God's work in Mali - Part 1
Ok, I know I promised to blog while I was in Mali these last few weeks, but I ended up having very little time and the Internet was not working reliably. Such is life in Africa. God has so much going on in Mali, so I want to spend my next few blog posts sharing about things that perhaps will be new to most of you.
I will start with the Women and Children's Hospital in Koutiala. This hospital has been the heart of CCC's involement in Mali over the last 4 years so it was huge blessing to see it myself for the first time. So what were my initial impressions?
The hospital is a way bigger deal than anyone ever planned for.
Talking with doctors and nurses and administrators who have been at the hospital since it opened, they will all tell you nobody had any idea it was going to be this big. God gave a few people the vision to build a hospital for women to safely deliver babies, but only God knew how big and amazing He planned to make it.
I'm not talking big just in size, I'm talking big in miracles. They are saving lives literally every day at this hospital, but many times its God who does the saving. The doctors can share story after story of people and situations that seem hopeless, only to see God redeem the situation after they pray over patients.
Mali is a country where the average woman will have 8 children, and they would typically expect to lose 2 or 3 of those either in child birth or before they reach the age of 5. I was told that parents try to not get too attached to their children until the reach 5, knowing that so many of them die. This hospital is having an impact on these horrible statistics.
The hospital reminds me of a M.A.S.H. unit.
This is not like an American hospital where they can get medicine from their pharmacy anytime they need it. This is not like an American hospital where they can just go to their blood bank and always know they have blood to use. They are literally depending on God to provide donated medicine, blood from hospital workers, and so much more every day.
Here is an example. While we at the hospital in a meeting with the administrators, a doctor knocked on the door asking if anyone in the room has O- blood. One of the guys on our team had it (pictured here) and so he immediately gave a pint of blood which was immediately given to a woman who had recently had a C section.
They simply make due with what they have...with what God has given them.
The Kingdom impact of the hospital is significant.
In a country that is 99% Muslim, you win lives 1 at a time. The reputation of this Christian hospital and the love and care they provide is spreading further and further all the time. The hospital is a bright, bright light for the Kingdom that shows the Malian people the love of Jesus Christ. As one of the men on our team put it, "The hospital ministry is softening the soil for the work of Jesus in this country."
In the near future here at CCC we will be talking more and more about the work going on in Mali in conjunction with the hospital, but there is no doubt that God is using this hospital in mighty ways and will continue to do so in the future, Lord willing.
CCC's involvement is more significant than I imagined.
Since I did not have a helicopter to go up in to take a picture of the entire compound, this picture is the best I could come up with. The tan buildings to the right are where the inpatient and outpatient care happen today. Its astounding to see how much they are getting done with so little space. They literally deliver 1700 babies a year in a room the size of a small sunday school classroom here at CCC. They can have up to 3 women at one time in that room, and if they have more they have to be on the floor.
What I want you to see in this picture are the three new buildings, labeled 1, 2, and 3. Those are the buildings that CCC funded. Its hard to tell from this perspective but these buildings are huge. When they move into these buildings, their capacity will increase by 400%.
They will move into building 1 in April, building 2 sometime this summer, and building 3 later in the fall. I can't help but think of the lyrics in a Chris Tomlin song that say "Greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done".