Mark S. Mitchell

Pastor, Writer, Follower of Jesus

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Making a Difference

For several years I have had the joy and privilege of being part of the work God is doing in Niger, Africa. Niger is primarily a Muslim nation and one of the poorest in Africa. A widespread health problem in Niger affects mostly young women. These women were often married off at 12 or 13 years old and became pregnant before their bodies were ready. Unable to get to a doctor to have a C-section, they suffered a devastating childbirth injury called an obstetric fistula that has left them incontinent, leaking urine and sometimes feces. Many of them have been sent away by their husbands, and many have endured years of ostracism and ridicule. A few years ago, our church partnered with the Worldwide Fistula Fund and Servants in Mission (SIM) to build a hospital in a remote village in southern Niger, called Danja, where these women could come and receive a simple surgery to repair their injuries and return to normal life. One of the doctors, Dr. Steve Arrowsmith, has become a good friend and is legendary in Africa for his fistula work. He has now trained an African doctor to do many of the surgeries. I had the opportunity to serve there a couple of years ago with my daughter Kimberly, and it was an unforgettable experience. Just this past week, Nicholas Kristof, wrote an excellent column in the New York Times about this very hospital and you can read more here. It makes me grateful to be part of a church that is making a difference in the name of Jesus.