In case you cannot read even the two-minute summary included in the sidebar:
  • We finally have a partner for the surgical work! (See section 4.)
  • We need a rotation of short-term family physicians who can advise our staff of recently graduated Mozambican doctors. Could you help us find them? (See first prayer request at section 8.)
Charles Woodrow presents the latest news from Nampula, Mozambique. You can read this newsletter online here.
Read the two-minute version in red below.
Greetings, Friends
Call upon me in the day of trouble. I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. Psalm 50:15
I want to express my sincere thanks to everyone who prayed for us after my last report sent in June! At that point, Julie and I had been in South Africa for three months wrestling with several unyielding obstacles and hopes for a breakthrough were waning in every area. Since then, God has granted success on all fronts but one, thanks no doubt to the prayers offered by supporters in our behalf! As we were diligent to call upon the Lord in our day of trouble, may we now render the glory due to Him for his kind interventions!
May God be praised for His answers to your prayers!
But first, the one matter still unresolved is the important question of the property I have been developing for the past six years. In 2015 I purchased and then developed a 20-acre plot of land at a total cost to me of $325,000, using half of my retirement fund. My desire was that future missionaries could have a quiet place in the country ten minutes from the hospital where they could build their homes. Just after leaving for South Africa, I learned that I had lost a case brought against me by a man who owned the property years before I bought it but who alleges that I stole it from him in 2017 while he was languishing in a hospital bed in Portugal, unable to protect his rights. In fact, 2017 was seven years after he lost the land and two years after I purchased and developed it. He insists that the land still belongs to him, together with the $213,000 worth of improvements I have made to it. To my lawyer’s amazement, the judge decided in favor of my opponent. We appealed the decision, and for eight months we have been awaiting the final verdict. If the appellate court does not overturn the lower court’s decision, I lose all I have invested and, worse, the mission and future missionaries lose a valuable piece of property. Please continue to pray that the appellate court will side with me as eight other tribunals have already done in previous cases this man has filed!
Quinta Graca from the air
Please keep praying that my $325K land investment won't be legally wrested from me.
Bedford Truck Repaired --
After 22 Months in the Shop!
One of several breakthroughs that occurred after our request for prayer last June has to do with the Mission’s rugged, four-ton off-road troop carrier truck which has been sitting in a mechanic’s shop in Pretoria since November 2019 because of two broken parts in the rear differential. Spares are hard to find for these vintage off-road NATO vehicles. Now that the planet is covered in asphalt, no one seems to need them anymore, and parts are no longer manufactured. Nevertheless, since my last report, we were able to import from England two genuine, unused gears for rebuilding the differential at a cost of $2000. The work is done, the mechanic says that with the right parts the result was perfect, and the truck awaits my return to South Africa to fetch it.
Our trucks
The Mission workhorse - old but hardy
Imported new parts made our aging truck's differential "perfect".
Free at Last to Export our Goods to Mozambique!
The second answer to prayer was with a South African bureaucrat who for weeks was blocking us from exporting over $100,000 of merchandise. This included a desperately needed new eight-ton truck for the mission and an almost-new twin cab pickup for Julie and me. (Our own car is 16 years old, and all the mission vehicles are 30-40 years old.) His excuse for blocking the process was that our export/import license displays the 8-digit registration number of a trust, which is what we are, while he insisted that he would accept only the 13-digit registration number assigned to businesses. At last, by God’s grace, acquaintances of acquaintances put us in touch with someone who turned out to be this man’s supervisor. Once the supervisor got involved, the balky bureaucrat did his job, and quickly, as it seems extortion was at the bottom of the matter! I think our clearing agent had the authorization in less that 24 hours. Now I just need to return to South Africa to fetch the vehicles and their three truckloads of supplies destined for Nampula.
Tata truck
Our new truck loaded and waiting in South Africa since May
Friends helped us cut through South African red tape to authorize importation of our $100K load.
An Unexpected but Fruitful Trip to the U.S.
A third prayer concern mentioned in the last newsletter was a sudden trip to the States. Julie’s mother died in May while we were in South Africa. Julie left immediately, reaching Nevada in time for her mother’s memorial, while I remained in South Africa battling the problems there. When she arrived, Julie discovered her father needed much more help than she could provide. He had suffered a major stroke only a few days before his wife’s death, and neither insurance nor Medicaid benefits would cover admission to a long-term nursing facility. Home care was not working due to lack of experienced help which neither Dad’s income nor Medicare could supply. Dad was in a precarious situation that seemed to have no viable long-term solution!
In the US for her mother's memorial, Julie realized her widowed father needed greater care.
