The Heartbeat of Global Missions
By Dr. Dieudonne Lemfuka | Liberia in West Africa
Dr. Dieudonne Lemfuka / AfriGO
We treated a young lady of 18 years who came to ELWA Hospital with a condition requiring surgery. Her physical form was dire and her emotional state was equally fragile. Our team tended to her medical needs and shared the message of hope and salvation through Christ. We worked alongside our hospital chaplain, and through prayer and counselling, she found healing in her body and for her soul. This transformational journey is at the heart of what health workers can achieve in missions.
Health work has a remarkable ability to open doors and advance God’s global mission. Patients often come during vulnerable moments in their lives, presenting a unique opportunity to provide physical healing and spiritual and emotional support.
A missional mindset
To harness the potential of African health workers in global missions, we must cultivate a missional mindset with the profession. It begins with understanding that our skills and knowledge are powerful tools for spreading God’s love and compassion. Health work is a calling—we are called, as Christ’s ambassadors, to serve, to heal, and to bring hope to those in need. Every surgical procedure, medical consultation, and act of care becomes an opportunity to reflect God’s grace.
Though health worker migration from Africa poses challenges for Africa’s healthcare systems, it also opens doors for mission work. Pastors can inspire healthcare professionals to consider missions, emphasizing service in underserved regions as a humanitarian gesture.
Christian health workers need to consider a long-term missional focus by serving for extended periods. Long-term dedication cultivates trust, ensures consistent care, imparts knowledge to national staff, and fosters deep connections with local communities.
I was working as a general practitioner when the idea of becoming a missionary was suggested to me. I initially dismissed it; however, the suggestion resurfaced when my wife and I began our surgical residency training. We were both hesitant about pursuing this path. It wasn’t what we truly wanted for our lives.
We confided in a few friends expecting encouragement, but instead, some questioned why two physicians would choose to become missionaries instead of pursuing lucrative careers. This left us confused.
In our quest for clarity, we consulted our pastor, expecting a similar response. To our surprise, he told us that answering the call to missions was God’s path for us, and advised against our resistance. This caught in a dilemma.
After prayer and reflection, we became convinced we should obey God’s will. Looking back, we see God’s faithfulness since we joined the mission field, and I am filled with gratitude. This can hopefully encourage those hesitating to respond to God’s call. God wants you to serve with your skills and talents as a means to share the Gospel with others.
Healing and joy
A patient arrived at our hospital with nearly a third of her upper lip bitten off. The situation appeared grim as the family presented a preserved piece of the lip, desperately seeking our help.
After a thorough examination, we decided to perform an advanced procedure to reconstruct the lip. It was a daunting undertaking, but we wanted to provide this young woman with a chance at normal life. Two weeks later, the patient’s mother was overjoyed to see her daughter’s beautifully restored lip, and requested a commemorative photo with me. True healing and joy come through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
African health workers possess a vital role in global missions. By cultivating a missional mindset, we can transform our professions into powerful instruments for God’s work. As Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” With God’s strength, we can accomplish even the most difficult tasks. Together, we can be the heartbeat of global missions, bringing healing and hope to a world in need.
Dr. Dieudonne Lemfuka is a general surgeon from the DRC. He is a graduate of PAACS and COSECSA, and currently serves as an SIM missionary at ELWA Hospital in Monrovia alongside his wife Christelle, and their three children.
This article was originally published in AfriGO Magazine, Issue 8.4: African health workers: their vital role in global missions.