World Medical Mission – A Ministry of Samaritan's Purse

Spring 2024

An Australian physician never tires of saying those words to her patients.

English poet William Cowper originated the famous statement, “Variety's the very spice of life,” and in many ways that phrase has become the motto for Dr. Jade Knights' calling into missionary medicine.

“I initially went into medicine to become a hematologist, but I switched to emergency medicine because I like the variety,” said Knights. “You never know who is going to walk through the door. It could be a child, an adult, a pregnant lady, an elderly person.”

For most of the year, Knights works in a rural hospital in Queensland in the Australian Outback.You might say she is wired for adventure, as she seeks out every opportunity to explore medical missions in challenging places.

Kudjip Nazarene Hospital in Papua New Guinea was her most recent trip with World Medical Mission—her third to that destination. She has also served at two of our partner hospitals in Togo, at Nkhoma Mission Hospital in Malawi, and at Kapsowar Mission Hospital in Kenya.

From her home in central Australia, Kudjip is a somewhat convenient one day's journey. Traveling to the hospitals in Africa, depending on which side of the continent, can take up to three days.

When Knights made her first trip with World Medical Mission—a three-month assignment at Hopital Baptiste Biblique in southern Togo in 2019—it was also her first mission trip anywhere on the globe.

“Before then I had had no contact with any overseas missionaries and had never even heard of Togo,” she said.

Knights was fresh out of residency training, and although her experience in Togo involved a “steep learning curve,” she left inspired by “the dedication and God-centered attitude of every person” she met.

Craving another chance to serve, she had planned her next trip to Papua New Guinea. However, the pandemic canceled those plans, and Australia went under lockdown for nearly two years.

The physician racked up a significant amount of eligible time off by working extended hours that included Christmas and other holidays. Finally, in November 2022, she made her first trek to Kudjip. She returned in March 2023 and again in November.

“The long-term missionary doctors and their families have been so welcoming to me. It's a lovely feeling when you arrive somewhere and you are automatically enveloped into the community,” she said.

“The nurses remembered my name and were so happy that I came back. That really warms my heart.”

That continuity brings comfort, as each assignment—even to the same hospital—offers a new set of experiences and challenges.

One of Knights' patients was this child who recovered from a severe case of malaria, the leading cause of death in Togo.

In Togo, emergency medicine was her focus. She delighted in observing hospitalized patients show improvement day by day, and she rejoiced when she could finally say her favorite phrase: “You are ready for discharge.” In Malawi, she mainly treated patients in the male medical ward. When she arrived in Papua New Guinea this past November, Kudjip staff needed her help in the outpatient clinic.

Knights thrived on the variety of patients and health conditions that came through the clinic, and most involved happy outcomes.

One was a 7-year-old boy who had suffered seizures since infancy. He came to the hospital two months earlier after having a seizure that caused him to fall into a fire. During that hospitalization, he received anti-seizure medication and was treated for his burns.

When Knights saw the boy for his two- month checkup, his mother said he had not had a single attack—until he ran out of the medication. The mother had spent the past three days trying to get him back to the hospital, braving bad weather and washed- out roads while mostly traveling on foot.

“She was so happy that she had made it to the hospital,” said Knights. “She knew that with the medicine, her child would not have seizures.”

Starkly different and heartbreaking were the surprising number of cases of adults who had been admitted to Kudjip after attempted suicides. Knights said one favored method is swallowing a pesticide that is ultimately fatal, but it takes two to three days before death ensues.

“There is this awful period when you know the patient is going to die, but he is sitting up in bed and looking quite well during that initial time,” Knights explained. “We knew there was nothing we could do for these patients to save their lives, but we admitted them to the hospital knowing we had an opportunity to share the Gospel with them.”

Praise be to God, Knights said that two of these patients, a man and a woman, prayed to receive Christ as their Savior before they died.

“That was so uplifting because, when all is said and done, that's the whole reason the hospital is there, is to bring people to Christ.”

“When all is said and done, that's the whole reason the hospital is there, to bring people to Christ.”

Knights hopes to go on two trips with World Medical Mission in 2024. She envisions her God-purposed role as primarily an encourager and supporter of the missionaries who give their all every day on the mission field.

“I am so in awe of the long-term missionary doctors. If I can provide them with a tiny bit of relief, whether it be taking a call overnight or letting them go off on a small holiday with their families, then that's such a blessing,” she said. “I feel that is what God has led me to do.”

World Medical Mission

Serve With Us

World Medical Mission is looking for Christian doctors, dentists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to serve on short-term volunteer assignments at our partner mission hospitals and clinics. We also offer two-year placement opportunities through our Post-Residency Program for those who are completing residency and feel called to a career in medical missions. For more details, contact us at or (828) 278-1173.

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