So I flew to the States and pitched in with Julie, addressing the medical and financial problems while she carried out a deep cleaning of the home and gave away much that was no longer needed. With advice from friends who have traveled this road before us, we were able to get Dad qualified for Medicaid coverage by means of a legalized shell-game such that, when he finally does need coverage for nursing home care, he can receive it, because part of his retirement income is now shielded from the government’s view. Medicaid explains how to do this, but few people know about it even among Medicaid workers. But Belinda Dicky, our mission's States-side director did. With her help and a lot of research, I became a virtual expert in Nevada’s many Medicare/Medicaid programs!

One thing I learned, ironically, is that while Dad can now be admitted to the fine nursing home in his community with Medicaid covering the $10,000 monthly fee, he cannot receive even $1,000 a month from any government program for home-based care that would keep him out of that nursing home! We are extremely thankful, though, for the assistance these social programs do provide.
I followed her to Nevada and together we organized the help he needed.
One of the ways the Lord helped us help Dad was in the provision of three experienced, wonderfully attentive ladies to care for him in his own home, women selected from a rural community of only 3,500 persons. I thought it would take weeks to secure the helpers Dad needed from such a small town, especially at a time when the government’s payout to people who do not work far exceeds anything we could pay them for helping Dad! But straightway God led us to three dedicated women, and in the space of only a few hours. First, we went to the Senior Citizens' Center to ask if they had a list of people who helped elderly persons at home. They were surprised we even consulted them because normally they did not have such information, but suddenly an employee stepped into the office saying that just an hour earlier a professional home assistant had dropped off her card. Next, we traveled to the community's outdoor bulletin board to leave an ad about our need, and there we found a notice from the second professional home care assistant that had been posted just recently. A third woman had already been recommended by Julie’s cousin. We returned home, called all three, and after good interviews they were hired! What I thought would take weeks of hunting had wonderfully been reduced to just a couple of days! And a month later, we remained completely satisfied with the care and love these women lavished upon Dad.
God providen-
tially led us to three excellent caregivers whom we hired for regular shifts with Dad.
Dad does not believe in going to the hospital, so besides his stroke, for which he had not yet sought medical attention, he had three other untreated conditions and a fourth problem, diabetes, that was poorly controlled. Except for the stroke’s effects, all his other conditions improved dramatically with appropriate medical care that I was able to facilitate and a room full of medical equipment we secured through Medicare.
We treated Dad's backlog of medical conditions.
I feared, however, that Dad’s situation might unravel once Julie and I departed for Africa and we were no longer involved in his daily care. When supporters learned that Julie was in the States because of the death of her mother, several people lovingly offered to pay her transportation costs to visit her children and grandchildren to help during her time of bereavement. My involvement in this trip would not normally have been possible given the pressing problems calling me back to Africa, but I realized the wisdom of conducting a two-week trial to see if Dad could be cared for at home without Julie’s involvement or mine. If all ran well, we could return to Africa with a clear conscience that we were no longer needed in the States. If not, I would still be on hand to train Dad's helpers in areas where they needed it. So, a spontaneous two-week visit to all our children and grandchildren in the States was thrown together, with another two stops in Texas to attend to mission matters. I even got to participate in an impromptu reunion of all my cousins on the Woodrow side of the family, something that had not happened in 23 years. As you might expect, those were the most enjoyable weeks of our six months away from Nampula! Julie was so thankful to our supporters for making the trip possible, and I was thankful to find everything humming perfectly with Dad’s care upon our return to Nevada!
Charles and Julie
At the Mississippi River in Memphis while visiting son Andrew and his wife Jennifer
Charles and Julie with their granddaughter Summer
We topped off our whirlwind US trip with two weeks of visiting all our children, both our grandchildren, my cousins, and the Mission's US base.
Meeting Summer Hope, our second grandchild, for the first time
Kent's Family
The proud parents and sister: son Kent, daughter-in-love Anna, and Melody Joy, no longer the only grandchild
Charles with his Woodrow cousins
A full generation of Woodrows lined up by age with my mother, Lila Woodrow, who is the last of our parents. I am the middle cousin. My sister Charlotte is second from the right, and my brother Kevin is at the far left.
Our "six weeks" in South Africa turned into nearly half a year away from Nampula!
Finally! A Partner for the Surgical Work!
A fourth matter for prayer mentioned in the last report was the visit to Nampula from an American surgeon and his family which was scheduled for the last two weeks in August. That ended up being just one month after Julie and I returned home. En route from the States, I intended to land first in Johannesburg and bring two of our fully loaded trucks to Mozambique, but a sudden outburst of rioting and terrorism in South Africa made that plan risky. I was advised to fly straight home to Nampula and wait for things to settle down before attempting to transport so much wealth by road across the troubled country. That change in plans turned out to be critical, but not for the reasons we thought! The rioting and ambushes were quickly quelled, but when we arrived home after our six-month absence, we found much work needing to be done in Nampula before we could think of hosting guests at the mission property.
