A rural hospital serving the poor is hard to keep afloat to begin with, but then the pandemic and a supply chain crisis made everything harder. CT’s Emily Belz spent two weeks at a church hospital in Malawi that is struggling to make ends meet as it treats the sick and delivers babies.
Even as many self-identified evangelicals in the South stop going to services, the post-church Southern Protestant Right is not going away.
A Christian bookstore owner considers a book written in ode to good bookstores. (Is that bookish enough for ya?)
With photographs by Jeremy Cowart and a story from Exile International, the Globe Issue features the healing and redemption found amid wartime trauma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Behind the story
From Emily Belz: I’ve been working on a longer-term writing project on church hospitals in rural Africa and have spent several months shadowing staff in various countries. I am continually astounded by the staff serving patients in these remote places. None of their daily effort is documented on social media, and no one is bragging about their hardship posts. But I have watched doctors quietly pay patients out of their pocket for bus fare or take time to pray with them when there was nothing medically they could do. Even with all the death that comes in remote places with few health care resources—these doctors see a lot more death than any American physician will ever see—they are an example to me, and I am encouraged by their stories.
African churches, doctors, and administrators increasingly run these historic mission hospitals, which is why it’s better to refer to them as church hospitals now. But they are often serving the lowest income areas of their countries, so they still need outside funding. One New York philanthropist who supports these hospitals mentioned to me that NewYork-Presbyterian, a top hospital in the US, still fundraises. How much more does a rural hospital in a massively underserved population need outside funding? I spent some time with the accounting people at Nkhoma Hospital in Malawi to understand how that critical part of their operation is going.
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