February 26, 1927 – February 23, 2010
Doris was a school nurse at Moose Jaw Bible College, Canada, (later named Aldersgate College) when her call to foreign missionary service became clear. Influenced by missionary speakers, Doris was the second member of the Walter Moore family to serve as a missionary.
Doris believed God has given each person a work to do and a responsibility to Him. Her work included medical ministry. She received her R. N. degree from the Regina General Hospital School of Nursing in Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1950. She spent some time at Deaconess Hospital in Oklahoma City, and later took further medical training at the Maternity Center Association in New York City.
Appointed in 1955, Doris followed her teacher-sister, Eileen, to Africa, arriving in Burundi in 1957 following language school in Belgium. Doris’ permanent assignment was at Burundi’s Kibuye Hospital. When she first arrived, her primary responsibility was the hospital’s maternity unit. Over the course of her career, Doris’ work included everything from difficult deliveries and plastic surgery to treating a badly burned cow – at that time the wealth and prestige for the Burundi people. She also oversaw two dispensaries. To help combat kwashiorkor, a protein-deficiency disease, Doris held feeding clinics at Kibuye. At the start she tried to limit the clinic to 15 children, but after a time, saw the clinic sometimes average 800 protein-deficient patients a month.
Versatile Doris also helped meet urgent personnel needs at Kibogora Hospital, Rwanda, and during the height of a cholera epidemic in 1978, was sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Nundu Hospital.
Doris was optimistic and worked wholeheartedly at whatever task was before her. In a 1962 communication to Dr. Byron Lamson, Doris wrote: “Even with our extreme shortage of personnel … we can say it is so good to be here. There is a blessing in serving others and endeavoring to alleviate their suffering and help them to see the Light of the Gospel.”
Burundi faced intense inter-tribal conflict in 1972, yet the hospital work continued. When the only doctor left for the United States, Doris, along with another nurse and a depleted African staff kept the hospital functioning. In addition to receiving good medical care, patients were always told the story of God’s love.
Undaunted by mud, darkness, worn out vehicles and government officials, Doris said, “We need the kind of love Jesus talked about as He walked among men, the kind of love that expends itself in meeting people’s needs.”
In 1974, Doris was chosen as the first Aldersgate College “Alumna of the Year.” She was a 1952 graduate.
After serving in Africa, Doris became acquainted with Don Meredith, the father of fellow-missionary Lois Meredith. They were married in March 1985 and made their home in Ontario. They were married for 21 years.
Doris’ Colleagues Write:
Bishop Emeritus Gerald Bates and Marlene write, “Doris was so much a part of our lives in those early years of missionary service in Burundi it is nearly impossible to think of that period without thinking of her – her hauling a donkey from northeastern Congo to Burundi in the back of her van for Paul Orcutt, her arrival in the airport wearing several layers of clothing so she could bring things for her sister Eileen’s wedding, her homemade ice cream and cinnamon rolls when we were at Kibuye waiting for our babies (our two sons, David and Bill, were born there and Doris was present and attending for both). Doris was unfailingly generous, ready to step into any emergency, kind and loving to African patients, building a going program wherever she was assigned. When we were living in Michigan and there was any celebration in the Bates family – a graduation or a wedding – we could count on Doris, and Don, to show up, because these were ‘her kids.’ A good and gracious woman has gone to be with the Lord.”
“Doris was one of a kind,” recalls retired missionary Harriet Wheelock Bolodar. “She loved life, people and sharing life with them. Her love for Jesus was real and the underlying motivation for her tireless outreach. She had a generous heart that was bigger than all outdoors. She was a friend. I will miss her, but know she is right in her natural element with Jesus and others. I can imagine her bustling, helping to prepare the marriage feast of the Lamb with joy, laughter and all her extras.”
Retired missionary Myra Adamson reminisces, “My fellow missionary nurse Doris spent a lifetime helping and bringing joy to Africans and missionaries in central Africa. She will be remembered for her many unselfish acts of kindness to people wherever she worked. She added love and laughter to our lives.
“My special memory of her is from 1962, when we traveled back to Africa together from the Seattle-Tacoma airport. Her sister Eileen was to be married to Stanley Lehman just a few days after our return to Burundi, and her luggage was loaded with the wedding dress, the wedding cake and many other items. We visited the Holy Land and Egypt on the way. Brave Doris rode a camel the day we visited the sphinx and pyramids.
“She was a true friend to me and personally helped me in many ways. This pioneer missionary nurse still lives in the memories of her patients and fellow missionaries, and we will meet her again at the feet of Jesus.”