The highlight of each year for us is the CMDA-CMDE (Christian Medical & Dental Associations Commission for Continuing Medical & Dental Education) Conference for the medical missionaries. This year, it is in Greece at a beautiful resort who gave us an amazingly low price (sometimes you have to suffer for the Lord!) This is the first time for the African and Middle East contingency that entire missionary families have been able to come (we have offered that in Thailand for over a decade). It is also the first time that we have had attendees from virtually every continent except Antarctica.
- 715 attendees from 75 countries – Africa, Europe, Asia, S. and N. America.
- 572 are missionaries and their families.
- 115 of those are faculty (paying for their own involvement) giving 176 lectures and 57 multi-hour breakout sessions including ACLS, PALS, ALSO, HBB, NRP, splinting and casting courses, ultrasonography courses and a modified ATLS. They also provide spiritual and mental counseling to those who request it.
- 131 children – 99 from Africa (this is the first time there has been a program for them) – and 38 bonded and experienced childcare workers who raised their own money to serve for the two weeks.
Each year, we also have a Stewart Lecture to honor one of the missionary greats. This year, the honoree was Roland Stephens, an 84 year old general surgeon who spent his 50 year career in medical missions. He is a University of Michigan graduate and first went to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1962 to the Karanda Mission Hospital. I had the opportunity to visit that hospital a few years ago. He was there until the civil war forced them out in 1978. For the next seventeen years, he worked in southwestern Michigan and went back each year to Zambia and Kenya to serve. He returned full-time in 1995 and worked actively until he retired at the age of 82 in 2012. His son, Dan, is a general surgeon and continues to serve in Zimbabwe since his arrival in 1991. What an inspiration this kind of Christian servant is!
It is also a great time for the PAACS team to get together. We have ten PAACS trainees here (three were not able to get visas), two graduates, twelve faculty members and 9 Commission and Advisory Council members attending. The PAACS residents each gave a paper Thursday in a juried competition and the second phase of that competition will be next Wednesday afternoon. We had a group meeting and took a group photo as well. I have had a series of meetings with the faculty at various PAACS programs and also met with some representatives of hospitals that want to have a PAACS program. I also met with Carl Haisch to work on the upcoming PAACS exam. I had the pleasure of presenting what God is doing through PAACS to all the attendees as well on Wednesday evening.
Stay tuned for the report on the rest of the conference and some special experiences that we had – we will send it when return to the US on the 14th.
Two weeks ago, we told you of the donation of surgical instruments through our charitable foundation (S3 Ministries). We had a change of plans; we have made arrangements to mail our last set to Martin Situma in Uganda. Please see below the pictures of Dr. Situma and the rather coarse and aged instruments that were opened for him to do a delicate operation on a newborn. When we responded in the affirmative to the request for instruments, it was reported that one older surgeon shed tears of happiness and Dr. Situma praised God openly. It will be shipped when we return to the US. On EBay, I was able to find some special Dingman retractors for them at a much reduced price so they can do cleft lip repairs. They were $250 for the two sets of them.
The instruments are high-quality German stainless steel instruments good for a lifetime if properly handled. I can get the whole set at a discount through a friend for approximately $2,000. I have bought two more sets on faith. They are etched with “PAACS” to remind these surgeons of those who are praying for them. Would you be interested in helping to pay for them? Also, I still need to raise $17,000 for the foreign-body instruments for Soddo. Please send a check to S3 Ministries, PO Box 300, Linden, NC or if you wish to use a credit card, you can give through PayPal at www.s3ministries.com.
- Please pray for the CMDA-CMDE meeting as it closes on Thursday afternoon.
- Pray for safe travel of all the attendees.
- Pray for them as they continue to be refreshed and then return to their places of hard service.
Yours, living on borrowed time,
Bruce, Micky and Sean