Dan, Heather, Jeremiah, Emma, Claire, Levi, Josie and baby Jane

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Homeschooling, Packing, Ortho Boards...

I always thought it would be challenging to prepare to go overseas as a missionary, but I can honestly say, we really had no clue. And I am actually thankful for that, as ignorance is bliss, and had God laid out too much of the big picture at one time, we would likely have run the other way!

Homeschooling: CHAOS 101

At Tenwek, most of the physician families homeschool their kids, of which there are quite a few. Heather spent numerous hours ordering the material, preparing the lessons, gathering supplies, and gearing up. Since we are not arriving in Kenya until the end of November, and we do not want our kids to fall behind, we started homeschooling here in Phx last Monday…Jeremiah in 6th grade, Emma in 4th, Claire in 2nd and Levi in Kindergarten. Let’s just say that four kids, in four different grade levels is not a one person job! Let me paint a picture for you: Jeremiah in one room doing a Math CD, Emma playing her violin, Claire listening to phonics, and Levi singing at the top of his lungs in the background…all at the same time! Seriously, it is going well, but we would greatly appreciate your prayers for wisdom and strength, especially for Heather, as she assumes this primary responsibility and hones our strategy, and for our children, that they thrive and learn in this environment, both here and when we are in Kenya. Also, we are praying for a teacher to come and help with the schooling of all the children at Tenwek.

Packing: "You want to bring that?!

Between tutoring Emma in math, grocery shopping, playing with Levi, etc., I have been researching our options for getting our essentials to Kenya. Since we are going for two years initially, and will likely be staying in a furnished home or apartment, we will not be packing a container. So, only what we can bring as checked baggage on our flight to Kenya is all that is coming with us! 6 people, and 12 boxes with a maximum weight of 50 lbs and 62 linear inches per box. That seems like a lot, but when you consider home schooling materials, books, orthopedic supplies and text books, clothes for two years, etc. etc., the weight begins to add up. Yesterday, we spent the entire day going through the remaining stuff that we did not sell or give away in Rochester, repacking the items that we will not be bringing to Kenya, and beginning to stockpile the things we will definitely “need.” Of course, one person's need is another person's want (or what Dad may define as a want). For instance, is Jeremiah’s underwater spear gun an essential? Please pray that God gives us physical strength to pack boxes with wisdom and efficiency. We want to have everything packed before we leave for training in three weeks!


Orthopedic Board Exam Results: Pass or Fail

On July 18, 2008, I traveled to Chicago along with 715 other people to take Step One of the National Orthopedic Boards (the written exam). I honestly thought it was one of the hardest exams I had ever taken, and I was seriously wondering if I would even pass. The irony is that this issue of board certification was a major stumbling block for me, and for others who feel a calling to full-time orthopedic mission work directly after residency (see “Our Story” below). Last Thursday, a confidential letter addressed to me from the ABOS arrived. I took it outside, and with my entire family around me, opened the letter. The first line read, “Dear Dr. Galat: I am pleased…” That was all I needed to read! I was relieved and Heather looked at me and rolled her eyes, inwardly saying “of course you weren’t going to fail.”
What does this mean? Now I am officially considered board eligible, having passed the first step toward full board certification. The next step, the oral exam (Step 2), is normally taken, according to the Board guidelines, after two years of consecutive practice in the US, and this is the step that I will not be able to complete by going to Kenya for these two years. However, I have 5 years to take this second step…otherwise I will have to retake the written test to remain board eligible. Please pray that over the next two years, God would speak clearly to us about the longer term plan. Samaritan’s Purse will be our sending agency for these two years. But if we feel called to return to Kenya, then a whole new set of questions arise: “do we stay in the states for the two years of practice required for board certification, or do we just go?” God will direct.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support. We appreciate you so much. Our desire is to be a team with you and work together for the poor and underserved for Christ's glory!

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