“I woke up in the middle of the night in a lot of pain. It was dark and hard to focus, but I will always remember the sight of this tiny Malawian nurse. Her hands were folded. Her eyes were closed. She was praying for me.” – Dr. Phil Renicks
Have you ever wondered what it is like to live in a place where getting emergency medical treatment is a challenge? Phil Renicks, Ed.D, known to our African Leadership staff as “Dr. Phil,” found this out the hard way. Our Chief Education Officer, Dr. Phil was in Malawi in early October leading a retreat for the teachers, administrators, and board members at The Adziwa Christian Primary School.
As his time there was drawing to a close, Dr. Phil began suffering severe abdominal pains. Having spent nearly a half-century traveling internationally to support Christian education, he was experienced enough to know something was very wrong. After being turned away from two clinics, staff from the school got him to a local hospital. He was put in a small room with two beds - a single mattress between them – and a bare bulb dangling from the ceiling, providing only faint, flickering light. This room… was the emergency room.
His pain was acute. An EKG showed his heart was not the culprit, but the ultimate diagnosis took days. When it did come, the doctors were able to prescribe the right course of medicine to relieve the pain and address the medical condition, and after several very difficult days for Phil and his family, he returned home.
Every year, a generous partner of African Leadership provides much needed medical supplies and equipment for these sparse, front-line hospitals. This year’s container includes x-ray machines, lab equipment, disposable supplies like needles and surgery equipment, and a generator to provide consistent power. The shipment has been designated for three hospitals in Malawi, just like the one that cared for Dr. Phil.
That shipping container, holding over $400,000 worth of supplies and equipment, may be ready to go…but unless it is actually shipped, it’s not very effective. The cost of shipping, $32,000, is all that is left to secure. It will cover the purchase of a few extra pieces of equipment and then get the container from the United States to Malawi. It comes down to this: we can deliver $400,000 worth of life-saving tools for only $32,000. We can serve the medical leaders that matter in hard places like Africa’s hospitals by shipping a container.
Before you think we forgot to tell the rest of the story, Phil’s time with the teachers was remarkable. After a week spent exploring what living out of a Biblical worldview really means, five of the fourteen teachers, all graduates of a Christian college, realized they needed to follow Christ and made a public profession of faith. Another three recommitted their lives and their service to Christ.
Already we are seeing change in the classroom from all fourteen teachers. Around 500 children were in that school each and every day before Phil arrived; now 500 children are in that school each and every day learning from teachers who first love God their Father so that they can then love, serve, and teach their students in word, in action, and in truth.
This is the African Leadership Network – leaders who matter in the hard places. Won’t you help us make sure that healing medicine can be delivered alongside the Bible’s healing words?