Sunday, August 19, 2012

Praise the Lord!  We made it to our first Pokot clinic since coming back to Kenya.  We had a wonderful time and the Lord was so good to us by giving us traveling mercies and a blessed time with the people there.  We started our journey on Saturday morning and made the 4 hour drive to Lodengo where we have been going to work among the Pokot for over the past 1 year now.  It was my first clinic since returning from our furlough.  I was very interested to see how the work was going on in the clinic/health center that we are constructing.  When I left them last December they had only completed the foundation.  So I was very happy to see that they had already almost completed the building.  The community has really all been working so hard.  The women have been bringing all the water they need for the project often walking long distances to find it.  As you may know we are in the process of digging a well, but it had to be put on hold until another bigger drilling rig can come and finish the job.  We found the ground was very rocky there so we are praying to get water soon.  So before we started our clinic we took time to really appreciate all the work they had done.  We held the mobile clinic in the new clinic building even though it was not all the way done.  It was still so great to use even 3 of the rooms and everyone was so happy.  Before the clinic we had a time for sharing the gospel.  I shared the story of the tower of Babel and how the people at that time were building it to bring glory to themselves, but that we wanted to build this clinic to bring glory to God.  I asked how many of them were followers of Jesus and less than half of them raised their hands.  I wish I could tell you that at the time of the invitation they all decided to accept Jesus in their lives, but that did not happen.  There is still much darkness in that place and that is why we want to have a steady presence among them with the clinic.  God is beginning to break through among them and every time we go we get to see the new believers and fellowship with them.  On Sunday morning we spent several hours with them, worshiping together and praying for their people.  We heard one testimony of a woman that had come to know the Lord the week before.  She said she had been making home alcohol brews before, but she was no longer going to do that.  She now wanted to follow Christ.  All the believers are first generation Christians.  It is fun to see their excitement for learning new things about the Lord.  We are praying for God to fully reach their people and that they would follow Him for generations to come.  It felt very good to be ministering to them again in their physical and spiritual needs.  That is our goal each time we come.  We make sure that they know we love them and we are there because of Jesus.  We take time to pray with each patient when they come to the clinic which has been such a joy.  It seems like I always get my sickest patients coming on Sunday mornings.  The last 2 visits I have had to start IVs on sick patients before church.  The woman that came this time had recently miscarried and had lost a lot of blood.  We gave her IV fluids and medicine to help her blood levels increase.  She came to us dizzy and bearly able to stand.  When she left I saw her smiling at me and with her strength back, which is one of the reasons why I will keep going back again and again.  I look forward to opening the Health Center Lord willing by early next year.  We hope to complete the clinic and start working on building a staff house within the next month.  Thank you to so many of you that have helped contribute to this project.  We feel it is worthwhile and something the Lord desires for these people.  We pray that it will produce much fruit in every way for many years to come.  Enjoy some pictures below of our trip.  

AIC Lodengo Health Center under Construction

Meeting with Pokot woman before the clinic

Post-partum ward and matenity under construction

Evans and I.  He is my contractor for the building.

Before the clinic

Pre-clinic message

Praying with a mom and her sick baby

The children singing at church

Saturday, August 11, 2012

1st Month Back in Kenya

We are happy to report that our family is back in Kapsowar Kenya and we are doing well!  This first month back has been a very busy and exciting one.  We really enjoyed having Vanessa's mom here as she came back with us to stay for a couple of weeks and get a taste of what our life is like here in Kenya.  Her time with us was full of fun times as a family, sweet times introducing her to our Kenyan friends, a few adventure moments and some times of just our typical daily lives.  I'm sure she could tell you more of her stories and favorite moments.  The kids really enjoyed having her around and it was sad to see her go.  I will say I'm sure she is glad to get back to the nice American roads...during her time here we had a scary "minor" accident that could have been much worse if God had not provided a perfectly placed tree that kept our car from rolling off the hillside when the muddy roads pushed us off the road.  It was a reminder to us all at how we are so daily dependent on the Lord for His protection over our family.  We certainly are thankful for all those who have been lifting us up in prayer.

Vanessa will be writing more updates soon about family life, but I thought I might share a few stories from how it has been for me back at the hospital.  I have enjoyed being back to work at our hospital and am excited about the things going on here.  We have a great new Nursing Officer that I have enjoyed working with.   We are currently working through expanding the amount of community outreach that we are doing which has always been an interest of mine.  We are still training nursing school students and last week the senior students took their exams to graduate.  We are trying to recruit some of them to work in our Pokot clinic when it opens, probably early next year.  I will be taking a team down to do a mobile clinic this next weekend so more updates to come soon on that with pictures.  

There have been a few patient encounters that have encouraged me since being back.  One was a lady that I mentioned on a facebook update.  She was admitted to our hospital with a new diagnosis of HIV and TB.  I asked for people to pray because she was not accepting her diagnosis and was threatening to take her life.  After several long talks with her over her time here I began to see her attitude change.  We gave her the best care we could for her physical body and we saw the Lord bring her into much better health.  We also addressed her spiritual needs with her by counseling and prayer.  She reaffirmed her faith in Christ and began to accept the hope that He provides.  Emotionally she became more encouraged and joyful as I saw her each day.  My hope was that each time I saw her I could bring a smile to her face.  We also got her accustomed to prayer at each visit so much that the last time I saw her before I could finish she said, "doctor don't forget to pray."  We truly saw God do a mighty work in her and I really appreciate everyone who prayed for her. 

That patient really summarizes what my hope is to do during our time here.  I have heard other missionaries say, "I am here to do for them what they cannot do for themselves."  I agree with this and have thought about what I have to offer them.  I have seen how medicine here is very focused on the physical only.  It is my heart to practice and teach whole person care that addresses the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of patients.  Many of you probably heard me tell the story during our furlough about the poisoning patient that we "treated" but did not "heal."  The one who was sent home after he physically improved but returned the next month with the same thing because we had not yet addressed his spiritual and emotional needs.  Well, very quick in my time here we had another patient just like that.  Fortunately, this time before she was sent home we picked up on the fact that she was still depressed and was planning to attempt suicide again after discharge.  We were able to work together as a team with myself and the chaplains to counsel her and encourage her mind and spirit.  She admitted that she had been living with several men and when we tested her for HIV she was positive.  I spent a long time talking to her about the choices that she has made in her life, the consequences of sin, but how there is hope and forgiveness found in Christ.  She responded very well and decided to give her life to the Lord.  l couldn't help but think of the woman at the well and I pray she continues on for the Lord. 

Her case reminded me again of our need for discipleship.  This is one of my biggest goals for this term.  I am planning to meet with our chaplains this week to decide on how we want to proceed in discipling those patients that come to know the Lord.  I hope to send them with materials, a Bible and a letter to their local pastor to encourage them to continue the discipleship process when they go home.  I would also like to work in follow-ups in the community with these people when we get our community health program going.  Good health is more than just physical!

We hope to keep the updates coming with more pictures in the next ones.