"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden." Matthew 5:14
Christ said He would build his church and the gates of Hell would not be able to resist it. This is primarily a focus on people not on buildings. God is accomplishing this for His own eternal glory. But how does a hospital play any part in that eternal goal? We play a faithful part as His ambassadors right where we are and in Mamou, Guinea. This is accomplished through the dual avenues of evangelism and discipleship.
The evangelical community in Mamou more than doubled during the years in the community indicating that CEH workers and their outreach to the community play a significant role in church planting and growth. Praise God! Lots of work remains, evangelicals are still only about one percent of the national population. Four local churches are established where there was originally only one in 2005. The EPE church, connected to CMA here in America, is the largest church with 200 adults. MIAPE Chapel (60 – 80 adults) is located adjacent to the hospital and requires busing the congregation to the chapel, but its broad dynamic ministries help it grow consistently. The Assembly of God Church (80 adults) actually began from within the MIAPE Chapel and when they got their own pastor they amicably separated. This church is located in a warehouse directly adjacent to the second largest market in town and is drawing a large number of people. A small house church (15 adults) ministering to Muslims was also established. We are grateful for the good collaboration of each of these groups as Christ’s ambassadors in Mamou. Many of our workers at the hospital are leaders in these churches.
We are a city set on a hill. Christ told us to be a light to the world around us. He also told us that we are His ambassadors in our world. Many of you chose to be that with us in Mamou as well as in the local community where you are living, affecting each of these communities for Christ. May God bless us and empower us to His glory. We certainly appreciate your prayers and giving as it is the spiritual fuel which helps us work together effectively for our Lord.
Your fellow servant,
Dr. Dwight E. Slater, MD
CEO of CEH
Partnering together in ministry
MIAPE Medical Missionaries recruited from Cote d'Ivoire (CDI), sent by churches to Guinea, and supported by CEH in the monthly operation budget are essential pillars and core of the work. They help each aspect of the hospital’s development and ministry. Their vision is to help Guineans mature in Christ and step into ministry in the community and local church outreach. Each church represented by this outreach benefits as our staff are discipled to know and follow Christ more intimately. These missionaries effectively planted the church called MIAPE Chapel which developed a broad and beautiful ministry.
The hospital now has 50 Guinean employees and several short-term contractual workers. There are the nine MIAPE missionaries, and Dr. Kristen in the community health program (CHP). We consider every employee of the hospital as a person to be influenced for Christ. All who work in the medical and administrative areas of the hospital are Christians and we desire to help them be discipled and become disciplers of others. Some who work in the construction and security areas are not yet Christians and we desire for them to regularly hear the gospel of Christ clearly. Over the 15 years of hospital operations, to our knowledge, six of these workers made decisions for Christ. Since the hospital was opened in 2007, we serviced close to 140,000 people. This past year, because of the limiting effects of COVID on local and national transportation availability, that number was 8,900 patients. To our knowledge, 10 decisions to make Christ Lord and Savior were made this year from among our hospital patients. This brings us to 268 reported decisions for Christ. We are seeing an increased openness in having our staff pray for our patients and we praise God for that.
Parallel to the hospital ministries and intertwined with them, the MIAPE missionaries created numerous outreaches through their Chapel. Fresh Rosée School was created as the fruit of a dream 10 years ago: to build a school with quality education for staff children and children from the community. Starting with 27 children in two rooms grades 1–6, it grew to 325 students in nine rooms, preschool through eighth grade. Three more classrooms are currently under construction. Many of these children ride the bus from Mamou, eight miles away, to the school located on the northeast corner of the hospital property. In Guinea, a test given at the end of sixth grade determines if a student will continue on to middle school. The national average is a 35% success rate for students who take this test. Students who do not pass are disqualified from further education. At Fresh Rosée School the average is over 90% passage on the test. This is one of the best results of any school in the nation so many parents are enthusiastic to enroll their children. There is a small tuition fee, a bus transportation fee, and a cafeteria food fee. These fees cover the costs of each of these services. The Fresh Rosée School employs nine teachers and three cooks. Class sizes are limited to 40 students which is far fewer than most government schools. The hospital and school have a fleet of four busses to transport these students and CEH employees. Many parents who send their children are the mid and upper-level business people from town, government officials, and other educators in town who want their children to attend this school. They understand it is a “Christian School” and religious education is a part of the vigorous, disciplined, curriculum. Most of the students are from Muslim families but accept these conditions in order to educate their children as well as possible. The three oldest of the MIAPE missionary children who started in this school are now in college. Praise God!