Civil unrest in South Africa prevented me from importing our goods on my way home from the US, but that allowed time in Nampula to prepare to host visitors.
By God’s grace, when the visitors arrived, all the problems had been resolved! Both we and our guests felt the two weeks together were pleasant and profitable, and our friends left resolved to join us in Nampula as soon as they complete language school and finish other preparations for moving across the world. In October they will meet with the hospital board States-side, and if all goes well, I look forward to presenting them in our next newsletter.
Their decision is the culmination of ten years of prayerful consideration by them and diligent recruitment on the part of our mission, especially our Stateside director, Belinda Dickey, and her husband Don. One of our prayer supporters who pastors a Reformed Baptist Church in North Carolina brought us together. May God guide all of us in the steps ahead and soon grant fruit from this relationship.
The American surgeon and his family enjoyed their two weeks here and decided to permanently join our work!
We thank the Christian friends who helped bring this about!
For my part, I much appreciate the surgeon God has led us to at this important juncture. Besides being baptistic and Reformed, he has 22 years of experience in general and oncological (cancer) surgery. His career-long interest in medical missions has led him to many hospitals across Africa and Central America where he performs surgery during family vacations. He has trained American surgeons for the past nine years, is a consultant to the Surgeon General of the Army, and for the last three years has been one of the governors of the American College of Surgeons.
Our associate is like-minded theologically, highly qualified professionally, and experienced in medical missions.
While he was in Nampula, we visited the downtown central hospital and its surgical staff, the local medical school (one of only three in the country), and the rural hospital where I started my surgical career in Africa 31 years ago. Everyone wanted a piece of our guest to help move their own programs to a higher plain. Pray that God might use this colleague as an ambassador of goodwill for both Christ and Grace Missions, opening doors for the gospel and for our ministry.
Nearby health institutions are eager to benefit from his expertise.
I am always impressed with how God time and again uses the medical card to facilitate whatever else we may do in Nampula. Just last week, as I was being introduced to the current mayor, one of the leaders in the room mentioned members of his own family who had been successfully operated on by me. Though my last operation was performed over 20 years ago, the Lord still uses that surgical work to generate goodwill and open doors!
Locals are still grateful for my surgical work which ended over 20 years ago.
More Blessings --
The Pharmaceutical Project
In concluding this litany of answers to prayer and pending blessings, I want to update readers on three more blessings already mentioned in the past. The first great blessing is the privilege of operating our own pharmaceutical company. All government requirements for our license have been met apart from completion of a 2,000-square-foot pharmaceutical complex which only awaits the arrival of our trucks from South Africa carrying the materials needed to finish out the inside of the building.
Our pharma-ceutical company is officially registered.
You may recall the impenetrable barrier we encountered in the past attempting to import medical supplies to support our work. This was taken out of the way when we offered our hospital to serve as the provincial COVID treatment center, prompting the health minister to instruct the National Pharmacy Board to help us form a pharmaceutical importation company independent of the Mission. The reason, never explained to us, for why the Pharmacy Board had refused every one of our importations of restricted materials was that no hospital, nor any entity legally associated with a hospital, is allowed to import pharmaceuticals or many other items used in patient care. By establishing a pharmaceutical company NOT legally connected with the hospital, we will have the means to import our own medical supplies rather than depending on other sources.
Because it is legally separate from the hospital, we'll be able to import medical supplies.
The profound importance of this was revealed during our recent visits to the two local hospitals. At one, the surgeons lamented that they could not do surgery because they did not have the suture material they needed. At the other, the surgeons were not operating because they did not have anesthetic drugs. If we too depended on local sources, our surgical center would suffer the same limitations. Having our own pharmaceutical company for importing medical supplies will protect us from these frustrations and should give us favor with the other facilities if we can help supply their needs as well.
The finished outside of the guesthouse
Our multi-purpose building - the guesthouse cum
pharmaceutical complex
This is crucial in a town where other hospitals lack necessary surgical materials.
More Blessings -- Hospital Personnel, Without Even Recruiting
Though we generally have 50-60 adults in attendance at our services, our church is still not large at only 37 members. So it was surprising to me to note recently that among those 37 members God has sent us a remarkably high percentage of medical professionals: two surgeons (counting the second missionary as one of our own), three general medical doctors, a dentist, an anesthetist, two pharmacists, and three nurses in training. These professionals represent 30% of our congregation, a strong start toward staffing our hospital with conscientious Christians who agree on the gospel of salvation by grace through faith.
