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The Fab 5 – HOME!

September 24, 2013

Five people with five different reasons to travel united on one journey to Cameroon, Africa in July 2013. It is evident from each person’s account of their trip that the Lord joined them with their different talents for a reason. The “Fab Five,” as we fondly called them throughout their preparation, consisted of Matt (board member), Kevin (pastor at The Chapel), Dr. Craig (surgeon), Cathy (Craig’s mother) and Grant (Louisiana State University (LSU) pre-med student).

The Fab 5 in Cameroon

Upon arriving after three long travel days, they rested and were shown the premises. Saturday was a busy hospital day, filled with surgical consults by Dr. Craig and his mother, Cathy. Matt and Kevin took a tour of the hospital while Grant was still making his way from the capital (where teams fly in to) to the hospital. Sunday they were all united again and gathered at the African Evangelical Church for prayer & worship. The week was incredibly busy for them all. Craig, Cathy and Grant spent all of their time in the hospital. They performed surgeries, provided post-surgery rehab/consultations and talked about Jesus to every patient interested. The field team said that they have never seen so many patients so happy at the hospital. Emotions such as joy or happiness are rarely displayed unlike our outgoing American teammates. However, the Fab Five team created smiles all around the ward! Matt and Kevin spent most of their time meeting with team members, touring the city and the surrounding areas, learning more about MCWA and providing encouragement to the field team. They each left leaving a piece of their heart behind, as the Lord used this trip to change their lives in a profound way.

For Matt, the trip was very eye-opening. After serving on the board of MCWA, in his fourth year, he was finally able to witness everything he had been hearing about and attempting to picture in his mind. “You can’t fathom the magnitude of what the hospital is, the field team life or the impact that the religion of the local people is having over there until you go,” said Matt. The focus of his time during the trip was to meet with the team, pray with them, provide care to the field team and witness the operations of the hospital, staff, and church planting team. Getting to meet with the team members and hear about their lives was Matt’s favorite part of the trip. “It matters that board members go to Cameroon and offer care to the field team,” said Matt. What stood out to him was physically seeing the sacrifices made by the team daily. The Lord reminded him that we never know what He’ll ask of us and to be open to His plan. On being home, Matt commented, “The things I saw and experienced will never leave my mind. I will always have a memory of what it was like over there and I am reminded often of it.”

Dr. Craig had always wanted to go to Africa. He had been on previous trips to Haiti and Columbia. After knowing what to expect in developing countries to provide medical care, he knew he wanted to take the medical talents and passions the Lord has blessed him with and serve in Africa. He felt like he had a lot to offer MCWA being a previous board member (2010-2012) and a surgeon. The most rewarding part of his experience in Cameroon was each time he had the opportunity to interact with a patient. “There was a degree of despair and appreciation,” said Dr. Craig, “They don’t have much to look forward to with the life expectancy being so low. When you try and help them, they have a level of appreciation that is humbling.” The Lord taught him about perspective during his time overseas. He was challenged to test his limits of how he is able to give back. “My mission is the same wherever I sleep at night,” said Dr. Craig. He desires to make more routine short-term trips to the hospital.

Craig’s mother, Cathy, accompanied the men on this trip. Scott and Lee had asked for people to go, so she went. She is fluent in French, which came in handy, as she was a translator for the team during their stay. She mainly worked alongside her son in the hospital. She had a deep love for working with the patients. “They were all so appreciative and excited about their new abilities,” said Cathy. She referred to this trip as a “bucket list” dream for her. She left the U.S. believing that she was a part of the field team. After her return, she said, “I realized we were the mission field; they gave more abundantly than I could have ever imagined.”

LSU student, Grant, was thrilled about going to Africa for the first time. His main job while there was to assist Dr. Craig during surgery. He desires to be a surgeon one day; therefore, he enjoyed gaining the experience from working side-by-side with a talented and well-known surgeon from his hometown. A few of his responsibilities included operating the X-ray and assisting in the OR room. His favorite experience was getting in on the action during surgeries. “Everything Dr. Craig did in the OR was fascinating to me,” said Grant. The Cameroon trip changed Grant in many ways. It revealed to him how blessed he is to have all that he does living in America. Upon returning, he is motivated to do his absolute best in school. “Because I was so interested in the surgeries, this trip will carry me through my next years as motivation to do well.” Another thing he learned was to be more grateful. “Humility and thankfulness were two things that I picked up on my trip,” Grant said. For someone wanting to go, Grant gives these three pieces of advice: Sleep well the week before. Be ready to serve. Absorb everything you can while you’re there.

Kevin also got the privilege of visiting the hospital that he had heard so much about. He knew about MCWA for 25 years before physically flying overseas to witness what God is doing. He knew the trip would bring the ministry into focus for him. His purpose in traveling to Cameroon was to encourage the team, better understand the mission and to be an advocate for the ministry when he returned to The Chapel. “God showed me that the love of Christ is the compelling force. Jesus is really what keeps people going,” said Kevin. He loved listening to Danny (MCWA field team member) and his desire to take the gospel to people. Danny and his wife Frances first arrived in 1992 to be part of building the hospital and were part of the first team of church-planters with MCWA. Kevin made many memories during his stay in Cameroon. One of the things he most enjoyed was getting to be among the people that serve at the hospital and learn about their lives. He also loved walking out into the countryside and seeing what life was like before MCWA was present in Cameroon. After returning and being able to reflect on his trip, he realized that he is a mobilizer. He knows he is now able to better promote and encourage the ministry at The Chapel, one of the primary supporting churches of MCWA. He was reminded to stay faithful to the Lord and trust the results to Him. Kevin said, “God has done amazing things!”

“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel!’” Romans 10:14-15

Passionate to see God work in Cameroon? If you’re interested in being involved with MCWA or going to Cameroon, email: headquarters@mcwanet.org! If you’re interested in helping us send others to be the hands and feet of Jesus, click here to make a financial contribution to MCWA.

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