Dr. Christopher & Nancy Zoolkoski
David, Dan, Zeb and Joel
Galmi Hospital, Niger
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Christopher Zoolkoski joined Alderwood Community Church at the age of 16. He was active as a Quiz Team member in high school and as a Quiz Team coach during his studies at the UW. He credits his role models at Alderwood for his decision to dedicate his skills to serving the needy people of Niger, West Africa.
Christopher and Nancy were married in July 2009, each having lost their first spouses to cancer. The family continues to serve at SIM Galmi Hospital where Christopher is a physician & surgeon, and Nancy is the hospital’s pharmacist. The ministry of Galmi Hospital brings the hope of the Gospel to a Muslim country that is ranked last in the United Nations Human Development Index.
Last Sunday, we set out on a long road trip. The objective was to follow-up on Faroukou, a boy who came to Galmi Hospital last year malnourished and close to death. He and his Mom spent two intensive months with us, during which time she listened attentively to what we shared with her from the Bible. When we discharged them to return to their village, Faroukou was still weak but his condition had stabilized. Now, several months since our last encounter, this would be a good opportunity for a home visit to provide medical and spiritual follow-up.
For five hours we traversed terrain that was either rocky or sandy, dodging thorns and deep gullies, often guessing where the path was that led to the next village. When we finally arrived, the house of the village chief was our first stop. We explained to him and his entourage that we had come to see one of their boys for whom God had heard our prayers. The chief rose after understanding our mission and escorted us on foot to the home of Faroukou. As we entered his house, we saw his Mom put her hand over her mouth in disbelief as she saw our familiar faces. Then Faroukou himself came out, walking steadily, looking stronger and healthier. Then his surprised father returned from working in the fields.
The family, the chief, and the neighbors sat down and listened to us explain the reason for the existence of Galmi Hospital and our desire for people to receive, not only good health for their bodies, but also forgiveness of sin and life everlasting through Jesus Christ. We then presented the chief with the gift of a solar-powered radio that plays the Gospel of John in the Hausa language.
We didn't make our goal to be home before dark but we were able to navigate the most difficult part of the return before sunset, landing home late but safe.
It’s likely that we were the very first group of believers in Jesus to ever set foot in that village. Certainly we were the first people to ever engage the chief and his people in the challenge to learn more about Jesus. Thank you for sending us to make Jesus known in places like this where He is the least known.