Dr. Phil and Zana Dirksen served with WorldVenture in Zaire from 1977 to 1988 with the purpose to equip local physicians and surgeons with knowledge, skills and experience to help the suffering people who have no hope. During their years of service, they helped open two hospitals, two nurse-practioner training institutes (although one has been destroyed), 33 health-posts and health-centers; and served as the primary physician and surgeon at Rwanguba Hospital. As “International Resource Specialists” with WorldVenture, the Dirksens continue their association with two hospitals in Goma, Congo, through annual six-week medical mercy trips with a spiritual emphasis.
Dr. Phil and Zana provide free surgical care to those in need. They also provide teaching to nurses and students with a focus on surgical training to Congolese surgeons and Zairian physicians. For the past 10 years, the Dirksens have maintained individualized surgical preceptorships with the regional physician-surgeons from the 250 mile-long province of North Kivu.
Annually, six to eight Congolese surgeons from seven hospitals throughout the region come for six weeks of specialty surgical training. These Congolese surgeons call Dr. Phil –le maitre”ãthe teacherãbecause of his abilities and skills in successful repairs and reconstructions of complex surgical problems.
One of the greatest joys for the Dirksens continues to be restoring health and hope to situations perceived as hopeless or impossible. Upwards of 5 million people have died in the forgotten war that has racked this backwater corner of the world. And there are also the victims who have not died, the women and girls terrorized and horribly damaged through sexual violence, unable now to have children, incontinent of urine and stool, ostracized by society, abandoned by husbands and family.
The Dirksensê long-range objective is still training, mentoring and mobilizing Christian Congolese medical professionals to build effective, self-propagating ministries and to establish an autonomous healthcare system. At the same time, the Dirksens seek to encourage Christ-followers by demonstrating Christian compassionate quality healthcare to the poor, the suffering, the oppressed, and the disenfranchised people of eastern Congo.