Ok, so I am not a white water kinda guy nor is my better half, Pam, so why a title about rafts and rapids? Well, first, talking about Class 5 challenges sounds...well, exciting! In just a little over two months our family of four will be saying farewell to our national and missionary co-workers at Tenwek Hospital (July 13th)just one month short of the twenty year mark. We attended the biannual missionary medicine conference held near Marathon, Greece for nearly two weeks in April along with nearly 700 other medical missionaries including families. The event is sponsored by the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA), the wonderful 80 year old organization that I have been asked to join as Senior VP on Sept 1st in Bristol, TN. At the conference it was officially announced that I was taking on Senior VP, Dr. Gene Rudd's role, coming along side former Tenwek Medical Director and now for 20 years CMDA CEO, Dr. David Stevens. Many good talks with long time friends and colleagues in the medical missionary community followed with many words of encouragement, delight, and words of wisdom on the way forward. What a great joy to receive encouragement and support from many of our heroes and co-workers in medical missions who work all over Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. CMDA and Dr. Stevens have made it a top priority to "fan the flame" of the call of God on the hearts and lives of over 1,400 young Christian medical professionals in the states who desire to serve God in missions. We had some really good talks with CMDA staff and leadership at the conference with our first assignment being given to us by Dr. Stevens at the conference....to represent CMDA at the Thailand Medical Missions conference in February 2017. This is the sister conference to the Greece conference and focuses on training and spiritual renewal for medical missionaries primarily serving in the Far East and Asia during the odd years.
|WGM Kenya team at the Marathon, Greece CMDA conference April 4th to 14th|
After attending our annual WGM Kenya retreat on the coast the latter part of April and dropping Kayla and Ashley back at RVA to begin Term 3, we arrived back at Tenwek for the final week of April. An Executive committee of the Tenwek Board of Governors met and appointed Dr. Steve Burgert as my replacement as the Tenwek Medical Superintendent, starting July 1st. Steve is a gastroenterologist who has been at Tenwek for nearly 7 years with his wife Alene. Both Steve and Alene had shared with us that God had been preparing them for more involvement in leadership and administration in their ministries at Tenwek and in Kenya. When we shared with the Burgerts about leaving Tenwek this summer and the need for a new Medical Director, Steve immediately started thinking and praying about this possibility. This particular issue of handing over the medical staff leadership was one of my biggest concerns and God very clearly took care of it with the willingness and availability of Dr. Burgert with the support of the Tenwek CEO and Board. Over the next 7 to 8 weeks, Steve and I will be spending a fair amount of time together understanding the responsibilities he will be assuming and working together on many projects and medical staff issues. Please pray for Dr. Burgert as he takes on this responsibility of leading the medical staff and serving with other chief officers in the management and mission of Tenwek Hospital which is in its 80th year.
|Dr. Steve Burgert and Mike after Tenwek Executive Board appointed Steve as the next Medical Superintendent starting July 1st as we return to the states to join CMDA.|
Well, what about that house you were going to build at Tenwek? Good question! We have been quite pleased with the progress on the foundation and lower level since the first of April. The lower level is beginning to take shape and the construction team is right on schedule. Dr. Mike and Julie Ganey, our newest WGM career missionaries at Tenwek, are taking on the role of the main clients this month and have adjusted the plans a bit to suit the needs of their young family. Mike, a pediatric surgeon, and his wife Julie have two small children. They are hoping to finish the house some time in the late fall with a move in by Thanksgiving or Christmas. We are quite pleased that the construction costs are within budget thus far. Thanks to many of you who gave so generously one year ago to make this new home a reality at Tenwek as housing has become very tight with new families wanting to come over the next 6 to 12 months to serve with our team.
|New Tenwek house under construction with Dr. Mike Ganey and Pam in the background checking out the progress with the construction team this week.|
With just two months to go, you might guess that we have a lot of packing and many goodbyes to say at Tenwek. Yes we do! On the other hand, I still have some important Tenwek staffing issues to deal with which need much prayer. One critical issue for prayer is that the Kenya Medical Board decided this year not to license or renew the license of doctors with DO degrees from outside Kenya (Doctor of Osteopathic medicine). DO's and MD's have become nearly synonymous in the United States with graduates completing a four year medical school and the same specialty residencies. Why the Board changed and is refusing to license DO's, we don't yet know. This will impact many mission hospitals like Tenwek as some of our missionaries and short term visitors have DO degrees including one of our new long term missionary doctors coming in about 7 months, Dr. Aaron Kelley, our first career Emergency Medicine trained doctor at Tenwek. Several of us, as leaders in our hospitals, plan on a meeting with the Board CEO in Nairobi as early as this Wednesday to ask why the change and can the decision be revisited? We have been in contact with leadership of the American Osteopathic Association and the American Federation of State Medical Boards to get information and support for the equivalency of the MD and DO degrees. Stay tuned for feedback on this issue! Several sister mission hospitals have joined with us in prayer and communication support for this endeavor. Please help us with your prayers as this decision stands to impact the careers of several missionary doctors in Kenya.
