This week was a major milestone for the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu, Ghana. The hospital and its property were officially handed over from the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board to the Ghana Baptist Convention.
The hospital has been a partnership between IMB and GBC (then Foreign Mission Board and Gold Coast Baptist Convention) since its conception at the GBC’s 9th annual session in 1955. Over the decades that followed, the IMB has progressively turned over the reigns to the national leadership. For the last few years, the hospital has essentially been managed completely by the GBC.
IMB trustees voted to approve the handover earlier this summer in Richmond, Virginia. This week’s ceremony marked the final legal step in the turnover process as the lease on the land was transferred to GBC.
Before the ceremony a delegation from the IMB and GBC visited the Nayiri and nearly a dozen sub-chiefs to explain the details of the handover. Former BMC doctor, Dr. Earl Hewitt, was in attendance and gave his full support to the transition. Hewitt presented newly appointed IMB missionaries Rev. William and Dr. Heidi Haun and their son Trey to the Nayiri. The Hauns are career missionaries that will be residing on the BMC campus for many years to come. Dr. Haun is a general surgeon who will begin practicing at the hospital early next year when she receives her Ghanaian medical license and reaches certain Mampruli language proficiency levels.
The George Faile Foundation was also represented by its vice-president Dr. Cindy Shumpert. The Foundation has been managing the guest houses for volunteers for several years and will continue in that capacity in partnership with GBC.
The ceremony was well-attended by residents of Nalerigu, hospital staff, GBC representatives, government officials and the traditional Mamprusi leadership – most notably the Nayiri himself. As in all public appearances by the Nayiri, there was much celebration and dancing.
Our prayer is that the Baptist Medical Centre can continue to have an impact on the peoples of Ghana’s Northern Region – both physically and spiritually. May God be glorified as the hurting are healed and name of Jesus Christ is proclaimed!
The Nayiri’s Arrival at BMC
Damba Dance Group Performs
This is the first in a new series of posts featuring articles, stories, and photos from the BMC archives. This article entitled “GHANA – Medical Work Begun” was published in the December 1957 issue of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board’s Commission magazine vol.20
Under a burning tropical sun, a few curious Africans gathered in Nalerigu, Ghana on September 16, for the groundbreaking services for the Baptist hospital. The text for the service was “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build” (Nehemiah 2:20); and the Africans were told that the medical work now beginning is an expression of Christ’s compassion and love.
Two weeks later Dr. George M. Faile, Jr., Southern Baptist missionary, and his African helper, Samuel Olawumi, began outpatient clinics with the aid of a mobile dispensary. The Leprosy Service is also turning over to Dr. Faile’s care some 2,000 leprosy patients now attending clinics near Nalerigu. But, he says, “we cannot begin development of a central leprosy settlement unless another doctor comes. And it seems to be a dream only to expect a missionary nurse.” He adds that an administrator-chaplain could multiply the evangelistic effectiveness of the medical work.
There are about 83,000 people in the vicinity of Nalerigu, and about 8,000 leprosy cases within a 40- or 50- mile radius. Dr. Faile is the third doctor in an area of more than half a million people.
The missionaries have made contact with a small group of Yoruba Baptists living in this predominantly Mamprusi area. This group wants to begin having services, and Mr. Olawumi, who is now living in Nalerigu, will be their leader. “We are eager to have these few Baptists join us in a great missionary effort by conducting their services in the language of the Mamprusi people,” says Dr. Faile.
The Nayiri, paramount chief of the Mamprusi, was sick with “Asian flu” at the time of the groundbreaking, but he did go to the site in the missionaries’ car. His son, Natumah Baani, clerk of the Nalerigu local council, turned a spade of dirt in his stead.
Ask any one who has volunteered at the Baptist Medical Centre and they will tell you how impactful it was. Using your God-given talents to be “His Hands” and bring healing to those in need is extremely rewarding because it brings glory to the Creator. BMC premiered this video at InMed 2014 as a call for volunteers to help at Nalerigu.
Dr. Heidi Haun first served at BMC in 2007 as a senior medical student and later returned in 2013 after completing her residency as a general surgeon. Dr. Haun and her family have been appointed as missionaries with the IMB and will be serving full-time in Nalerigu beginning this Fall.
The 2014 annual InMed Exploring Medical Missions conference in Kansas City, Missouri was a huge success. Dozens of former BMC volunteers reunited at the event. Several friends of BMC present posters and delivered lectures to the over 450 healthcare professionals and students in attendance. We thank InMed for organizing this wonderful event and Graceway Church for hosting it.
Nearly 30 BMC volunteers and past missionaries gathered in Kansas City, KS at the home of Dr. Ted and Kim Higgins last night for a wonderful time of fellowship and famous KS BBQ. Friends were reunited and many, many wonderful stories and memories of ministering at BMC were shared.
The group was gathered in advance of the annual InMed Exploring Medical Missions Conference.
IMB Church Planter Catalyst Bart Gibbs shares the following stories he heard from chaplains ministering to patients at BMC:
When I went to the chaplains for stories of those rescued from “deep spiritual darkness,” they began by affirming that examples of those who have responded to gospel presentations given to dying patients are beyond counting.
Bart and Jane Anne Gibbs are career missionaries with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention who have served in Northern Ghana since 2011. They live at the BMC compound and provided us with some information on the status of evangelical work related to BMC:
The Nalerigu Baptist Association is presently made up of 54 village churches, spread over a wide area from west of Walewale, a couple of villages east of Sakogu and as far south as Gbintiri and Tooni. The neighboring Nakpanduri Baptist Association reports 23 churches. All of this work grew out of the witness of the BMC over the years.
There are six other village preaching points right now that I know of, one of which the Corams were instrumental in starting at the TB village, or Alafia Tinga. From the hospital chapel meetings (9:30 AM every clinic day), I offer the following conservative estimates:
- At least 9000 people were within earshot of a gospel presentation during the past year.
- From among these, some 2,250 made affirmative responses to invitation to faith and/or to request prayer.
From what I have observed over nearly three years, you could infer similar numbers from year to year over (at least) the past five years.