Nicknamed “Dr. Miracle,” Denis Mukwege, of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is this year’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. He shares this year’s award with co-recipient Nadia Murad, who was kidnapped and raped by ISIS in Iraq and who has used her personal experience to serve in an activist role. The Nobel committee believes both recipients are worthy of the honor and said both modeled “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.”
“Dr. Miracle” has used his life to the betterment of others throughout the past 20 years. Dr. Mukwege has treated thousands of women in Bukavu, at Panzi Hospital, who were the victims of gang rape perpetrated by militants. This traumatic occurrence, of course, left these women stigmatized and scarred. Dr. Mukwege earned his nickname by using his faith in God to influence his approach towards caring for patients.
“Not only treat women—their body, but also to fight for their own right, to bring them to be autonomous, and of course, to support them psychologically,” he said. “And all of this is a process of healing so women can regain their dignity.”
Dr. Mukwege’s father was a Pentecostal minister. It was the act of traveling with his father as he prayed for the sick that led Dr. Mukwege to pursue medicine as a career choice. He eventually founded the Panzi Hospital in 1999. The hospital is currently managed by the Pentecostal Churches in Central Africa.
As he was giving the keynote address for the Lutheran World Federation last year, Dr. Mukwege, explained how important it was to live out one’s faith in surrounding neighborhoods and communities. Without doing so, he said “we cannot fulfill the mission entrusted to us by Christ.” In addition to his emphasis on living out faith in a practical way, Dr. Mukwege is also passionate about the fact that God views women and men equally.
“It is up to us, through God’s Word, to exorcise all the macho demons possessing the world so that women who are victims of male barbarity can experience the reign of God in their lives,” he said.
Christian groups have joined together with Dr. Mukwege to fight against gender-based and sexual violence within the DRC. Violence has been part of life in this region for decades. Rick Santos, the president and CEO of the Christian nonprofit IMA World Health, extolled praise for the Nobel Prize winner’s work.
“We are honored to call him and Panzi Hospital a partner in the effort to eradicate sexual and gender-based violence in a place where it is so pervasive,” he said.
Dr. Mukwege challenges all Christians to consider “the credibility of the gospel in the 21st century, to liberate the grace that we have received by making the church a light that still shines in this world of darkness through our struggles for justice, truth, law, freedom, in short, the dignity of man and woman.”
Even if believers aren’t personally involved in the restoration of victims’ lives after a traumatic event like Dr. Mukwege, all Christians can appreciate his passion for Christ and seek to emulate this in their own lives in some form. He is truly an inspiration for all.
The Nobel Peace Prize, founded by Alfred Nobel, is an award created to reward those who spend their life working towards the betterment of others. Anyone chosen to receive the award must have the following characteristics:
“…a person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for holding and promotion of peace congress.”
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to 98 outstanding individuals over the years beginning in 1901. This distinguished award is decided by committee and this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner was recently announced. His work is most certainly worthy of admiration and of this great honor.
~ 1776 Christian