South Sudan (MNN) – In 2004, a group of nine people visited South Sudan to get an idea of what medical care was like in the war-torn nation. What they saw changed them forever, and prompted them to found Partners in Compassionate Care (PCC), a ministry which provides medical care.
It all started when founder David Bowman was about to have surgery. As he looked at his five children adopted from South Sudan, he wondered what healthcare was like in their home country.
Stuart Bowman, David’s son, says “He asked them, ‘What do you guys do when you get sick?’ And their response was… that they take them to the chief and they pray for them and they send them home to die. And so, for me and for my dad—if one part of the Body suffers, we all suffer. So, he felt that it was time that they do something.”
According to the CIA World Factbook, South Sudan has a shortage of healthcare, contributing to one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the world.
God opened many doors for this group who was burdened by the needs in South Sudan. By 2006, the organization was up and running in South Sudan. Memorial Christian Hospital was dedicated in 2009. Since then, they’ve also established a number of satellite clinics in order to better serve rural populations.
Recently, Stuart Bowman visited the area to get an update on how things are going as well as to reach out to surrounding communities. He says that ever since they began the ministry, it’s been a lot of hard work to continue to meet the many needs of the people who have no other options for healthcare.
Additionally, they have faced the same insecurities many ministries have faced over the years with the stop and go violence.
However, God has been working through this ministry in big ways. And while PCC is primarily focused on physical ministry, they recognize the importance of meeting peoples’ spiritual needs, as well. That’s why they’ve partnered with Set Free Ministries.
Bowman explains that Dean VanderMey, Executive Director at Set Free Ministries, has been a longtime friend and mentor of his family. Set Free Ministries focuses on bringing spiritual healing and freedom to people all over the world through Gospel truth.
“The two kind of fit really well together because we have these hospitals that we started back then, and bush clinics… The goal of my dad has always been to bring both the spiritual and the physical. So now, working with Set Free Ministries and working with PCC together is a real joy to see the people hearing the Word of God and then also having their physical needs met in a way that brings them healing,” Bowman says.
Today, Set Free Ministries supports a school near to the hospital.
One of the ways the two ministries have partnered together is by pooling evangelistic resources. Years ago, Set Free Ministries purchased a few field projectors from Project World Renew. These have been excellent tools for sharing the Gospel in rural areas.
VanderMey says, “It’s really a film projector that does not need any electrical outlet because it’s solar charged. And so, you put the solar panels out during the day, it charges the system. And then at night, you can play a movie that can generate enough of its own [electricity] through the battery system. It’s clear, it has speakers, and up to 5-600 people can watch a movie in the bush.”
They primarily use these machines to show the JESUS Film. But with a flash drive, other teaching and discipleship content can be loaded onto the players.
“It’s an amazing tool. It’s in a backpack, and you can take it anywhere in the world to any audience in the world. If you can walk there and get that in with the backpack, you’re good to go. And it’s proving quite effective,” VanderMey says.
Because it has been so useful, and because the ministries are both growing, Set Free Ministries has committed to purchasing 10 more of these projectors with the most recent technology. They hope to use these across East Africa where their schools are in Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan.
Using one of these projectors, Bowman had the opportunity to show the JESUS Film to several groups on his most recent trip. He says this experience is always quite striking:
“When you put that screen up, there’s just something about that. I remember looking out and seeing the stars in the heavens and seeing the truck there, and the screen was kind of tied up between two trees. And we had probably 250 people on one side and 250 people on the other. And I remember just looking at that and they all just stared there at the screen and they saw Jesus and the things that he did.”
He says these moments of bringing the Gospel into places where they’ve never heard is absolutely life-changing. We will be sharing some of the amazing ways God moved on this trip in days to come. Click here for the next story in this series.