Sunday, April 27, 2008

Home Soon!

We're coming home soon! We will be flying in from Dallas Fort Worth on American Airlines and are scheduled to arrive on Tuesday April 29th at 6:25 pm. We had a good day today with a nice time for processing some of the things that went on this month with some of the other visiting physicians and one of the missionary couples. It was a great time of sharing some of the highs and lows, dreams and visions. Tonight the German medical students in the guest house have made us some traditional German food and they are ready to start soon. I will post again hopefully soon to give more details and wrap up some of our thoughts about our time here.

9:08 am Tuesday, April 29th
A quick update from Kelly:

I just checked their flight from London to Dallas and it looks like they left 2 hours late. This will put them in Dallas too late to make the connecting flight from Dallas to Tulsa. It is possible they will make up for lost time in the air, but I don't know. Most likely, they will have to catch the next flight out of Dallas. It looks like there is a flight leaving Dallas at 7:00pm and one that leaves at 8:25. I will keep you posted.

6:29 pm Tuesday, April 29th
Kyle, Vanessa, Hudson and Jude are on the 7:00 flight from Dallas to Tulsa. They should arrive at 8:00. We are still waiting to see it mom and dad (Travis and Marlene) make it on that flight - they are currently on standby.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pray with Me

Well we have had a good week here at Tenwek and our time is coming near to the end. Before we left we had some things that we definitely wanted to fit in. On Wednesday Travis and I went out with the Community Health team to a little village about an hour away. Of course the ride was adventerous with 9 of us piled in a Land Rover on bumpy roads. When we got there we saw a simple building with 4 locked doors. We found out that the man that had the key went into town and wouldn't be back until he was done with his business. Oh well we said, we'll just have the clinic outside. The people must wait until they see the car coming because there was no one there initially. We made use of the time by getting a tour of the village and the local high school. They wanted to hear from the white people that came to their little village so all the high school kids gathered outside so we could speak with them. It was fun to share with them about our lives and our relationship with Christ which was the real reason we had come to Kenya. I shared with them about how to make good choices by repeating something I have probably heard my dad share a thousand times. Before making a decision you must ask yourself how it affects God, others and you. There is so much HIV/AIDS in Africa so it was good to be able to encourage the young kids to stay pure in their relationships. By the time we got back the clinic was full and we had a good time seeing the babies, giving shots and doing check-ups for the pregnant moms. Dad was in charge of praying for the moms before they left. We had a great time.
That same afternoon Vanessa got to go with some of the missionary ladies to a local women's ministry gathering. The Kenyan ladies had a big special event planned for one of the missionary ladies who will be going on furlough soon. Vanessa said it was so special to see how they welcomed them in to the area with singing, hugs and little gifts. Then they each shared how God had impacted their life personally through the study group. Praise God for the strong women's ministry going on. Vanessa said she could see herself really enjoying that kind of work. She also thought that next time we have guests at TBC we should welcome them with loud singing, hugs and gifts.
Hudson had a great time with his new pet Salamander that he and Papa found. We played with it all day and then finally let it go back to it's home. It walked so slow and would just walk up your arm and crawl in your hair. Hudson thought it was so cool and a little tickly.
The work at the hospital continues to be tough but rewarding. I enjoy teaching the interns and learning from them as well every day. They are truly amazing people and the patients are so sweet. I have been working mostly in Pediatrics which has been bitter-sweet. I love taking care of the little ones and seeing them get stronger each day. There are still tough moments when there is nothing more that we can do. Currently there is a boy that we are treating for Acute Leukemia. He really needs chemotherapy, but his blood levels have been so low because of recurrent severe nose bleeds. He has a rare blood type that has been difficult to find. Pray that his condition will stabilize and we will be able to transfer him to another facility tomorrow. His name is "Kip" for short. His picture is above which I took right after we finally were able to stop his latest nose bleed. I told him that I would show the picture to my friends in America and that they would pray for Him. Praise God that he did accept Jesus Christ into his life yesterday.
Well I should go to bed. I will be on call for the last time tomorrow and then I have the weekend off. We plan to teach the children in Sunday School and visit another Kenyan church. May God bless you all.
P.S. Happy Birthday Missy! We love you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Day Trips!

We had an amazing weekend! We finally were around to explore the beauty of Tenwek. There is an incredible water fall that generates power for the hospital and surrounding areas. We were filled with visions of young and old carrying huge packs on their backs up an down this hill/mountain. It was so picture perfect.

