Dear Friends and Family:
We are in the Methodist Guesthouse in Nairobi, getting ready to leave for the airport tomorrow evening to fly home. It will be a chaotic week because we will arrive in the US tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon, will have to do everything that needs to be done on Thursday and then leave the wee hours of Friday morning to fly from Raleigh-Durham to Los Angeles. We will hit the ground running with rehearsals and rehearsal dinner that day. Michelle, my oldest daughter is getting married on Saturday, to a fine young man and brother in Christ, Joey Aucoin.
We arrived at Tenwek Hospital Thursday afternoon (the Thursday before last) from the conference at Brackenhurst and immediately became involved with the surgical residency there. They were kind enough to let me attend their spiritual retreat on Saturday and that was a real blessing for me. After the loose ends from previous night’s call were attended to, we drove the hour and half to Kericho. Carol Spears had made arrangements to spend the day at the Mara Mara Club on the Findlay Tea Estate. Kericho is in the center of the tea-growing areas and this tea estate is one of the biggest concerns with over 16,000 acres under cultivation. This club, once the center of country club life for the expatriates and higher-ranking officials of the area, was a little threadbare but we had it completely to ourselves. There were tennis courts, a pool, a squash court, an exercise gym and billiards to entertain us. Not having the right equipment, a group of us made up a rather odd form of volleyball with four to a side – we laughed until our sides hurt and then the next few days, it hurt for me to move!
After lunch, I gave a challenge centered on Joshua chapter one and the need to “be strong and courageous.” After that, a presentation was made by Carol Spears on the White and Chapman book “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People.” The individuals identified their own languages of appreciation and then wrote encouragements to the others. I was deeply touched by what some of them spontaneously wrote to me.
Sunday was the first real day of rest since we had arrived in Kenya. I remained active with the residency all week, rounding or attending conferences in the morning, having important conversations with the faculty and operating four of the six weekdays I was here. I was in the clinic the majority of the day on both Tuesday and Thursday. I honestly really enjoyed the time in the clinic seeing the amazing array of pathology that is here – but the conversion to an electronic medical record on Thursday made it very drawn out and painful. Tenwek is converting the entire hospital to an electronic medical record system (“Kranium” out of India – which led me to wonder about the wisdom of turning over the entire IT system to a group who can’t spell cranium!) and it will take months to get it fully implemented. I also enjoyed joining the men’s Bible study on Wednesday evening. The group was studying one of Stan Key’s studies on Moses. Stan is the Spiritual Dean for PAACS and has an amazing talent in writing these sorts of studies.
I have had fun working again with Mike Chupp and Russ White. Carol Spears left last Sunday for a mission trip to Southern Sudan, taking one of the surgical residents (Jack Okumu) with her. Paul Espy is just getting his feet on the ground as the new urologist here and Sean found his son Zachary to be a very satisfactory playmate.
This week we received the very welcome news that the Medical Practitioners and Dental Council Board of Kenya approved our PAACS/COSECSA programs at Kijabe and Tenwek but they effectively closed the rest of the COSECSA programs in Kenya for the lack of acceptable structure. Russ White and one of the Tenwek Residents, Michael Mwachiro, are both on the Surgical Society of Kenya board and this decision by the board has opened up the opportunity for Russ and PAACS to help define the essentials of a community-based training program in Kenya (and perhaps by extension, the rest of the COSECSA countries). Please pray for wisdom for Russ on this.
Tomorrow, I have a lunch meeting with one of the leaders of COSECSA and that wraps up our official time in Kenya. We leave for the US at 11:00 PM tonight. We are eager to get home and to spend time with our family. We are very grateful for our greater family of friends and supporters – and the family of God in its entirety.
Praise and Prayer:
- Please pray for us we travel the next two weeks, home to Africa and then out to California and back.
- Please pray for Michelle and Joey as they begin their life together. Pray that Christ will be the center of the individual and family lives.
- Pray for my son Ryan. He was released from his employment this week and, as does anyone in that situation, he is struggling with the feelings that such an event engenders. He is looking for employment or possible a MBA program that would be of interest to him.
- Please pray for the team putting together the annual PAACS written exam which will be given July 6. It will take many, many hours to get it into shape in time. Please pray as well as we establish oral examinations to be given in Cameroon July 13.
Yours, eager for the reunion of our earthly and heavenly families,
Bruce with Micky and Sean