Dear Friends and Family:
We are packing to leave Sunday for Tanzania and for Egypt. We are visiting the two new programs there which opened in January and are praying for God’s hand to be upon us and upon those programs. We will spend one week in Tanzania at the Arusha Lutheran Medical Center and then travel to Menouf, Egypt to visit the Harpur Memorial Hospital. We return to the US on the 25th.
I have finally finished my undergraduate requirement and turned in my 66 page paper (a project on discipleship that will be included in the next edition of the PAACS spiritual curriculum). My Masters of Arts degree in Biblical Ministries and my undergraduate degree will be granted in May from BBC. I was fascinated to see Baptist Bible College ranked as one of the 15 best Bible schools in this article: http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2013/01/14/15-best-colleges-studying-bible/. Obviously, they must have been ranked on the quality of their graduates (or perhaps the humility of the graduates).
Like many fresh college graduates, I am without a job. For a series of reasons, I felt led to inform the Methodist University PA program here in Fayetteville that I will not renew my contract for this coming fall. To be without an income after August is a little scary but I will dedicate my full efforts to PAACS and already have a full slate of ideas and projects that will take my time and energy. Because of the slated growth in the number of residents, the need to take the administration side of things to the appropriate professional level and because we need to develop the development/fund-raising part of things to cover all of that, we are looking at a dramatic and somewhat scary increase in our PAACS budget. If the PAACS Commission does not decide to help support us with a modest salary, it will be incumbent upon us to raise some independent funding. That is God’s issue – and we just strive to remain faithful. I think my efforts in my waning years of productive life will be to help establish a truly superb organizational structure and team. Please pray for all of us in this effort.
We returned last weekend from a needed vacation in Florida. The weather was not optimal but way better than NC and points further north. Sean continued his home school and we did some tourist-y things as well. It was good to see some old friends. We had dinner with Bruce and Karlene Johnson and Dean and Jill Johnson while in Lakeland. Also, we enjoyed a spring training ball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Atlanta Braves and dinner with another old boyhood friend, Tom Hegarty, and his son, Drew. I also had breakfast with Paul Puleo, the founder of Construction for World Evangelism (http://www.cwe-missions.org/). Bruce and Karlene Johnson, and to a lesser extent, his brother Dean, are actively involved with CWE. We also visited a young Air Force surgeon in Tampa that I first met in Togo as a medical student. I hope he will someday serve with PAACS.
At the end of the week, I spent the day at the Woodward Society symposium at the University of Florida in Gainesville. I spoke on the challenges of surgical education in the developing world (obviously showcasing PAACS) and it was a great day. It was good to see three residents that I worked with and even a few faculty members that were still alive and kicking.
The last day in Florida, we spent at Penney Farms between Gainesville and Jacksonville. We came to visit Bill and Joan Mial and to finally meet Paul and Mary Lierman. They are involved with us in the Hospital Radio project. While we were there, we were thrilled to hear that the Gabonese government had finally granted a frequency to the project at Bongolo Hospital in Gabon (not the one we had hoped for but you can’t have everything). We also got a letter from the administrator of the Compassion Evangelical Hospital in Guinea where our first fully functioning project is ongoing. He writes in French but translated, it reads, “It is always a great pleasure to be able to communicate with you concerning the Radio project. This tool gives us great help in doing evangelism throughout the hospital. The speakers have been installed in all the strategic places in the hospital where the bed-ridden and the ambulatory patients can listen. We run programs every day from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. The patients listen attentively to the transmissions and sometimes they ask questions to our volunteer pastor as he moves around, praying for the sick. Recently, we have noticed many conversions and many of the sick will come back after they have gone home and see our pastor with questions and requesting prayer. We are convinced that the Radio is one of the tools that are transforming the lives of the sick in these days. Let us continue in prayer in order that many people will be touched by Christ through powerful and precious medium.” We are excited by this good news and pray that we can expand the number of hospitals affected by Hospital Radio (http://www.s3ministries.com/hospitalradio/)
Top RIght: Boyhood friend Tom Hegarty and Bruce
Middle Left: Micky and Sean at Detroit Tigers' spring training in Lakeland, Florida - playing the Braves
Middle Right: Sean in a touch tank at the Florida Aquarium Tampa
Bottom Left: Sean's selfie during his first helicopter ride
Bottom Right: Bruce's daughter Michelle and her husband, Joey Aucoin, attending the Oscars.
Please pray for us during this trip and during this time of transition in our lives.
Thrilled to be in His service,
Bruce for Micky and Sean