December 6, 2022
Striving to spread the gospel through humanitarian assistance, the Rural Health Program of The United Methodist Church in Nigeria recently added to Jalingo United Methodist Hospital by building an accident and emergency/VIP ward to enhance services.
As Nigeria Area Bishop John Wesley Yohanna led the commissioning service, he noted the new ward’s role: “to promote healing (and) health as wholeness, as a nation and community of faith.”
He said the hospital’s success takes paid and volunteer members of The United Methodist Church and society who are committed to sharing the compassionate love and grace of Jesus Christ.
“Let us consecrate this place, as well as ourselves, as sacred, so that all people who enter the edifice experience God’s grace, feel welcomed and are inspired to recover from their sickness,” he said. “Today, we call upon God to use this place to admit and treat patients, as well as transform lives. May the Holy Spirit’s presence and power of healing be experienced by all who enter these doors.”
After joining in a litany of thanksgiving, invited guests offered words of encouragement.
“The UMC Nigeria health program,” said Dr. Ebenezer Koku Apake, “is partnering with the government in dispensing health care services within the state because they are doing well in catering for the health needs of the masses.”
Apake, permanent secretary for the Nigeria Ministry of Health, said the new ward is a great achievement, not only for Taraba state, but also Nigeria at large.
“We thank the leadership of the church for what it is doing to alleviate the masses suffering in terms of health needs,” he said.
Alhaji Abba Tukur, a representative of the Jalingo emir, expressed appreciation for the church and the United Methodist missionaries who provided his early education.
“I am overwhelmed,” he said, “by the activities of The United Methodist Church in our society and the state at large. I was present during the commissioning of the hospital … not knowing that the hospital would grow to what we are witnessing today. Many different calibers of people are benefiting, and will continue to benefit, from this great development.
“I have seen people coming in to be attended to without discrimination. This, indeed, is the mind of mission. May God bless and open more doors for the church,” he said.
“This development is a great bridge that solidifies our oneness; whether Muslim or Christian, all will be treated to save lives.”
The Rev. Jolly T. Nyame, former governor of Taraba state and onetime director of connectional ministries for The United Methodist Church in Nigeria, said he was proud of the church’s work but also disappointed in the division within the denomination.
“I like the courage of the leadership who did not allow our division to distract from this remarkable achievement,” he said.
“As a reverend in this church, I am aware of the skirmishes going on in this church, and I believe God (will) use me to see that we bring all the groups together. Unless we are united, we cannot do much impact.”
Reminding participants that Jesus, in his last moments of life, asked God to forgive those who had hurt him, Nyame urged unity “so we can work together to provide services to the society.”
Dr. Micah Madaki, executive secretary of the Health Services Management Board for Taraba state and chair of The United Methodist Church’s Nigeria Health Board, thanked Yohanna, honored guests and the hospital management team “who are working around the clock to make this day a reality. To God be the glory!”
Opened in 2018, Jalingo United Methodist Hospital is a 30-bed facility with general outpatient, surgical, nursing, administrative and pharmaceutical units. The hospital has an expanded range of services that includes an operating room, high-quality medical equipment and health care, as well as public space.