Following God’s Call to Malawi
“It was a confusing time, but a time that helped us. We had to follow the Lord and not just go where it was convenient. It was very clear that He was the one leading the way.” – Dave Burgess
Why would an orthopedic surgeon with a successful private practice in the United States give it all up and move to Malawi? For Dave Burgess, it was a call from the Lord that he could not ignore. Dave and his wife, Margie, felt a pull on their life, and the tug was so strong that they finally followed it away from their home in Virginia and into the mission field.
Because of Dave’s medical background, an acquaintance suggested that he speak with Scott and Sally Harrison, the founders of CURE International. Since CURE operates orthopedic children’s hospitals around the world, the organization was a natural place to start. Dave and Margie met with the Harrisons and learned more about CURE hospitals and the work that they were doing to heal children with treatable disabilities and spread the good news of the gospel. During that meeting, Dave and Margie were struck with how the description of one of the hospitals, CURE Malawi, seemed to be a perfect fit for them. Unfortunately, there were no openings at the time.
Dave continued to look into missional opportunities with other hospitals in locations such as Nepal and Angola, but the Lord kept shutting those doors. He joined the team at SIM, a non-denominational, multi-national mission sending agency, to follow the Lord’s leading and use his medical training in the mission field. Just the day before he joined SIM, the Medical Director of CURE Malawi communicated his departure. The same hospital that they felt was the best fit now had an opening!
Dave and Margie moved to Malawi, and Dave served as CURE Malawi’s Medical Director for 5 years. One of his favorite things about working at CURE was the emphasis on spiritual care in addition to medical care. At CURE hospitals, every patient is prayed for by the staff. Dave was continually moved by how the patients were treated with “tremendous compassion” by the whole staff, regardless of the person’s position at the hospital.
“The desire is that people see the love of Christ through medical care – how they are cared for. They (CURE Malawi staff) showed Christ through compassion and prayer,” Dave explained. “We actively evangelized, but the patients always had the prerogative to not participate. They definitely do not need to be Christians to be cared for. We just love them and care for them, and most people appreciated the offer of prayer.”
Dave and Margie left CURE Malawi in 2016 to care for Margie’s parents back in the United States. Before COVID hit, Dave continued to travel overseas on mission trips about 3-4 times a year. He also has been attending the Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC) each year since he returned to the States.
“The benefit of the GMHC is that it’s probably the largest conference that gets together medical missionaries around the world and locally. It’s an amazingly encouraging meeting for anyone that is interested in missions,” said Dave. He goes on to explain that the GMHC is “a wonderful time to worship. A remarkable time where people that are interested in missions can spend time with people that have been missionaries and influential people in medical missions.”
Since Dave was the Medical Director for 5 years at CURE Malawi, he often answers questions about CURE at the conference. He continues to be a strong supporter of CURE and our mission to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God.
“CURE is the best provider of pediatric surgical subspecialty care in the mission environment,” Dave exclaims.
We are grateful for our continued partnership with Dave and Margie and consider them a part of our CURE family. They are continually making the world a better place and join us in pointing to the ultimatel healer, Jesus.
Dave Burgess is an orthopedic surgeon and long time friend of CURE International. Dave went to medical school in Georgia and completed his residency there. After he completed school, he joined a private practice in Waynesboro, VA, and worked there until he moved to Malawi in 2011. Dave joined the team at SIM and was sent to CURE Malawi to serve as the CURE Medical Director until 2016. Dave returned to the States to care for his inlaws and currently lives in Waynesborough, VA with his wife Margie of 40 years. They are blessed with two daughters and 5 grandchildren.