Currently we have between 60 and 70 patients on the surgical service here at the hospital. As I was making my rounds the other day, I realized how very different the surgical diseases are here in Africa. Presently we have one patient who was attacked by an elephant with a tusk injury through his back. Another was stepped on by a water buffalo. One who was bitten by a donkey. Another gored by a bull. We have patients with rabies and tetanus, malaria and typhoid and tapeworms . During all my years in surgical practice in the U.S., I don’t recall treating any patients with these conditions. But the one thing that IS the same is that each and every one of these very sick patients respond to the compassionate care given by the men and women here who are doing their best to be the hands and heart of Jesus.
One of the real joys of working at this mission hospital is meeting the other physicians who come and volunteer and give their time and their expertise to help take care of patients. Most come for a few weeks, some come for a few months. All have a heart that is willing to sacrificially serve others. It was such a pleasure to meet Dr. Chuck. He is a pediatrician, is 79 years old and he spends about 6 months every year taking care of sick children all over the world. Ten years ago Dr. Chuck’s wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and he spent 2 years caring for her every need. When she went to be with Jesus he told me how he fell into a deep depression, to the point he lost any desire to go on with life. But then with joy he recounted how Jesus visited him and tenderly told him that he wasn’t finished with Dr. Chuck yet, that he had more work for him to do. As Dr. Chuck begin to visit hospitals all over the world caring for sick children, all depression left and he is one of the most joy filled people I have ever met. When I remarked to him, “It is incredible what you do for these children”, he simply responds, “It is incredible what Jesus has done for me”.
Over the last month I have had the privilege of working with Drs. David and Naomi. They are married, both are physicians—David is an internist, Naomi a family practice doctor, and they hail from the great state of Texas, the great city of Houston! They are wonderful people, incredible doctors and we look forward to continuing our relationship when we get back home. We shared Mexican food together last week (thanks to an incredible chef who also happens to be my wife!); we thought we were back at home at Pappasito’s!
Jeff and Melissa are fourth year medical students from California. They have been such a joy and pleasure to work alongside. Dr. Andre is from South Africa, now in Newfoundland. He too is a general surgeon giving a month of his time here in Africa. It has been a pleasure working with him. Dr. Daryl is an internist finishing his residency in Tennessee and does such a great job taking care of his patients. It is such a blessing to be able to meet these new friends, such an inspiration to watch them as they give their lives away for Jesus.
The 50th anniversary celebration of Tenwek hospital is this weekend. I find it so interesting that, just like Lakewood, Tenwek was founded in 1959. I also thought it quite amazing that the celebration was scheduled to begin on August 21—which is my Dad’s birthday. What an incredibly special day it was for me. Somehow I felt the approval of both my fathers—earthly and heavenly.
Last week we stopped by Mosop Orphanage and School to look at the progress of the new classrooms. It was so exciting to see what the generosity of others has accomplished. Over the last year we have been overseeing this project while in Kenya and while in the states we stayed in touch with the directors of this orphanage and school. Kislife leadership group, JLife, at Lakewood Church raised money to go toward this project with a Walkathon. With this money, Mosop was able to help complete the construction, finish the metal roofing, put in doors and windows and soon furnish it with new furniture. We loved the scriptures that were posted over every classroom. Please continue to pray for the directors, the teachers and the children at Mosop School.