Daphne Hershensohn (née Hugo)


    After I graduated from BI in 1966, I went to the Jubilee Mission Hospital at Hammanskraal, in January 1967, where I was employed as a missionary/book keeper.  I worked there for 6 years.  The missionary outreach was wide and varied.  As a staff, we endeavoured to reach the employees of the hospital – pupil nurses, administrative workers, cleaners and labourers.

    Daily devotions were held for all the staff groups, and a survey of the Bible and basic Christian doctrines were built into the pupil nurses curriculum.  There were also the patients – they too had daily prayers in each ward.  There were also personal bed side visitations.  The area served by the hospital was in itself a place of ministry by way of preaching the Gospel at the clinics, and there was also an outreach to the youth at the local village.  The whole missionary staff took turns in preaching and teaching at the various venues.  During that time I met Chris Hershensohn and we were married at the end of 1972.

    When Chris qualified as a medical practitioner, we went to the Church of Scotland Mission Hospital at Tugela Ferry, where the method of outreach was similar to that at Jubilee Mission Hospital, but this was not a training hospital.  When the eldest of our three sons was ready to go to school we bought a medical practice in Queenstown, and some time later relocated to Pretoria, where we remained till all our children were out of school.  At this stage we went to the United Kingdom where Chris worked at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, in Margate, in Kent.  Here Chris worked in the Accident and Emergency and also the Orthopaedic Departments, where he broadened his experience.

    After returning to Pretoria, Chris received an invitation some time later to do a two year locum in New Zealand.  It was an opportunity to catch up with several old friends from South Africa, and was a wonderful experience.  A large percentage of patients here were Maoris or of Maori extraction.  When the two years were up, we returned to Pretoria and re-joined our three sons, one who was already married and the other two who married shortly after our return.

    Johann, our eldest son, now an advocate,  and his wife Marguerite, have given us a grand daughter and a grandson,  Pierre our middle son and an expert in the non destructive testing of metal, and his wife Rene, has two sons and a daughter, and our youngest son Andre, an architect, and his wife Angie, have given us three lovely grandsons.  We praise God that they all know the Lord and are involved in their individual churches.  We pray that in God’s time each one of the grandchildren may also become His children.  As a family we are privileged to have regular interaction with one another, as they are all within an hour’s journey from where we live.

    For many years I worked for Chris in his practice as a receptionist/book keeper.  Together as a team we were able to work among the patients, with whom and for whom we were often able to pray.  We so often felt that they were sent to us by God, and to us many were no longer just patients but often friends and oft times it was also a great mission field.  When people are ill and sometimes facing major medical problems, they are more vulnerable and it is in these times that one often has opportunities to speak of the Lord Jesus Christ and the wonderful message of salvation.  (Many people have no church affiliations or connections and where Christians would confide in a pastor, these poor souls would often come with their problems to their GP.)

    Wherever we have lived, we have been involved in our local church, and in most instances have had a weekly Bible Study Group meeting in our home.  It has always been our aim in these groups to bring glory to God’s name and to learn and share a deeper knowledge of God’s Word.  On these occasions we also spend time in prayer for matters raised by those attending, for needs and requests of individual patients, the local church and many other matters.  Our current Bible Study Group has been meeting in our home for the past nine years, where more or less a dozen of us are bonded into a closely knit and caring group.

    All too soon the Autumn years of our lives have crept up on us, and the “Celestial City” is slowly becoming more of a reality.  During the remaining years, Chris feels that he should continue practicing for as long as he is able to give a worthwhile contribution to the needs of others, both physical and spiritual,  but it is our prayer that in the remaining years, the Lord will keep us faithful in whatever direction he chooses, till one day, we shall see our Saviour face to face.

    Daphne Hershensohn (nee Hugo)