Glorifying God through Medical Flights

When I came to Cameroon, I expected to advance Bible translation by helping translators move around the country more easily and live more comfortably.

While I have done this, I am also really excited that our helicopter ministry has recently expanded to include urgent medical flights. Although not all our flights have saved lives, many have. Recently, the helicopter and our medical fund have affected the lives of children, as well as adults.

One early Sunday morning, as I was leaving home for church, my wife, Jessica, ran out to tell me I had an urgent call. A little boy from Akwaya, located in one of the most remote parts of Cameroon, had fallen out of a tree and needed to get to a hospital very soon. During rainy season it can take up to 10 hours on a motorcycle to reach this village, so I knew a flight might be the only answer. I ran back inside to change into my uniform and then prepare the helicopter. Three hours after receiving the call, I delivered the boy to a hospital where he was rushed into surgery.

A few weeks later I was back at that hospital and talked to the surgeon. He told me the boy had suffered from a severed intestine, and they had almost lost him a couple of times. He wouldn’t have made it without the flight.

Another day I got a call from an American doctor serving here on a short-term trip. A child with an obstruction blocking his left lung needed to go to a hospital right away. I changed and rushed to the hangar to prepare the helicopter. On this flight, I carried two medical personnel on board because the child was unstable. This time, I was able to get him to the hospital within the hour. Again, without the helicopter, this situation may not have had a positive outcome.

Bible translation is what brought me here, and I know it will have an impact on the spiritual needs of the people. These medical flights, however, have an immediate impact on their physical needs, and I am blessed to see how helicopter flights can bring God glory.

Mark Spangler

Mark, his wife, Jessica, and their five children have served in the Northwest Region of Cameroon since 2012.