Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Making House Calls

Here is the article and link to the video from Samaritan's Purse about our ministry in Kenya

A physician’s visit to an ailing child opens the door to a new remote medical clinic in Kenya

“This is Kyle. Where is she? Now? I’ll be right there!” Dr. Kyle Jones dropped his cell phone into his pocket and sprinted into the darkness along the rutted, muddy road that led to Kapsowar Hospital, a remote mission hospital in the hills of northwestern Kenya.

In less than five minutes, he delivered healthy twin boys to a woman lying on a gurney in the entryway. It was another typical evening at the hospital.

“You’re always on call,” said the young physician from Tulsa, Oklahoma. “You never know what to expect.”

When Kyle completed his medical residency, he and his wife, Vanessa, packed up their three young sons and headed for Kenya, following in the footsteps of missionary pioneers who had served at Kapsowar Hospital since it started as a small dispensary in 1933.

Last August, Vanessa gave birth to a daughter, Ariella. The local Marakwet people gave her the name Jepchemoi, which means, “born in the middle of the night.”

The move to Kenya fulfilled a call to missions that Kyle first experienced when he was 12 years old. He didn’t know then that he would become a physician serving in Kenya through World Medical Mission’s Post-Residency Program. The program helps Christian physicians pursue careers in medical missions by supporting them for their first two years on the field.

Dr. Jones faced all of the unique challenges of practicing medicine in the developing world, from treating unusual tropical diseases to managing life-threatening complications of preventable illnesses that are rarely seen in the United States.

One of Dr. Jones’ patients was a little boy named Musa who had a severe case of meningitis. Musa was from the Pokot tribe that lived down in Kerio Valley, several hours away.

Dr. Jones treated Musa and prayed earnestly for his recovery. “It was really a miracle that he survived,” he said.

After Musa returned to his village, Dr. Jones wanted to see him for a follow-up exam. He decided to make a house call that had a far-reaching effect on the Pokot people.

News that Dr. Jones was coming to Lodengo quickly spread beyond Musa’s family. Dozens of people were waiting to see the doctari when he arrived.

The need for medical care was overwhelming. Dr. Jones did what he could and promised to return with more supplies and medical personnel to set up a mobile clinic. Before long, teams of doctors, nurses, and interns from Kapsowar Hospital were making regular trips down treacherous mountain roads to minister to Pokot families.

Sick and injured people came from miles around. Expectant mothers received prenatal care and children were immunized. Emergency cases were often transported to the hospital at the end of the day.

A woman named Mercy walked nine miles to bring her 1-year-old daughter, Chebet, to the clinic.

“My baby is sick,” she said. “There is nowhere else as good as this to go to. We all wait until we know the doctors are coming.”

The mobile clinics also included spiritual care. A Kenyan missionary, Stephen Olimaouma, had moved to Lodengo from Lake Victoria to plant a church among the Pokot. The local church family and the Christian medical workers made a powerful team.

“Sharing the Gospel at the clinic is the first thing we do,” Pastor Olimaouma said. “They need to know Jesus.”

Members of the medical team always pray with their patients and find opportunities to share the Gospel.

Dr. Jones was pleased when he asked one woman if she knew Jesus Christ as her Savior and she said yes.

“I was happy when she said yes and I asked her when she got saved,” he said. “She said, ‘The first time you all came.’ What a joy it was to me to see some of the fruits of the ministry!”

The medical pioneers also became unexpected ambassadors of peace. For generations, disputes over cattle and land led to deadly conflicts between the Pokot in the valley and the Marakwet, whose territory extends into the hills surrounding Kapsowar Hospital.

One eerie stretch of the boulder-strewn road that winds down into the valley passes by a Marakwet village that was burned to the ground by a group of Pokot cattle raiders. More than 30 people were killed.

Fear of entering “enemy” territory often prevented Pokot families from seeking medical care at the hospital. The Pokot were at first surprised and then grateful to receive compassionate care from Marakwet medical workers that came their village.

“The medical clinic has brought healing to the community and peace between the Pokot and Marakwet people,” Pastor Olimaouma said.

Visits by the mobile medical teams also emphasized the need for a permanent clinic in the area. Dr. Jones and others dug into their own pockets to create a building fund. The clinic is now under construction. A well is also being drilled to provide clean water for the entire community.

Dr. Jones recently completed his two-year commitment with the Post-Residency Program. He and his family are back in Tulsa, preparing to return to Kapsowar Hospital in July to continue sharing the Gospel as medical missionaries.

“When God gives the vision, we should not be discouraged," Dr. Jones said. "It is only God who receives all the glory. God cares about our physical and spiritual needs, and as a physician, I need to provide that same care for my patients. My prayer is that they will know Jesus.”

Website to donate to Kyle and Vanessa Jones' Ministry is:

No comments: