Dear Friends and Family:
Time sure flies. It has been almost 9 weeks since I arrived home from that grueling 37,000 mile trip. The first month getting settled into something like a normal schedule of activities was amazingly uncomfortable. Bad jet-lag made the first week rather surrealistic as I spent the majority of the week just catching up on things that had piled up during my absence – taxes, paperwork, new banking details and so on. Since then, I have prepared for and participated in the CMDA-Continuing Medical & Dental Education spring meeting and the PAACS meeting, both held in Chicago on subsequent weekends; the CMDA annual meeting where I gave a report on PAACS to the House of Representatives; I flew to Queens NY to meet with the Myungsung Christian Medical Centre (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) team; and with the family, gave a seminar on supporting missionaries to North Point Baptist church in Weaverville. I also taught ACLS, BLS and ATLS courses and two Sundays, I taught our Sunday School class during that time frame. I also wrote two lectures for an upcoming conference. I met with Dr. Goldman from Philadelphia University and the IT folks at Methodist University for two days to help design a system for the PA anatomy lab. I am in the fourth week of my next to last graduate school class (that homework is keeping me busy), working on the annual PAACS exams (two 200 question multiple choice exams) that are due the end of the month, working with the programmer for the new PAACS software and yesterday in a marathon session at the computer, wrote a 19 page single-spaced rough draft of the user’s manual for it. I have also met with the new Missions Advisory Board of the new osteopathic medical school at Campbell University and explored options for meaningful personal involvement with both the medical and PA school which intrigues me because of their stated desire to train medical missionaries.
During the April PAACS meeting, we approved a new Academic Dean (Dr. Bill Wood) and a new Spiritual Dean (Rev. Stan Key) who will work with me to improve what we will do. It will definitely be a team effort and bring in the expertise in the areas where I am not as strong as I would prefer. I admire both of them and it should be a real help in shedding some of the load. My title with the organization (but not the responsibilities) changed from CEO to Executive Director. The PAACS commission definitely encouraged me to take the three-month sabbatical, but as you can see above, I didn’t do very well the first month of May. However, there were some real bright spots. Between the two weekends in Chicago, I flew to my folks and enjoyed a few days with them. I also enjoyed an evening meeting in Detroit with Dr. David and Sarah Halter, our surgeon-missionary going to Arusha, Tanzania next year to open a new PAACS program there. Micky, Sean and I enjoyed a day at the NC zoo with my son Ryan and his new fiancée Chrissy. We enjoyed an evening of theater and dinner alongside the Cape Fear River and I was flattered when I was asked to participate in at least one of the musical shows next fall. I was once very much involved in the Cape Fear Regional Theater and played a small role in its transition from a grass-roots theatre to a semi-professional theater respected throughout the region.
Sean has been the center of activity these past few weeks. He got new glasses earlier in the spring (see the picture above) and this week finished his school year and celebrated his birthday. If you allow me to brag a bit, we were very pleased to see that he got straight A’s this grading quarter. He has worked steadily throughout the year to improve his study habits and grades. He was selected for the “Christian Spirit Award” as well – something that made us very proud. He was involved with the elementary school musical (hence the mustache in the picture below). This week, he had a three day, two-night school trip to the beach and came back with a sore throat, a high fever and eaten up by some sort of bug or bugs. Still, he managed to enjoy his birthday celebration when he got home (it had occurred on Wednesday while he was away). To celebrate his ripe old age of 11, Micky, Sean and I went to a nearby zip-lining course and he had a blast zipping through the canopy. His yells of glee were a joy to hear. He was less enthused about traversing the high, swaying suspension bridges. At home, it was a toss-up whether he enjoyed his new bicycle from his grandparents or the paint-gun his brother gave him more. He played with his new lacrosse sticks (a sport none of us know anything about – You-Tube will come in handy here) and he dreamed how he would spend the gift money he received.
We leave next Monday for a combined vacation and work tour. On June 8 and 9, I will be speaking at the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) Medical Missions Interface and look forward to seeing many friends there. We begin by meandering in that direction. We will visit Monticello, Gettysburg and the Harrisburg Civil War Museum on the way as we travel. After the conference, we will visit Dr. Michael Johnson in the Philadelphia region and spent some time touring the historical areas of Philadelphia before going to Massachusetts there visiting Boston, Plymouth Rock and the whaling museum in New Bedsford. We will then spend a week in the Williamsburg, Virginia area. We plan to do a lot of education and fun things along the way.
We will be home in late June, entertain Paul Gray and his family from Ethiopia for a few days (along with David and Karisa Hardin who are now stationed at Fort Bragg but who will be joining Paul in Ethiopia in early 2013), and then on the 4th of July, drive to West Virginia to lecture at the tropical medicine course the next day. We will then spend a few weeks with both our folks in Michigan and enjoy some leisure with them. The only definite plan we have is to stop at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio on the way between Morgantown and Lapeer.
Sean starts school in early August and I will attend a review course for the American Board of Surgery recertification exam that I must take later this year. In August, there is a planned weekend getaway with Dr. Wood and Rev. Key in the mountains of North Carolina. We plan to work on a way to move forward. Even though traveling all summer, I must study for the exam (it has been almost 15 years since I quit practicing surgery in the US and the amount I must review is mind-boggling). I must also work on an entirely new way to teach my anatomy course utilizing a new textbook. My postgraduate course will be done by the end of June and I will have a bit of respite from that before starting the last course in the fall semester.
Thought you might enjoy some pictures!
Yours and His,
Bruce, Micky and Sean