“Whenever we receive an invitation, my heart leaps with joy”
One of the keys to a successful World Medical Mission (WMM) deployment is being flexible. Canadians Ben and Cathy Sawar thank God that He made them open to helping however needed during their recent six-week stay at Kapsowar Mission Hospital and training school in Kenya.
“We were servants of the mission staff and the Kenyan leadership,” said Ben, a semi-retired surgeon. “We just identified needs and tried to fill them.”
Their latest stay at Kapsowar, completed in December 2021, was their 12th. All their previous deployments focused on surgery and patients. But this time, the Sawars were invited to come as advisors—to mentor staff and provide spiritual and emotional help where needed.
“We were servants of the mission staff and the Kenyan leadership”
It was a big change.
“When we said yes to the trip, it was made clear the surgeons just needed back-up,” Ben explained, adding that in the end, he did assist in five surgeries—far fewer than a normal Kapsowar deployment.
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Daily Hospital Visits
“I did struggle a bit with not being involved, but I had many other things to do. As a spiritual leader, it’s natural for me to watch a situation, then step in and say, ‘let’s pray’.”
His routine started with visiting the 140-bed hospital daily to assist wherever he could be a support.
He would then take on other duties, including shopping for equipment and supplies to improve Kapsowar’s kitchen and residences, helping the Bible school prepare for a graduation (including obtaining discipleship materials for all 21 graduates), and, sometimes, just sitting on the front porch of Sawars’ residence with a hospital leader who needed to talk.
Meanwhile Cathy organized books in the hospital’s 20,000-volume library, prepared meals for staff, missionaries and visitors, and tutored six-year-old Dominic, the homeschooled son of the hospital’s overworked gynecologist.
“I Grew to Love Dominic”
While there were some initial challenges, “I grew to love Dominic,” she said. “It was a wonderful experience for both of us.”
The Sawars continue to be strong advocates for the World Medical Mission program.
“Whenever we receive an invitation, my heart leaps with joy and yes is the only answer,” said Cathy. “I can’t explain it any other way. There’s a joy to going, to being there.”
“It was a wonderful experience for both of us”
Added Ben: “It’s an adventure. I grew up with missionaries in my parents’ home and that consecrated me to be one. It’s the joy of serving and making a difference in someone’s life and seeing them blessed and nurtured.”
There is a critical need for Christian medical volunteers who can serve on short-term trips at our partner mission hospitals. For more information and to apply, visit samaritanspurse.ca/wmm.