US Churches Help Keep Hospital Running in Tanzania

The Kigoma Baptist Hospital in Tanzania has become a beacon of hope to the surrounding area, thanks to the way churches support IMB medical missionaries Larry and Sally Pepper through giving and meeting tangible needs. IMB photo

At the end of a beaten-up road in Tanzania, a small hospital occasionally is filled to capacity with patients — and then supplies begin to run thin.

“One time we didn’t have any more Ketamine, a drug used for anesthesia, and we had been doing a lot of C-sections,” said Larry Pepper, an International Mission Board doctor who serves at the Baptist Hospital in the town of Kigoma. See related story. “Another time we didn’t have enough suture material.”

And another time, sick children were sleeping two or three to a bed for lack of space. That’s the scene Ben Hale, missions pastor at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., walked into several years ago when he came to the hospital to see what his church could do to help.

“I was moved,” Hale noted. And there in that crowded hospital, the two men began to dream. Hale saw the vast needs — both medical and spiritual — and Pepper shared how the hospital has been a vehicle for getting the Gospel into area villages, some of which had no believers yet.

“Long story short, we were able to help them build a pediatric wing,” Hale said. “We’re hoping it will be a platform for the Gospel not only for the patients but that it would open up doors for more church planting and gospel sharing in the area.”

So far, it has.

Five construction workers came to Christ as the pediatric unit was being built. And with a quarter of the facility dedicated to maternal health, Larry’s wife Sally has been able to start new ministries to mothers. The new wing also paved the way for the IMB to send a pediatrician to join the hospital’s work.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press