The Kenya medical team is due to arrive at O'Hare in Chicago just after 6pm this evening. If all goes well with customs and luggage, they should be back at the Fox River Waukesha campus shortly after 8pm.
Michelle and I are boarding for our first flight to Addis Ababa. I heard from the team and they were leaving Istanbul about 45 minutes past scheduled departure time.
The medical team has completed their first leg of the trip home, arriving safely in Istanbul. Michelle and I leave in a few hours for the Mombasa airport, flying out at 4:30pm.
The medical team took some much needed rest and recoup while on safari Monday and returned today. It was a nice opportunity to reflect, process and enjoy the beautiful Tsavo national park. During our closing meeting last night, everyone shared their thankfulness and spiritual growth that has taken place over the past week and a half. It was an encouraging time, and I hope that you will take the opportunity to ask them about their personal journeys.
I am so grateful for these hardworking dedicated people who said yes to God and came to serve in Kenya on this medical trip. I am grateful for all of their time and effort, I know it has been a long and difficult week. Thanks for your service, thanks for your teamwork, and thanks for the love that you have freely given this week.
A word from Jen:How can one put into words a moment or time that stands out during this week. How can I pick just one when I have been so blessed with so many moments that have taken my breath away. The kids, men and women of Kenya have brought such joy to my life through their love, song and prayer. I knew I would change as a person but I never knew the depth of change that would occur in my soul. I am forever thankful that God chose this path for me...
A word from Chris: We are now finished with the medical clinics, and I have to say what an experience. I was in charge of keeping track of the numbers. We saw well over 3,000 people in the medical clinics. A few of my favorite memories are getting to play with the kids, getting to hand out the shoes, and getting to see God's work happen up close. This has truly been a wonderful experience and I would love to get the opportunity to come back some day.
A word from Jane (one of our beloved translators): I just completed my third year helping out in the medical missions. Every year the Fox River Medical Team comes over is a life changing experience for me. Watching them minister openly without qualms but with love, joy and zeal to my people is just amazing. People come over seeking cure and wisdom from the doctors. It is not easy but daily I experience the grace of God working through them and us. My people get treated and go home happy while the team gets blessed and learns more about us, medicine, and the ways of the culture. Never ceases to amaze me, the giving culture of the Medical USA Team and Kenyan Team. Hearts are changed, illnesses are touched too. Mostly life is never the same after each medical team leaves. God Bless you Fox River Christian Church!
Today we split the team up and headed to 2 schools, overseen by missionary Jim Horne. We split the medications and supplies up as well. At Perani they saw 302 people and dental saw over 125. In Perani we tend to see more patients but we were told that there were 2 funerals in the area so we would not see as many adult patients. This held true. At Tumaini, we tended to 320 people. Many doses of Albendazole were administered, and many vitamins were given out. For those two things, I am most grateful to be able to provide. It was a shorter day, packing up at 4:00 and heading back to reach Mombasa by dark.
We love Dr. Beverly!
A word from Amy:
I am so enjoying learning from all the Kenyans. Each day has been a blessing, but one moment that I will hold onto is when a mom brought her baby with a piece of cloth wrapped around his little wrist with a stone or "charm" on it. It was from the witchdoctor and said to protect him. Clinton was sick and in need of medicine but mom was leary about allowing me to cut off this fabric. Another team member had one of Fox River's Hope, Love and Faith bracelets on and allowed me to give it to mom (Asha) and baby, introducing Jesus to her and allowing Upendo, Tumaini & Imani to take the place of this charm.
A word from Katie:
Jer. 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I am especially glad that God already had a set plan for me on this trip. Although I really didn't know what to expect, I had a picture painted in my head for what the trip would look like and specifically my role as a pharmacist. When we began to set up the first day that picture went out the window and organized chaos commenced. I have learned so much about how to operate with just the basics, new names for drugs, and new dosing for different health conditions. God has stretched me in so many ways and for that I am grateful. My heart would rather be loving on the little children all day, I am glad God called me to use my talents to help run the pharmacy and to be able to make life as easy as possible during the day for all of the clinical officers, nurses & doctors.
I would like to add that Katie was a huge blessing to this mission. She worked with a smile on her face during the most demanding times. She was so patient, kind and flexible (the most important of all - flexible) and was the perfect person we needed to run the pharmacy. Her knowledge and dedication was so valuable, and her ability to make adjustments where needed. I am grateful for her and her husband Chris (master statistics recorder)!
