Come Over and Help Us
By Elizabeth Hodges
In mid-September, I listened as Regional Director Kenneth and Rejane Eagleton shared about God’s work during their most recent term of service. My heart rejoiced at the various ministry opportunities around the world. Having recently been in Côte d’Ivoire, my ears perked up when he announced a Cuban medical team was prepared to go and serve at the hospital in Doropo. However, this team of four—a medical doctor, his lab-tech wife, their teenage son, and an X-ray/ultrasound technician—did not have the funds to purchase airline tickets.
The hospital in Doropo has been understaffed since the civil war in Côte d’Ivoire stretched from 2002-2007. The need for medical care among the Lobi people is great. Having seen the small clinic staff try to meet the vast needs firsthand, I felt as though it was another “Macedonian call.”
During a break, I asked Kenneth for an estimate of the cost for the travel. After research, he told me the tickets would cost $10,000. Fast-forward several weeks. During our annual meeting, I shared this need with the WNAC Board. Tracy Payne, president of Oklahoma WAC, said she would present the need as a project for the coming year at her state meeting the very next week.
God had orchestrated the schedules of two Ivorian pastors, who also attended the Oklahoma state meeting during their visit to the States. Pastor Samuel brought greetings to the Oklahoma ladies and thanked them for helping provide a national retreat for the Ivorian women. International guests cannot attend every state meeting, and it was such a blessing for the Oklahoma women to meet these two Ivorian pastors, hear their report about the Ivorian retreat and the Camp for Women of the Good News, and to partner in sending the Cuban medical team to the Doropo clinic.
Once again, God has brought Free Will Baptist missions full circle. In 1941, Tom and Mabel Willey went to Cuba. “The field seemed so ripe. Churches were planted. Missions started. The gospel spread, and missionaries were excited. The first Cuban Association of Free Will Baptists was formed. God was certainly working there. But evil lurked around the corner” (Into the Darkness, page 44). In the early 1960s, in the onslaught of Fidel Castro’s overthrow of the island nation, the missionaries had to leave. Still, the church flourished. More than 13,000 Free Will Baptists now gather each week to worship in Free Will Baptist churches. And the Cuban Association, once a mission field, is now sending missionaries into the uttermost parts of the world.
An ocean away, in 1956, Free Will Baptist missionaries ventured into The Dark Continent. Free Will Baptist medical missions work began in January 1962 when Dr. LaVerne Miley and his family arrived in Doropo. God performed miracle after miracle, providing facilities and medicine and, ultimately, thousands of lives were changed by the good news of Christ (Into the Darkness, pages 73-79). The medical ministry thrived under the leadership of doctors Paul Gentuso, Mark Paschall, and Kenneth Eagleton. Then, in 1998, national workers took full responsibility for the ministry and staffing of the clinic. After the devastation of the civil war, however, the hospital needs to be refurbished and restaffed. God has prepared and called His servants in Cuba.
Another Macedonian call has been uttered: “Will you help the Cuban medical team get to Africa?” Absolutely!
Oklahoma women jumpstarted the efforts of WNAC, and as women in other states have learned of this need, they too are responding. The goal is to reach $10,000 by September 2017. To partner with what God is doing around the world, send your gift earmarked “Cuban Medical Team” to:
PO Box 5002 |
Antioch, TN 37011
About the Writer: Elizabeth Hodges is director of Women Nationally Active for Christ. Read more: www.WNAC.org.