The birth of a child is a joyous occasion, most of the time. Sometimes mothers die or are weakened by illness because of pregnancy and childbirth.

Maternal mortality or death due to pregnancy is still a major, yet preventable, health concern for many countries. In an earlier blog I wrote about maternal mortality ratio its main causes and how EMAS Canada is positioned to reduce it for rural communities we serve in Haiti and Zimbabwe.

EMAS teams in the DR Congo, Haiti and Zimbabwe serve communities where every year over 450 women are at risk of dying from pregnancy related conditions for every 100,000 live births. These women share in all the other risks that their communities are exposed to like AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and in the case of DR Congo, sporadic outbreaks of Ebola.

What is the prescription for this affliction? What can we do?

We are about to embark on an initiative in Zimbabwe starting with maternal and child health, and eventually expanding to improve all aspects of district level healthcare. It is an ambitious dream to revamp services and facilities at a 165-bed hospital; and train doctors and nurses; and give ongoing continuing medical education for all healthcare workers in Gutu District.

In my role as the EMAS team leader for this project, I plan to proceed with caution, guided by principles for success. I am studying the example of biblical leaders. I want to guard against the kind of grandiosity that creeps insidiously, and that can lead to the creation of white elephants.

As part of preparing myself to lead the EMAS Canada-Gutu Mission Hospital initiative, I am doing a study of four labour-intensive projects in the Old Testament:

  1. The Tabernacle by Moses.
  2. Solomon’s Temple.
  3. Ezra’s Altar and Temple Foundation.
  4. Nehemiah’s Perimeter Wall

Here are my early findings from a quick overview of these projects:

  • God makes the Plan known
  • God moves People to work on the Plan
  • God makes Provision for the project.

Plan:

The plan was known and understood.

“Make this tabernacle and its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you” (Exo. 25:9)

The one to whom the plan was made known was not always the one to lead in its execution.

At times, the plan was revealed to more than one person.

Moses, David; Ezra and Nehemiah and their co-leaders recruited others to their plans and so harnessed the collective wisdom, skills, and knowledge of many for their projects.

I have been consulting widely both in Canada and Zimbabwe, engaging the input of experts, and listening carefully to people I feel have a stake or have a contribution to make in this venture.

People:

In all four ventures God moved people to join their leaders once the project was presented.

Nehemiah’s wall building was done by families each taking responsibility for a section of Jerusalem’s perimeter. In the case of Solomon’s temple, it was David who presented the project and through his example and appeal, people joined the project through their monetary and other material donations. Solomon, however, uses forced labor on part of the project. In the building of Moses’ tabernacle, God provided skilled artisans.

At EMAS Canada , we have had informal discussions with Engineering Ministries International (eMi), laying out the ideas that we have. With eMi we plan to do a site visit in the fall preparatory to writing a detailed project plan.

Provisions:

Old Testament projects were funded through a wide range of methods: freewill personal donations of money and labor, contributions from national treasuries, license to access national resources, and even tax exemptions.

Ezra had an elaborate mechanism for bookkeeping.

Moses ran out of storage space and had to stop fundraising.

In all cases the needs of the project were made known and even when national resources were available, everyone was given a chance to participate.

The EMAS staff and I are learning how to better engage our partners in creating awareness and communicating about the opportunities to participate in the plans God is giving us.

I see in these four Old Testament projects examples from which I can draw principles appropriate to our times.

I am confident that God will make His plan crystal clear, that He will give people who are eager to participate, and that there will be full provision. It is by these three factors experienced in supernatural proportions that I will test Divine endorsement of the vision for Gutu Mission Hospital.

The next step is to visit Zimbabwe from November 4th to 16th, 2020. With the help of eMi, we will prepare a project plan.

You can give towards this trip here by choosing the Zimbabwe – Gutu fund.


All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)

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A physician and surgeon in his native Kenya, Peter has a passion for Christ-centred healthcare and has a wealth of experience both hosting and sending short-term mission teams.

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