Amazing that a month has passed since our last newsletter. I am in Orlando where our family is vacationing at a time-share with my folks. I am taking a break this morning from my study of the book of Hebrews, one of the classes for my latest Master’s degree from Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania. Hard to study when the beautiful weather and lovely pool beckons. Sean is also studying (home school), but with a better attitude than mine at times.
On March 4, I addressed several hundred alumni physicians at the Loma Linda University Annual Postgraduate Course. I talked on the topic of surgical education in Africa, emphasizing PAACS and encouraging their involvement. That weekend, I also enjoyed the CME lectures and a great concert by Steve Green and Larnelle Harris. While there, I met with the two surgeons who will be coming later this summer to inspect that PAACS programs under the auspices of LLU, which functions as our accrediting agency. I also met with the head of the department of surgery, Dr. Carlos Garberoglio, to discuss how the changes in the regulations for American residents might promote a closer relationship between his department and our training sites.
I spent the rest of the week in Los Angeles with my daughter Michelle. We had a great time and the highlight came on Saturday night when she won the juried award for the Best Short Narrative film at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. “The Interview” is a black comedy featuring the next-to-last man on earth trying to get a job from the last man on earth. In the picture below left, Bill Glass and Michelle ham it up for the premier showing of the film. Glass is a comedic character actor who is building his career. You may recognize him from the E-surance ads which are presently running. The Interview is not commercially available but if you e-mail me, I can perhaps find a way to get you a link to download it.
The film has high production values and the scenery filmed in Thailand is breathtaking. Muir is seeking distribution for this film and the novel (which he also wrote) is being printed. These products have family-friendly values (reflective of Muir’s many years with Youth for Christ and as a pastor) and are great for boys and girls between age 7 and 15 (and fun for childish adults, too!) Please put these on your list for your favorite children to enjoy and look for them to become publicly available.
On the way south to Florida, we stopped to visit our friends Bill and Hope Deans. We first met Bill in the ravaged city of Sarajevo in 1998 on our trip with Samaritan’s Purse and Dr. Mel Cheatham. The Deans lead The Mustard Seed, a great missionary support agency located in Charleston, SC which has work around the world. Please go to www.mustardseed.org to read more. The ministry, like many, is in financial straits, so if you find something you wish to support, please do so. All administration of this agency are unpaid volunteers.
This past Sunday, we spoke to 150 in the combined adult Sunday School classes of the Heritage Baptist Church in Lakeland, Florida. We shared the PAACS ministry with them. We enjoyed some time with our childhood friends, Dean and Jill Johnson. Dean works as a draftsman for a local construction company after years as the dean of the Lakeland Christian Schools, but he continues his ministry as a chaplain for the Tigers minor league team in Lakeland, as a draftsman for Construction for Worldwide Evangelism and work with the church. I admire him greatly and enjoy his long friendship.
The end of next week, we are going to be in Atlanta before we return to NC. We will be attending the Emory Global Health Conference and using the time there to speak to the Atlanta CMDA, encourage Dr. Jon and Bekah Pollock who will be leaving for Soddo Christian Hospital in August as a surgeon with the World Medical Missions Post-Residency graduate program, speak with several mission pastors of local churches at a special breakfast and to speak to some possible donors.
We are also preparing for the Spring Business meeting of both the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons (August 8 and 9) and the Friends of PAACS dinner (April 9) in Chicago (it is free – contact me if you wish to come). We are also getting ready for the Spring business meeting of the Commission for Medical and Dental Education (a ministry of the Christian Medical and Dental Association) which will be held the following week. I have some serious planning and report writing to do before then.
Tomorrow, we are celebrating my father’s 85th birthday and praise God for his continued health despite many potential problems. He is a blessing to us and I am honored to call him Dad.
Praise and Prayers:
- Praise God that He has answered your and our prayers for an Ethiopian license for Dr. Stephanie Hail. She is supposed to get it in a few weeks. Please continue to pray for Dr. Haileyesus Tesfaye as we seek to solve his medical licensure issues. This licensure issue threatens to undo PAACS’ entire accreditation in Ethiopia and can only be solved by God’s intervention.
- Praise God that we were able to get our application for additional accreditation in to the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa. They are meeting April 15. Pray that they will accept our application and agree to come and inspect our programs. Pray also that our Memorandum of Understanding with that organization will finally be signed.
- Pray for us as we prepare for the PAACS and the CMDE meetings coming up. Pray for those who attend, that they will be wise in their decisions and thoughts.
- Pray for some meetings for Dr. Pollock and for me with some possible donors for the PAACS program at Soddo Christian Hospital.
- Pray for the missionary surgical faculty at all of our sites. They are all overworked and overtired. Pray for God’s strength for them.
- We are taking this vacation at the insistence of our accountability group. Pray that we will be rested and rejuvenated as we enjoy the time together.
- A dear friend and supporter of our ministry has lost her husband to metastatic melanoma (diagnosed only a few short months ago) and another’s husband is facing a diagnosis of advanced carcinoma of the esophagus. Please remember them in your prayers.
Bruce with Micky and Sean