Dotson recalls years in missions

Dotson recalls years in missions

Their main purpose was witnessing, and their greatest reward was helping South Africans fins the Lord.

Anneli and Clyde Dotson, retired missionaries, depended on the Lord and prayer to treat the body and soul of 30 to 100 Zimbabweans at medical clinics and churches daily from 196o to 1972.

“We could not have gone or stayed without people giving and praying.” Mrs. Dotson said.

She remembers the African parents with sick children arriving at the clinic after walking three days in the rain. Prayer sustained her while nursing patients all night, after a long day of examinations.

Mrs. Dotson was the only medical help within 100 miles. Whooping cough, measles, malaria and malnourishment were prevalent.

Zimbabweans added to the delay in health care by visiting witch doctors before using traditional medicine. Mrs. Dotson said it was “depressing” and “heartbreaking” to see situations where the parents waited too long.

The Dotsons met in South Africa in 1958 and married in 1960. Before his death in 1982, they moved 16 times, lived in 36 places and stayed in mud houses with grass roofs in the bush during 20 years of marriage. They had no electricity and went 18 miles for bathwater and 100 miles for drinking water. Twenty-six churches were built, more than 126 were baptized and a witch doctor met the Lord at the end of the Dotsons’ 12 years in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia).

Mrs. Dotson, who was born in Finland and is a registered nurse and midwife, was saved at nine years old, called to missions at 10 and spent seven years at a deaconess institute for church and medical training in Europe as an adult.

A native, of Florence, Clyde Dotson served as pastor of Town Creek Baptist, Courtland; Leighton Baptist and Courtland Baptist before living in South Africa. He worked for the then-South Africa General Mission from 1932 to 1950 and the then-Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) from 1950 to 1972.

Mrs. Dotson, who is involved in Woman’s Missionary Union and the prayer ministry at Grace Baptist Church, Oxford, continued leading Bible and missions studies for a number of years following her husband’s death.  She served in retreats, camps and churches in Finland, her homeland, for three months each summer.

The 70-year-old is uncertain about future trips to Finland or South Africa. Her “wish” is to return to Zimbabwe this month for the 50th anniversary of her work there. She longs for the slower, simpler life where the African people were loving, unselfish, ready to help and open to the gospel.