In the forward to the book that documents Dr. Bob Foster’s career - Sword and Scalpel: A Surgeon’s Story of Faith and Courage in Africa - Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and World Medical Mission and son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, writes: “I believe Bob is the number one missionary statesman in the evangelical world today and the man God has used in a mighty way to open up new frontiers for the Gospel in some of the roughest areas of Africa.”
All told, the Greensboro, N.C.-based Dr. Foster devoted his career – some 60 years of medicine and ministry – to the peoples of Zambia and Angola, founding three hospitals in remote areas and serving as a surgeon and medical director.
Dr. Foster has been described as a modern Christian hero, serving in primitive conditions and helping those in need despite suffering some of the worst conditions possible, including a civil war that sent hundreds of thousands Angolans fleeing for their lives. In 1988, World Vision International named Dr. Foster as its Missionary Statesman of the Year.
A graduate of the University of Toronto’s College of Medicine, Dr. Foster completed his medical residency at Vanderbilt University in Nashville in 1949 and immediately went to Zambia where he founded and served for 12 years as medical director of Mukinge Hospital. While in Mukinge, he also founded the school of nursing.
In 1962, he founded and served as medical director at Luampa Hospital in Zambia, leaving in 1967 to serve as interim director of Africa Evangelical Fellowship.
In 1970, Dr, Foster became medical director of Cavango and Kalukembe Hospitals in Angola. He remained on the field until 1981 when he became international director of Africa Evangelical Fellowship and medical coordinator for mission medical work in Zambia, Angola, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Since 1990, he has performed short term medical work at Jamba, Lubango, and Rio da Huila clinics in Angola.
From 1990 to 2008, Dr. Foster served as the United States representative to AEF-SIM.
In 2005, Dr Foster created a non-profit oraganization called Advancing the Gospel in Angola (AGA). AGA is dedicated to promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Angola by providing the delivery of goods, services and finances to various peoples, ministries, and organizations throughout Angola.
In the summer of 2010, Dr Robert Foster and his wife Belva returned to their beloved Africa to live out their days with their family members serving in Angola. Concludes Franklin Graham in Sword and Scalpel: “Bob Foster has inspired and challenged me, not only in the ministry with which I’m involved, but also in my personal spiritual journey. When I get to the end of life’s road, I pray that God will have used me even a fraction of the way He has used Bob Foster.”