Sunday, December 22, 2019

Vision Mission Trip and Africa Gospel Church Strategic Plan

Hi Friends, 
David and I are excited to say that we have confirmed that we are taking a 14-day vision trip to Tenwek Hospital in Kenya in the very near future!! Tonight we had our family meeting and talked with the kids about what our next steps are, explaining why we will be traveling to Kenya.  Although a little squirrely, they sat and listened and asked questions.  Brielle kept commenting that they will be sad when we're gone but it's okay because Mama and Papa will come back home. Pray for her little heart as she tries to process us leaving for 2 weeks.  Brynna and Brielle closed with prayers asking God to help us make a good decision for our family and to keep us safe.

David and I have been thinking and coming up with a couple of goals for the trip ahead.  Right now, they include:   
  1. To see and hear how God may be calling our family to be part of the healing ministry of Jesus at Tenwek Hospital and people of Kenya. 
  2. For us to meet and get to know the leadership, staff, and families at Tenwek Hospital and the surrounding community and see if this would be a healthy, safe place for our family.   
  3. To gain a better understanding of the current state of Tenwek Hospital and further dialogue on how the healing ministry of Jesus could be more effectively impacted through supportive leadership in hospital administration and special education services. 
  4. See first hand how Tenwek Hospital's Spiritual ministry is directly impacting the community.
For those who may not know, Tenwek Hospital falls under the Compassion Department in the Health Outreach Program section of the Africa Gospel Church (AGC). 

AGC has had an incredible church planting ministry in Kenya, recording more than 1,900 church plants since its inception.  Since 2012, AGC has planted 400 new churches!  As of 2018, the Africa Gospel Church (AGC) strategic plan for 2018 - 2022 is focused on the following areas: 
  1. Evangelizing the Unsaved
  2. Establishing Churches
  3. Edifying Believers
  4. Equipping Leaders
  5. Exercising Compassion 

The entire family is very excited about this next step.  We have so many people that are offering their support during this process and are so incredibly grateful for those that have offered to partner with us on this journey.  Thank you so much for helping us follow where we feel God is leading us.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Medical Missions Update

Tenwek Hospital - Bomet, Kenya 
This morning, Kristie and I had an incredible conversation with some of the leadership at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya.  For those that are not aware, I (David) worked at Tenwek Hospital designing and managing the construction of their Community Development Center almost 17 years ago.  
We dialogued about the incredible need for leadership with supporting as well as training nationals for Healthcare Administration.  We also discussed the need for having special needs education (Kristie's forte) and support at Tenwek as well as throughout the area.  All of us in the conversation felt that Kristie and I should take the next step and take a vision trip to Kenya in the near future...and if everything comes together, as early as January.  If the application process, visit, and leadership at Tenwek would accept us, our family would need to commit and raise funds to be over there for a minimum of a 2-year commitment.  

So as we continue down this medical missions journey, please continue to pray with us.  

Brief History of Tenwek Hospital

A little history about the hospital is that it was started by World Gospel Mission (WGM) in 1935 and the first doctor, Dr. Ernie Steury, arrived at Tenwek in 1959.  It is one of the largest mission hospitals in Africa.  As a primary care facility with 300 beds, it serves 600,000 Kipsigis within a 32 kilometer radius.  Some of the primary partners of Tenwek include: Samaritan's Purse, African Gospel Church, World Gospel Mission, as well as others.

Below is a video from Samaritan's Purse - World Medical Missions that gives a glimpse of the importance that mission hospitals have in changing the lives of people for years to come.  You will notice that there are parts of the video that take place at Tenwek Hospital.  

Below is another video showing the Tenwek Hospital 2018 highlights:

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Pray for Zimbabwe

I have been talking with so many individuals and several organizations throughout Africa.  One of the conversations has been with the T.E.A.M. organization related to the Karanda Hospital in Zimbabwe.  For those that do not know what is currently happening in Zimbabwe, these are some quick statistics: 
  • The government doctors are currently on Strike making all of the government hospitals unavailable.  Because of the situation, the Karanda hospital is one of the only hospitals open in the country.  They are calling Karanda Hospital the "Last Port of Hope".  Currently, the 150-bed hospital is expected to see around 150,000 patients if the strike continues.  Here is a video on the current situation: 

  • In June 2019, the official inflation rate of Zimbabwe was 95.9%, but is much worse now.  
  • It is difficult to measure unemployment, but it is estimated that as much as 95% of people are unemployed. 
  • Sub-Sahara Africa has 43% of the world's poorest people. 
  • Zimbabwe Inflation rate for 2019 is expected to be at 600%.  The US Inflation Rate was 2.4% in 2019.  
  • The United States has had sanctions on Zimbabwe for almost 20 years now.  It is stated that these sanctions do not have an effect on the economy, but how would you like to do business in a country with sanctions imposed for almost 20 years? 
  • Zimbabwe is in one of the worst droughts in over a century.
  • One of the seventh wonders of the world "Victoria Falls" is currently at a trickle because of the worst drought in over a century.
  • Severe malnutrition has been rising in recent months.  It is estimated that 90% of Zimbabwean children aged 6 to 24 months are not consuming the minimum acceptable diet.
If you can, please take the time to pray for the people of Zimbabwe and please pray for the Karanda Mission Hospital as they are trying to be the light in so much darkness that exists in Zimbabwe right now.   

Monday, December 16, 2019

Did you say overseas medical missions?

Yes, we did say overseas medical missions.  It was almost 17 years ago when I first arrived at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya to design and build a Community Development Center (aka the Greenhouse Building).  Over the past 3 years, Kristie and I have been dancing around the idea of going overseas and being part of medical missions.  A little over a month ago Kristie and I volunteered and attended the Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC) in Louisville, KY.  During this incredible time, we met up with Joy Philips, whom I worked for/with almost 17 years ago at Tenwek.  

Kristie and I were incredibly humbled by how many doctors, nurses, clinicians and others in the medical profession who are or will be part of medical missions.  We had some incredible conversations with so many people with so many organizations.  There were a total of 171 organizations that attended the conference!  Some of my favorites included: World Gospel Mission (Tenwek Hospital), Serge, Samaritans Purse/World Medical Mission, ABWE, SIM, Toyota Gibraltar, CURE, African Inland Mission, Mercy Ships, and Missions Doctors Association.  

David, Kristie and Joy

Attending the Plenary Session

One of the biggest highlights was hearing a session from Benjamin Anderson on Healthcare Administration Overseas.  Benjamin talked about how so many hospitals are utilizing their doctors and surgeons for healthcare administration when they should be really providing clinical care.  He discussed how there are a lot of inefficiencies in mission hospitals that are not run by skilled and well trained Healthcare Administrators.   He pulled up the below slide that clarified how overseas missions hospitals should approach administrative leadership in the same way that they approach recruiting physicians.  

After GMHC, Kristie and I have been talking with several organizations about their needs and to see if those needs match with what we believed what God might be calling us to do.  As we have been praying and listening to what is next for our lives, to my surprise, Kristie says, "Why not us?".  
As we have been thinking about all of the different opportunities for our lives right now, nothing seems more rewarding than to go overseas to a mission hospital and be part of the healing ministry of Jesus.  At this point in time, we are still talking with several organizations and hope to make a decision to visit the mission hospitals sometime early next year.  Until then, we are praying and seeking advice from so many of our trusted friends and family.  Please join us in praying for clear direction as to the organization and hospital that we should be a part.