A Super Surgical Training Week! (May 17th)Ok, my wife might say I have just had too many cups of coffee this morning and my doctor might suggest that I am in a manic phase, but this morning in my devos I read Solomon's words from Prov 15:15 (NLT) "For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast!" The real explanation for my celebrating today is reaching the end of week one of the PAACS (Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons) biannual Basic Science Seminar. This week around 20 African surgical residents from several African nations, including Kenya, are being pumped full of good stuff spiritually, professionally, and surgically. The faculty in attendance (including Mike) number over 20 including visiting surgeons and physicians from the US. Rev. Stan Key, a long time friend of ours, is the "Spiritual Dean" of PAACS and has been sharing this week in morning worship from Exodus. Seven of our Tenwek surgery residents, Dr. Carol Spears, and myself have been in attendance this week. Yesterday the whole crew got into two buses and travelled into Nairobi to the Nairobi Surgical Skills Center at the University of Nairobi. For about 3 hours we enjoyed the opportunity to work with Christian surgical residents from all the PAACS programs, teaching them principles of knot tying, suturing, and performing bowel, blood vessel, ureter, and tendon surgery on specimens "donated" by a few pigs! (see pictures below) Each morning the first week the program directors, some of the spouses, and other faculty have met together to discuss with Stan and PAACS leadership ways to further develop our residency spiritual curriculum. The point of PAACS is NOT just to develop great African surgeons but to produce surgeons for Africa with big hearts for Christ and His Kingdom. Already 34 African surgeons have graduated from PAACS 5 year surgery training programs in five countries. The vision is to produce 100 African surgeons by 2020. Lord Jesus help us! Tenwek currently has 10 residents at four different levels of training and two recent graduates.
|Mike with Six Tenwek surgical residents attending conference|
Mike assists a resident from Ethiopia perform an aortic anastomosis at Nairobi Surgical Skills Center
|The entire PAACS group at Nairobi Surgical Skills Center|
Children's Bible Quizzing FinalsFor three months nearly 200 children from seven local schools/churches/orphanages studied the second half of the book of Acts and memorized up to 50 verses from chapters 12 to 28. We gave out a record number of gold medals this year (over 80!) for kids who quoted, word perfect, all 50 verses we assigned to the kids. Our theme this year was "Bringing salvation to the ends of the earth" taken from Acts 13:47b. The final competition took place on April 7th at Bethesda Africa Gospel Church with 8 teams in the older division and 6 in the younger division. As one of our seasoned coaches told me after the final quizzes "This was the best quizzing season ever by far!" (see children and coaches in our 2013 shirts below) Many thanks to the wonderful long term and short term missionary and national coaches who invested so many hours in these kids. Let us not forget that God's Word won't return to him void! Would you pray that God's Word will be remembered and powerful in the hearts and minds of these kids?
|Above: Pam with her Bible quizzing team Below: Kids who participated in quizzing finals in April|
Looming Leadership ChallengesAfter a one year "sabbatical" away from the official role of Medical Superintendent at Tenwek, Mike returns to the position again in early June. We are very grateful to Dr. John Spriegel, co-worker at Tenwek and also partner in our Michigan multi-specialty group, who has capably and faithfully held this role since June of 2012. John and his wife Linda, both WGM missionaries, are scheduled to return to the US in July with their soon to be high school graduates, twins Rebecca and Julia. Every year the role of "Med Sup" evolves into a responsibility for me (Mike) that demands a greater portion of my time and energy. To say that the job is "full time" is an understatement. At the same time, I really want to maintain my commitment to do clinical work, especially doing some patient care, surgery, and teaching of residents. Our WGM Country Director team, Jim and Alice Vanderhoof, are headed to the US for seven weeks this summer so I will also be taking an "Acting Country Director" role for WGM Kenya as well during that time. Am very grateful that Jim and Alice will be "monitoring" us missionaries by email and phone but I would be so appreciative of the prayers of God's people during this time they are away. Am glad that no major meetings or events are planned this summer by the mission or national church!
Steven's Homecoming (June 2nd)Some of you have so kindly asked about and prayed for our oldest, Steven, and followed his experience in the US Air Force. After completing basic training for two months at Lackland Air base and then five weeks of Indoctrination course to be a Pararescue Jumper (Air Force Special Forces branch), Steven decided that life as a PJ was not what he wanted or what God wanted for him. He persisted until his group of 150 hopefuls dropped to 45 in number and then called it quits. Only 22 of the original group of 150 actually finished the 9 week training! Usually this would mean a different posting in the Air Force, but these days, with sequester of military funds being the hot topic in Washington, nearly all the airmen who drop out of the PJ training are discharged immediately. Steven received his final discharge and release from a six year contract in mid May. We invited him to join us at Tenwek and he flew into Nairobi this last Thursday. His sisters, Pam, and I were VERY excited to see our big man in quite good physical shape. We already have identified several assignments that will capitalize on his great physical shape to accomplish (our hydroelectric facility is soon to be modified and improved, adding a second turbine to the plant). He seems very excited about the possibility of service at and around Tenwek as a volunteer, not just as an MK. As a family, we will be praying with Steven and exploring possible options for school and/or training in the coming months while with us at Tenwek. We know of a few families, both here in Kenya and in the US, who have regularly prayed for Steven and his future. We are humbled by such loving support of our big guy! A lot of wisdom and direction from the Father is needed and your prayers mean so much. Thank you.
Our family all together again, June 2nd