A Christian run hospital in Cameroon is offering both medical and miraculous solutions to the Fulani tribe. Charles Gardner reports
When reading how Jesus told his disciples to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth, a young lady from north London took him at his word.
Kerry Stillman (pictured, above right) has been working in the heart of sub-Saharan Africa for the past 24 years, using her skills as a physiotherapist to bring healing and hope to a people as yet largely unreached with the Christian message.
Based at a Christian hospital in north Cameroon, she became part of a multi-national team offering medical – and sometimes miraculous – solutions to the Fulani tribe.
A gentle, gracious and unhurried people, the Fulani are mostly Muslim. But many are now following Jesus. And it’s not always the case that they first hear about him through the missionaries.
Extended family groups, even across the border into Chad, have come together after having dreams of Jesus, asking Kerry and her colleagues to teach them more about the faith.
As a result, a young man called Mohammed, whom Kerry introduced to Jesus four years ago, has since visited several of these groups feeding their hunger to know more about this wonderful person who appeared to them in their sleep.
However, some of the converts have paid a great price for their commitment to Christ, with family often disowning them and, in one case, a Fulani believer lost his 11-year-old son after he was brutally attacked for his father’s faith.
Many have come to faith as a direct result of their stay at the hospital, where they are treated for TB, malaria and sometimes horrible injuries through road accidents, often necessitating long stays with family members camping on the compound keeping vigil over their loved one’s progress.
The loving care shown by staff both to patients and their families has made a deep impact on the community. One of the regular commitments of hospital workers there has involved a ‘prayer round’ when every patient is prayed for.
On one occasion, a member of staff dutifully prayed for all those in a children’s ward who were suffering terribly with malaria and not expected to survive the night. He was rather exhausted and disheartened by the time he had finished, but there were smiles all round next day – both from the children and their mothers – as God had clearly worked a miracle.
“This act of simply offering to pray for a sick person has often led to many deeper conversations and opened the door for questions of faith to be asked,” Kerry explains in her book Blood, Sweat and Jesus (Authentic Media).
One young woman, Samira, appeared to be at death’s door suffering from TB as well as being HIV positive but, as her relationship with Jesus developed, she made an amazing recovery, enabling her to watch her children grow up, and even to see her grandchildren.
One man, a teacher of the Qur’an, was so struck by the improvement he felt as a result of the prayer that, on his return home, he started to teach his students from the Gospel of Matthew he was given.
A businesswoman who developed cancer symptoms but left it too late for effective surgery, told of a dream where she saw a dark man who did not bring her peace, but then saw a bright, shining man who came and sat with her, and did bring her peace. She wondered who they were.
Kerry wrote: “It has been our experience over the years that many Muslims are having dreams in which they meet a man like this who is bright and shining. Often, they can’t see his facial features, but his presence and words bring comfort, peace, strength and life; the conclusion of most is that this is Jesus Christ.”