Fusing Medicine and Faith in a New Way in Côte d’Ivoire

  • by Philip Long

A chaotic crowd surged through Lucy Robinson’s station in the medical clinic in Côte d‘Ivoire. It was the clinic’s first day.

As patients flooded through, Lucy’s whole team was missing opportunities to engage patients in conversation. So on day two, Dain Strobel, the team leader, made a change.

Rather than have the team spread out through eight stations, each team member would lead a patient through the entire clinic. This would give the team time to engage patients in spiritual conversations.

For Lucy, she made the trip from Mississippi to the west coast of Africa to do just this: wed her medical skills with direct evangelism.

Yet, faced with the new plan, Lucy panicked.

Though passionate about Jesus, she hadn’t been in many situations where she’d shared the gospel.

Lucy, 20, was part of a team of 12 college students and six medical professionals participating in a new ministry called Cru Medical. The team’s skills were in high demand during their 6-week trip.

Cru Medical’s plan is to help open new campuses to ministry by setting up medical clinics. Teams do eye examinations and fit glasses; offer help with nutrition, malaria and diabetes; check blood pressure and family history; and offer a doctor’s visit.

They partner with local Cru staff members, Cru’s campus ministry (which offers summer mission projects) and Global Aid Network, the humanitarian arm of Cru.

Dain, who helped start Cru Medical, says,

“Our premise is to serve people medically in order to open doors spiritually.”

On the second day, faced with this spiritual opportunity, Lucy prayed, “OK, God, you’ve sent me here to do this, and I’m going to be obedient to you.” Then, she says, it was as if God just said to her, Lucy, I have been here long before you got here, and I will be here long after you leave. Be obedient to Me and I’ll let you be a part of My work here.

After her prayer, one of Lucy’s first patients was an older gentleman. Lucy introduced herself, saying, “We’re Cru Med, and we’re here to provide holistic care physically and spiritually, and in any way we can. Do you know Jesus Christ?”

The gentleman responded, “No, but I want to.”

Since the man was older, Lucy was taken aback.

After getting over her shock, she got to know the man a bit, explained the gospel, and he prayed and received Christ. He began expressing immense joy and gratitude right away.

“God had prepared his heart,” says Lucy. “There was nothing I did to make him want to hear about Jesus except just asking him. God had already softened his heart to be ready, and it was so cool to be a part of and get to watch. I’ll never forget that.”

Dain reports the team offered medical care to 1,600 people – in one case getting prescription glasses to a seamstress whose eyesight was failing – and saw 83 individuals indicate that they received Christ.

Next Steps:

  • Cru Medical – If you are looking for a prescription to practice medicine and faith, Cru Medical may be for you (you don’t have to be a medical professional or med student to participate). Email Dain Strobel at dain.strobel@cru.org to find out about upcoming trips.
  • Global Aid Network is all about putting gospel words into action. Visit the site to find ways to make a difference in a hurting world.