Micky, Sean and I are leaving early tomorrow morning for a month in Gabon. We have included a map since nobody seems to know where Gabon is. The country is perhaps best known for being the site of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambarene. We will fly over it in our small missionary plane from the capital city of Libreville as we go even further into the Equatorial rain forest. Bongolo Hospital was founded by Christian & Missionary Alliance missionaries and despite its small size and remote location, was the site of the first PAACS (Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons) program under Dave Thompson. We will attend the graduation of two new surgeons and work there with Keir Thelander teaching the other residents. This is the first visit for Micky and Sean, but they already are friends with the Thelander family and are looking forward to it. We will tell you more about the Hospital and the work there next week. We will also give you an update on the Hospital Radio project that is installed and functioning there.
Since our last note to you which was written from Michigan, we headed home to NC via a circuitous route. We visited with Stan and Katy Key in Wilmore, Kentucky where Stan is the new president of the Francis Asbury Society. Stan is also the Spiritual Dean of PAACS. Katy’s father, Dr. Dennis Kinlaw, is elderly but with a mind like a steel trap. He has been very influential in evangelical Christianity over his lifetime as the head of Asbury College and Seminary and I really enjoyed the time talking with him. We had a wonderful dinner in Shakertown with the Keys. On the way to my sister’s and brother-in-law’s home just south of Nashville, we took a short detour and enjoyed an underground tour of part of the massive Mammoth Cave national park. The next day, with my sister and her husband, we toured the replica of the Parthenon in Nashville and Sean was able to envision what the real one would have looked like. We toured the Carnton Plantation where part of the Battle of Franklin raged.
Since getting home, we have been busy with both PAACS and the CMDE (Continuing Medical and Dental Education) Commission. For PAACS, we finished up the mailing of the fund-raising campaign; spent hours getting the annual exam constructed, graded and analyzed; uploaded exam questions to the database; wrote the newsletter and supported the search committee in their search for a new Executive Director. Our fiscal year ends June 30 and my administrator, Terry McLamb, is working to finish the required reports. Dr. Dave Stevens, CEO of CMDA and host of the audio magazine Christian Doctor’s Digest interviewed me on June 19 to give the listeners an update on PAACS. It will be 6 – 8 months before it is published.
Concerned about the effects of home schooling and traveling without the benefit of contact with other children his age, we try to normalize Sean’s life a bit. He spent a wonderful five days at a youth camp with other kids from our church, spent three-plus days with his aunt Sally in Wake Forest (the town north of Raleigh, not the university) enjoying the pool there (in the 98o heat) and we had a wonderful day on Shearon-Harris lake with George Massengill catching a cooler full of crappie and perch. The bald eagle we spotted was frosting on the cake. In between those things, he has essentially finished his home schooling for this year and will resume as a pupil at the local Christian Northwood Temple Academy in early August.
In our packed bags is one of the two sets of surgical instruments that were purchased with donations from some of you. It will make a tremendous difference in some young surgeon’s future place of employment. The pediatric bronchoscope and esophagoscope equipment has also arrived Ethiopia. That project came to $13,500 (a great bargain compared to retail) and we are praying that God will replace those funds. I know that it will certainly save some young child from choking to death!
If God is asking you to help our ministry, please send your check made out to “S3 Ministries” to PO Box 300, Linden, NC 28356. If you want it to go for any special project, please write that on a separate piece of paper and we will be sure to honor your request.
Praise and Prayers:
- Please pray that God will provide the money for the scopes and that donors will help to rebuild our reserves in S3 Ministries.
- Pray that we will go through customs in Libreville without a hitch with the sutures, operating room gowns and instruments.
- Pray that the PAACS search committee can identify the right people for the job.
- Please pray for the PAACS programs and in particular, the one in Ethiopia and the new one in Malawi. The former one is struggling with manpower issues and unrealistic demands from the government. The one in Malawi is just getting started.
- Pray as I plan a trip to Ethiopia (and either Kenya or Malawi) in August.
Yours, for the peoples of Africa,
Bruce, Micky and Sean