We were up at 2:00 AM last Friday morning to catch the shuttle to the airport, flew from Raleigh to Dallas-Fort Worth and then took the 14½ hour flight to Seoul, S. Korea and then a 5½ flight from Seoul to Chiang Mai, Thailand. We gathered more and more friends with each stop and by the time we got to Chiang Mai, there was a bus and a half worth of people all coming to the conference. We had crossed the international dateline so it was actually early Sunday morning by the time we collapse in our room.
After a day of relaxation and recovery for all of us on Sunday, Bruce hit the ground running on Monday morning with the pre-conference sessions of the 35th CMDA-CMDE conference. He, with others, taught Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) that first day and then Tuesday, spent the day teaching the adult version (ACLS – Advanced Cardiac Life Support). Since then, he has been listening to lectures in an attempt to get enough continuing medical education credits for the year. Sean’s program didn’t really start until Wednesday and so homeschooling was the order of the day Monday and Tuesday as he worked to have the time to spend with the other kids. He has been with the kids literally the entire day each day after that, so his home-schooling has taken a bit of a hit. Micky has been working to facilitate the conference.
Upper right: A wroship service. No faces are shown because to do so may jeopardize their ministries or their safety.
The two days of pre-conference sessions included multiple sessions on a variety of topics: Besides PALS and ACLS, there were courses on trauma assessment and resuscitation, ALSO (Advanced Life Support for Obstetrics), two sessions of hands-on ultrasound, two workshops in splinting and casting, neonatal resuscitation program, a diabetes workshop, “Helping Babies Breathe”, and a strategic planning workshop. During the actual conference, the attendees have a choice of four streams (medicine, surgery, community health and dental) which offer 8 options a day for 7 days. There are also 60 other breakout sessions offered. These conferences are truly some of the best medical conferences Bruce has ever seen.
Tuesday night was the first corporate gathering (mostly information sharing) and Wednesday morning began the worship services. Dr. George Murphy from Columbia International University (South Carolina) is the speaker this year (he spoke in Kenya last year – the spiritual speakers generally speak for both conferences before a new one takes over).
This year, we have 538 attendees from over 40 countries. There are over 100 faculty members here and 31 non-medical folks who have come at their own expense to put on fantastic children’s program for the kids while their parents are getting educated.
On most nights, we have reports from the various mission fields. They are times of great sharing, great encouragement and sometimes great sadness. Thursday night, we had our usual Stewart memorial lecture. Dr. David Stewart was the one who began the CMDE conferences in Liberia in the 1978. Dr. Al Hood was a missionary to Thailand for 20 years before a family health crisis forced him home in 1986. He has remained active in short-term missions since that time. It was great to hear from this saint of God.
The conference will continue until next Thursday night. More news about the remainder will be next week.
We are pleased to announce that S3 Ministries was able to take advantage of your generosity to us and make a seed grant for another Hospital Radio Project. Loma de Luz (www.crstone.org) is a Christian charitable outreach on the North Coast of Honduras, in the Departamento de Colón. Hospital Loma de Luz was the original focus of this work, and still is the hub of the wheel of related service oriented ministries in the same locale, now including the Hospital, El Camino Bilingual School, Sanctuary House Children’s Center, Community Development, Church Planting, and more to come.
They plan install a Paging System and a Patient Broadcast Project within the hospital and the nearby outdoor areas. The Paging System will provide a sorely needed method to communicate among the staff and doctors. Additionally, the Patient Broadcasting Project will form the foundation of a new way of communicating the gospel to their patients. The simple economy of poverty in the rural developing world means that everyone travels by foot, by hoof, or by bus. Because of this, almost all of the patients arrive at 7 a.m. in the morning. Despite their best efforts, they cannot avoid the fact that many of their patients wait hours each day for service. Additionally of course, they have inpatients that spend several days to several weeks at the hospital. All of these patients have time to listen to the gospel and most are experiencing some type of crisis in their life that causes them to be particularly open to hearing the gospel. Lastly, they hope that the Patient Broadcasting Project might also serve as the foundation for a later FM licensure and broadcasting this same message of healing and hope into the surrounding neighborhoods in the areas near the hospital. They are praying that God would use this to further the discipleship of His church in that area.
Thanks for your prayers on our behalf – keep it up, please!
Prayers and Praise:
- Praise God that Bruce was able to get the materials and exams to WACS in time.
- Praise God for the safe travel to Thailand. Please pray for the rest of the conference and then Bruce’s visit to Bangladesh as Micky and Sean return home.
- Pray for the ongoing search for a Chief Development Officer for PAACS.
- Please pray for our daughter Michelle as her gestational diabetes is not under ideal control. She is due the end of March but they are already talking about inducing her early.
- Pray for Bethany as she seeks a new therapist. Please pray that God will provide a breakthrough for her.
- Please pray for Bruce’s continued adjustment to his new role within PAACS.
- Please pray for continued issues within the PAACS family – all of our programs are under stresses of various sorts and some very serious.
Yours for the peoples of Africa,
Bruce, Micky and Sean