I have had an opportunity to meet and get to know about the efforts of a group of people who are literally changing the course of African nations. The African Mission Healthcare Foundation is a ministry funded by Mark Gerson and run by Jon Fielder, an internal medicine doctor. I learned about their relationship on an Eric Metaxas radio program a few weeks ago, and I think it’s really fascinating.
Mark is a devout Jewish and Jon is a Christian medical missionary in Kenya. They were roommates at Williams college and have remained friends. (The story’s more involved and described by Mark in the podcast.) I have had a relationship with Mark’s firm, Gerson Lehrman Group for many years as a part-time consultant on business intelligence and technology strategy, and I only recently learned of Mark’s passion around medical missions that are driven by his long-time support of his friend Jon and other medical missionaries.
I reached out to Mark after hearing the podcast, and I’ve struck up a correspondence with him over email. He’s introduced me to Jon, who was in Dallas today. My friend Rick Howard and I were able to meet him for breakfast and learn more about him, his family, and his ministry in Africa. It was humbling to hear more about his work and the deep commitment he, his wife, and family have to Africans. Here are some articles to give you a sense of what’s happening with Christian medical missions.
- National Review
- Room to Read, and Nicholas Kristof’s article in the New York Times
- Johns Hopkins Medicine
Update: Amazingly, Mark and his wife have funded the L’Chaim Prize, a $500,000 prize to a doctor in Africa. The finalists were announced today, and their stories are unbelievable. Check out the video that came out today announcing the four finalists.
For some background on what’s happening on the ground in Africa and to get a sense of the importance of what Mark and Jon are up to, check out these stories:
- Ten Countries Desperately Seeking Doctors
- Africa’s Doctors Are Leaving in Droves
- Keeping African Doctors in Africa