On Sunday we were given the honor of attending a nationals church. The genuine sincerity of their service was heart warming. They had one instrument, a keyboard. We were very late (because the Matatu-taxi) was late. We came in and I hurriedly sat down next to my husband. Kyle whispered to me..."Look, I think you are supposed to be sitting over there." The women and the men sat on separate sides of the sanctuary. I was emabarrased and immediately got up and sat on the other side. Marlene whispered to me, "I thought you may have just been trying to be rebelious." Most of you know that is not me at all. We were then each asked to give a word to the congregation. I spent some time outside with Hudson and Jude. Most of the children followed me. It was fun. Neither of us understood a word the other was saying, but each of us were filled with joy and entertainment as we sat and played together. This was the first day that I saw Hudson growing a little weary of all the attention. He didn't want his photo taken and he seemed a little hesitant to play and sing as normal, because he always has an audience.

We were then invited to have lunch at Alfred's home. Alfred is an intern here at Tenwek that Kyle has been working with. He actually was his doctor for a week as Alfred had malaria. Alfred has a beautiful wife, Florence and two children Abigail 5 and Lucas 2. We were treated like such royalty. It was a humbling experience as their nephew came around to us with a sports coat on with a pitcher of water and a bowl for us to wash our hands. Florence prepared a beef stew with rice and chipates. She never made it to eat with us. The reason why...I found her in her kitchen. Her kitchen consists of a hut with a wood fire in which she has 2 pots to prepare things with. She washes her dishes behind the hut with a water spout. There is a tiny little bed for Lucas to lay in there...I guess she spends quite a bit of time there. They grow crops on their land that helps to support their family. They have a great vision for their community. They are trying to reach the young people so that they can reach their parents. There is an alcohol problem in the area. On our walk to his home we encounter 2 very drunk people. They also plan to give their land to be used for a children's home as their is a growing number of orphans due to AIDS and alcholoism. Behind them lives a 100 year old lady. She was so joyful and beautiful. She reminded me so much of our sweet, 103 year old neighbor Nora. She has physical and mental strength. She was truly honored to have us visit them. She said in all her years she had not had a "Wazungo" (white person) visit her home. Again we are taught something so huge about the culture and how much we have to learn. I pray that I show as much love, hospitatlity and honor to those that step foot in my home. By the way...Florence finally joined us for chai and we had a sweet time of prayer for them and their community.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Great Times at Tenwek

We have had a meaningful and fun week with many highlights. We had 3 Kenyan interns over for dinner on Tuesday night. It was a sweet time of fellowship. They are such a kind and genuine people. They even ate all their American food filled plates. It was a sweet time of fellowship as we shared our hearts and prayed for each other. I encouraged them to continue to be bold and combine their faith with their medicine. They shared their faith building experiences when they were bold and took the time to share the love of Jesus with their patients. Since my time here I have seen that sometimes the doctors are less active at sharing Christ with their patients and tend to rely heavily on the chaplains. By God's grace if anything I pray that they might be renewed in their vision of Christ centered patient care. It certainly makes the long rounds, difficult patient cases, limited resources worth it when we can also be involved in Kingdom work.

Wednesday we hosted the weekly Bible study while the long term missionaries were away. We had a most amazing time of worship. Everyone was on their feet dancing to the Kenyan worship songs. We then opened the Word and I was able to lead the group in a study on God's heart for the nations throughout scripture from Genesis to Revelation. We broke up into small groups and prayed for the nations. It was such a sweet time and a taste of heaven.

Today Vanessa, Hudson and Marlene were able to go to an orphanage about 2 hours away on a very bumpy road. Apparently they had quite an adventure with getting stuck in mud 3 times, 1 flat tire in the rain and 4 grown adults in the back seat of a small car. When they got there Hudson was the biggest hit of all. The kids were so enamered with his white skin and fun personality. When they left the kids asked if Hudson could stay with them. Vanessa was a little hesitant to leave him of course. They have some great needs there like fresh water tanks, mattresses, school uniforms or maybe even a cow to provide them with milk. Might be a nice Sunday School project.

