Surgery Department at Tenwek Hospital, January 2015
In January, the Tenwek surgical department celebrated the second graduation from our five year general surgical residency. Two chief residents, Dr. Jack Okumu and Dr. Elijah Mwaura, finished their five year training at Tenwek Hospital and were recognized in the graduation ceremony. In our second graduation in three years, the two chiefs “passed the torch” to the incoming chief residents, Dr. Philip Ouko and Dr. Damaris Mbalu, who are now fifth year residents and chiefs for the program. Dr. Okumu has taken a position as staff surgeon in his home town of Kisumu, Kenya and Dr. Mwaura has taken a position as staff surgeon at Chogoria Mission Hospital in the Mount Kenya region.
Our friend and partner, Dr. Carol Spears, Surgery Program Director at Tenwek wrote the following this week:
Tenwek is currently training fourteen residents - eleven GS and three Ortho. These residents provide vital services to patients and have improved the overall quality of surgical patient care at Tenwek. Residents provide coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week for any surgical or ortho emergency. Attending surgeons backup the residents and come in to see patients or operate as needed. The residents, however are the front line in providing much needed care to patients who come in with urgent needs for general surgery emergencies such as appendicitis, volvulus, perforated ulcers, bowel obstructions, etc. The volume of trauma in Kenya continues to rise as roads have improved and the numbers of vehicles and motorcycles have increased. Trauma patients and assault patients who come to Tenwek at all hours of the day and night are seen in the Emergency Department and reviewed immediately by junior and senior level residents and the surgery attendings. It is inspiring to see the growth in the residents as they progress through the program and become confident, well-trained, capable surgeons who have compassion for their patients and concern for the spiritual condition as well as their physical healing.
Tenwek is blessed to have a wonderful camaraderie amongst the residents and faculty. It is a “family" that not only works together, but also plays together, prays together, worships together. There is intentional time built into the week for spiritual development, for Bible Study, for meeting to discuss improvement of the residency program. But there is also intentional time built into the week for play and for eating together and for being together outside of the work environment. This is an important part of what has built a strong team spirit and it is important to us to protect it and ask God to grow it and foster it. It is also why we ask for an in-person interview so that we can try to discern the people who are the most likely to be a good match for Tenwek for the five years of training. Most visiting surgeons to Tenwek echo what the faculty has known for a long time as they leave and say, “Working with the residents was the best part of my whole experience at Tenwek!"
As we established the Tenwek Surgery Residency in January of 2008, we claimed Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” As we look at what God has done, we are in awe and we recite Psalm 118:23 “the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”
Please pray with us for the ongoing success of the surgical training program at Tenwek Hospital under the auspices of the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) and the College of Surgeons of East Central and South Africa (COSECSA). The PAACS vision is to produce 100 Christian African surgeons for Africa by 2020.
Support and House Project Update:
As of February 1st, we remain just $1,500 a month short of being fully supported, with support levels being determined by World Gospel Mission. We have set our target to raise half of this support or more by Easter, April 5th. For the new house we hope to build at Tenwek staring this fall, $23,653 has been given to date and thus we are still trusting God for the remaining $76,000 to come in before our return in early August. Tenwek is preparing for seven new doctors and their families to be housed at Tenwek in the next 18 months (with no current doctors retiring or planning to leave) so our house construction project is critical to helping with this shortage. Three physician families are going on HMA this summer but will be returning in mid-2016, making that time frame our target for completing the house construction.
Would you pray and think about helping us build a house at Tenwek Hospital so that our current home at Tenwek (4+ bedrooms) can be used by a younger, growing physician’s family?
You can join our support team or donate to our ministry or the house project by going to the following link: www.wgm.org/chupp . You can also send a check to the mission address at the end of this Chupplink with a note attached giving direction on how the gift is to be used.
This year has been a wild ride for us as our children have become adjusted to life in America. We have a full house again, as Steven and Melody both moved home after one semester in the dorm at their colleges. Steven has decided to re-enlist in the Air Force and is well on his way to signing a 4-year contract. He hopes to work toward a job in Combat Control, which is a 2 year training “pipeline”. Melody moved home after a hard semester at Cedarville University, and is now taking classes at the local community college and working part-time at Starbucks. She loves being a barista and giving me the scoop on all the specialty drinks there! She has learned to drive and is enjoying her new-found independence. Kayla is also learning to drive and has her learner permit. She and Ashley are tolerating school here, but are very ready to return to their friends and RVA.
We are cherishing this time with everyone at home, since we know that time is limited. Steven could ship out as early as April, and Melody is already looking at colleges in the Greenville, SC area as this will put her very close to Mike’s parents. She and Mike plan on a college trip over Melody’s spring break in a couple of weeks. Please pray for all of us as our two oldest make their way to becoming independent young adults, and for peace for Mike and I as we leave them here in July.
Mike and Pam
Missionaries with World Gospel Mission
Serving at Tenwek Hospital Bomet, Kenya
US cell: 269-985-8564
US address: 487 Maiden Lane, St. Joseph, MI 49085