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

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sunsets in Kisumu: New Lessons in Trust

After over 16,000 miles of air travel, and countless miles on the road, Heather and I finally made it back to our African home after a six day visit to the U.S. It was good to see the kids again, and they seemed happy we were home, although I suspect they also had a good time staying at friends’ houses, and of course, taking a break from homeschooling. The trip, overall, was tiring, but fruitful.

The day after I returned to Tenwek, I (Dan) was on the road again, this time headed to Kisumu, where I attended the Kenya Orthopedic Society’s 4th Annual Meeting, the theme “The Road Carnage Continues,” a very apropos title highlighting the significant increase in road trauma over the past few years, which, according to a few of the papers presented, is directly correlated to the onslaught of duty-free motorcycles imported into the country for use as taxis (called boda-bodas). One presenter, an official with the World Health Organization (WHO), remarked that Kenya, being one of the top 10 countries in the WORLD for road trauma, has the dubious honor of being selected for a new decade-long initiative exploring ways to decrease the tremendous burden of injuries and death that result from road traffic accidents. I gave a presentation on “Open Fractures of the Tibia,” and thankfully discovered that the American style of power-point presentations (including creative slides and mild humor), was well received.

Kisumu, on the Kenyan shores of Lake Victoria, is a beautiful city, famous for tilapia and Nile Perch, and now more famous as the home of Obama’s father. In fact, a new airport was just built to accommodate the increased number of tourists, and a new 5-star hotel is being erected. After striking out at several “lesser” hotels, John Tanksley and I thankfully found two rooms at one of the “3-star” hotels in town, “The Sunset Hotel.” Although “3-star,” I discovered, was a truly meaningless designation, (I was stung on the toe by some unknown African life-form at night, and the A/C leaked a huge puddle on the floor of my room), the hotel DID live up to its name…the view west over Lake Victoria, at sunset, was absolutely incredible.

While sitting out on the porch the final evening watching the sunset, as the colors changed every minute, from yellow, to orange, to red, to purple, I was overwhelmed with a sense of God’s goodness, of His delight in His own creation, His steadfast faithfulness, and His concern for humanity. Amazing how God uses his creation to point us to Him, to remind us how glorious He is…and how small we are; to show us His dependability…and remind us of our volatility; to demonstrate His power…and our weakness; and to show us His grace…and our need for it. Pondering all this placed, in my heart, a deeper trust in the God who pursues us because he loves us, and desires to meet with us, and to show us that He is the culmination of everything, the sum of all we strive so hard to find.

Psalm 8:3-4 “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Tree Fortress, Update on Joshua, and Trip to the US

Grandpa Galat, Peter White and Jeremiah nailing the floorboards, which were very green and hard as a rock causing many nails to "ping" off the hammer. One stray nail eventually ended in Jeremiah's foot, requiring an "extraction" in the orthopedic clinic, a tetanus shot, and a week of antibiotics.

One of the members of the heart team told me, "You know, I saw the strangest thing today as I was looking out my bedroom window...a motorcycle carrying ten foot lengths of board, long-ways!" I chuckled to myself, knowing exactly where the driver was taking the wood.

The finished product...

The Tree Fortress

Jeremiah has been asking for months for me to help him build a tree house, and I had been able to successfully deflect his advances with a variety of good excuses. However, when Grandpa Galat arrived, he changed his recruiting efforts, and very soon the project was underway. What I thought was going to be a small wooden platform in a nearby tree became, with the influence of Grandpa, a 7x10 foot veritable fortress, which was big enough to raise some eyebrows and eventually require a permit from the Tenwek Building Committee (we have discovered that Jeremiah continues to be good at getting Heather and I in trouble). After many long hours, numerous motorcycle taxis carrying loads of fresh-cut lumber, two day-trips into the bush to harvest bamboo for the roof, and a trip to Casualty for a rusty nail in Jeremiah’s foot, the project is now complete. Jeremiah and Peter got a small taste of responsibility… and the joys of working with Grandpa Galat (they each only got yelled at twice)!

Update on Joshua

After removing the large mass on Joshua’s wrist, the initial pathology looked like a type of serious childhood cancer. However, after the long three-week wait for the final report from Kijabe hospital, amazingly, the mass was deemed to be a benign fibroma! With the mass removed, hopefully it will never be a problem again, and the latest report is that Joshua is doing very well. Many of you have been praying for Joshua, and this serves as a reminder that Tenwek’s motto still hold true, “We treat, Jesus heals.” Our prayer now is that Joshua grows to become a godly young man with a passion for serving Christ!

Trip to the US

Next week, Heather and I leave for a quick, 6 day trip to the US for our interviews with World Gospel Mission (WGM), the mission that runs Tenwek Hospital. We arrive in Cleveland on Wednesday evening, and leave for Kenya again the following Monday, with the interviews being in Marion, IN over the weekend. We are hoping to finalize our transition to WGM and move forward with our calling to serve “long-term” at Tenwek. And we are looking forward to seeing the Galat family in Ohio, drinking some Starbuck’s coffee, and spending some time together (15th anniversary coming up the end of this month!). Please keep us in prayer as we travel, and meet with WGM staff, for good health for all, and for our children as they stay behind in Kenya with our Tenwek family.