Dear Friends and Family:
Time has gotten away from us! I just realized it has been 8 weeks since we sent out an updated The SteffeScope. That could be interpreted to mean that we have been very busy or that things have been rather unremarkable. Actually, it is a combination of both.
Sean has been back in school and is doing very well in the sixth grade. They have discovered that Micky is willing to do substitute teaching, so between acting as the accountant for PAACS and the Continuing Medical & Dental Education committee (our part-time accountant resigned), she is doing some substitute teaching for the middle and high schools at the school our son attends. So far, she has substituted as a history teacher, a Spanish teacher (her biggest stretch), a chemistry teacher and a few other things. One day, she accidentally phoned me and I was able to hear her yelling at the kids. I gave her unmitigated grief about that.
I have been very involved with PAACS. I mentioned in the last letter that we were in a deep hole with PAACS. I had to create a very severe austerity budget which pinched everyone hard. The Commission has responded heroically and promised $170,000 above their usual giving level – we hope to use that as a matching fund to raise an equal amount. We have also created a very special edition of our 100th edition of the PAACS Bulletin to help us garner both volunteer support and financial aid. We are sending it to a group ten times larger than our usual donor group in hopes that we can garner support from the other members of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations. I have attached that PDF to this newsletter – please read it and share it with anyone who might be interested. An ENT surgeon in town who traveled to Kenya with me, Dr. Bill Wiggs, is cosponsoring a fund-raising dinner here in Fayetteville in late October. We also have finished, had printed and send out our 2012 Fall Prayer Guide for PAACS. If you want a printed copy of either the newsletter or the Prayer Guide, please let us know.
It is hard to fund-raise for our own ministry when so much effort is going into PAACS, but it is going to be necessary. We have had to purchase $30,000 worth of tickets for next year’s schedule (that we laid out in the last SteffeScope) and the S3 Ministry had to go into deficit spending for about $15,000 of that (using some other uncommitted money). If you can partner with us in this, please send your check to S3 Ministries, PO Box 300, Linden, NC 28356.
My last graduate course for my degree in Biblical Ministries has entered week 6. It has been a real struggle for me as I try to balance everything else; the lack of interest in the topic isn’t helping. Thank God, I only have two weeks left after this one but a 5 page paper and a 20 page paper left to write. I will have to delay my remaining undergraduate courses for a year because of my travel schedule. The Physician Assistant school started the weekend before Labor Day and the pace is killing both the students and the professor. Last Monday was the first anatomy exam and next Monday their first physiology exam. They did better than I expected but expect some lower scores this coming Monday. They have gone from “deer in the headlights” to “shell-shocked.”
Friday, I am flying to Chicago for the second time this month. I flew there September 7 to address a Medical Missions Summit Meeting and had to come back the same night to be ready to interview new PA students the next morning. This Friday, I am flying back to have a two-day retreat with the majority of the PAACS Program Directors. I fly back Saturday morning and then next Wednesday evening, I fly back to Chicago for a five-day review course for the upcoming recertification exam for my general surgery boards. I am all cleared to take the exam Monday, November 26 – but am a little panicked at all I have to study between now and then. I sure hope this course can work its magic. Since I was able to schedule the exam on the 26th, I will be able to attend the College of Surgery of East Central and Southern Africa annual meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia the first week of December. That was one of the tickets I ordered recently.
Four days after I get back from that general surgery study course, I am traveling to The Cove in Asheville to address the Prescription for Renewal medical mission conference. I am going to be wiped out when I return from that stretch of almost four weeks without a day off.
To make things worse, my youngest daughter, Bethany also got a year older. I have been so sick with a virus that we had to postpone her celebration but we are planning to have dinner together when I return from Chicago this weekend.
Thanks for your partnership with us and the prayers you send up – we need them!
Praise and Prayer:
- Please pray the God will provide the funding that we need to serve Him and that PAACS needs to avoid turning down residents who so badly want to be trained and whose services are so badly needed in Africa.
- Please pray for traveling safety and for adequate strength.
- Please pray for the Program Directors and this retreat time – that it will be productive and restful.
- Please keep Bruce’s folks in your prayers. This is the first time they have not felt up to traveling to North Carolina to watch Sean while Micky and I attend the meeting at the Cove.
- Please pray that God will help us find a part-time accountant who can volunteer his services (4 – 6 hours a week on the average) to help PAACS. They can be anywhere in the US as long as they have good mail and Internet services. They have to be familiar with QuickBooks Pro.
Yours and His, for the peoples of Africa,
Bruce for Micky and Sean