A heart for Cameroon PDF Print E-mail

Atem cameroonExcerpts from a story by Bridget Smith

On the verge of shutting down his village outreach, Dr. Paul Atem was spreading himself and his resources too thin. . . .the work load of running a private clinic in Bamenda, Cameroon and visiting several villages to provide medical care was proving to be a struggle both financially and physically. He wasn't sure how to resolve the conflict between stress and his long-term calling to serve God's people as a doctor in his own country .

After attending university, Atem worked for a Baptist hospital for two years to meet educational requirements. While he was working there, he witnessed the heart breaking stories of numerous young women who came to the clinic out of desperation to seek abortions. He grieved the tragedy of women who were choosing this wrong path and longed to offer them an alternative.

His compassion for these women, along with his calling to spread the Gospel, convicted Atem to open his own private clinic in Bamenda in 1992 which he named Mount Zion Clinic. After he opened the clinic, he began to notice many of the people were coming from the remote villages of Tingoh and Okwala. He soon began regularly providing medical care in these villages.

The villagers were mostly peasant farmers who survive on less than one dollar per day. Health challenges abounded among the people including diarrheal disease, malaria, cholera, typhoid fever, and complications in pregnancy.

The journey to Okwala was exhausting, but Atem persevered in his outreach projects because he knew they desperately needed the help of a doctor and the message of Christ. His energy and resources were depleting, however, God was orchestrating a partnership that would enable Atem to continue his work in these villages.

God brought Dr. Atem a partner in The Luke Society

The Luke Society comes alongside indigenous health professionals who are called to serve their own people to empower them to provide quality medical care and health education "transforming communities by reconciling man to man and man to God through the truth of the Gospel."

The website of The Luke Society says this about Dr. Atem.

Every month, usually ten girls come to Mount Zion Clinic to request an abortion. "We do all in our power to lead them to Christ, pray for them and with them and dissuade them from having an abortion," Dr. Atem says. When the young girls make a decision not to have an abortion, they are given free prenatal care, and the babies are delivered free of charge.

Dr. Atem tells a particularly touching story. "Recently we had the case of a young pregnant girl who came to our clinic requesting an abortion. We led her to Christ while explaining the medical and spiritual implications of her desire. She made a decision to accept Jesus as the Lord and Savior of her life. On December 14, 2004, she delivered a set of twins, two bouncing baby boys . . ." the mother and babies continue to be provided for by the Luke Society.

Orphans and widows are treated at little or no cost.

"Through this ministry, we alleviate suffering and bring joy to widows and orphans who would otherwise be living without hope," says Dr. Atem. The guiding verse in this aspect of the ministry is James 1:27, which says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

In addition to providing the health care this region has lacked, Dr. Atem and his staff are also providing God's Word to people who have not heard. . ."Turning people away from traditional religious and fetish practices to life and light in Jesus has been our greatest satisfaction. We count it all joy - this great privilege of touching lives in Jesus' name with the word of God and medicine through this ministry in the Tingoh area."

We often urge our readers to support the work of PPL—and we do need your support–but please also consider making a donation to support the work of Dr. Atem. You can do that by mailing a check to: The Luke Society, 3409 Gateway Blvd. , Suite 1000 , Sioux Falls, SD 5710, Mark your check "for Cameroon". You can also donate online at the giving and support tab at The Luke Society website.



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