Myra and Mike Taylor, Winona Lake, are pictured in an operating room recently in the Central African Republic during a medical missions trip. Photo provided.
Myra and Mike Taylor, Winona Lake, are pictured in an operating room recently in the Central African Republic during a medical missions trip. Photo provided.
WINONA LAKE - Mike and Myra Taylor recently used their medical skills to assist with surgeries and treating patients in the Central African Republic.

The Taylors, Winona Lake, worked with an African team of surgeons and other medically trained missionaries from Columbus, Ohio, over a two-week period to treat more than 500 patients.

They also assisted in performing 54 major surgeries in operating rooms at a hospital in the capital city of Bangui.

They went with nine other volunteers, leaving Dec. 28, and returning to the U.S. Jan. 17.

Besides the Taylors, there were doctors from Ohio and two medical students who went.

Dan Guiles, a fourth-year medical student at Indiana University and a Grace College graduate, was one of the students who went.

The Taylors and other volunteers worked with Central African surgeons to perform hernia and gynecological surgeries. They also treated African patients who had malaria and parasite infections from poor nutrition and sanitation and unclean drinking water.

Mike has been a physician's assistant for 29 years. He is employed part-time at Med-Stat, Warsaw, and has been employed full time as director of operations for Grace Brethren International Missions for the past four years.

GBIM is an international mission that works in more than 30 countries with focuses of church planting, Bible training and leadership development as well as orphan care and medical ministry. GBIM is part of the Grace Brethren Fellowship churches.

Myra is a retired registered nurse and stay-at-home grandmother. She previously was a registered nurse for three years in Aiken, S.C., in the intensive care unit, before retiring in 1984.

The Taylors have worked with GBIM for 21 years, and moved to Winona Lake from Central African Republic 10 years ago.

The Taylors participated in the medical and surgical missions trip in Africa in January through GBIM.

They previously lived in Central Africa for 6-1/2 years and worked in the medical field.

They moved from the Central Africa back to the U.S. in 1998, lived in South Carolina, and in 2000 they moved to Winona Lake.

GBIM has two hospitals and a dozen clinics in CAR, and the Taylors worked in both of the hospitals when they lived there.

Myra and Mike started and worked at a nutrition clinic in Africa. Mike would see malnourished children and feed them, and train the mothers about nutrition.

The Taylors travel to Africa at least twice a year and try to make one of those trips a medical focus. They hope to go on a trip in January.

While they visited Africa in January they met with the country's minister of health and the prime minister to discuss building a medical clinic in the capital.

Mike also is preparing to go to Haiti on a medical mission trip in a couple of weeks to provide assistance in medicine.

Myra said besides serving as a nurse assisting with hernia surgery for males and gynecological surgeries for women, during the January missions trip she also was a translator because the American volunteers did not know Sango, the African trade language.

Mike's role was to coordinate the three surgeons, an anesthesiologist and a team of 11 volunteers.

The Taylors assisted Central African surgeons and the other missionaries with performing surgeries on teen and adult male and female patients.

Mike said the most memorable surgery he assisted with was for a young woman who had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy where the pregnancy was outside the uterus and it ruptured.

"The woman had pelvic masses on her abdomen the size of a volleyball they couldn't previously get taken care of before because they didn't have the money," Mike said.
The Taylors assisted with the woman's surgery and took out dead tissue and sewed her back up and she went home two days later.

Mike said she could have died from infection if she had not received medical treatment.

Mike said the type of people the team was treating were patients with long-standing chronic diseases, and those who did not have funds to receive treatment.

The patients received the medical treatment and surgeries for free.

Each volunteer who treated the patients paid their own way to go on the trip and raised money to pay for medications, surgeries and post-op care for the patients they saw.

Friends, family, colleagues and churches of the volunteers donated funds.

The missionaries also brought along medical instruments, syringes, needles, gloves and medical scrubs.

Myra said all of the women had surgeries under spinal anesthesia instead of general anesthesia.

The volunteers prayed with the patients before each surgery and Myra prayed in their language so they could understand.