The Rev. Bobby Gale and his wife Nancy live in Savannah; they were childhood sweethearts and have now been married for 41 years. Bobby attended Brewton-Parker College and then went to Candler School of Theology, Emory in Atlanta where he earned his master’s degree of Divinity. He is an ordained elder in the United Methodist church and a local pastor. Early in his ministry he accepted a charge to pastor three small churches, Sharpe’s Chapel, New Branch and Mt. Moriah in Toombs County, and then went on to Wilkinson County serving the Irwinton-Toomsboro-Salem Charge. While he pastored that charge, he went on a short-term mission trip to Africa where he saw a little girl and a pig drinking water together from the same water hole. This image keeps him motivated to this day to win souls and provide for their needs.
He remembers thinking, “Somebody ought to help.”
Soon, he was the somebody helping. He formed an organization named “Unto the Least of His,” which is a faith-based mission that focuses on water and education projects in many different underprivileged areas in the world. Matthew 25:40 says: The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ They started putting water wells in to help marginalized, indigenous communities in Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ghana.
“We’ve been working in those countries about 20 years now,” Gale said. “We have partners who help finance the projects, indigenous workers, and people who go with me to actually help do the work. Because of COVID, we’re not allowed in right now, but we’re still doing all we can to help.”
Along with providing clean drinking water and other ministries, they discovered a serious need for medical clinics. About three years ago, a Hazlehurst lawyer, Ken Smith, donated money to help fund a medical clinic in Samburu, Kenya, in honor of his wife, Josena, who had just passed away. They named this first clinic the Josena Clinic.
A new project was discussed with Dr. Gabriella Nanci, who is director of the Yonkofa Project, a non-profit healthcare organization. She and Rev. Gale discussed the possibility of renovating a container.
“We talked about taking a container with all kinds of medicines, medical supplies, reusable menstrual pads, and various other supplies to the area,” Gale said. “The African girls and their need for reusable pads make quite a story. The girls are far too poor to purchase such supplies, so when their menstrual cycles begin, they have to stay home from school until they pass. They get behind in their schoolwork and eventually drop out, thus continuing the cycle of poverty. The ladies of several churches have worked diligently to make the pads they are sending. Hopewell UMC, Baxley First United Methodist, and Pinson UM Church along with the Agape Stitchers sewed 4,000 reusable pads so these girls can stay in school.”
Poverty is a vicious cycle, and the group wanted to do what they could to alleviate some of the problems of these people. They bought a shipping container (40 ft. long with a high top) and, through a labor of love, completely modified it inside to make an instant medical clinic. Some people gave money; some came and worked. Rev. Tommy Veal, leader of Hooked on Jesus, one of the key ministries in the area, was instrumental in teaching the group how to build the inside. Mitchell and Carrie Ann Stidham, owners of Steel Structures of Baxley, let them put the container at their place of business and work on it for ten days; they did not charge a penny. They worked too as did several people from Crosby Chapel United Methodist Church. They had seven or eight people there almost every day to work; they worked hard too. Rev. Allen Hartsfield from the Hazlehurst First UMC and Philadelphia UMC and his congregations purchased the electrical supplies to wire the building and sent the electricians to do the work. Within ten days, the clinic was built. They put everything inside the three rooms they had created, and the container/OBGYN medical clinic is on its way to Atlanta where it will be filled with medical supplies worth seven million dollars. The three rooms of the clinic will serve as a birthing room, an Obstetrics-Gynecology room, and a waiting room with a bathroom. This small clinic will serve 5000 people.
Gale said, “It’s truly been a fascinating work of mercy that’s been done, and we hope to duplicate it again and again. After completion, we shipped it out last Tuesday, September 22, to Atlanta. From the warehouse there, it will be placed on a ship and sent to Ghana, West Africa. After the container is emptied of the supplies, it will be placed permanently in the little marginalized African village where it is destined to serve 5,000 indigenous people. The village has its own medical staff who will work in the clinic. Poverty is a curse there. During our twenty years of going to Africa, we’ve seen some real hardships. We’re doing our best with God’s help to eliminate some of that.”
To God be the Glory for great things He has done and continues to do.