“You’ve got cancer.” The “C-word”. It’s not something that you want to hear. Not something you would wish upon your worst enemy. And it’s definitely not something you want to be diagnosed with when you live in a country where there is one doctor for every 30,000 patients. “Cancer” is the word that begins Jamila’s* story. But, thanks to BMS heath work at Guinebor II (G2) Hospital in northern Chad, the life-destroying disease did not have the final word. BMS helps to run G2 Hospital in a predominantly Muslim area, and we’re working tirelessly there to provide hope and health in a country where countless people struggle to access care and many die young. BMS surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, and administrators from the UK and Chad have pioneered the work at G2, ensuring that as many Chadians as we can reach face less suffering. Chadian’s like Jamila.
Saving Jamila’s life At one point, Jamila’s future was looking bright. She was 20 years old, intelligent, full of life and half way through her studies at University. But when she developed skin lesions and her health began to deteriorate, she faced a painful present and a future clouded with uncertainty. Jamila arrived at the BMS-supported hospital, in desperate search of answers. Doctors at G2 examined Jamila and they were concerned with what they saw. They decided to do a biopsy and send it for further testing. About a month later, Jamila’s results came in: she had an aggressive form of ano-rectal cancer. Devastating news. Jamila’s life was in serious danger. Doctors knew that they needed to act quickly. But it would not be simple. They told Jamila that her best chance of surviving lay in a complicated operation to remove the tumour – and a colostomy. “It was either that or she was facing death,” says Doctor Bert Oubre, G2's hospital director. “But I also knew that this was a big decision for a young lady to make, especially culturally in Chad.” After taking a few weeks to think about it and consult her father, Jamila decided that she would go through with the surgery. During a six and a half hour operation, G2 doctors were able to remove the tumour and perform a permanent colostomy. Jamila was going to live, albeit relying on a colostomy bag for the rest of her life. “Jamila should heal,” says Doctor Oubre. “Hopefully she will adjust to having a colostomy and the fact that she knows that the operation saved her life will help her to accept it a little more.” Sharing Christ’s love with Jamila Jamila’s story is not just about medicine. It’s about faith. As Doctor Oubre watched Jamila wrestle with the difficult decision of whether to go through with the operation or not, he wanted to do something more to ease her fear. He felt compelled to share the reason for his hope with her on one of their visits. “I felt a tug by the Spirit to share the gospel,” says Doctor Oubre. “I shared my own testimony and how I became a Christian when I was 45 years old. I shared how my first wife had died of cancer and that both she and I had found Christ and were spiritually saved in the midst of that crisis.”
Doctor Oubre could sense that she was open to the idea. It’s just one example of the unique way the hospital is sharing God’s love in a region of Chad where they don’t often get to hear the gospel.
So much more Jamila’s life was saved. She's not the only one. There are countless others who have had their lives transformed at G2. The hospital provides more than just surgical operations. G2 offers general care, and has a pharmacy and a maternity unit. Mission staff at G2 live out their Christian faith in their work, sharing the gospel with those who are open to it and offering to pray with patients. The G2 chaplain is supported by BMS and ministers regularly to the majority-Muslim community in the area. Healing bodies and offering hope beyond this life: this is what truly life-transforming health ministry looks like in Chad. And you have made it possible. Thank you. Will you pray for our health work in Chad? BMS-supported hospital chaplain, Pastor Djbrine has a special message for UK Christians who would like to pray for the work in G2: “Pray that God would open the hearts of the people here. Many people understand the word of God when I share it with them, but many cannot allow themselves to accept Jesus Christ. I would also like prayers that God would give me wisdom, patience and compassion for the people as I share Christ’s love with them. Also that God would continue to motivate the doctors and nurses who are involved in this mission. May God bless all who are praying for us.” Thank you for praying with us for God’s will to be done in Chad. *Name changed 06/04/2017
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