ZAMBIA, Kalomo – Roy Merritt of Namwianga Mission* in Zambia, explains how the seed of the gospel, sown by his father, Dow Merritt, almost a hundred years ago is still bearing fruit today.

John Dow Merritt (1894-1991) was a trained nurse and had served as a medic in the navy before entering the mission field.




“About the time my father and his family moved to Kabanga in 1928, my father learned of Chaulmoogra oil derivatives** being used effectively as medication for leprosy (Hansen’s disease).

“A young leper named Mooka, walked all day from his village to Kabanga for treatment. My father told him he had to come for an injection once a week for a year.

“Mooka didn’t want to spend two days each week, walking back and forth to Kabanga for his shot. He tried to stay in villages near Kabanga, but people did not want a leper living among them.

“So Mooka set up his own village that he named ‘Dowe’ in honor of my father, Dow Merritt.


“He, his family, and his descendants have been powerful leaders in the church. Mooka, shown here, has long since gone to be with the Lord.

“But let me tell you about Zaccaeus, one of Mooka’s great-grandsons. Because of his name I was able to persuade him to have his picture taken in a sycamore tree!

“When Zaccaeus was young, he was among a group of kids I took on a camping trip. As the days passed, I noticed that the other children had given him a nickname, ‘Mr. Elder’. When I asked why they called him that, they replied, ‘Because he is always talking to us about the Bible!’

“Well, he is now a grown man and a qualified math teacher. He started teaching at Namwianga Christian Secondary School in January.

“Recently we have had a lot of baptisms among the high school kids. Why? Because ‘Mr. Elder’ has been sharing his faith with his students! Zaccaeus is following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, Mooka!”

Roy Merritt

*Namwianga Mission is a 6,000-acre center for education, evangelism, and humanitarian aid in the Southern Province of Zambia, which is supported by Christians and churches of Christ. RD

**Chaulmoogra oil had been used in India and China as a remedy for leprosy for centuries, but was introduced to Western medicine and developed scientifically only in the early nineteen-hundreds. At that time it was the only effective treatment for leprosy. Better medications have been developed since. RD