As this is posting, I have the privilege and pleasure of reading, typing, and editing Herberta Smith’s memoir, SEND ME!, about her six plus years in Uganda as a medical missionary when she was in her sixties. With her permission, I am posting the Preface of her book and will let you know when the book is finished and on Amazon.
Her stories are wonderful and her enthusiasm not “to take these stories to her grave,” as she announced when I met her at a Meet & Greet the authors in October of last year, gives her the drive to write and publish in her 86th year. What better way to celebrate Black History Month than to find and feature someone I know whose stories represent a wonderful volunteer effort in Uganda to help people in need of medical care?
Herberta Smith (nickname Bert)
“Bert” is holding the notebook with her book draft with a map of Africa on the cover that I found on the Internet.
God uses ordinary people to create miracles and do extraordinary things.
The year was 1999. I was completing my final assignment, a total of six and one half years between the years 1989 and 2000. We held a clinic in the living room and veranda of a gracious family. They knew the villagers were suffering and responded with a “yes” when the village chief asked is we could use their home as a facility. After the clinic ended, I was standing on the front lawn, waiting for the call for lunch.
I looked up at the clear, blue sky and spoke to my Heavenly Father, asking why I had worked all alone these many years. Without hesitation, the Holy Spirit spoke to me:
“I want you to go home and write about your experiences, and to encourage others to come into the interior of developing countries.”
We had medical ships coming periodically to the coastal areas of some African countries, providing much-needed surgery and medical care. Unfortunately, residents in the interior cannot walk the 10 to 20 miles to reach a ship in the harbor. At times, when these villages make the difficult journey of two to three days to the ship, the overcrowding forces these villagers away, because the medical professionals are unable to see everyone needing care. One way to stop this heartbreaking experience is to develop programs with teams of doctors and nurses coming to the bush country and villages to administer to the ill.
Again, the holy spirit said to me, “Christ has commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Write and tell the world what you have seen and done. I will provide for anyone that follows you.”
I thought, we can put up military type hospitals and barracks to house the medical team. Sounds like fun! Like Martin Luthier King, I, too, have a dream that one day, every child worldwide will be able to drink clean, safe water and they and their families will have adequate health care in their communities, provided by trained expatriates, including nurses like myself.
I hope this book of true stories will inspire you, the reader, to embrace my dream and make a difference in the health of the lives of those in need, especially those who live in the interior of Africa.
by Herberta Smith