“If we are rich and see others in need, yet close our hearts against them, how can we claim that we love God? My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in actions.” 1 John 3:17-18
CBN Nigeria took free medical services to Gampu Community, Yorro Local Government Area, Taraba State from the 23rd to 27th of February, 2017. The medical services were provided in partnership with Angel Flying Club (AFC), and with the support of Evangelical Mission Society (EMS of ECWA).
The initial plan was to reach out to a community called Donkin on Mambila Plateau. Angel Flying Club was to fly volunteers from Abuja to Donkin (about 15,000 feet above sea level), in North-Eastern Nigeria. The journey from Abuja to the community usually takes about 14 hours, by road, to the foot of the mountain, and then about 9 to 12 hours, on foot, to the top of the mountain. Angel Flying Club, a mission aviation ministry provided the aircraft, which was to take the volunteers up the mountain in less than 3 hours. However, the pilot of the aircraft couldn’t make it to the mountain with the first batch of volunteers from Abuja. He had to land in Jalingo (the capital city) Airport due to visibility and other technical issues.
This development did not dampen the spirit of the volunteers, who immediately took off by road to the foot of Donkin Hills to reach out to another community there called Gampu. Getting to the community was a difficult task of driving for more than 4 hours through a rugged terrain, dried up streams, river routes, valleys and very rocky pathways; we even had a flat tire while trying to maneuver through the terrain! In spite of all the obstacles, we eventually made it there in one piece, to the glory of God.
The medical mission was the first of its kind, as Gampu community had no form of basic facility besides a depilated, dysfunctional, dispensary that did not have a single table to carry out a simple procedure, so we had to make use of an uncompleted church facility. We spent several hours cleaning the dispensary for the 7 minor procedures we carried out. The lack of a good source of water was a serious challenge in the community; it was so bad and critical that we were unable to find clean water to bath all through the 36 hours of our stay in the community.
However, none of this deterred our team from executing our mission. A total of 491 people benefited from the various services we rendered. The major health challenges isolated and treated were water related diseases such as a suspected case of Onchocerciasis (River Blindness – caused by the parasitic worm, Onchocerca Volvus), Tenia Pedis (athlete’s foot – a fungal infection), Worms, Skin Diseases and Typhoid Fever. Other conditions discovered included Arthritis, Haematuria, Cough and several other cases of infectious diseases.
One interesting thing that happened during the mission was the emergence of a number of people from Donkin Hills, the people the mission was originally planned for. These people had to trek 9 to 10 hours down the mountain to access the free medical care. It was so amazing seeing people with such desperation, coming all the way to seek help. God definitely orchestrates everything, even our so-called mistakes, disappointments, and accidents for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). The decision to go all the way to the foot of the mountain definitely paid off more!
The Head of the community, Mallam Isah Yakubu, was more than glad to receive us. According to him, our coming was divinely arranged because of him. He had been suffering with an infectious disease called Anal Fistula that needed immediate surgical intervention but had ignorantly been depending on native treatment as the only remedy. He was taken in immediately for surgery, to relief him of his pains. He thanked CBN and AFC for coming to his aid right at home without long hospital protocols, financial burden, and the stress of traveling several hours to Jalingo or Yola for surgery.
The EMS area coordinator for the state who led us to the community appreciated the sacrifice the team went through to get there. According to him, the medical mission has opened a great door of evangelism to the community. The sacrifice the team made to come all the way from Abuja to the community is similar to what early missionary went through to bring the gospel to some parts of Nigeria. He called it “a practical demonstration of God’s Love to the community.”
The joint medical mission with AFC is an opportunity that will lift CBN free medical offering to a new level. In the nearest future this will make medical missions to once inaccessible communities by road, become a possibility. As at the time of writing this post, Angel Flying Club has indicated their willingness to partner with us again to fly volunteers to Donkin Hills – the community we had originally planned to visit.
Our gratitude goes to God and our generous financial partners; none of this would have been possible without you. God bless you all abundantly!