By BONKUNG Handerson & Anguh George
“Celebrating the legacy of a fallen hero is the best way to immortalize him”. This assertion is the most fitting conclusion anyone could make after attending the 65th edition of World Leprosy Day in Mbingo Baptist Hospital (MBH) on Sunday, January 28, 2018 in the hospital chapel. The occasion took a twin dimension; the Discharge of six ex-leprosy, otherwise called Hansen Disease (HD) patients and Thanksgiving in honour of late Dr. Kenneth W. Jones Jr, pioneer leprosy doctor at MBH. This year’s World Leprosy Day held under the theme, “One Child with Leprosy is Too Much”. This year’s theme emphasized on “Zero disability for boys and girls,” because eliminating leprosy among children is a sure way of eliminating the disease altogether in future.
In his homily titled, “The Need of Patient Endurance,” Rev. Dr. Paul Wose Mokake, CBC Director of Evangelism and Missions said as he read through the works of Dr. Jones, he got lost whether he was an evangelist or medical doctor. Drawing inspiration from Rev. 14:12-13, the preacher challenged the audience to emulate Dr. Jones in his faithfulness and endurance. He stressed that “God’s call upon our lives is to be faithful to the call and cause of Jesus and it is his duty to provide the resources to fulfill the call”. Rev. Dr. Mokake stated that Dr. Ken Jones was a faithful labourer on earth as he led the beginning of missions in the Furawa area as a pioneer missionary.
Also acting in lieu of the Executive President who was currently visiting CBC Fields, the Director of Evangelism and Missions updated the people on the progress of work at the Convention level. He announced that the Missionary to Gabon is settling down in spite of challenges on the field, the dispute over the CBC land in Garoua has been laid to rest and the CBC headquarters new building is well on course. Rev. Dr. Mokake credited MBH for the Bassosia Missionary area in the West region that is doing well, thanks to advocacy by ex-MBH patients from that area. The prelate requested for prayers for our brethren in Mamfe who have become refugees in Nigeria. He said he and the Missionary in Akwaya will visit the refugees in the days ahead.The likes of Dr. Davidson Nkwenti, Dr. Ngam Joe Eric, representing the lager body of scores of people who benefited and continue to benefit from the sacrificial life of late Dr. Ken Jones gave moving testimonies of how meeting Dr. Jones changed their lives for good.
MBH Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ndi Norah Nyah assisted by the HD Coordinator, Mr. Fobang Oliver coordinated the discharge and handing over of attestations to the 6 ex-HD patients. The CMO congratulated the HD Coordinator and the nurses for consistency in following up treatment of the patients and the care givers for standing by them. Those discharged included: Ayuk Frederick from Mamfe, Ngie Shelsen from Batibo, Yaseh Angela from Bataplue – Ndian, Liketu Ndzeghakeh from Baba Ndop, Ihimbru Magdaline from Benakuma, and Amoasing Salome from Ngie –Mbengwi.
Speaking on behalf of the DHS, the Assistant Administrator at the DHS’ Office, Mr. Wango Barnabas thanked CBCHS partners, doctors, nurses and all other stakeholders for their role in the upkeep of leprosy patients in Mbingo. He hailed the legacy of Dr. Kenneth Jones evident in his work and in the lives of many.
MBH Senior Administrator, Mr. Nji Richard Nkeh thanked all for coming to give the occasion the grandeur it deserved. These included: family members, former and present leprosy patients, MBH workers, Administrators, Missionaries, friends of Dr. Ken Jones and the press.
The programme was graced by the euphonious voices of the MBH choir, the Mbingo 1 English Choir and the Venacular Choir of Antusi CBC Church Baingo.
Biography of Late Dr. Kenneth Jones Jr presented by Dr. Dennis Palmer on behalf of the Director of Cooperating Missions
Dr. Kenneth Jones was born on June 19, 1924 in the state of Idaho, United States, as the first of three children to Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Jones. When he was 12 years old, his parents began attending church and became Christians. Soon after, Ken Jones Jr. also gave his life to Christ and was baptized.
He completed secondary school in Portland, Oregon in 1942, earned his 1st Degree from Stanford University with a major in Biology in 1946, and in 1951, he completed his medical degree at the University of Oregon Medical School, followed by general practice and internal medicine residencies.Dr. and Ma Jones first served in Cameroon from 1954—1957 with the North American Baptist General Medical Society. Dr. Jones was the first doctor at Mbingo New Hope Settlement for leprosy patients.
Besides missionary service in Cameroon and Nigeria, Dr. and Ma Jones served in many other countries both as missionaries and volunteers – in Panama, Central America, American Samoa in South Pacific, as well as Liberia, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Honduras.
Dr. Jones was known for the compassionate care he gave to leprosy patients at Mbingo—alleviating their physical, social and spiritual needs. Even today, there are funds of late Dr. Jones assisting the needs of the patients. He also had a big heart and concern for the Gospel to reach difficult corners of Cameroon. His burden for and efforts to reach the Fulani people and the unreached people groups of Furu-Awa was an inspiration to many. He personally funded frequent helicopter trips to send evangelists into the Furu-Awa area.
Dr. Jones spent the last years of his life in a care home for elderly persons. On February 19, 2017, at the age of 92, Dr. Jones died and joined his beloved wife, Ma Francis, in the presence of the Lord. There is no doubt that he was greeted with the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your master”.