A Momentous Transition
Praise God, we made it back to Tenwek Hospital on Thursday evening, January 3rd, five days after our departure from the US on Dec 29th from Atlanta, GA. It was generally a smooth, safe, and successful transition back to Kenya. Since our arrival in Nairobi on New Year's eve, we have dropped our two older daughters off at Rift Valley Academy to begin the second term of the 2012-13 school year. This is Kayla's first experience (8th grade) at the MK boarding school while this is the third year for our daughter Melody (junior in HS) to attend. Within hours of arrival at Tenwek, I attended a surgery department farewell dinner for our two graduating general surgery chief residents, Dr. Agneta Odera and Dr. Arega Fekadu Leta. The following day, Friday, January 4th, after unpacking many suitcases, trunks, and boxes galore, Pam and I attended the very first graduation ceremony for our surgical residency program at Tenwek where Agneta and Arega received many honors and accolades before changing the tassel on their caps. I joined several other surgery faculty, including program directors, Dr. Russ White and Dr. Carol Spears, and Tenwek leaders in full graduation gowns/garb for the ceremony. I even learned that I was on the program to make a five minute speech as I donned my gown! It was a wonderful God-glorifying ceremony with a focus on two humble but incredibly gifted and capable young surgeons who have left an indelible mark on Tenwek Hospital over the last several years. They have set the standard very high for future chief residents who will follow in their footsteps. They will be missed greatly, Arega as he returns to his home in Ethiopia to assume responsibilities in a mission hospital there, and Agneta as she works to gain a fellowship position in pediatric surgery, possibly in South Africa. We hope that Agneta will be returning to Tenwek eventually to take up pediatric surgery practice here.
Our chief surgery residents Dr. Odera and Dr. Leta
Agneta and Arega with their PAACS graduation cake on Jan 4th.
This weekend we finally were able to take a break from all the festivities and actually organize our home and prepare for life again within the Tenwek community. Life is now quite different with three of our four kids gone and only Ashley, our 5th grader, here with us.
Lone Star Steven
Just three days before our family was scheduled to leave from Atlanta, our son Steven received word from his recruiting officer that he had been given a slot for basic training in the US Air Force starting January 1st! We celebrated with high fives, tears, and many hugs. We had prayed that such an opportunity would open up for Steve so that he could join a couple of friends who were already scheduled to start basic this month in Texas. One friend in particular is a Christian young man with whom Steven had worked out on numerous occasions at the YMCA and with whom Steven had qualified in early December to enter the Pararescue Jumper training after basic training. We have received word from Pam's folks that Steven arrived in San Antonio on January 3rd and had begun 8 weeks of basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base. We would greatly appreciate your prayers for Steven that he will 1) adjust quickly to life in the Air Force 2) find Christian fellowship within this training context 3) have no compromise in his walk with our Lord and be a magnetic witness for Christ.
Ministry at TenwekYesterday, Pam and I kicked off the Children's Bible quizzing season for this area with a coaches orientation session and registration for the kids. Three new sites, two schools and a church, are joining us this year. We are hoping for at least 150 children to be involved this year in studying and memorizing the second part of Acts, chapters 13 to 28. Our theme this year will be "Bringing salvation to the ends of the earth" taken from Acts 13:47b. When we see these kids in grades 4 to 8 get excited about learning God's Word, we get REALLY excited! Please pray with us that God's Word will work in amazing ways in these Kenyan kids' hearts and lives.
This week I (Mike) will be getting back to work in the hospital with my focus in the next six months being clinical general surgery. The Medical Superintendent role is being capably covered by Dr. John Spriegel so that I can focus on doing and teaching surgery for the next six months. In late November this year I plan on flying back to the US to take my second recertification examination in general surgery since finishing residency nearly 20 years ago. I have shared with the residents that we are going to get to know one another VERY well in the coming months. Two new residents joined the program this week as Agneta and Arega finished. Dr. Mark Oloo and Dr. Valentine Mitei started this long journey we call surgical residency training under the auspices of our surgical department and the oversight of the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons. Mark and Valentine bring our numbers back to ten residents this academic year.
The "Tenwek Ten": our surgical residents for 2013
Coming National electionsWe returned to Kenya to find many billboards and advertisements for various candidates running for offices in the government including the run for President of Kenya. National elections are scheduled for March 4th, less than two months away. You may remember that in 2007-08 the national elections were conducted here and immediately followed by widespread chaos and violence in reaction to disputed results. Will you pray with us over the coming weeks that God's peace will prevail over this event and results and that the enemy's attempts to bring destruction, violence, and bloodshed will be defeated?
We are SO GRATEFUL for YOU and YOUR PRAYERS for the Chupp family!
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Have a blessed New Year!
Mike and Pam Chupp