Training the Next Generation in Nigeria

Tuesday, 23 April 2024 Training the Next Generation in Nigeria

Caring for those who are suffering provides the unique opportunity to share the love and compassion of Jesus. Responding to physical need through health-related ministry is a core component of SIM’s role in global mission.  

Phil and his wife, Janne, along with their 4 children, served with SIM in Nigeria from 1979 to 1993. They later returned from 2010 to 2015. After completing medical school, Phil had a desire to use his skills in global mission, although he remained uncertain about the specific location. “I had a growing sense of unease about finishing medicine and then settling into general practice and spending my life in Australia, which despite the issues and medical challenges, is quite well endowed with medical services compared with so many other parts of the world,” said Phil.  

One day, Phil and Janne visited a church and after the service, they were invited to lunch by an older couple. The wife worked for SIM and when she found out Phil was a medical student, she provided him with information about serving in medical missions. “One thing led to another, God in His grace leading us to Nigeria to serve with SIM,” he explained.  

During their initial years in Nigeria, Phil served at a traditional mission hospital in Jos called Evangel Hospital. After that role, Phil had the opportunity to serve where he was passionate: community-based healthcare. He said, “The church SIM planted in Nigeria had a huge network of 160 clinics throughout the country and they were very under-supported in terms of medical supervision.” Phil started visiting villages and working with communities to help identify some of the key needs and potential solutions.  

In 1982, an English doctor, Dr. Andrew Pearson, visited the hospital. He was spearheading a training program for general practitioners in Nigeria, specifically focusing on training Nigerian doctors who had done their undergraduate training in the Nigerian system. The hospital where Phil worked was identified as a potential training centre.   

Despite Phil’s initial focus on community health, his qualifications led to his selection as the coordinator of the training program. Suddenly, a group of SIM medical mission workers became trainers of Nigerian doctors. He said, “We had high quality trainees, and it was a privilege to be able to have input into these people’s lives. As we lived and worked with these people, we were able to minister to them and it was a lot of fun.” 

The experience was equally positive for the trainees, who gained extensive experience, far more than their colleagues in other hospitals. Additionally, they received good quality training and teaching. 

One trainee was sent by a partner church with the hope that he would return to their hospital and run it. After completing his training, he excelled in running the hospital. However, due to some issues, he eventually left. Although some people were disappointed that he left the church hospital, he found employment at a government hospital. Phil had the opportunity to visit him in the government hospital ten years ago.  

“I was just amazed at the witness that he was having in an area of the country with very few Christian believers. He had developed a great reputation for honesty and integrity, and he was making major changes in the hospital and living out what it meant to be a committed Christian GP running that hospital in a town in central Nigeria dominated by the majority faith.” 

Now based in Australia, Phil continues to serve in SIM’s Healthcare Ministries Team. This team supports and strengthens SIM health ministries worldwide. Despite being retired, Phil continues to faithfully lend remote support to medical outreach among least-reached people in Nigeria. He also helps to mobilise and mentor Nigerian health workers who join SIM.  

GO: Do you have a desire to serve with your skills in medical missions? Get in touch with a Mission Mobiliser today by filling in the form on the back page or visiting  

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