Please continue to pray for us and the people here. Thanks.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Tale of Two Birthdays

On April 10, 1979 I came into the world. Strong and healthy. My mom always told me I was "right on time". She missed a concert because she thought "surely this baby won't come on the due date". But I did. You could say I was predictable from birth. I have walked a fairly narrow path with few surprises. That is why it is no surprise that I celebrated my birthday here in Kenya with some very sweet people. The day started off a little rough. I was grumpy. I was up every hour the night before either nudging Kyle to go answer the phone (he was on call) or feeding Jude. But my sweet mother in law woke up with a servant's heart. She and Hudson excitedly made me a cake. I even was able to take a nap that afternoon. We invited all the visiting doctors and the Kenyan residents to attend my birthday party. We would serve the traditional chai tea and eat a scrumptious cake. But things turned out a little differently. Kyle did not come home for lunch. We later heard that at around 10:30 am Rosalyn was scheduled for an elective c-section. Rosalyn has lost 3 babies and they were hoping to prevent death by delivering 2 weeks early. Kyle was responsible for taking care of the baby once delivered. Little baby Hope was born. She did not look well. Kyle then began resucitating the baby. He bagged her for approximately 3 hours because they did not have another ventilator machine. At one point Hope made some efforts to breath and we were praying for a miracle. Things looked good for a while. Kyle came home for dinner. But the birthday party was low attended and some seemed a little sad. We later found out that baby Hope had taken a turn for the worse. Another one of the visiting doctors took care of her until 11:30pm. But Jesus loved her so much he took her home to be with him. When the doctor (Christina) told Rosalyn what had happened, tears streaming down her face, Rosalyn began to pray for her. We came to Kenya to give light, and love and hope of Jesus to them, but instead this is what they have given us. So, it is no accident that I was here on this birthday because now I will never take for granted another birthday I have been given. Each day is a gift. Every moment with my husband and family I will treasure. There are now 2 baby Hopes I can't wait to meet in heaven. Both have impacted the lives of so many in the short time they were here. It wasn't the happiest of birthdays, but it was very significant and one that I will never forget. Thank you to all that wished me well. I love you all very much. It is such an encouragement to us when you read, post and pray. Thank you faithful family and friends.

On a lighter note...we went on a little weekend safari. We saw lots of exotic animals. Kyle even petted a baby Rhino. Kyle spotted a lion from a far distance and we drove right next to it (5 feet away). It was amazing. The boys loved it. We'll try and post pictures as soon as we can.

I also got to go to the hospital NICU last week and hold some premature babies. It was such a sweet time to pray for them as I know the Lord has good plans for their lives.

We are all doing well and miss you very much!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

First Week in Tenwek

Wow, so much has happened in the last week. We have gotten our email established now so we may be able to post updates more often. We flew in to where the hospital is located in beautiful Bomet. We were greeted on the gravel/grass runway by a large group of local Kenyans. They really liked to see their picture in the amazing digital camera. The pilot said we were fortunate because normally there are cows grazing on the runway. Eventually someone came to pick us up and take us to the hospital. Our apartment in the guest house is very nice and the boys are sleeping somewhat better. They gave me a short hospital orientation that afternoon and the next day I was placed in charge of the medical ward which was an amazing and overwhelming expierence. They gave me 3 Kenyan interns that I was to be over. They are wonderful and probably teach me more than I teach them. I was also on call that first day. I realized right away how difficult it is to work in this environment. Patients die every day and my first night we actually had 3 babies that passed away. Honestly, those first few days I told Vanessa I am not sure I even want to do medical missions anymore. There are so many needs and often so few resources. Ultimately, I was reminded that what they really need is the Lord and for someone to tell them about him.

Vanessa and the boys are adjusting well to Kenyan life. They take walks everyday and find new people to talk and play with. Of course, Hudson never meets a stranger and everyone loves to pet Jude's little head. Vanessa has really enjoyed visiting with the local missionary wives and seeing what it's like to raise kids in this environment. I started working in the newborn nursery today and have found some baby's that are in need of some extra love and care so she will be helping out in that way and others such as helping teach Sunday school to about 50 Kenyan kids at the local church.

My parents did arrive safely and are enjoying their time very much. I sent dad today to work with the chaplains at the hospital and he fit right in, shared Bible verses and the gospel and at least 1 man prayed to receive Christ. I know he and mom will have a tremendous ministry here.

Well, I better wrap it up for now. Please pray for us, especially over the next couple of weeks as we found out when we got here that this was the month that pretty much all the missionaries are taking their annual retreat and myself, 3 other visiting physicians and the Kenyan interns will be manning the hospital. He is faithful. God bless.