Living in Two StatesIn 21 years of marriage, Pam and I have never been apart for longer than two weeks. That time is now three weeks and growing each day. Pam and three of our kids are living in Chattanooga with Pam's parents while I have come north to St. Joseph, MI and rejoined my surgical group with the Southwestern Medical Clinic (SWMC) and Lakeland Regional Health System (LRHS). My partners have been so helpful and accommodating, as have the staff in the office and at the hospital. Learning a new electronic medical records system called "Epic" has had its challenges, BUT I believe the worst of those are behind me as I enter week three. Tenwek administration has actually pursued and researched similar systems in Kenya and has identified a product that the leadership believes will be of great help to patient care and information management. This experience with Epic could prove quite beneficial in the future to help me be supportive and a champion of such technology at our mission hospital in Kenya.
Pam has helped Steven achieve a couple of important victories since his setback of being turned down by the Army in August. One such victory was landing his Tennessee driver's license and with it some degree of transportation independence. Developing friendships at his new church (Silverdale Baptist) has been slow but not because he isn't working hard at it! We think he gets the award for the most church activities attended by a college and career class member in August and September. The second victory was successfully getting registered for two college classes at Chattanooga State Community College just under the wire, 24 hours before the registration deadline. Classes had already started but he has caught up and is even many lessons ahead in his college math class. At this point he is probably going to pursue a degree in criminal justice with an interest in eventually serving in the FBI, DEA, or other law enforcement agency. We and he are most grateful for your prayers. Many of you, upon seeing one of us, have assured us of your prayers for our first-born and we are humbled by the prayers and encouragement for Steven. THANK YOU! His email address is email@example.com for any who would still like to write him for encouragement. ("scrummy" is a rugby term just in case you were wondering)
Our 16 yr. old daughter, Melody, has been back in Kenya now for three and a half weeks attending Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya. Varsity basketball, Sunday evening worship team practice, pre-calculus, and other fun classes have kept her too busy to be "homesick", we think. The two younger girls, Kayla and Ashley, have thoroughly enjoyed classes and new friends at Silverdale Baptist Academy in Chattanooga though the wearing of uniforms hasn't exactly been their "cup of tea".
The news at Tenwek back in Kenya this week was disappointing: the Kenyan doctors in the government again decided to go on strike and our young doctor interns followed suit to show support and solidarity with their government counterparts. Losing these eight interns has an impact on the morale and ministry of Tenwek but imagine the government hospitals in Kenya where now there are NO doctors! Please pray with us that this strike can be brought to an immediate end for the benefit of Kenyan health care and the ongoing training of our first year medical officers. A similar strike took place last December but our interns were only off the job for parts of three days.
I (Mike) would also appreciate your prayers for me as I undergo a minor surgical procedure on Thursday to have a small skin cancer on my nose removed. I am hoping the bandage and the pain won't be too significant as I start a three day stint on call, covering the St. Joseph ER, the next day! A local Christian plastic surgeon, Dr. Sam Logan, has kindly agreed to fit me in on Thursday in his office.
Many have asked me why I am working these two months in general surgery in the US and there are several answers. First, my presence and work are allowing my senior partner, Dr. Roy Winslow, to take a two month sabbatical and do short term medical missions work in Cameroon at Mbingo Baptist Hospital. Second, my recertification in general surgery is due in mid 2014 and the last exam for me to take before then is Nov 2013. Before that time I need to turn in a log of general surgery cases of some significance so am glad that these two months are available to me with SWMC. Third, is that working within a contemporary US surgical practice is quite helpful to orient me to what is new and available in the US, hopefully making me a better teacher and trainer for our surgery residents back at Tenwek. A fourth reason, never to be underestimated, is to encourage and challenge other Christian physicians within SWMC and LRHS to be more involved in serving as STM's within a medical context, whether that means Tenwek Hospital or one of many other wonderful ministries around the globe. It has been WONDERFUL seeing some old patients of mine, some of whom are cancer survivors, either in the office or at the hospital, or even in the community. Their bright smiles and warm hugs have meant a great deal to me. Thank you, Jesus!
A GREAT HONOR FOR A FRIENDIn a couple of weeks the American College of Surgeons will be gathering in Chicago for its annual clinical congress, a huge meeting attended by many thousands of surgeons and support personnel from around the globe. At this meeting one of my surgeon partners at Tenwek, Dr. Russ White, will be honored by the ACS with the "Humanitarian of the Year" award. Russ has been heavily involved in many aspects of clinical and research work at Tenwek since 1997 and is the Program Director for our general surgical residency at Tenwek. Russ and his wife, Beth, will be flying to the US from Kenya late this month to attend the meetings and to accept this award. Just before the ACS meeting there will be a joint meeting of all the program directors and the leadership of the Pan African Academy of Christian surgeons led by Dr. Bruce Steffes, CEO of the organization. Russ, our missionary partner Dr. Carol Spears who serves as Assistant Program Director, and I will be attending that two day meeting held near Wheaton College in Chicago. The Tenwek program currently has 10 general surgery residents making us the largest program within the PAACS system in five countries across Africa.
NEEDING NEW WHEELSIn 2010 as we returned to Tenwek we thought we would purchase a newer vehicle to repace our 1996 Toyota van which had served us so well since our first year at Tenwek. On our arrival we found the van still in decent shape and running well so we put off making such a purchase and just did body and engine work on the van. Thank you to those who donated funds for a vehicle purchase (about $5,000 was given by a VBS program and some supporters in 2010) as we used some of those funds to refurbish our van. Now after 16 years and over 130,000 "African" miles on the van, we think it is time to make the new (used) vehicle purchase. We already believe that we have approximately $20,000 available for such a purchase in our vehicle account but need approximately $20,000 more to be able to purchase a used four wheel drive that could last us for the next 10 to 15 years if the Lord tarries. With Mike's position as Assistant Country Director in Kenya, it has become more necessary to travel to more ministry sites in Kenya that are at the end of pretty rough roads. Our family is down-sizing with Steven remaining in the States so we think a four wheel drive is the best option at this time in our ministry. Would you prayerfully consider giving a gift to help us make this purchase? Our goal is to raise these funds by Christmas, just before we return to Kenya on December 29th. If you would like to give a gift, you can send in a gift to WGM with a note attached to the check "Gift for Chupp ministry vehicle purchase" to the following address: World Gospel Mission, Donor services, Box 948, Marion, IN 46952. You can also click on one of the links in the right hand column of this log for the vehicle or our ministry support. Thank you!
Our contacts these days:
Mike and Pam Chupp
Mike's cell: 269-355-8833
Pam's cell: 269-985-8023
Our email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ministry support: World Gospel Mission, Box 948 Marion, IN 46952
US mail: 300 Cyndica Drive Chattanooga, TN 37421
Rev. Mark Smith, our pastor at Berrien Center Bible Church, spoke this morning about an attitude of gratitude from the book of Luke and the story of the ten lepers. As members of the congregation got up and shared what they were thankful for today, I realized that I could probably have taken up an hour sharing all the incredible blessings that the Chupp family has experienced since coming home to the US in late July (I didn't and I am sure Mark was glad about that!) I don't want to be like the nine lepers who never thanked Jesus in my relationship with our heavenly Father or with any of you faithful friends and family who have stood by us these 16+ years we have served with WGM at Tenwek Hospital. I want to echo the words of the apostle Paul "I thank my God every time I remember you......." We can't tell you enough that we are deeply indebted to a most generous God who blesses us daily AND to His people who have helped carry us these many years in Kenya.
God bless you BIG TIME this week in your walk with Him.
Mike for Pam and the kids in the US and Kenya