An Accurate Reproduction

I’ve spent the last two weeks with a visiting physician couple here at the hospital. Dr. K.E. is a general surgeon and his wife, Dr. Leya is a pediatrician. Their original home is India; their home for the last 30 years is in the Deep South, not far from mine. They have three grown children and are within a few months of retirement age. They have a rich Christian heritage and have themselves been devoted followers of Jesus for many, many years.
For the last two weeks Dr. K.E. and I have spend a great deal of time together—doing rounds early in the morning, seeing the sick in clinic, sharing our thoughts on complicated patients and assisting each other in difficult surgeries. They have been guests for dinner in our home; they have made us Cajun gumbo in theirs’. I have watched Dr. K.E. respond to the daily frustrations we all face, I have watched him interact with the staff of the hospital, I have watched him take care of patients and their families, and I have watched him as he has processed life for the last two weeks here at Tenwek.
And there is something distinctly different about K.E. He is one of the most grateful people that I have ever met—an unstoppable gratitude, in every situation finding something to be thankful for. When you are around him there is an absolute peace, a calmness that nothing seems to disturb, a joy that is always just below the surface, which bubbles up so naturally—in an effortless smile, through his gentle touch, with the kindness that you can see in his eyes. And everywhere he goes he “ministers” this peace and joy to everyone he comes in contact with. He is one of the kindest men I have ever met—to the staff he is so complimentary and encouraging, to his patients he is so caring and compassionate, to his co-workers and peers he is so affirming and supportive. Even though he is an excellent surgeon with 35 years of experience, even though he has great wisdom and great judgment when it comes to difficult clinical situations, there isn’t an ounce of arrogance in K.E.—he deflects any praise to One he serves. I watched him as he secretly slipped small gifts into the hands of those he worked with—a book, a pen, or something else of meaning—small gifts from a very generous heart.
As I thought about K.E., I realized what makes him so distinctly different–he has been walking with Jesus for a long, long time. The fruit has taken root and grown and now looks just like the tree. The branch looks just like the vine. The child looks just like the father. He is being changed into the image of his Savior—and after walking with Him for all these years, He looks more and more like Jesus and less and less like K.E. And just like there was something powerfully attractive about the presence of the Son of God on this earth 2000 years ago, there is still something powerfully attractive about the presence of Jesus in a man or woman today. K.E. is living proof of that. And I am so thankful I had the opportunity to meet him, spend time with him and be challenged by his example.
Take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you. Ephesians 4 Message Bible

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A Father's Heart

Last week our son Jackson developed high fever and a headache. The fever and headache persisted; he became very lethargic and took very little liquid and no food for almost 3 days. We gathered our family together and asked God to touch him and heal him. We then asked a few of our friends to pray for him as well. What happened then was quite overwhelming. Immediately Dr. Russ arranged for him to have blood work. Our friend Vincent and David (both work in the theatre here at Tenwek) arranged for him to have a spinal tap if necessary. Dr. Steve (one of the long term missionaries here) offered to take care of Jackson for us and took the time out of his already busy schedule to come by our house twice a day to check on his little patient. My friend Dr. Andre went to the trouble to bring IV fluids down to our house and offered to start an IV for Jackson. Dr. Carol and Dr. Zach stop by to have a special time of prayer for Jack. Barbara (long term missionary friend and an instructor in the nursing school) stopped by every evening with little gifts to lift Jack’s spirit. Jenny and her son Isaac (long term missionaries) brought a basket of Popsicle trays and videos and children’s Tylenol and ibuprofen. And EVERYWHERE I went—all through the hospital, all around the mission compound—person after person asked me how Jack was doing and let me know they were praying for him. After 3 days of treatment for malaria, our little boy’s fever went down, his appetite and strength began to return and now he is totally healed and well.
As I thought about all the people that were so concerned about my child, about his health and his well-being and how they went out of their way to do what they could for him—this father’s heart was overwhelmed with gratitude. As I passed through the hospital, as I do every day and I saw all the patients lined up in their beds in the male and females wards, in the ICU, in the nursery and pediatrics, as they waited in the crowded casualty and lined the corridors under the awnings of the outpatient clinics, it was as if God gently reminded me that these are all His children. And if they are sick, He is as concerned about them as I was about my Jackson. And that He is equally grateful to all the people of this mission hospital who are doing what they can to care for His children.
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Community Health

Georgia and Jennifer went out to the villages with Community Health.  They were able to help with immunizations, prenatal checks, vitamin distribution and well baby check ups.

A Weekend Away

One weekend when I wasn’t on call we had a special treat when one of the missionary families took us with them to visit the Aberdares National Park. We drove 5 hours across the Rift Valley, along the edge of the Mau forest then up the Mau escarpment to the national park. We travelled past beautiful mountains covered with bamboo forests. Our cabins were located on the edge of a mountain overlooking a valley full of game. We saw dukier (small antelope), bush buck and water buck (larger animals resembling elk). My kids are convinced they saw another rare animal called a bongo. All along the roads there was sign of elephant and water buffalo. Our cabins were located at an altitude of 10,000 feet—so trust me, without electricity and only a fire in the fireplace, we were COLD at night (all the while we were thinking of all you in Houston with 100 degree weather!). Each morning an attendant built a fire under a water tank so we could have a brief hot shower! What an experience it was to wake up, make a cup of coffee and sit on the veranda to read our Bibles as we overlooked the beauty of God’s creation. We visited several breath-taking waterfalls (see pics), hiked through trails, spotted game and fished in the streams. It was an incredibly refreshing time. In the evenings we would gather our families together, play games, sings songs, read books together, then end the night in prayer. When we left, at the game park exit, the park attendants showed us two tusks they had recently found from a 100 year old elephant that had died of natural causes (see pics). On the drive home, the missionary wife was ill and couldn’t drive one of the vehicles, so for 5 hours I was initiated into driving on the left hand side of the road! Not only did I have to deal with the steering wheel on the right, the stick shift on the left side, the blinker on the right side, I had to dodge pot holes, motorcycles and all sorts of animals! But God gave us “journey mercies” and except for a flat tire (not uncommon in Africa!) we arrived back at the hospital rested and refreshed.

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