Dear Friends and Family:
Happy New Year and welcome to the first edition of the 2013 volume (volume 16) of The SteffeScope! I find it very hard to believe that we have been involved in missions almost as long as I practiced surgery here in Fayetteville and by the end of year, it will have been longer.
We trust that this has been a good holiday season for all of you. We had a peaceful holiday and our plans were interrupted only by the big storm that necessitating leaving for Michigan a day earlier than planned. We left on Christmas morning rather than the following day. The strategy worked and the roads were perfect. It was good to spend the time all our family and to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
About 10 days before Christmas, Joey Aucoin (Michelle’s boyfriend and a screenwriter in Hollywood) wrote me and told me that he had decided to follow Jesus fully and oh-by-the-way, he would like to ask Michelle to marry him. Would I give my permission? Honestly, not entirely sure which part thrilled me most – his salvation or Michelle’s happiness. You can see in the picture of the two of them taken shortly before Christmas that they were both pretty happy about how it turned out. They will marry in California June 8. I had to cancel a speaking engagement I already had for that date but we are all set to be there.
While in Michigan, I drove 2½ hours each way to Kalamazoo one day to meet again with the programmer for the PAACS software and met with Ed Box and Terry Coleman of WorldWide Lab Improvement. We made good progress and only have a few bugs in this version to get rid of (and already making our list of improvements for the next version). I am continuing to polish the user’s manual and going over long lists of procedures that will be included – it takes hours and hours of work. My PAACS administrator, Terry McLamb has started putting in the names and information about our short-term faculty into the new software database and she loves it.
God has been so unbelievably generous with His support of the ministries that we are involved in. PAACS started the year in a big hole but God has provided enough funds that I think we will end the year in the black and will have had enough money to correct our deficit in our reserves and pay for the entire computerized database system including the installation and training of the missionaries. In S3 Ministries, we have also had enough contributions to start 2013 on a good basis (although we still had expenses greater than income for the past two years). I must confess that I don’t always have the faith that I should have (the glass is ½ empty) and this outpouring has been a great lesson for me in God’s faithfulness.
On Friday, January 18, I leave for Africa. I am going alone this time although one surgeon from PAACS will join me the first ten days in Malawi and another surgeon will join me in Niger the last week. The purpose of the visit to Malawi is to see if two Adventist Hospitals in that country are suitable sites for training. One is in Blantyre and the other is nearby. We will spend the first part of the week in Blantyre and then go the last part of the weekend for meetings in Lilongwe. In Lilongwe, we will also visit Dr. Jon Fielder, a physician-missionary and the CEO of African Healthcare Mission Foundation and the Daeyang Luke Christian Medical School which has been started by the Korean church. Then on Tuesday, January 29th, I fly to Ethiopia. There I will spend a few days at Myungsung Christian Medical Centre and the new associated Christian medical school. At the end of the week, I will fly to Niger, stay overnight in the guesthouse and then hop a missionary plane to the hospital in Galmi. We will be there just to see how the program is going and to see if there is anything we can do to help. At the end of the week in wee hours of the morning February 9, I will fly back via Morocco and New York to get ready to leave just a few short days later for Thailand.
Praise and Prayer:
- Praise God for Mom’s continuing recovery. Please pray that her strength will return to normal and her arthritic pain becomes more tolerable. Pray that she will gain weight and muscle mass.
- Please pray for Micky and Sean while I am gone.
- Praise God that I passed my general surgery recertification exam.
- Praise God for providing the financial needs for both PAACS and for our ministry (S3 Ministries). We thank Him for partners like you.
- Pray for effectiveness and God’s hand on all that is done on this upcoming trip. Pray for His leading and His wisdom.
Yours and His, for the peoples of Africa,
Bruce for Micky and Sean