Keith Waddell’s Thanksgiving

Keith Waddell has been serving as a doctor in Uganda for 50 years. Last October at St James Cathedral, Mbarara, a celebration service was held for Keith, his work and for God’s goodness in not just restoring physical sight, but spiritual sight too.

In every good work

‘And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.’ (2 Corinthians 9:8)

These were the words prayed over Doctor Keith Waddell in his commissioning service in St Mary’s Church, Islington in 1964 as he prepared to go out to the mission field. He was supposed to be going to Congo but it was in the midst of its first civil war. Keith was stopped in Uganda, and that has been his base ever since. In the early years, under Idi Amin, Keith was ‘the’ Doctor, doing ‘anything and everything’ as he sought to serve Ugandans in the best ways possible. Through this work Keith saw the need for a specialist eye surgeon in Uganda. He observed that many of the eye problems and blindness he’d encountered were treatable or preventable.

So, Keith came back to the UK, retrained in eye work and then headed back into the field. He comments, ‘We have this wonderful technology now: lens implants to treat cataracts; surgery that can take a person from complete blindness to sight in just ten minutes; technology that can be made available to the most remote and disadvantaged areas of our world.’ Today, there is a main teaching base in Mbarara, Uganda but Keith and his team also focus on travelling out to where people live, including to South Sudan, Rwanda and even the Democratic Republic of Congo. Keith says, ‘bottom line though we’re not an aid agency, we’re a Christian mission, committed to spreading the gospel.’

To God be the glory

Keith’s commitment not just to restoring physical sight, but also spiritual sight, was evident through the celebration service for his 50 years of service, led by both the current and former Bishop of Ankole District. Paul & Di Allcock, currently serving with AIM in Uganda, attended the service and noted ‘many people spoke of how Dr Keith had operated and given them sight again. Yet one blind man spoke with joy on his face that although Dr Keith could not restore his sight, he had been given vision and hope as he had been shown love and value by God, through Keith. The whole day was quite inspirational and did bring glory to God which is so what Dr Keith wanted.’

Please join us in giving thanks for Keith, for all that God has done in and through him in Uganda and further afield. Pray with us too for Keith’s continuing work, that he may have more opportunities to share the gospel with those he treats and works amongst.

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