August 2016 Dear friends and partners in the Lord's work at CEH, We continually rejoice in the progress of the work at CEH in Guinea and the Lord is glorified in every aspect of the work. We want to continually thank you who partner with us through prayer and giving and going!
Allow me a moment of reflection from the house of mourning. Scriptures say that a house of mourning is more blessed than the house of feasting. Three of our precious co-laborers, one from each of the levels of the ministry were called from this earth and graduated into the presence of the Lord.
Jacqueline M In June, Jacqueline M., the 17- year-old wife of Eloie, a young Guin ean nurse on our staff, presented with toxemia of pregnancy in her eighth mont h. She was referred to the government regional hospital by our doctor because he was going to be absent for the following four days. She died at that other hospital within one day. The entire staff mourned for such a young life, with her child in womb, snuffed out. They built her casket in our garage and buried her in the local Christian cemetery. They comforted Eloie socially, emotionally, economically and spiritually. He is persevering in the ministry.
Olivier The second loss was Olivier, a missionary with us in our sister African mission, MIAPE. Olivier's primary gift was driving safely as the hospital chauffeur, though he ably did many other tasks. After Etienne had his neck surgery in 2010 at Mayo Clinic long distance driving on the potholed roads of Guinea was unsafe. Also, having a second person with Etienne on the financial errands of the hospital to the capital to purchase medications or materials or just do banking was safer. We had one significant loss to theft from the administrative vehicle early in the ministry. Olivier, who was an excellent driver, relieved this burden on Etienne and became one of his closest friends. Once while driving a group of short term American missionaries in an area of the capital where a political demonstration had developed, he hastily reversed the car to evade the rioters. Those missionaries have testified that Olivier saved their lives. Sadly, from an earlier period of his life when he was not yet walking closely to the Lord he had contracted AIDS. In February he returned to Abidjan, Ivory Coast where his family lived and began to rapidly deteriorate. He sought no further treatment and died in the last days of June. During Etienne's vacation in June he visited him there to comfort and encourage him. Only by the grace of God we stand. Even in our weakness He uses the gifts He gives us for His own Glory. For Olivier it was the simple skill of driving which he did very well and others glorified God for this.
My third loss is my Aunt Marion, who entered the presence of God in heaven July 31st. My dad's younger brother, Dr. John, and Marion served faithfully as missionaries in the Belgian Congo and then in Ivory Coast as my parents' key partners in the Lord's work. They finished their work in Africa just as Debbie and I started ours, but they never ceased to pray, to counsel and to support our work. In every phase of my life, Aunt Marion had a great influence as an encourager, trainer, friend, prayer partner, counselor and example of a person walking with God, lovingly raising their family, and using their God given skills for His glory. I/we will miss her. Heaven has again gained a great treasure.
On May 19th the CEH board held our tri-annual meeting at the Elizabeth Lodge. It is a gorgeous facility built and then donated by the Schultz/Penz family to Autumn Ridge Church (ARC). In loving memory of their daughter, it is used in the Lord's work. The CEH board and the Minnesota contingent of our friends and advisors sought the Lord's will and celebrated all that He does through us for His Glory. Most importantly as of that date we registered 117 decisions for Christ in two years of hospital ministry. We seek to establish these in their new found faith with the collaboration of all the other evangelical missions and churches in Guinea. All of the outreach endeavors we shared in our last update are bearing their fruit. Praise God!
MIAPE Christian School
The MIAPE Christian school was one of the fruits of the vision of our missionaries in our sister mission as a parallel ministry to CEH. In 2011, we officially ceded the NE corner of our property to MIAPE to build their chapel and a small school. It started as a one room Preschool & K - 3 school with 23 students. Each year they added one class and classroom. They grew to 160 students by this spring. Their first class of eight 6th graders was qualified to take the national test for passage on to 7th grade. The national passing average is only about 60% but we had 7 of 8 students, 25% higher than the national average. This gives it one of the highest rankings in the nation. The school however does not clearly fit in our CEH Mission Statement: To give the best quality care medically and surgically to every patient that comes, according to the means that God gives, and to share the gospel clearly with each of them. Some of the Board felt that having this parallel track to the medical evangelistic work might distract us or not honestly represent our mission to our supporting constituency when we shared our resources with the school. One of the key decisions of the board, this May, was to encourage the establishment of a new 501c3 headed up by Chantal O'Driscol. This would facilitate the MIAPE Christian School and others like it in Guinea, with a direct focus on that ministry to better help them and advance the Kingdom of God. Until it is established as a separate organization we will continue to serve as a channel for those who wish to donate resources to that area of ministry. Two current gestures in this partnership are:
A Christian school in Minnesota gave 50 desks and chairs to the MIAPE School. We will ship them in our current 40-foot container along with other medical and construction supplies, at the end of August. These will be a tremendous asset for the work.
We are strongly considering the purchase of our leased 65-passenger bus to transport our workers and the school children - supporting both ministries. In the past we purchased two 22-passenger buses to transport our workers eight miles from town to the hospital. The total purchase cost of the bus is $8,333 (current monthly lease is $1,200 which totals $14,400 annually). With the purchase of the bus we will have to maintain it, fuel it and hire a new chauffeur, all formerly a part of the lease.
Throughout the world we hear, "Our children are our future" and we agree. Their education is the best gift we can give them. Pray with us through these decisions and partner as the Lord leads you.