Talking to Dr. Petra-Marina Keffel: "A stunning experience"

by Petra Keffel/ SRI,  2009/11/10

„If our mission were to be described in two words, these would come to my mind: blessed and stunning.” This is how the urologist Dr. Petra-Marina Keffel summarizes her experience. In October, she spent some time in the East African Republic of Malawi treating prison inmates on a mission with humedica, in cooperation with Prison Fellowship.

What does your daily working life look like here in Germany when you are not on a mission with humedica?

I spend my daily working life in a joint practice as a urologist together with my practice partner, a salaried urologist and 6 employed staff members (nurses and medical assistants). We are a harmonious team and also work as affiliated doctors at the Harzklinik with one operating day a week.

We care for about 2500 patients in one quarter, each of us treating between 50 and 100 patients a day. I love my patients and I believe that in my care they feel comfortable and receive all the medical help that I, as a human being, am able to give. Yet without my deep trust in God nothing would work in my professional life. Working as a finger of God’s hand in a medical profession is a gift from God.

How did you get to know humedica?

At a meeting organized by the students’ mission OST in 2004, I listened to a talk by Dr. Gunter Müller about working in prisons in Malawi. Then, the tsunami devastated Sri Lanka and I joined up as a volunteer with humedica. Actually I just wanted to do something meaningful during my spare time or holidays. It was only after taking part in the basic and advanced training and after having gone on a mission to Kosovo that I noticed how much comes back to ourselves when we care for and offer treatment for people in situations of social hardship.

The smile on someone’s face or the patients’ shining eyes make my heart infinitely glad and make me thank God for giving me the possibility of sharing his love with other people. At this point, I would like to thank the humedica-team who makes all the necessary preparations for our work.

Where have humedica-missions led you so far?

In December 2004, I took part in a mission in Kosovo I already mentioned. In August 2006, I went to Kazakhstan with humedica, in May/June 2007 to Columbia and last time, to Malawi. The three last-named missions were carried out in cooperation with Prison Fellowship International (PFI) an American association humedica maintains good contacts with.

What did you experience during your work in Malawi?

I experienced destitution, illness, poverty, hunger, despair, depression and despondency, but also respect, discipline, gratitude and fear of God. What impressed me were the patience and perseverance of the prisoners who, at 40 degrees above zero, sat on the dusty ground waiting until it was their turn to be treated. Apart from giving them their medicine, I saw patients off with the words “God bless you”, in Malawi "Mulungu akudalitseni".

Do the missions you participated in have an impact on your daily life here in Germany?

We’re so well off here. We don’t know how lucky we are. We live in wealth and luxury, rarely have to deal with power cuts, have enough water not only for drinking and washing. We enjoy a stable social system and medical care at a very high level. To speak practically, what I have brought home personally were an improved knowledge of English, memories of beautiful countries, delightful children, of precious encounters and grateful patients and - a tidy soul.

I’m grateful for all the stays, especially the last one in Malawi which was a real success. We had a super dream team, experienced God’s protection in all situations and his blessing on our work.

Thank you very much for talking to us, all the best and God bless you!

Urologist Dr. Petra-Marina Keffel working in Malawi. Photo: humedica

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