ArticleMissionary Life

A New Operation: From Medical Missions to Soul Care

This surgeon and his wife realized that some of the neediest people of the mission field are missionaries themselves.
“Lord, I’ll do anything for you, but please just don’t send me to Africa.”

Wayne overflowed with passion after his conversion at Life Action Ranch in Michigan, prompting him to offer this ostensibly committed pledge of service to God.

Looking back, he says the Lord has a curious sense of humor, as he and his wife Debra have now visited the continent six times. They gained a real love for the people.

Debra was brought up in a churchgoing family, giving her life to the Lord during a local VBS when she was just six years old. The pair met in their twenties at a church singles group in Indianapolis.

Once married, Wayne launched into a long-lasting career in the medical field, accumulating 35 years of general surgery experience. However, a tug on his heart inspired Wayne to attend Dallas Theological Seminary and earn a master’s in biblical studies while maintaining his practice. Upon graduating in 2015, Wayne and Debra felt led to serve briefly in Africa.

They made three trips to Cameroon to make disciples, strengthen church leadership, and assist surgery residents. On another three separate occasions, Wayne and Debra worked at an ABWE hospital and taught biblical theology to Cru staff in West Africa.

“I like to teach surgery, but I love to teach the Bible,” Wayne said.

This past March, God instructed Wayne to retire as a general surgeon and pursue full-time ministry with Debra. The amount of devastation they briefly witnessed in Africa, from Ebola to civil war, propelled them to encourage and support other missionaries, spiritually and physically, who might be struggling with exhaustion and burnout.

Combined, Wayne’s extensive surgical history and Debra’s child development background will be immensely helpful in shouldering some of the responsibilities ABWE missionaries are experiencing all around the world.

Their home base will be La Porte, Ind., for Wayne and Debra. They will be joining ABWE’s Member Care team, making trips as needed to care for missionaries who are on furlough and abroad.

They plan on traveling to Africa by the end of 2019.


Editor’s Note: Learn more about the Moores’ ministry here.

About the Author

Loren Skinker serves as a communication specialist with ABWE and managing editor for Message Magazine. He graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in communications and English.

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