Traveling alone this time, I will leave very early on Tuesday August 12 and will arrive in Blantyre, Malawi and continuing on to Malamulo SDA Hospital where I will see the few program there. It opened on August 1 and this is my first official visit. Ed Bos from Worldwide Lab Improvements in Kalamazoo will be arriving within an hour of me and will be there to install the PAACS software and the new hardware. My bags are packed to overflowing with books and other materials for them. One of the residents is getting married today in Malawi so I won’t get to meet him – although I must wonder about the priorities of someone who would rather get married than meet me!
On August 17, I will travel back to Blantyre and fly to Nairobi via Addis Ababa getting in in the wee hours of August 18. After a few hours of sleep, I will travel with a team from the ICMK (Institut Médical Chrétien du Kasai or, in English, the Christian Medical institute of Kasai, www.imck.org) in Kananga, DRC to Tenwek. They are interested in a PAACS program in the future (once our budget is stabilized again in three years or so). I will be there at Tenwek Hospital until Thursday, August 21 when I travel back to Kijabe. At Kijabe, I will talk with folks in the general surgery program, the pediatric general surgery program and see our friends from Uganda, John and Rebecca Fulks, who are now dorm parents at Rift Valley Academy. I return to Nairobi on Sunday August 24 and fly out early the next morning to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I will be driven down to Soddo Hospital for a 48 hour visit. On the 27th, I will be driven back to Addis and then fly with Jon Pollock and Bill Wood to Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, to spend two days at the Surgical Society of Ethiopia. On Saturday and Monday, we will talk with the folks at Myungsung and then I fly back out in the evening to the US, arriving in NC in mid-afternoon. I am home for 24 hours and then drive to Charlotte to participate in a CMDA Medical Missions Summit Meeting for the rest of the week.
I have also met this past week with the new person at Campbell University School of Medicine who is charged with rejuvenation of the medical missions advisory council. His name is Oscar Aylor and he has been an administrator at the Hôpital Lumière in Haiti and worked for several years with Mission to the World (a Presbyterian Mission agency). I gave him a set of our books for use with the first class of students that will participate in this special program.
I have also been working on getting my surgical instrument lab set up in the garage. I have ordered almost everything I need but am still looking for a source of the diamond grinding wheel I need. I was very pleased to have someone contact PAACS with an offer to contribute some used instruments. If you know of anyone who has surgical instruments to offer, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can give a tax-deductible receipt for the gift. I will refurbish them and then distribute them to PAACS graduates in Africa.
We were very pleased to receive the 2014-2015 PAACS Fall Prayer Guide this week. We will send them out to donors this week but if you would like a printed copy, please contact Micky at Micky@brucesteffes.net. Digital copies (4 Mb) can be downloaded by clicking here. I personally proofed that thing six times, and had two other people check it as well – and it was frustrating to find two errors the first time I saw the printed copy. Sigh. However, it was a real blessing to have visual proof how PAACS has grown and God has blessed. I have updated a table that shows that growth. The year 2005 was the year before I took over as CEO. I do not take credit for that growth – only rejoice that I have been able to see it and participate. I pray that God will bless PAACS in a similar way during the next 8 years of growth.
Number of PAACS training sites 2 11
Sites wanting to join 2 3
Number of programs 2 12
Number of PAACS residents 9 65 (as of January 2015)
Number of PAACS graduates 3 43 (as of January 2015)
Number of approved faculty 2 53 (as of January 2015)
Number of Commission members 12 18 (+ admin)
Budget $37 K (given) $1.33 M
The last episode of renal colic was on the plane from Washington to Raleigh last week. I am so glad that it has stopped and thank you for your prayers. I do not miss it! However, I replaced it with a very bothersome muscular spasm in my back and it makes sitting and moving very uncomfortable. Please pray that it will go away and I can get through this long trip.
Thank you for your prayers for Jeri Steffes. She underwent a laparoscopic resection of the body and tail of her pancreas and a cholecystectomy on Wednesday at Duke University. It was performed by a colleague I knew well during my times at the Duke VAH and it went well. The pathology is not yet back but it would appear to be a low-grade malignancy called a neuroendocrine tumor. The prognosis for this is much better than for the usual pancreatic cancer. The surgeon estimated an 80% five-year survival but that all may change with the final pathology report. Please continue to keep her in your prayers, praying for a cure for her and for her rapid recovery.
Praise and Prayers:
- Praise for the traveling safety for me and protection for Sean and Micky while we are apart.
- Pray that I will be open, receptive and wise in all my interactions and meetings for PAACS.
- Please pray for the back spasm to go away.
- Please pray for Jeri’s cure and recovery. Pray for Jeri and my three older children as they process this.
- Pray for Sean as he returns to school.
Yours, for the peoples of Africa,
Bruce, Micky and Sean