Helen Roseveare: Medical Missionary To The Congo
Dr Helen Roseveare 1925-2016
Photo: © UCCF
Helen Roseveare grew up in a Christian family but did not have a personal relationship with God. After leaving school she enrolled in Newnham College at Cambridge University to study medicine. Through the invitation of a student named Dorothy she joined the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union (CICCU) and became an active participant in the prayer meetings and Bible studies. At this point she was sincerely religious but unconverted.
In December 1945 she went on a student retreat and had a personal experience of God in her room after seeing the words "Be Still and Know that I am....." on the ceiling of her room (the word "God" had been obscured by water damage.) She gave her testimony on the final evening and Bible teacher Dr Graham Scroggie wrote PHILIPPIANS 3:10 in her new Bible, and told her:
"Tonight you’ve entered into the first part of the verse, “That I may know Him.” This is only the beginning, and there’s a long journey ahead. My prayer for you is that you will go on through the verse to know “the power of His resurrection” and also, God willing, one day perhaps, “the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”
After graduating from Cambridge with her doctorate in medicine, Helen studied for six months at the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade college at Crystal Palace before going to Belgium and Holland to prepare to work as a medical missionary in the Congo, starting in 1953. Within two years she had established a training school for nurses as nurse-evangelists, who in turn ran clinics and dispensaries in other parts of the country.
In October 1955, she moved to run an abandoned maternity and leprosy centre in Nebobongo, helping to transform it into a hospital with 100 beds and a training school for paramedics and rural clinics.
After furlough in England in 1958 and further medical training. she returned to the Congo. which became independent from Belgium in 1960. In 1964 a vicious civil war broke out and all of the medical facilities they had established were destroyed. Helen and other Protestant missionaries were put under house arrest for several weeks and brutally treated by Simba rebels, one of whom raped her.
In the midst of her ordeal she became aware of the LORD's presence in an amazing way.
VIDEO OF INTERVIEW WITH DR HELEN ROSEVEARE