Happy New Year! Thirteen years ago today, I finished my last night of call as a general surgeon in the US and began this amazing journey. Glad it was undertaken by faith – had I been shown the twists and turns in the path, I might not have followed it. Disobedient, I would have missed out on a great deal! God has been amazing and Micky, Sean and I look forward to another year of serving Him. We wish you a prosperous and blessed New Year and may you grow closer to each other and to God.
Activities in December: The month of December was a blur. After returning from Africa, I plunged into the end of the semester and final exam process. One student from each of the three classes did not pass and will take a remediation exam on Monday, January 3. Despite a reputation for being a “tough” professor, I find these decisions very gut-wrenching. It is difficult to me to balance the needs and demands of the profession and society versus the long-held dreams and hope of students who struggle to obtain to the information they must have to be a safe medical provider. I sincerely hope they have studied sufficiently to pass without question.
We took a very short trip by car to Michigan to visit our folks before Christmas. Michelle, my oldest daughter, flew in and was able to spend some time with my folks as well. Sean enjoyed the snow, sledding and was spoiled by the generosity of his grandparents, aunts and uncles. We drove home on Christmas Eve and were blessed by good driving weather both ways. After a blessed and quiet family Christmas Day, the snow began to fall. Eight inches of wet, fluffy snow paralyzed the area for two days and brought great pleasure to the kids in the neighborhood. We just relaxed and tried to get all the Christmas gifts to work!
The Basic Science conference in Brackenhurst will be very interesting. We will have 25 lecturers in anatomy, physiology, trauma, pathology and orthopedics coming to give lectures to 15 first and second year residents. We have also invited other COSECSA residents from Nairobi and hope they can come. The PAACS residents will also undergo a surgical boot-camp; workshops in ENT, pathology, general surgery and orthopedics and be introduced to a new curriculum on patient care (the Virtual Patient). We will have some books to distribute, some flash drives chock full of information, some special gifts from Micky and me to give to the Program Directors and some very special pieces of equipment for the hospitals to use for cytology. We will also review the Virtual Patient curriculum and hope to be able to roll out a new customized software package for each of the hospitals (accomplishing that goal will be uncertain right up to the wire). I have spent many an hour trying to coordinate all of that travel and schedule.
Hospital Radio: I also hope to talk to the folks at the various mission hospitals and convince them to consider our Hospital Radio project. The hospital in Gabon (Bongolo) is in the process of ordering the equipment for their pilot project. During the off-hours at Brackenhurst, I hope to generate some interest in starting the programs at the other hospitals. We have been blessed in S3 Ministries with sufficient funds to start it in at least three different hospitals. Please pray with us that some others will catch the vision.
Recommendation in the “Worst Title for a Fascinating Book” category of “How I Will Improve Myself in 2011”: For those who want a strong intellectual and apologetic approach (fascinating by Muslim scholar), I recommend Peter Kreeft’s book, “A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist”. I read it straight through at one sitting – and now will reread it to understand it completely. Fascinating. By just the title, I wouldn’t have read it either – at least without a recommendation by John Patrick.
Praise and Prayers:
- I praise God for Dad’s recovery and Mom’s healing of her broken ribs. Dad begins physical therapy for his replaced shoulder next week. Please keep him in prayers.
- Please continue to keep my daughter Bethany in your prayers – for healing and for the decision about returning to school sometime this year.
- Pray for safety while traveling and for a sensitive ear to be coupled with wisdom as I visit and counsel with so many. William Johnson, missionary to West Africa who lived from 1854 – 1928, once said, “Do pray for our real union in heart; I think it is very difficult for some to realize our union in life and soul, amidst such differences of disposition.”
- Praise God for all of you who helped with financial support of S3 Ministries this year. What a blessing and we are eager to use it accordingly as the Spirit shows us.
- Pray for Sean and Micky as they resume home schooling. It will be an adjustment for both.
- Please pray for us as we face our extensive schedule which still has a great number of uncertainties, including whether we serve on the Mercy Ship for 3 months.
- Praise God than a mechanized attack on our website two days ago was unsuccessful. It had been destroyed by one last year.
- Pray for the five new PAACS residents starting in December and January.
Bruce for Micky and Sean