Helen was raised in family of financial means. Her father placed great importance on her receiving a good education. She worked hard and acquired a medical degree, not to make money but to use the skills as a missionary. She was a rarity in her time, not only as a female physician but also as a doctor on the mission field. I loved how the Lord guided her through sermons, scriptures, and the guidance of other Christians. He led her to the Congo. Here women were not respected by the nationals. She had many hurdles to overcome in addition to the dangerous political upheaval of the country and how impoverished the area was. Upon her arrival she was put the work the very next day. The clinic had 500 – 1000 people waiting for medical help. Many had traveled long distances on foot. There were diseases and injuries she had never seen or been trained for in medical school.
Her energy and motivation amazed me. She didn’t just serve as a doctor but also trained medical workers, established nursing schools, and built hospitals in her career. This is quite astounding considering how little there was to work with regarding supplies, materials and workers. Her strong willed attitude which aided in success also caused on going struggles and conflicts with her colleagues. This distressed her greatly. When a civil war broke out and other missionaries were leaving, Helen stayed. At one point rebels destroyed her clinic, and was held hostage. She was violently physically, emotionally and sexually abused for 5 months before she was rescued. In spite of this after recovering at home in England she returned to the Congo. She was broken hearted at the destruction of all she had built and condition of the people. Memories and fear of what she endured were always with her. She continued there 7more years trying to rebuild even making further improvements.
I was shocked at all the suffering Helen faced during her time of service. Her courage, faith and strength left me in awe. What incredible situations she went through and still desired to serve God. She left after 20 years of service, returning once to see how her work still flourished. God truly created a legacy through her.
Helen Roseveare is a missionary I had not heard of. This one thing I like about the Benge’s Christian biographies. They write about incredible people that many do not know of.
Thank you to YWAM Publishing for a providing this book for me to review. The opinions stated are my own.