Serving 30 years with Grace Missions Ministries in Nampula, Mozambique
UPDATE May 1, 2020 from Charles
Our hospital is almost ready to open, and when the SARS-CoV-2 virus suddenly surfaced in Mozambique on 22 March I and the Grace Medical leadership felt we should offer our hospital to the Ministry of Health to assist in the COVID response. That precipitated a sudden succession of visits from increasingly important people in the government, finally culminating in a very large entourage of dignitaries that included the Secretary of State (supreme governor of the province appointed by the federal government), the governor (elected by the people), the Provincial Health Director, the Surgeon General of the province, the Director of the Central Hospital, and many others, accompanied by all the press and television film crews. We only heard one hour before their arrival that this was not just another routine inspection. No special preparations had been made, but by the grace of God the grounds and the building were in mint condition on that day, something that normally is not the case without days of advance preparation. We had not prepared for the previous inspections as they were informal and not considered significant – and we did not know this visit was going to be any different until one hour ahead of time.
Everyone was so impressed with the facilities. We had been told by previous visitors that our hospital would be the nicest one in the province and that when it opened everyone would want to be admitted to our facility when they became ill, but I assumed such comments were only to please the Mission. But the dignitaries called the hospital “spectacular” and it made a great splash for a few days.
The result was that we have been appointed the only COVID treatment center for our city of 1,200,000 patients. Everyone needing admission for the virus will be sent to us. The hospital will be administered by the government, but I will be on the management team and one of the attending physicians with full access to all of the patients. I had asked to be appointed the hospital director, but they said that position had to belong to someone in the chain of command of the Health Ministry. But I am satisfied that I will have complete freedom to evangelize all the patients, which is the only certain benefit we can supply as there are only 34 ventilators in the country and extremely limited supplies of bottled oxygen at this point – only enough to last four hours every three days.
So Hannah Malone and I together with the rest of our team have dedicated ourselves to trying to get past the many obstacles in the way of a meaningful medical response to this situation. On Monday we will be presenting a detailed list of the needs to many of the embassies in the capital and are praying for a good response. We will need around $800,000 to do a credible job of meeting the need if the virus finally breaks out.
The silver lining for me is that, even if we are unsuccessful in getting the resources to treat people medically, there will be the opportunity for all the infected patients to hear the gospel!
So far the virus has been present in the country for 41 days but only 80 people have been infected instead of the 8,200 that should have tested positive by now. The virus is mainly in a work camp at the far north of the country and has been confined there so far. A second locus is in the heavily populated capital, but they caught it early and have been able to put the few people infected there on home quarantine. But we do not know how long the virus can be kept from breaking out. We have had emergency measures in effect for 30 days and so the entire population is still susceptible. At this rate all will continue to be susceptible when restrictions are finally lifted – and then there should be the serious problems people have predicted for Africa barring restrictions which are too costly economically to be kept in place for long.
In the service of the King!
UPDATE April 15, 2020
God Works Good from Crisis for Dr. Woodrow’s Clinic
Using the Spirit-inspired description Paul gave of his ministry in Romans 1:5 and adjusting it to Mozambique – our purpose is “to bring about the obedience of faith among all Mozambicans, for His name’s sake.” In this declaration, we see 1) the goal of ministry, obedience or submission to God, and 2) the only means of carrying it out, through fostering faith in Jesus Christ.
Grace Missions was founded in 1985 to send missionaries to Mozambique. Before 1985, no mission board was active in the country due to government opposition to Christianity. Softening of the government’s position toward Christian work was evident, however. At the same time, God was calling out missionary candidates to work in Mozambique. Grace Missions was established as a means of sending these missionaries to Mozambique and granting them spiritual oversight.
Grace Missions Mozambique was incorporated in 2000 to build, own, and operate a surgical mission hospital in Nampula. From 1990 to 1997, Grace Missions provided a missionary surgeon and all the supplies necessary to maintain the surgical block in a local government hospital. When the Minister of Health granted the Mission’s request to establish a surgical hospital, Grace Missions Mozambique was set up to oversee the medical-evangelistic work, freeing Grace Missions to focus exclusively on church planting and church-related ministries.
723 South D Street
Oxnard, California 93030
Grace Medical Mozambique
P.O. Box 34531
San Antonio, TX 78265
Dr. Charles Woodrow
Nampula, Mozambique, Africa