Our small church has many medical professionals who could work with us.
Charles Woodrow - surgeon
Lino Sangassanga
medical doctor
Carlos Sel - medical doctor
Iloida Sangassanga
medical doctor
Because of COVID-related delays in opening the clinic, all our physicians and the dentist had to leave Nampula for far-flung places around the country seeking employment. Though only one of them hails from Nampula, by God's grace, all were eventually hired on by the government and then all were assigned back to Nampula province except the one who was raised here and who is working in the next province north of us! I have tentatively arranged with the Provincial Health Department for it to second these doctors and dentist to our hospital provided the Mission pays their salaries. By this means, the doctors get to serve in a hospital run by Christians with the goal of introducing patients to the gospel without having to forfeit the much sought-after government contracts they have obtained guaranteeing them employment through life so long as they perform well.
Our doctors have moved elsewhere for employment, but plan to return when our hospital opens.
Aquiles Júnior
Jeremias Muquito pharmacist
Arnaldo Júnior - nurse anesthetist and surgeon
Sancho Xavier - pharmacist
Kátia Victória
nurse practitioner
Ismaela Arnaldo - nurse

Please pray that
this arrangement
with the provincial
health authorities
may be realized
when the time comes
for our hospital to open.
Iracema Quissereque
Pray that this goes
More Blessings --
Funding for the Clinic
We also thank God for the offer several months ago of $121,000 from a foundation run by a family of Christian medical professionals. This is to pay the salaries of our doctors and clinic staff during the first year of operation and to purchase a digital X-ray machine, a second OR table, and an electrocautery machine. This assistance was offered to us without our approaching the foundation or even knowing that it existed! We thank God for His gracious provision of these needs!
To operate our clinic for a year, a foundation we'd never heard of is sending $121K.
Prayer Requests and Praise:
1.   Our doctors are all recent medical school graduates who have been seeing patients for only a year. Besides limited experience, they lack specialty training. Though all are intelligent and conscientious, and one graduated first in her medical school class, we would benefit much from an experienced, trained specialist in general medicine (ER doctor, internist, family practitioner) to serve as an attending physician, advising on the unusual or difficult cases.
Our new doctors need experienced supervision.
Please pray with us that God would provide Western-trained, experienced, short-term generalists to rotate through our clinic to provide backup consultation for our doctors. With that, we could take definite steps toward opening the clinic.
Pray for Western generalists to come short-term.
These generalists would not need to know Portuguese, since three of the providers use English well. For short-term volunteer service, we welcome professionals of any theological persuasion, with housing and meals provided for them and their families. If you know a doctor who might be interested in spending a month with us, please let him know of our need!
Do you know one?
2.   Praise God for the provision of our first active surgeon and for his qualifications and experience. Pray that God will direct this family in the coming year as they have many decisions to make and tasks to accomplish.
Our new surgeon and his family are preparing to move here.
3.   Praise God with us for supplying so many solid Christian professionals in our small congregation, people committed to proclaiming the Biblical gospel and who want to work in our hospital.
Thank God for the medical workers in our church...
4.   Praise God for the gift of $121,000 toward expenses of operating the clinic for one year.
...and for $121K for our first year!
5.   After the visit of our future surgeon and his family two weeks ago, I finally was free to turn my attention to personal concerns. I met with the mayor of the city to discuss my land and the paperwork error made eleven years ago and again six years ago when the city sold the land to its two most recent owners. The mayor instructed the city’s lawyer to meet with my lawyer to learn more about the ramifications of this mistake. Pray that the city will do what should have done long ago in putting all the paperwork in order!

-That the city will correct its paperwork error which could allow my land to be taken from me.
6.   In the event the city remains negligent in its bureaucratic responsibilities, pray for the appeals court to overturn the decision made eight months ago regarding my property.
-That the appeals court will affirm my land rights.
7.   Pray for the successful exportation, importation, and reception of all our vehicles and supplies coming from South Africa.
-For a successful importation.
8.   Pray for completion of the guest house/pharmacy building.
-For construction completion.
9.   Pray that our doctors and dentist may retain their government employment status while working in our mission hospital.
-For secondment of our doctors.
10. Pray for our hospital as it continues to serve as the province’s COVID treatment center. The building is taking a beating from rough, careless use by the medical staff, and there will be large repair bills when they finally move out. Remarkably, the mortality from COVID remains extremely low, and the daily hospital census for our catchment area of over 6 million persons is only 25 patients! Praise God for His kindness in protecting Mozambique from this pandemic by means that still lack a scientific explanation.
Thank God for largely protecting us from COVID.
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