Dear Friends and Family:
It is hard to believe that the end of another year has rolled around. We are looking forward to the last week of teaching and attending school and eagerly anticipate the Christmas season.
On the morning of the November 25th, I finished the two lectures to the PA students and then drove to Raleigh to take my general surgery recertification exam. I really didn’t think it was too hard but recently I heard from a friend who took it and he thought it very difficult. He is a very smart professor at Lahey Clinic in Boston, so it makes me worried that I missed something. I won’t hear whether I pass until mid- to late January. There is always next year, but I had hoped this was the last time I would ever have to do something like this.
Because of all the time off with my father’s terminal illness and my mother’s heart surgery, I was not able to attend the COSECSA meeting in Ethiopia the first week of December. I missed being there, but am glad to report that our residents did very well. There was only one exception who, by the luck of the draw, was asked questions about ICU care – something he does not have any practical experience with since he trains in a rural mission hospital. I was deeply saddened that he failed. However, three of the other walked away with the top three scores and the others passed handily. This was the first time that any residents from PAACS sat for the highest level of exams in general surgery. Equally important, the comportment of our residents was something that was noticed and remarked upon. Several papers were presented by PAACS faculty and students.
Speaking of my mother’s recovery, she is doing very well, especially if you take into account her age and the massive amount of surgery she underwent. My sisters have been taking turns staying with her and we will go up the day after Christmas. In early January, she will make a post-operative visit to Cleveland Clinic and then spend some time with my sister in Tennessee during the worst of the winter weather back in Michigan. Our appreciation is great for all who prayed, written and supported her and us.
The last few weeks have been busy as I have spent many hours in my “spare” time working on our new PAACS website and software module. I praise God for the men who have invested in our ministries and have done so at no cost to us or PAACS. Please go to www.paacs.net to look around at the elegantly simple website (which is now mobile-compliant and much easier for me to keep up to date). The new PAACS software will be installed at several new PAACS hospitals in the coming weeks and should make record-keeping and communication much, much easier. Now that those projects are almost ready to put to bed, I will be turning a lot of time toward mathematical modeling for some proposed budgetary changes for PAACS. The Commission wants to look seriously at a change in our funding paradigm and I need to be prepared to judge the impact on us and the mission hospitals as well as be prepared to answer all the “what ifs”.
Such administrative stuff is vitally important but extremely boring to read about. That is why administrative missionaries often struggle to have their support goals met. We are planning to have our yearly S3 Ministries meeting this coming Tuesday evening and in looking over the numbers, our income lagged behind outgo by $15k to 18k each of the last two years. That has eaten severely into our surplus. If you wish to consider helping us before the end of the tax year, we would be very appreciative. We do not draw any salary but pay only the expenses out of S3 Ministries (in addition to gifts we sometime give to other ministries that desperately need help). Checks made out to S3 Ministries can be sent to PO Box 300, Linden, NC 28356 as a tax-deductible contribution. Thank you.
Sean goes to school through this coming week. His school has bent over backward to help us make the transition back into home-schooling next semester.
We are getting ready for next year’s tour of duty. Sean was not too thrilled about another yellow fever immunization but tolerated it well. We all had to renew our typhoid immunization but fortunately, it was once again available as an oral preparation, so we are now good to go. We had to get our visas for Togo and Ghana (and I had to get one for Niger), so we have filled out all the applications, paid the ever-increasing fees and have sent our passports off to Washington, DC. I just hope they return in time and don’t get lost in the transit. I am spending a lot of time working out the details, making sure I have ground transportation and lodging lined up and the meetings are set up.
This is our proposed schedule for 2013. The asterisk mean Micky and Sean are traveling with me – which I really appreciate.
- January 18 – February 1 – Trip to Malawi, Ethiopia and Niger
- February 14-28* – CMDA-CMDE Conference in Thailand
- March 1–8* – Holiday in Australia between Thailand and Africa – visiting two donors for PAACS
- March 9–30* – Togo & Ghana (WACS meeting and work at Baptist Medical Centre, Nalerigu, Ghana)
- April 5–6 – CMDA-PAACS Meeting in Chicago
- April 12-13 – CMDA-CMDE Meeting in Chicago
- April 20 - Advisory Council meeting, Campbell University School of Medicine
- May 2-5* – CMDA Annual Conference, NC
- May 9 – June 1* – Kenya – PAACS Basic Science Conference, Kijabe, Tenwek
- Jun 7–9* – ABWE MMI symposium
- Early July – WVA tropical medicine course (tentative)
- July 7-28* - Working at Mbingo Baptist Hospital, Cameroon
- October 4 –6 – Global Impact Conference, Weaverville, NC
- October 11-13 - Prescription for Renewal, Asheville NC
- November 1-2 - PAACS Board Meeting, Chicago IL
- November 7-9 - GHMC and Friends of PAACS Meeting, Louisville, KY
- November 29 – December 7 - COSECSA exam and AGM, Harare, Zimbabwe
Christmas and Easter are book-ends. One must have the other. It was not just a cooing babe in that manger; it was the Savior of the world – who, as innocent as a babe, took upon Himself the sins of those of us who were not innocent. He came not only to die, but to bring life. May that be a reality and a comfort to you during this Christmas season.
Merry Christmas – and a very happy New Year,
Bruce for Micky and Sean