Serving in the Sahel
Claire Bedford, a pharmacist serving with BMS World Mission, works at Guinebor II (G2) hospital in Chad. Check out her stories of answered prayer, a girl cured of a tumour and God’s provision in one of Africa’s poorest nations
How have things changed since you first started working at G2 hospital?
It’s amazing that it’s nearly four years ago that I went out to Chad in January of 2016. The hospital itself has changed a lot in four years. We’ve done a lot of building work to improve the infrastructure. We’ve also hired a lot more Chadian staff – we’ve gone from 65 to around 85 staff now, over and above what we had when I first arrived!
That's so great to hear! Could you tell us a bit more about all the building work that's been going on?
Thanks to a very generous legacy left to BMS we were able to build a new surgery centre, which opened for use in May 2018. That’s been really beneficial to the hospital as we now have three operating theatres whereas before we only had one, so that means that we can do simultaneous operations. It’s happened in the past that a patient was just about to have their operation start and someone knocked on the door saying that somebody else needed an emergency caesarean section. Fortunately, they hadn’t started the surgery yet, so they were able to switch them over and deliver the baby. It was worrying that that could happen in the middle of a surgery, so it’s really good that we’ve been able to expand how many theatres we’ve got.
Following on from that, we converted the old operating theatre into an emergency room and converted the old emergency room into an office for our administrator. After that, we still had some of the legacy money left, so we were able to expand the pharmacy stock room and our lab. All of this has been made possible because of one very generous legacy to BMS. We’re all so grateful, and we really appreciate the generosity of this one donation.
You've obviously got lots of patients coming into the hospital. Can you tell us any stories of people who've come to G2?
We recently admitted a little girl called Achta, she is just six months old and she had a massive tumour on the back of her arm. It turned out that she was born with it and it was just the size of a peanut then, but when she arrived at the hospital, it was huge and weighed about as much as she did. The operation took place in the new surgery centre that was funded by the legacy money and the tumour was successfully removed. Her mum is very happy because now Achta is going to be able to have a normal life. It’s really great to see.
Thanks to Claire's team at Guinebor II, Achta will be able to live a normal life after having her tumour removed.
The area you're working in in Chad is made up of a Muslim majority community. How is it for you living as a Christian there? How do you live out your faith?
The area we’re working in is about 90 per cent Muslim, but people know that G2 is a Christian hospital. There’s a massive Bible verse outside the front gate. It’s Psalm 23: 1, “The Lord is my shepherd.” I just try to treat my staff, colleagues and patients with compassion and love. I always pray when we go round on Wednesday mornings, I have a standard prayer that I pray in French and part of that prayer is always that they will feel the love of Jesus.
Claire and her team are able to serve their community so much better thanks to one generous donation.
You've spoken a lot in your prayer letters to your supporters about answered prayers. Could you share some with us?
Anyone who’s been following my prayer letters for a while will know that I have been asking for prayer for more long-term mission workers at G2 hospital – and I’m really excited to say that those prayers have been answered! In 2020, there are going to be three groups of people coming out to G2 hospital in Chad.
In January, we’ll be welcoming Mel and Tom Spears
with their two daughters, Maisie and Rosa. Tom is a GP and Mel has got a public health background. Tom will hopefully hit the ground running and begin training some of our Chadian doctors.
The second family that are coming in January are Bethan and Gareth Shrubsole
, with their three children, Sam, Jonah and Eva. Gareth will be taking on some of the project management, administration and finance responsibilities at the hospital and Bethan is hoping to use her music therapy skills at G2 and possibly at another project in N’Djamena as well.
Then, in September of 2020, Brian and Jackie Chilvers
will be coming to Chad. They’re both nurses, so we’re looking forward to them coming out and joining our nursing team. We’re all really excited that these guys are on board and on their way to Chad!
What would you say to the people in the UK who have been praying for you and giving financially?
I would say a massive thank you. I couldn’t do what I do in Chad and at G2 hospital without the financial support and the prayers of people back in the UK, that’s for sure. It’s a very simple word and it doesn’t cost me anything to say but it is meant from all my heart, I’m really grateful.
Please keep Claire, her colleagues and the work of Guinebor II hospital in your prayers.
Pray for the Chilvers, Shrubsoles and Spears families as they go through French language school before going out to Chad. Please pray for them during this transition period, and that they’ll get on well when they arrive.
Pray for ongoing stamina and strength for the Senior Management team and the Chadian staff at the hospital.
Pray for the future development of Guinebor II hospital. Please pray for additional human and financial resources for the ongoing work and the development of G2, so that it can continue to serve the local community.
Please pray for BMS World Mission's health ministries across the world, that they will continue to transform lives every day.
This story was originally published on the BMS World Mission website and is used with permission