The end of the year has brought Micky lots of work as contributions to all three ministries have to be accounted for, the next six months’ worth of advancement payments for the training sites have to be made, end of tax year documents have to be completed for S3 Ministries. We had our obligatory business meeting for our ministry as well and were again very much blessed by this small group of faithful friends, supporters and prayer warriors who have been with us from the very beginning.
We spent most of three days last weekend at North Point Baptist Church. They have been one of the two churches that have faithfully supported us and it feels like “home” away from home. Bruce was the kick-off speaker Friday night to a full auditorium. Great support of that church for missions!
Sean is over 5”10” now and was pleasantly surprised to realize that he was taller than most people at the church last weekend. He has begun his new approach to schooling. He is home schooling but using a computerized curriculum, Ignitia, that is supervised by his school. It is forcing him to learn by critical evaluation of what he is reading. Some topics he loves that way; others are more difficult. He is away this weekend with several dozen youth from our church, attending a youth conference in Gatlinburg, TN. The occasional text message suggests he is having a great time. He will arrive home (probably exhausted) late Monday night and then leave with us the following morning for the airport.
Bruce is working to help PAACS get ready for the new Chief Medical Officer. Bruce will retire officially (i.e. won’t get paid) at the end of 2016 but it is already obvious that he probably won’t be slowing down very much for a few years as he trains, mentors and continues to do the things that he loves to do. The selection committee has selected a good candidate, has done some work on the employment package and I hope that we will be able to announce the new person soon. In the meantime, all the other work continues and Bruce is working 60 – 70 hours a week on his part-time job to get it all done. Additionally, Bruce has had to work on the website for the Continuing Medical and Dental Education Commission and has been peripherally involved with the scramble for a new venue that ensued when the hotel where we had reservations and paid a deposit announced that it was not financially solvent and was folding.
This morning, we enjoyed the opportunity to join my son, Ryan, and his new wife, Chrissy for breakfast and then for worship at the church which was started by the pastor that married them.
We leave for Africa on Tuesday. Micky and Sean are going to accompany Bruce to Egypt again and will be staying about 2.5 weeks before heading back to the US. We will be at the Harpur Memorial Hospital in Menouf, an hour north of Cairo in the delta region. For several days, we plan to take a few days of vacation with Dr. Sherif and Mary-Lou Hanna in the south of the country. They have been working hard and need a break and it may be our only time to ever see that region that we have all heard of for our entire lives. Bruce will continue on to Cameroon while Micky and Sean head home on February 5. Bruce will be visiting the Mbingo Hospital the first week with Keir Thelander and Carl Haisch, both of PAACS. The second weekend, several of us will be going to Yaoundé, Cameroon to attend the West African College of Surgery Meeting. We have been working for years to get accepted by that group and it is happening! We have been approved to a low level and now we need to talk to them to see exactly how it may work out. It will be a great stride forward for PAACS but additional pressure on the administration and a couple of the Program Directors as we explore this new training paradigm.
After their return to the Mbingo Hospital, Dr. Bill Wood, the Academic Dean of PAACS, and Bruce will be traveling to visit the SIM-Galmi Hospital in Niger. We will be there only 72 hours but the visit is much anticipated. Bruce will return the end of February.
We will be home in the US during the month of March and then spend the first two weeks in Greece with the Christian Medical and Dental Associations CMDE conference. That is always a great time of service to the missionaries and a blessed time of fellowship with many of the PAACS team. In the past week, on the top of everything else, Bruce has had to teach and to update his teaching credentials for advanced life support course that he will help teach in Greece.
We have been very blessed to have some amazing donors over the years that support our ministry and help us serve God and others. It was good to review all that we have been able to do through S3 Ministries last year:
- Since Bruce’s travel expenses were covered by PAACS this year, that category of expenditures has dropped dramatically but $15,000 was contributed from S3 Ministries to PAACS to help cover those expenses.
- Hospital Radio – We funded a hospital radio project for Loma de Luz in Honduras to the amount of $3253. The materials were shipped in July and we have asked for the six-month report which should come soon
- We have distributed another set of pediatric bronchoscopy equipment to Galmi. The set contributed to Soddo last year has finally been put into use this year and the one previously contributed to Tenwek is working and going to be evaluated and brought back to full function in early 2016.
- We have also distributed new surgical instruments to Chigoria, Tenwek general surgery, Tenwek pediatric surgery, Hope Hospital in Kibuye, Burundi and Malamulo SDA (Malawi).
- Twelve battery-operated surgical headlights were distributed to PAACS surgeons and graduates.
- Have distributed refurbished instruments to Jack Okumu, Maua Methodist (Kenya), Malamulo SDA Hospital (Malawi), Tenwek pediatric surgery, dental instruments to Mpower, Christian Memorial Hospital (Bangladesh), Kibuye hospital in Burundi and ABWE hospital in Togo.
· On this trip, we will be trying out (and contributing to one of the hospitals) an amazing portable wireless endoscopy camera and light source that uses a tablet for picture and video collection! This is a relatively inexpensive set ($2800) and allows videoscopy for documentation and teaching at the bedside, the clinic and the OR.