So what about that transition and the RAFT? Our two older kids, Steven and Melody, underwent excellent preparation at Rift Valley Academy for life and learning in the US after they graduated from high school. The concept of a RAFT or Reconciliation, Affirmation, Farewells, Transition, has been part of our family discussions several times over the years. Now it is time for kids AND parents to prepare our RAFT for the move home to the US. We feel so blessed that within our community at Tenwek, we feel at peace about our relationships with national and missionary co-workers who have encouraged us and cried with us and prayed over us as July approaches. At our WGM missionary retreat last month, the entire field, over 50 missionaries and their kids, gathered around us to pray about our change in ministry to join CMDA after two decades at Tenwek. We have so much to Affirm here in Kenya in terms of our wonderful WGM co-workers and the hospital leadership and staff. The Farewells will be difficult and we will really grieve over this goodbye for many reasons. The paradox is that we are very excited about what lies ahead on this path. Already God has given us some BIG TIME help. Our renters in Michigan have agreed to buy our house on Maiden Lane and have signed a purchase agreement. A rental house has just become available on the CMDA property, a five minute walk from Mike's future office in September. My folks have graciously offered for us to have use of their minivan and CMDA plans on providing us with a second car for me to use.
We have tickets to fly out of Nairobi on the evening of July 14th, right after attending the RVA graduation ceremony in which four of our Tenwek MK's will finish high school this year, a record number. God willing, we plan on moving all of our things out of storage in Michigan with the help of a moving company and heading south to Bristol the week of July 25th. Our two adult kids, Steven and Melody, are very excited that we will be back in the US to stay and we are very excited to be with them again this summer. We covet your prayers through these next 2 1/2 months, just as you have prayed for us through many years of victories and challenges, depending upon God's hand to see us through.
A Final training opportunity....Over the next four to six weeks I will be leading the Tenwek clinical staff through a CMDA spiritual intervention training course called "Grace Prescriptions". This 12 module course was produced through the efforts of CMDA's Senior VP, Dr. Gene Rudd, the doctor I'll be coming along side for training in September. The course has had a significant impact on Christian healthcare providers in the US and I believe will be well received and a big help to us at Tenwek. Our first session last week was a good kick-off for the course. We will meet every Wednesday morning for an hour to get through this training that promotes faith flags, faith stories, praying with patients, and other approaches to meeting the spiritual needs of Tenwek's patients. Would you pray that all our clinical staff who attend will be able to see and understand better how they can be more like our role model Great Physician, Jesus Christ, in meeting not just the physical needs of Kenyans but their spiritual needs at the bedside as well. See the workbook for the course below....
Pam and I want you to know how deeply we feel that the support team that sent us to Kenya in 1996 to serve the Lord Jesus at Tenwek Hospital (and that includes you) is responsible for our being equipped and empowered to make a difference in Kenya. Without your prayers, encouragement and amazing giving, we would not have made it, no way.
I'll close with some words to a song by Andrae Crouch that Pam and I have each sung several times in our earlier years even before getting married.
How can I say thanks for the things you have done for me?
Things so undeserved yet you give to prove your love for me.
The voices of a million angels could not express my gratitude.
All that I am and ever hope to be, I owe it all to you.
To God be the glory, to God be the glory, to God be the glory
For the things He has done.
With His blood He has saved me, with His power He has raised me.
To God be the glory for the things He has done.
Just let me live my life, let it be pleasing, Lord to thee.
And should I gain any praise, let it go to Calvary.
With His blood He has saved me. With His power He has raised me.
To God be the Glory for the things He has done.
On His Mission which He makes possible,
Dr. Mike and Pam Chupp
Missionaries with World Gospel Mission at Tenwek Hospital, Bomet, Kenya