There’s nothing like a great conversion story, especially when it’s connected to College Park’s Christmas Offering. Just two weeks ago another patient at Hôpital Baptiste Biblique in Togo, West Africa came to faith in Christ through a medical ministry opportunity.
Here’s how it happened, as recounted by Dr. Tom Kendall, Jr., the hospital’s director of surgery:
About two weeks ago a local friend called on behalf of his sixty-year-old cousin named Mr. Nadhom Azo who’d been suffering for six months with severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite and weight loss. Different meds had no effect. Ultimately, a CT scan revealed a huge mass in his pancreas. His physicians referred him to a surgeon out of the country.
My friend asked if there was anything we could do for him at our hospital since traveling out of the country was impossible—practically akin to referring him to the moon. Recognizing their desperation, we admitted his cousin to our hospital and began preparations for surgery.
During my first visit with him, we had a long talk about his physical condition, his symptoms, the mass on his pancreas, and what I thought was going on. After all this discussion, I turned the topic to spiritual matters, and asked him if he called himself a Christian.
“Yes, of course,” he said.
“So, you expect to go to heaven after you die, hopefully a very long time from now?” I replied. Again, his reply was in the affirmative.
“As a Christian, why it is that you will go to heaven?” I continued, hoping to gain a glimpse into the genuineness of his profession.
“I will go to heaven because I have done good works all of my life,” he responded.
Realizing at that moment that he did not have a clear, biblical understanding of the gospel of salvation by faith in the finished work of Christ, I walked him through the Bible’s teaching. We discussed sin, God’s holiness and justice, our condemnation, God’s provision of a Savior to redeem us–a Savior whose substitutionary atonement is the sole basis for the pardon of our sins, and whose imputed righteousness is the sole ground of our justification, as opposed to our own good works. I could tell this was all new for him, so I thanked him for listening and suggested that the very reason God brought his suffering into his life was so that he would end up in our hospital that very night listening to the message of salvation in Jesus Christ.
The next morning, the first thing I heard when I walked up to his bedside was that he had repented of his sins, renounced his confidence in his own good works, and was now looking to Christ alone as his Savior from sin! He underwent his surgery in complete peace and is making a good recovery. He has a Bible now and is faithfully reading it. His discharge from the hospital is planned for tomorrow, and we will do our best to find a church family for him in his community.
God used Mr. Nadhom’s physical need to providentially reveal his true spiritual need, and we pray and fervently hope to see fruit in his life that bears witness to the reality of his conversion here in our hospital. And the fact is that this story could be multiplied over and over* again.
* In 2018 alone, over 1,700 people came to faith in Christ through the medical ministry of Hôpital Baptiste Biblique in Togo.