Annual Visits to Help Those Most At Risk
From Illinois to Nigeria
Agape Korean Baptist Church has worked to organize mission trips going from Illinois to Nigeria for 10 years. They coordinate their work in-country with Life Builders Ministry, an organization established in 2001 to assist the poorest families in Lagos and surrounding villages.
Over time, Life Builders Ministry expanded their work to include gathering national authorities and diverse stakeholders to bring visibility and action to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the country. Additionally, in 2012 they opened the Life Builders Hospital, an 80-bed facility providing maternity services, HIV testing, emergency & laboratory services, as well as surgery. The Agape team works out of this facility now when they visit Nigeria.
CMMB began supporting the annual medical mission trips of Agape Korean Baptist Church in 2013. Since then, CMMB’s Medical Donations Program sent nearly $300,000 worth of medicine and medical supplies to the outgoing teams. The mission teams dispense these donations to patients free of charge during their week-long clinic.
The area surrounding the facility is isolated, despite being only about 30 miles from Lagos. The dirt roads are poor quality, often flooding and becoming impossible to navigate by car. As a result, many patients in the spread out catchment area face hours of travel to receive basic care. This coupled with a lack of health seeking behavior in the patient population has resulted in many basic and preventable health problems.
In advance of the team’s arrival, the hospital staff work hard to raise awareness, and the news spreads through surrounding villages by word of mouth, inspiring many patients to make their only visit of the year. This past trip that Agape took in 2019, the team saw more than 1,000 patients.
For the past seven years, one patient named Monsura has come to depend on the group’s annual visit. She has epilepsy and suffers from seizures. The first time her family brought her to Agape’s clinic, she had a large open wound on her back from falling into a fire during a seizure. She had not received proper treatment for the burn, so while the edges had scarred over, alarmingly the center was still unhealed and open, causing tremendous pain.
The Life Builders Hospital does not have the capacity to consistently treat Monsura’s epilepsy. Further, her family cannot always afford to buy the wound care products necessary to cover and full protect the burn on her back, nor afford to purchase medication to manage Monsura’s epilepsy.
Agape has stepped in to fill this gap in services and supplies to the best of their ability. Every year when they visit, they procure epilepsy medication and ensure she is scheduled for an appointment. Additionally, they bring enough gauze to allow Monsura to clean and dress her wound for months following their visit. This year alone, CMMB provided the group 200 boxes of wound dressing to take with them.
Reflecting on the organization’s impact, the mission coordinator Dr. Joseph Ahn said, “although what we can do and offer is so limited, especially in the face of such need, we do it in the hope that whatever little help we can provide will bring a flicker of hope to those we serve, and that they know they are not forsaken or forgotten.”
CMMB believes that no act is too small, and we are proud to be able to support a wide network of tremendous organizations around the world working to make a difference.