Dear Friends and Family:
We are now back at Tenwek Hospital in the highlands of Kenya on the east side of the Great Rift Valley. This place holds a lot of memories for us and we are presently spending our 9 days here in the same triplex where we lived for 8 months in 2002. The only difference is that we have the more spacious middle apartment this week. The sidewalk leading up the Chupps’ home brings fond memories of Sean learning to walk hanging on to a spaniel by the name of Copper. And the steep walk up to the hospital at this altitude still leaves me puffing.
The PAACS Basic Science and Principles of Surgery Conference ended Thursday noon. The week had begun with an impromptu time of worship Sunday morning attended by about 2/3 of the attendees. We had a long time of African-style praise and worship and then a time of prayer. During the afternoon, we held a soccer game that turned out to pit the Ethiopians against the others. We could not get on the soccer field behind the compound and the grass was knee-high anyway. Instead, they played on a much compromised field on the playground. I was glad to see they got short of breath easily – that meant that despite their demonstrated skills, they have been spending more time in the hospital than on the playing field. They had a good time and they were kind enough to let Sean play with them a bit. He enjoyed the opportunity and even scored twice.
Sunday night, we resumed the lesson series on the Exodus and the significance of each spot on the map. Our Spiritual Dean, Stan Key, did a great job throughout the entire series of 11 lessons and he also spent much of his free time listening and counseling. His wife, Katy, brought the perspective of a godly woman who often picked up on nuances that would have otherwise been ignored.
The second week had an emphasis on orthopedics. Dr. Kyle Watford from just down the road in Florence, S.C., brought his cast technician, Cliff Bailey, and they put on two hands-on workshops in addition to the lectures. The delay in getting the shipped box out of customs and a lost bag complicated the schedule a bit, but it all came at a price and was a good time of learning for the residents.
I gave two lectures on physiology the second week as we finished the scheduled lectures. The total for lectures during the two weeks were anatomy (14), physiology (12), trauma (11), wound care (5 plus a workshop which included more lectures), orthopedics (5 plus a workshop), surgical principles (7) and pathology (4 plus a workshop). It was definitely a case of drinking from a fire hose but the residents seemed very appreciative.
Tuesday morning, we had the opportunity to give study Bibles out to all the residents. Jim Taylor was a strong advocate of PAACS despite his lack of medical background. He was an engineer who had a passion for mission. Last year, he had contacted me with a plan to give study Bibles in English or French to the first 100 residents. This would be in conjunction with Biblica.Kenya (www.Biblica.com). He died in December of recurrent cancer, but I was able to contact Biblica.Africa and they put me in contact with his son – who has been teaching just down the road at the Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe for the past 20 years. His son knew nothing of this project but got behind it and helped bring it to fruition. Our foundation, S3 Ministries, was able to donate the rest of the money needed to complete the project and on Tuesday, Steve Taylor and two officials from Biblica.Kenya were there to distribute them. It was a precious moment. In addition, during the two weeks, the residents were given an African Bible Commentary (written by 70 African scholars) and a book of monthly devotions. At the end, they were given an 8 gigabyte hard-drive completely full of the lectures, electronic books, resource materials and shared pictures from the conference.
That afternoon, we drove with Carol Spears and Paul Espy (a new career missionary at Tenwek whose specialty is Urology) in a caravan with the residents to Tenwek Hospital Thursday afternoon. It was good to see what a great job the residents did on rounds Friday and to help on one case in the OR. I had a long talk with Mike Chupp in the morning and in the afternoon, just decompressed and caught up on all the things I had to do. Sean and Micky were back to home-schooling.
Thursday was Sean’s 12th birthday. Wednesday, the pastry chef made a cake and cupcakes for Sean and in the afternoon, we had a small celebration for him. All the children and several of the adult missionaries and faculty were kind enough to join us and honor him for the day. He also had them sing “Happy Birthday” to him on Thursday during chapel and when we got to Tenwek, his “Aunt Carol” (Spears) had arranged for yet another decorated birthday cake. We had brought gifts from the States and several others had given him some gifts. I think he felt pretty special and well treated.
Today is a spiritual retreat for all the residents and I am looking forward to it. I will tell about it next week.
Praise and Prayer:
- Please pray for us as we spend time here in Tenwek over next week. There are many issues which threaten to disrupt the program and spiritual warfare is alive and well. Pray for God’s guidance.
- There is increasing pressure on PAACS to train non-Christians in several countries, including Kenya. Pray that we will be able to successfully resist it. This is truly spiritual warfare.
- Pray as we establish oral examinations in Cameroon in July.
Yours, back in Kenya once more,
Bruce with Micky and Sean