Prayers from Africa

Marcia Whitney-Schenck
Chicago, Illinois, United States


Rev. David Ambola from Mbingo, Cameroon, has remarked that Africans are incurably religious. Indeed, for many in Africa, religion permeates every aspect of their lives, from Christian messages on the rear windows of taxis to hand-crafted signs in hospital waiting rooms.

Hand surgeon Dr. Robert Schenck and his wife, photographer Marcia Whitney-Schenck, heard many compelling Christian voices while they volunteered in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda between 2008–2009. While Dr. Schenck was teaching hand surgery to national physicians, Marcia taught English as a second language to elementary school children and healthcare professionals. But it was the African people who taught them about praising God.

During their service at Mbingo Baptist Hospital in Cameroon and at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Hospital in the Congo, Marcia collected prayers and took photographs of the Protestants and Catholics whom she met there. The following photographs are from her recently published book, What God Gives.

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Unless otherwise noted, all the photographs were taken by Marcia Whitney-Schenck.


MARCIA WHITNEY-SCHENCK was a former reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune and publisher of Christianity and the Arts. She currently teaches English as a Second Language in Chicago. She is affiliated with Global LT, a company that matches business executives with tutors. She has taught in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where her husband volunteered his services as a hand surgeon. Visit her website at Her book What God Gives: Prayers from Africa may be purchased at or

To learn more about Dr. Robert Schenck’s work in developing nations, visit


Winter 2011  |  Sections  |  Africa