Targeting the Unreached
Jun 23, 2019 | by Nancy Newbrough
Every summer, The Fellowship’s Prayer Team lifts up a 75-year-old doctor from Louisiana and his medical mission team as they annually target an unreached people group somewhere in the world, bringing the gospel and modern medicine to them. Arriving on the scene often involves tortuous travel and then challenging conditions. But once there, the team is always humbled as the word spreads like wildfire and unending lines of people stand all day (and often night) just to be seen by a doctor. As they are waiting, the gospel is being shared through translators -- and multitudes come to Christ. The children are also blessed through using the Evangicube, an effective device that uses pictures to present the plan of salvation.
This year’s team left on June 1 for Kenya. The primary prayer request as they arrived in Nairobi was making it through customs without thousands of dollars’ worth of medicine being confiscated or assessed with duty fees. Our Prayer Team was alerted to the specific time the team would go through customs so we could intercede even more intensely during that period.
Each member of the team brings two suitcases, one with personal items and one transporting medications. Arrival in Africa always evokes anxiety because one year all the medicines were taken by custom officials; the doctor had to appear before the Zimbabwe Minister of Medicine -- a very challenging meeting he hopes never to repeat! Therefore going through customs in Kenya this year was electrified by the prayers of the team and a great many intercessors in the United States. The team purposely arrived after 10:00 pm on June 2. God answered the pleas storming heaven and the team was waved through without a ripple! Oh, the power of prayer!
The doctor began this ongoing medical mission endeavor in 1989 and has taken a team every summer of the 30 years since. The inspiration came when God spoke to him while serving as an Army medic during the Vietnam War. The doctor observed the masses of people suffering from malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases without any medical help. Upon returning from the war, he completed his interrupted degree and applied to medical school.
His call to missions has taken the doctor to Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and China. He always works through missionaries who choose the location, lay the groundwork, follow up with new converts and establish churches. On a trip to China there was no road to a targeted village on a mountain near the Mongolian border. Dynamite was requested from the government by the locals and a primitive road blasted just in time. Because suspicious government officials accompanied the team every step of the way, sharing of the gospel was challenging!
Each team has 20-25 members and includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, opticians, veterinarians, pastors, children’s workers and others who feel called. One couple after returning from a trip became full-time foreign missionaries. (Often the doctor’s wife or other immediate family members are part of the team)!
The majority of medicines are donated by a Christian-based hospital. Other generous donations flow in for medicines and to help “the poorest of the poor” (Isaiah 14:30) while the team is onsite. This is often used for life-threatening cases, transporting the patients to a major city where surgery or sophisticated treatment can alleviate the problem.
The most vivid memory of these donations saving a life was when a nine-year-old girl from an African village was brought to the doctor with a greatly distended abdomen. She was suffering from an inherited disease that had killed her brother two weeks previously. Frantic arrangements were made and a missionary drove her on a long, difficult journey to a city where surgery saved her life. When word reached the anxious people of her village, all of them came to Christ! A missionary reported, “It was the greatest sermon ever preached.” The overjoyed people spent all day and all night worshiping God!
Thousands upon thousands have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ through the efforts of these teams. The professions of faith through the trip that just ended were 624. Missionaries help establish churches in the small villages for ongoing worship and Bible teaching. Seven new churches are the result of the 2019 trip!
The doctor is a powerful prayer warrior and believes none of this could be accomplished without the power of God answering the prayers of a multitude of intercessors. His local church “holds the rope” for his team. Not only do the members gather to pack the multitude of medicines, they pray without ceasing using mission cards that list each team participant, the villages in the targeted region, and each day’s schedule. Prayer bracelets are worn to remind them to lift the team before the Lord day and night. In addition, friends and family members of the team are recruited far and wide to also pray.
As we at The Fellowship are discovering “unsung heroes” in the Bible, it is praiseworthy for each of us to stop and give thanks for those that God brings to mind who serve Him faithfully and unendingly behind the scenes! All to the honor and glory of our Lord!
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10