Dr. Bernard Kadio first met students from BJU in 2018 in his home country of Ivory Coast. That meeting ultimately led Kadio, a medical professional educated and esteemed on three continents, to quit his job in cancer research and apply for a faculty position working with Bob Jones University.
Kadio was a 20-year veteran of medical missions when he met the BJU team that changed everything for him in 2018.
“In all my twenty years of training students, I had never seen such fine students,” Kadio said. Out of the thousands of students Kadio had trained, he complimented the BJU students on their training, their attitudes and their manners. “I never heard even one [student] complain,” he said.
To Kadio, this team represented something he had been searching for: a school that excellently equipped the next generation for medical missions. Kadio applied immediately for an adjunct position at BJU. Before the end of the semester, he was offered and then accepted a full-time position in the School of Health Professions.
But the connection between Kadio and Greenville started much earlier.
Kadio accepted Christ at the age of 15 through the ministry of a missionary from Greenville. At the time, Kadio had no idea of the significance of the place. But he immediately understood the significance of missions, especially medical missions.
“Medical missions [are] the future of missions in general,” Kadio said.
Kadio emphasized that medical missions open the borders of countries closed to traditional missionaries. “There is one type of missionary they cannot get rid of,” Kadio said. “Those are medical missionaries—because they need them.”
This burden for medical missions motivated him to attend medical school where he grew up in Ivory Coast. After graduating, he extended his focus to include public health. He received an international scholarship—one that took only the top 10% of medical students from all of Africa.
This new stage of training took him to an international university in Alexandria, Egypt, where Kadio earned a master’s degree in public health.
While earning his MPH Kadio took an internship in Toulouse, France, that placed him on a team with the CNES, the French National Centre for Space Studies.
With this team Kadio developed a model for predicting and controlling the spread of a global pandemic. Kadio and his team were among the first in the world to develop a workable model.
Yet Kadio felt he could not stay. As important as the work was, it was not as lasting as the impact of medical missions. Despite the CNES asking him to remain, he accepted a position at the University of Ottawa. There he worked on his PhD and was given a $1 million grant for cancer research.
Yet again, Kadio was restless and continued in his search for a position that would let him prepare students for medical mission work. So when he returned to Ivory Coast for a medical missions outreach and met the BJU students, he resigned his position and took an adjunct job at Bob Jones University.
“I didn’t have peace,” Kadio said, when asked why he would give up such enviable positions.
“You can have fame, you can have money, you can have a good position; but when you are a Christian, you can tell the difference between the peace of God and the peace from things that come outside the will of God,” Kadio said.
Kadio now lives in Greenville with his wife, who is also an accomplished surgeon, and his son, who is in ninth grade at Bob Jones Academy.
“Honestly, I feel like I’m more useful in the hands of the Lord now, because I am training those students that are going to carry on medical missions,” Kadio said.
Kadio emphasized how God has prepared him for battling the COVID-19 pandemic, years before it became a global crisis. Over the last three months, he has used every degree, contact and work experience collected over years in the medical field.
Kadio said he sees God working through the students of Bob Jones University, from the beginning of his journey into medical missions and onward. “There is absolutely nothing that you do today that you will not need probably ten years from now,” Kadio said.
Kadio also thanks God for equipping him to help not only BJU but local pastors during the current health crisis. He emphasized that God is working not only before the pandemic, but through the pandemic. “This is how powerful God is,” Kadio said.