Juneau, WI) () - Linda Liesener
October 8, 2016 (Saturday)
Beautiful Savior and Holy Scripture Women's Retreat (Fort Wayne IN) - Shelly Sievert
Abiding Faith Ladies Group (Smyrna TN) - Shelly Sievert
NE Central Plains LWMS Circuit Rally (Grace, Geneva NE) - Linda Liesener
October 23, 2016 (Sunday)
CAMM Commissioning of Amanda Artz, Clinic Administrator for Lutheran Mobile Clinic - Trinity (Brillion WI)
November 3, 2016 (Thursday)
Abiding Word Ladies Group (Milwaukee WI) (11:45am) - Linda Liesener
St Paul's Ladies Social (Jordan, MN) - Linda Liesener
April 23, 2017 (Sunday)
Women's Mission Gathering - Mt Olive (Overland Park KS) (1pm) - Linda Liesener