Another of the hospital and MIAPE Church goals is having a flourishing Children's Ministry. The MIAPE Chapel is currently building two new Sunday school rooms adjacent to their chapel. These rooms will be used for children’s classes on Sundays (20–40 children currently), Bible studies on weekday evenings, and preschool on weekdays for the small children of the hospital employees. Approximately four to six families have young children (too young for Fresh Rosée pre-school) and don't want to leave them at home with extended family members or nannies. They would be at risk of illness if brought to the hospital work areas. This will be an independent ministry from the hospital and allow parents to visit during breaks—seeing they are well cared for. The child caregivers will be selected by the parents and paid by them but the facility will be provided in the anticipated MIAPE classrooms.
For older children, outside of the Fresh Rosée School, a significant Youth Ministry including sports and music are available. A flat space on the property is used as a soccer field and instruments such as keyboards, guitars, drums, and amplifiers are shared with other local churches.
Alongside the church planting and education focus are the people who help with building and property expansion. George W is our construction director. In 2019, along with John C, an engineer and alumnus construction team missionary at CEH, he chose to take his own son Chris a fireman and paramedic, and his two high school grandsons to Guinea to participate in the construction ministry. George’s grandsons and the local African children played soccer after work each day. The boys brought two nets and balls as a gift from their Plymouth Christian School soccer team. They caught the vision of how soccer can be used to connect with young African children as it is their national sport. Shortly after their visit to the hospital, a grass fire swept across a portion of our CEH property and destroyed the nets. As a family they chose to purchase new goal posts and nets to help facilitate that ministry to the children and adults in the local community. These are in the 40 foot container scheduled to arrive in Conakry on May 14. The ground is fairly flat, rocky, and hard to play on but will be a locale for some competitions and tournaments between village and school teams. Evangelistic messages at halftime along with water and snacks will be provided. George, John, and Chris also designed, built, and contributed a water wagon with pump and fire hoses to control future fires that might destroy hospital property. This is also in the current shipping container.
Four years ago, Pottersville Preschool, a ministry of Pottersville Reformed Church in NJ, gave a slide they no longer needed to Fresh Rosée School. The playground equipment is crowded with happy children during every recess and at the close of the day. A sister foundation called Kids Around the World offered two additional refurbished playground structures for the hospital and Fresh Rosée school. A play structure like this is unique in Guinea and will help develop the children. This new equipment arrived in Guinea and will be assembled soon. We hope it will draw many kids to the enjoyment of the playground and to hearing the Gospel. The MIAPE missionaries and hospital staff are dreaming of a Children’s Evangelism Center adjacent to the hospital playground and the soccer field.
Moise, one of our missionary carpenters, proved himself especially in youth ministries. He taught teen Sunday School and led about 20 teens to baptism! Deborah, his wife, though never privileged to complete elementary school herself as a child, was instrumental in all the facilitating functions of Fresh Rosée development. She is remarkably intelligent, and a leader respected by other women. Three years ago, the MIAPE missionaries chose to request this couple be trained as their future pastor and wife, and hospital chaplain. They are attending Bethel Bible School in CDI where they are both receiving training. They are excelling academically, with praise from all the Christian groups they are involved with there, including chaplaincy in a local dispensary and women’s ministries at the Bible School and a local church. Deborah also took adult night school to graduate with her daughter from 6th grade. We are very eager for their return to Mamou and to integrate them again into the full team ministry in our community. Pray for the conclusion of their education, ministry in CDI, and their transition back to Mamou this summer.
Other ways that the MIAPE missionaries are actively involved in the community are:
Welcome center motel — to house and train those ostracized from their communities. When the hospital needs overflow beds, these rooms are also used for that purpose.
Friday film night — a new venture they are planning to start on the hospital veranda to which the local community may be invited.
What a joy it is to see all these dreams develop in the hearts and spirits of our national colleagues and for us to come alongside to facilitate their fulfillment by prayers and contributions!
Senior partners in ministry graduated into God's presence:
Kurt Haney and Jack Bradford, both early short-term missionary volunteers, who helped us construct the hospital in the first four years, graduated into God's presence after effective ministries here in the states and around the world for God. Their pioneering collaboration helped the dream of CEH become a reality. We are incredibly grateful for their services with us.
Rev. Norm Moran, a founding member of the CEH board and our second president of the board passed into God's presence in September. We were deeply affected by his ministry to us and with us. Norm fervently wanted to visit the hospital, but was never allowed to due to some physical health limitations. His wisdom, perseverance and encouragement live on in our memories.
Several others of our long-term supporters and prayer warriors also graduated to their reward with Christ. Many of these supporting colleagues requested that memorial gifts be given to CEH and on occasion some left a portion of their “will” to continue advancing the gospel of Christ through CEH, even though they were taken from us physically. The fulfillment of their prayers is not limited by their physical presence here on earth. We are incredibly grateful for their ongoing impact on the ministry to God's glory.