MEDICAL evangelism and gospel evangelism were united into a close team working together in a Field School of Evangelism held in Musoma, a small town on the banks of Lake Victoria in Tanzania. Each evening it was necessary to have two sessions to accommodate the crowds who were attending our meetings in the local cinema.
Sixteen students from Bugema Missionary College and Ikizu Seminary joined with David Dobias, evangelist, Mrs. Elsa Lonergan, and Reuben Lorenson, on the staff of the Health Education School of Seventh-day Adventists located at Heri Hospital near Kigoma, Tanzania.
Each evening the program was almost equally divided between the medical presentation and the sermon. The public was enthusiastic about the two phases of the program. The chief medical officer of the city attended the meetings, and the chief of the public-health-education division of the region attended each evening. In both presentations, full use of visual aids was made, with black light, slides, movies, Smoking Sam, cooking demonstrations, dramatic skits, et cetera. The students in their visitation found people starting to boil water and do other things which had been suggested in the meetings. Particular interest was made in following the suggestion of adding soybeans to the diet.
The Health Education School was founded by Loma Linda University, and is staffed by its graduates. The student body was made up of mature African workers and their wives who are sponsored by their local field for a nine-month course in medical evangelism, currently called Public Health. They study anatomy and physiology, medical concepts, sanitation, nutrition, Christian home skills and attitudes. They learn how to cooperate with their local government in national health building, and how to teach church members that their bodies are temples of God and should be treated as such.
In addition to the nightly meetings and afternoon visitation, several hours were spent each morning in class study. Not only were the principles of public and pastoral evangelism taught but also principles of public health, with careful study given to the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy.
The first response to the series of meetings is encouraging. Thirty have been baptized, with 120 more requesting baptism at an early date. Others are continuing to attend the follow-up meetings. The pastor and the members have a large work of follow-up ahead of them.
Local members, students, and teachers in this Field School are enthusiastic at the possibilities of further refining this approach to public evangelism. Plans are being made for a much closer fellowship and cooperation in the future between our medical and gospel workers in the field of public evangelism since this pilot program at Musoma has been so effective.