HERMITAGE — Compared to their current home on Timber Lane in Hermitage, where the air is getting cooler and the leaves are turning shades of orange, the Roths say the climate in Zambia will be much different — with seasons that Mark Roth described as “hot and hotter.”
“We’re definitely going to miss the seasons,” Dr. Mark Roth said.
Mark and his wife Maggie Roth are currently in the process of selling their home before leaving the United States on Nov. 5 and eventually arriving in Macha, Zambia — where the couple will serve as missionaries for at least the next three years.
“Our kids tell us we’ll be gone at least six years,” Maggie said.
Previously practicing as a general surgeon in Sharon, Mark said he will be a surgeon in the Macha Mission Hospital, as well as ministering to patients and taking on the administrative duties of the hospital, as missionaries for Brethren in Christ U.S. World Missions.
While Mark has undertaken previous mission trips to locations including Taiwan and Egypt, Maggie was born into the mission field — first living in Morocco, then Tunisia until the family moved to the United States when she was 15 years old.
Unlike Zambia, which has experienced years of British influence, the regions of northern Africa was influenced by the French and was more developed than the area that the couple will be going to, Maggie said meant there were more paved roads and modern amenities such as hospitals and schools.
“Sometimes people ask me what I like more, Africa or the United States, and to me it’s like asking who do you love more, your mom or your dad?” Maggie said.
The couple have previously undertaken missions in the past to areas such as Kenya and the Macha hospital, sometimes bringing their children along, but this upcoming trip came about when the previous administrator of the hospital, Dr. John Spurrier, retired in 2018, which meant Brethren in Christ needed a full-time replacement, Mark said. With their four kids now adults, the couple said they spoke with friends and family and more importantly, prayed on the decision.
“We prayed about it, and we felt that God wanted us to go,” Maggie said.
Because of the British language in Zambia, the country’s official language is English, as well as the main language used at the hospital. However, one of the main tribal languages used in the area is Tonga, which Mark said he plans to learn in order to better converse with the patients himself.
“Something that I always liked to do here is I’ll pray with a patient before taking them into surgery, so I want to be able to continue to do that with patients in Macha,” Mark said. “There are translators who work at the hospital, but I think it’s important for the patient to hear it from me.”