Dear Friends and Family:
We have really enjoyed the spring here in NC. We are usually gone for the beauty, but unseasonable cold weather in March delayed the blossoming of all the blooming azaleas and trees. We have enjoyed both the weather and the color. The fresh strawberries have been a rare treat as well.
Sean has gotten back into the groove of home-school on a daily basis but enjoyed a three day respite when he went back to his old classroom to take the standardized testing for his grade. He thinks he did pretty well by his own estimate and enjoyed being back with his friends. This evening, we had an early birthday party for Sean. He turns 12 on May 23 but we will be in Kenya, so we had a little family celebration for him. It was good to have his brother Ryan come and to have his sister Bethany there. Bethany’s mother, Jeri, also came since she is not up to driving. We played some games of cornhole and then played with his new toy after supper. We laughed a lot and ate too much.
Bruce has been blessed to have a few weeks at home in order to get everything done that had accumulated and needed to be done. The two Commission meetings (CMDE and PAACS) generated some work that had to be finished. For examples, an upcoming fund-raising campaign for PAACS necessitated over 4000 handwritten signatures (that took several hours spread over four days and he suffered more than one hand cramp!). He is continuing to help with the many details necessary to pull off the upcoming Basic Sciences Conference that is described below and to write the lectures he must give there. He is also trying to set up oral examinations in July to be held in Cameroon. He has to communicate with the West African College of Surgeons, set up the logistics and schedule the exams. The PAACS software module requires that there be some agreements between the parties and that took up a few days to write those memorandums of understanding. There was a need for examination questions for the upcoming PAACS annual exam to be given July 6 and so he also took a few days to write those 75 questions and to edit others that were contributed. A good part of this last week was used to edit an online dissection guide that will be used this fall in his anatomy class.
One Saturday morning two weeks ago, Bruce participated in the Advisory Council for the Department of Medical Missions and Global Health at the new Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM). The school is just 20 miles up the road. They are trying to create as “Christian” a school as one can in today’s environment. They have filled all 165 slots and have another 97 on the waiting list. They had over 3500 applicants for this first year of operation. Many of the candidates stated explicitly that the ethos of the program is what brought them to consider it. Bruce sure hopes CUSOM can maintain a Christian emphasis but the reality is that the majority of the faculty are not believers and in today’s society, it is hard for any school to maintain its spiritual roots (look at Princeton, Harvard, Baylor, Wake Forest and hundreds more). Still, we may influence some and that may be worth it all.
The three of us leave next Tuesday evening for Kenya. The relatively new direct flight from Raleigh to London, England cuts one flight and several hours off of our travel time. We will land in Nairobi on Wednesday evening. On Friday, Bruce will meet with some of the surgeons and administrator at Kijabe Hospital about several matters and then will spend the weekend at the Brackenhurst International Convention Centre in preparation for the Third Biannual PAACS Basic Science Conference. It is designed for the first and second year residents (21 of them this year) and there will be 43 other faculty members and their families. It is designed to give some training in pertinent anatomy and basic science, teach advanced trauma life skills, to teach some practical pathology, to teach wound care seminars, to teach surgical skills (including ENT and orthopedics) and to indoctrinate the residents. It is also a valuable time for the program directors as well, giving a time for their family to relax, for a special spiritual program for them and for all of us in PAACS to put our heads together for prayer and planning. We are looking forward to daily challenges from the Bible given by Rev. Stan Key, the Spiritual Dean of PAACS. He will also be giving the family seminar for the faculty. No doubt, he will do a lot of informal counseling as well. Micky will be helping run the children’s program during the mornings. The evenings are times of fun, fellowship and sharing and we are hoping to give the residents a brief taste of a safari on the Saturday afternoon. The days are often 13 hours long. Certainly grueling but a time during which great memories are made and good relationships are born.
After the two weeks at Brackenhurst, we will return with the team from Tenwek to that hospital and spend a week there. The last weekend will be a couple days off and then we fly back to the US on June 5th arriving in the evening. Because Michelle, Bruce’s daughter, is getting married on the 8th of June, we will have to get back on the plane only 36 hours later to fly to Los Angeles. In case you are wondering, the wedding was announced well after we had already purchased our tickets and the cost to change them was prohibitive. We have already half-packed our suitcases for that trip. Part of our time the last few weeks has been spent arranging a venue and a caterer for the reception she will have here in Fayetteville next October. As soon as we land on June 5th, we will throw our laundry in the washing machine and also send our passports to the Cameroonian embassy and pray that they get back by July 5 so we can go there for the month of July. That overnight envelope is already labeled and ready to send as soon as we can add our passports.
Praise and Prayer:
- Pray as we travel to and help run the Basic Science Conference in Kenya. Pray for traveling safety for all attending and that the new residents will both learn and bond together.
- Pray as we establish oral examinations in Cameroon in July.
Yours, for the peoples of Africa,
Bruce with Micky and Sean