Dr. Henry Farrar

 

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A Legend Passes

Dr. Henry FarrarDr. Henry Cheairs Farrar Jr. passed from this earth on February 22, 2010 at the age of 83.  His death followed an accident six days before when he fell and hit his head after arriving at Carthage, Tennessee, General Hospital where he worked.  The fall caused a neck fracture and nerve compression from which he never recovered.

Services were held in both Lebanon, Tennessee where he was a leader at the College Hills Church of Christ and in Searcy, Arkansas where he served on the IHCF African Christian Hospitals board as well as serving as a trustee for Harding University.   His ties to both Tennessee and Arkansas were long and strong.

His ties to Africa were also strong.  After considering mission works in China and other places, Dr. Farrar settled on Nigeria.  The site that had been chosen was adjacent to the tribal and state border separating the Igbo tribe from the Efic and Ibibio tribes.  His desire was to be help people across tribal and geographical lines.

In 1965, Henry and Grace took their six children to the Onicha Ngwa village in Abia State.  It was there and in the nearby “sister” village of Nlagu that Nigerian Christian Hospital was begun. 

Nigerian Christian Hospital was a small facility when it began, but over the course of 45 years has grown into a very large hospital by African standards.  The hospital now employs over 200 full-time workers including eight doctors.  We treat about 25,000 patients at NCH and deliver over 1000 babies each year, many that are difficult or surgical births.

Even after Dr. Farrar left Africa as a full-time doctor, he continued to take groups there through the years.  His last visit there was one year ago, in 2009.

I had always heard people say that “When Dr. Farrar goes to Nigeria, the waters part for him”, and there’s a lot of truth to that and I’ve seen it with my own eyes when we were there at the same time.  He and Grace were (and are) so loved by Africans and Americans alike.  Africans would often use the term “father” and “mother” when referring to Henry and Grace.

On Sundays when Brother Henry was in Nigeria it would be common for him to visit and preach at six or seven churches in one day.  The Africans would wait on him as long as necessary to hear his teaching and be loved and blessed by their “American father”.  It’s hard to know whether Brother Henry was a doctor first who liked to preach or a preacher first who used medicine as a way into more lives.  Whatever the case, the Lord used him greatly in both ways.

In addition to his work in America and Nigeria, “Brother Henry” served in the countries of Cameroon, Tanzania, and China.  The work that he and Grace began at Nigerian Christian Hospital (from which this IHCF ministry was born) has grown to include seven medical mission points in the countries of Nigeria, Ghana, and Tanzania.

Janice Bingham a Harding nursing professor and IHCF board member reflected on his impact in medical missions when she said, “Dr. Farrar has influenced literally thousands of people in Africa to serve the Great Physician”.

We hope and pray that the legacy of Dr. Farrar will be carried on in the lives of those he touched and as those he influenced “ripple” out to affect even more lives with the help of physical healing and the Good News of Jesus. 

 

Tom Carr
Executive Director
IHCF African Christian Hospitals