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The First Word: Blessed Are the Peacemakers

The cover story for Life magazine on December 4, 1964, began with these words:

Everywhere Dr. Carlson went, the Congolese called him Monganga Paulo—“my Dr. Paul.” He was a missionary doctor serving 100,000 people, and he did so with a genuine love of God and God’s people. His patients responded to his warmth. And then he was caught up in a burst of wanton savagery that stunned the civilized world—and he paid for his work with his life.

Dr. Paul Carlson graduated from North Park in 1949, completed his undergraduate degree in 1951 at Stanford University, and subsequently became a physician through studies at George Washington University School of Medicine.

In 1961 he traveled to Africa for six months with the Christian Medical and Dental Society, serving on a medical team to Congo. Deeply moved by this experience, he returned again to Africa for a longer term assignment, this time with his family, in 1963. By the end of the following year, civil unrest had erupted in the country and Monganga Paulo was caught in the crossfire.

The primary academic building on North Park’s campus is named in Paul Carlson’s honor and memory; the significance of his dedication to medicine and his life-giving service to the people of Congo has long been a familiar story for our students.

This dedication to serve the people of Africa, and this commitment to learn from the people of Africa, continues to be a strong and shaping focus in the education of many at North Park. This same context for serving and learning is highlighted in this issue of North Parker through the contemporary stories of North Park alumni.

Monganga Paulo carried a New Testament with him each day as he visited patients in his hospital, and cared for the health and well-being of all he met each day. On the day before he was killed, he wrote the date and a single word in the margins of his Bible. The word? “Peace.”

Next Steps

Read more about Dr. Paul Carlson's life and work in Monganga Paul, by Lois Carlson Bridges.

Read more from the Summer 2013 North Parker.

President David L. Parkyn