Today (Friday) we spent the day at missionary Jim Horne's school in Tiwi. It is a nice campus with classes up to 8th grade. Recently there was a medical clinic added to the campus that serves the area. Last month they served over 600 people. It seems to me that since the clinic has been operating, the health of the people has improved. We saw 659 patients today and the overall health seems to be improved based on fewer medicines prescribed and a smaller number of patients compared to the last few years. Many vitamins were given out and quality patient interaction! And yes, there were some really cute babies!
Again it was our pleasure working beside the Kenyan team. As a thank you to them for their time and dedication, we presented them with a small gift of a sports towel. As you can see they loved it!
A word from Cheryl: Coastal Kenya is a beautiful tropical land with the most beautiful, kind hearted people anywhere. Mixed in with the palm trees and flowering tropical bushes along the streets are horrible slums with ragged clothed adults and children walking along uneven dirt paths or sitting outside of their tin or straw roofed shacks, sometimes with only half walls of sticks. I am blessed and changed for saying a "yes" to Jesus when I turned in the card Biblically challenging us to do so. I needed to do something that was out of my comfort zone, for His people I knew nothing about that would make me just trust in Him. Tuesday we went to another of the Christian supported school complexes to be hands and feet of Jesus. I will remember this picture of the day and of Kenya in General. From one side of the building we worked in you could see the children playing outside, eating a prepared meal together, coming by us for high fives and while waiting in line patiently, they sang for us. On the other side of the building out of view of this I saw 2 of our workers praying with mom and her 8yr old boy with a badly crippled foot turned on its side and bent 45 degrees inward. He had never been to school and they had no food that day as they had no means for either. They just stared ahead meekly as they ate the peanut butter on a few crackers we gave them. Our Kenyan helper passionately shared the truths of God's love for us in Jesus' saving grace with them and Mom said "yes" to accepting Jesus. The local church will follow up with her. I will go back home . My beloved Kenyan friends will stay to continually serve here. They are passionate, humble servants who have taught me much.
Last year our medical team had the privilege of working with a Kenyan medical team led by Dr. Gome. He is a deacon at Crossroads Church in Nyali. I was introduced to him a few years ago and he told me about his vast experience with putting on medical camps in rural areas around Kenya. We decided to team up last year and provided medical care to 5000 people. His expertise and that of his team was a huge blessing to our team and to all of the people we were able to reach out to. As a thank you to him, we added his hometown to our medical mission schedule this year. We were so happy to see where he calls home, meet his family, provide medical care, and show his hometown the love we have for them.
By now you can imagine the team is learning so much about the Kenyan culture and health care issues. It has been rewarding to help as many people as have trusted us enough to allow us to provide medical care to them. Also there are difficult struggles, knowing that there is so much need and often times nothing we can do to help. The suffering is sometimes too much and we must take time to recoup. The team has done a great job providing not only great medical care, but also just as important, kindness and compassion. They have worked long hard days without complaint. I am grateful for all their dedication and compassion.
Tuesday we served at Majaoni and Wednesday we were at Bomani. Majaoni, also called Gospel Center, are the kids in the red and blue uniforms. This school is under the missionaries Lisa and Bobby Bechtel who are also missionaries for New Life Center in Bomani (blue and white uniforms). Between the 2 days, over 1700 patients were seen by the medical team, dental team, and eye glasses team. The days were long and exhausting, but so very rewarding. Each day we grow closer to our teammates, Kenyan and American.
A word from Abigale: This morning I woke up feeling as though I only slept two hours. I was up sick all night long and wasn't enthusiastic about clinic starting in a few hours. I wasn't sure how my physical condition was going to affect the available opportunities of the day. I only had five minutes before I had to be downstairs-a quick devotional this morning indeed. I flipped open to 2 Corinthians 12:10 - "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." That was it! Praise the Lord I am weak today, because then He will be strong! And that He was today! The more I stripped myself of "me" and the sin I carry, the brighter Christ shone. And today, Christ shined so brightly from the snuggles with my patients, to praying with them, to making sweet eye contact with the sweet girls as I listened to their lung sounds.
A word from Sue: I began to reflect on writing about the children and then recollected on our team as a whole. Today validated my desire to serve God's children in a 3rd world country. We've seen so many children and so many adults but what really spoke to my heart was the Kenyan team who have taken time away from their regular jobs to also volunteer and help us who do not know their culture and their people. When I asked them why they do this, one reply was "it's humbling." As they volunteer in their country for their people it's humbling for me to work with these passionate people.