Tim and Kathy rice are associate missionaries jointly appointed by both International Ministries and New City Fellowship in St. Louis to serve as medical missionaries at the Vanga Evangelical Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Rices are from Saint Louis, Missouri, where Tim is a doctor on the faculty of the School of Medicine at Saint Louis University. Kathy is a registered nurse. The Rice’s vision is to train the next generation of Congolese doctors and nurses in Christ-centered, whole-person care, empowering them to use the limited resources available to restore life and health across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Their desire is to facilitate worldwide partnerships, enabling health professionals to participate in mutual exchange of expertise at the Vanga Evangelical Hospital and elsewhere in the world.
They recently shared – Jesus must have felt this way when friends let their crippled comrade down through the roof!”, mused Dr. Heritier, the only doctor at Sala Hospital, a small rural hospital 2 hours motorcycle ride from Vanga Hospital. A patient, we will call “Edgar” (not his real name) having been accidentally stabbed in the chest, arrived at the Sala Hospital carried by his friends on a bamboo stretcher. Dr. Heritier, medical director and only doctor, acknowledged he’d never done chest surgery, but neither would Edgar survive a transfer to the Vanga hospital. That involved 70 miles, riding on the back of a motorcycle, across streams and along sandy foot paths.
So – Dr. Heritier rallied the OR team, gathered prayer warriors, and took the young man to surgery. The results were excellent. Two weeks later, Edgar picked himself up, and walked home, his friends rejoicing. Less than a month later, his friends brought Edgar back again – this time febrile, weak and extremely short of breath. As Dr. Heritier suspected, his ultrasound showed an accumulation of pus in Edgar’s chest. With his patient in critical condition, Dr. Heritier knew transferring him was again beyond possibility. The pus had to be drained.
“We prayed, and I called the OR team again,” related Dr. Heritier. Guided by the ultrasound image, and God’s hands, the young doctor eased a drain into the affected cavity, and almost instantly, Edgar’s breath returned. Two quarts of liquid lighter, and some days later, Edgar left for home. Everybody celebrated! “As soon as I’m able to work again, I’ll bring you a cow,” he promised the hospital team.
Dr. Heritier is fruit of the residency training program at the Vanga Evangelical Hospital. His training is made possible with investments like yours through New City Fellowship or through International Ministries, designated Congo Medical residency program. H Dr. Heritier humbly and competently serves the population around Sala. God is generous with returns on investments made by God’s children!