Dan, Heather, Jeremiah, Tory, Emma, Tye, Claire, Levi, Josie, Jane and Ethan

Friday, February 6, 2009

Orthopedic Training, an Update on Anna, and a Request for Prayer

Orthopedic Resident Education at Tenwek

Last Thursday, Dr. Lei Lei, chief of orthopedic surgery and director of the new orthopedic residency program at Moi University in Eldoret (about 3 hours drive from Tenwek), paid us a visit to discuss the possibility of resident rotations at Tenwek. After a tour of the facilities and a generous lunch at the hospital cafeteria consisting of samosas (deep fried mystery-meat pockets of which, I am finding, every culture has a version) and Stoney (ginger soda), the deal was done. Beginning in April 2009, Moi University will send orthopedic residents for away rotations to Tenwek in two month blocks, thus providing more hands for the workload here, and an opportunity to further establish Tenwek as training institution in orthopedic surgery. Our responsibility will be to provide housing for these visiting residents. Tenwek has an unfurnished house available, and I have committed to providing the furnishings (stove, refrigerator, tables, chairs, bed, etc.) via funds from our SP ministry account. Thank you again to those who have contributed!

Anna’s House Secured

Peter delivered your gift for the purchase of Anna’s home and after a lengthy meeting with all involved parties, the house is officially hers (and she is so grateful)! There are so many needy people here, and we have really been praying about our responsibility in helping meet the needs of those God brings (sometimes literally) to our doorstep. This also requires an incredible amount of wisdom to sort out those with true vs. illegitimate needs. Sometimes this is straight-forward. For example, on Christmas Eve, we had a young man come to our home with a list of items he needed for Christmas dinner. He also possessed a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, thus (as a bright orthopedic surgeon…”strong as an ox and twice as smart”) I put two-and-two together and surmised that he was probably given the list by his wife, along with the necessary shillings, which he likely spent on some Christmas “spirits.” Thus, having realized he could not go home empty handed, he came to us for help. We sat down and had a long talk, and having compassion on him for the thrashing he would likely get when he returned home, I sent him on his way with a few items on the list. Other times, the issues are more subtle, and we have to rely on prayer, and Hannah and Emily for advice.

Long-term at Tenwek?

Our current commitment to Tenwek is via the Post-Residency Program with Samaritan’s Purse, which is for two years. However, we have been praying for some time that God would make clear the next step, (i.e. if we are called to make a commitment to serve here long-term). Many questions arise that currently have no answers. Would our kids be OK? Would their grandparents be OK? Will we stay healthy? Will I be able to get board certified? As such, there are an incredible amount of variables and uncertainties (as there are for all of us, no matter where we are) that would go along with this commitment. For instance, we would have to transition from Samaritan’s Purse (our current sending agency) to World Gospel Mission (the mission that runs Tenwek), and thus go through the application process to make this official. A major change with this transition would be having to recruit a financial support team (we rely upon this to a degree now, but SP does provide a monthly stipend for some of our living expenses). The other major issue is that housing is very tight at Tenwek. Through summer of 2010, we will be staying in long term missionaries’ homes while they are away on furlough. However, after that time, we will be “homeless” (so to speak). Thus, we were told by administration, that if we were to make a long term commitment, we would have to build a new home. Finally, we would need to purchase a vehicle, which we are finding is a very necessary item for a family of six living in remote rural Kenya (it is difficult to hitch a ride to Nairobi with our large family). Please keep us in your prayers for wisdom as we seriously seek God regarding this major decision. In many ways, it would be so much easier not to have to face these issues, serve our two years, and then come back to the states. But, God miraculously opened the doors for us to be here at this point in time, and we are convinced that if he is calling us elsewhere in the end (including back to the states), we should have the same strong sense of direction. Thanks so much for your prayers and support.


Anonymous said...

Fascinating posts. As an Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon (practicing in Ann Arbor, MI- Jason Fader showed me your posts) I have a particular interest in complex injuries- particularly in 3rd world environments where options for treatment may be limited ( I am a big fan of the SIGN nail but have only used it on sawbones). Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can provide any advice on difficult fractures.
Dave Weiss (davweis@comcast.net)

Anonymous said...

dan, you have my respect and admiration for the commitment that you have already made. no matter what you decide for the future, you are doing His work *right now*, and are making sacrifices and gaining blessings in the present.