Meet the Medical Missionary: Dr. Priscila Cummings
Dr. Priscila Cummings is a MedSend grant recipient and medical missionary serving at the Kalukembe IESA Mission Hospital in Angola.
For Priscila, an OB/GYN, the year has been like no other. The rainy season this spring in Angola was the heaviest in thirty years. With it came a malaria epidemic of over 4700 cases and 170 deaths – mostly children. While giving a tour of the mission hospital during the malaria surge ( see video below), Priscila commented that “This is probably the worst we’ve seen in the last few years.”
The hospital has been busier than ever, in spite of travel restrictions and cancellation of the monthly elective surgery cases. The staff have been busy managing the malaria surge and navigating with government authorities examining hospital malaria care. They’ve been preparing space and staff for COVID-19, which has been slow to arrive but has now been documented locally. Many staff members have left and taken jobs in other places, which has created additional work for those who remain.
Priscila says, “Like you, we’ve experienced ups and downs. But our God is steadfast, and we know this more deeply than before. For our family, we have learned even more about living and making memories in Kalukembe! We eat more local food, enjoy walks nearby, and celebrated two birthdays we thought we’d be celebrating in Brazil with family.”
A Pilgrim at Heart
Priscila still has family in Brazil, where she was born. The daughter of a Brazilian father and a Dutch mother, she considers her life experiences to be quite multicultural. In addition to living in Brazil and the United States, Priscila has also worked in Europe, Africa, and South America. She has interned in places such as The Rockefeller Institute in New York City and the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. She is married to Daniel, a culturally Japanese man, who is also a doctor serving with her in Angola.
Having lived all around the world, Priscila says, “Good thing we are all pilgrims, with our final home in heaven! Otherwise, I might have grown up feeling unrooted and a vagabond.”
She has visited and lived in many places, some which she would describe as the “upper echelons.” Still, Priscila says “I find my heart has more joy in serving in the trenches, with the poor.”
Obedience and Gratitude
Priscila says, “I was born into a family who loves Jesus. My parents carried me to the foot of the Cross when I was a baby. As a young girl I started walking a little on my own, and now I continue to run, stumble, fall, and limp towards Jesus.”
Surrounded by Christ-followers, Priscila was encouraged spiritually by her parents, sister, grandparents, pastors, and husband. She realized that her cup was overflowing and felt called to be a missionary partly out of gratitude for her many blessings and partly out of obedience. “He calls us to serve the least of these,” Priscila says. And, “why would I NOT want to love, serve, and share the wonderful news (of the Gospel)?!”
With a true desire to serve the poorest of the poor, Priscila saw the need in Angola, a poor rural area in Central Africa. She serves and lives there with her husband, Daniel, and three children – Zeke, Eliel, and Naomi.
Encouragement, Education, and Evangelism
A Christian medical missionary typically has many goals. Priscila is very clear on what she would like to contribute through her ministry.
“We hope to use our ministry to bring patients to encounters with Jesus… sometimes by talking with them ourselves, other times by allowing others (such as chaplains, nurses, family members) opportunities to do so,” she says. The hospital that she serves at is a church-run (though partially government-subsidized) district hospital that has an active ministry of evangelism, including a Bible school and nursing school. Priscila tries to participate in the lives of the students there as well. “It is a gift to know that Jesus uses our hands to bring His love others,” she says.
In addition to talking to patients about their faith, Priscila also focuses on teaching at the hospital and in clinics around the country. As an OBGYN, she is particularly focused on giving public health talks to women. She considers it a privilege to encourage and enable women of the church.
Sometimes we hear about the struggles of our missionaries on the field and wonder what we can do to help. The gift of our prayers is one of the easiest things that we can do. In her most recent newsletter, Priscila was able to share very specific prayer requests. If you would like to pray for Priscila and her family, she would ask that you pray for the following:
- Church fellowship: We’ve had small groups but no church meetings… and I miss the choirs!
- Wisdom in how to move forward with the Electrical Project, as we wait for installation of solar panels
- Grief over cancelled family trips and finding alternative places to rest…given COVID travel restrictions
- Relationships with hospital administration to improve and for all of us to honor God
Always giving God the glory, Priscila says that she is thankful for the following:
- Completion of Nurse/Staff housing project!
- The coming of a new generator to help our persistent mission power failures (doing cesareans by headlamp can be a challenge)
- Time as a family with kids who are healthy to play!
If you’d like to keep up with the Cummings family, you can follow their blog here.
Help MedSend grant recipients like Priscila continue to provide HOPE… in Such a Time as This by donating here.
Healthcare remains the only form of access as a Christian witness in many countries.
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