"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High." Psalm 9:1-2 (NIV)
Dear CEH friends and prayer partners, As a young missionary, I once asked Dad Slater how he found time to pray as a busy missionary doctor. He said he learned to pray without ceasing; every activity was clothed in an attitude of prayer, asking God for guidance, wisdom, help, fruitfulness, blessing ... I came to learn that practice, but I also found the blessing of long (two hour) solo drives to work, a time to be alone with God in the prayer closet of my car. With this God blessed CEH. As Dad Slater came into retirement, he and Mom had many more hours to pray and they especially prayed for all the family: children, spouses, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, their church communities and the various ministries God gave the family. As Mom passed on to Heaven this summer and Dad entered into hospice care the last three months, he still loves to pray. I often lead the prayers and he just says, "Amen and Amen." Or at times he will pray for God's help to walk in His paths. I love holding his hand. It is still bigger than mine, though now frail and weak. It will soon slip on into heaven. But there it will still be raised in prayer and praise to our God and on behalf of these same themes.
Christian Literature Stand One avenue of witness at CEH is the sale of reading materials. Hundreds of tracts or pieces of literature are sold from a simple stand to our patients as they wait to be consulted in the clinic. A Christian publishing house in Indiana also sent us 600 Arabic New Testaments to be given to those who can read in that language. In the first two months 20% of these New Testaments are already given out. Pray for enduring spiritual fruit.
A Gathering of Believers in Guinea On November 26th the Guinean government hosted an assembly for all the Guinean Evangelical Christians (L'AEMEG) at the Palace of the People in Conakry. The large assembly hall was filled with over 2,500 people - singing, praying and worshiping the one true God. Several high government officials came as observers and several pastors spoke. T he represented churches and congregations are the most widely dispersed testimony to the gospel of Christ in the nation. Evangelicals number one percent of the population, about 100,000 believers in Guinea.
Etienne, CEH's Director, was invited to speak briefly as the Director of Social Services for L'AEMEG. He was able to report on the three Christian hospitals now serving in the country as well as several Christian doctors' offices including a significant Bartholomew Ophthalmology Clinic. The Macenta Christian Hospital, established in 1986, coordinates treatment programs for leprosy and TB for the entire nation. CEH has, as of this month, consulted 100,000 patients - all of these received the best quality medicine we could offer. The patients are usually accompanied by one or two family members, both patients and family members hear a biblical presentation when they visit CEH. To our knowledge 160 people made professions of faith. Four Christian school networks are also serving the nation. One other Christian community health program functioned in the Kankan area for two decades and Dr. Kristen Schmaltz asked to be released from the curative health care responsibilities at CEH to begin a new program in our region. (Our board gave its blessing to this endeavor.) There is also a significant camp ministry serving the youth. In each of these social ministries Etienne was asked to represent and facilitate their work with his excellent administrative gifting. Etienne's report shared that these are each functioning to serve the people of Guinea and to glorify God. God's Name was praised publicly in Guinea.
Celebrations of normal life events are a witness to many communities. A highlight event was held this past summer and called "Day of Women." My daughter Vonnie, her friend, Marisa, and I witnessed and participated in this event led by the women of the church. The girls sang a duet, and I was asked to be one of the speakers, (speaking on the roles of the mother and grandmother of Timothy). The time together concluded with a feast prepared for the 130 people who attended. It was a great celebration! Christian marriage ceremonies were not the norm in Guinea when we first began CEH. The importance of this is now taught and it is increasingly the expected pattern modeled by the hospital for the nation. Dr. Jean Paul our chief of staff lost his first wife, Joan of Arc, in a bus accident last March. We pray for God's blessing on the marriage of Dr. Jean Paul to Madeleine, our cashier at CEH. They were married on December 9. At a recent funeral, we shared sorrow and celebration in the loss of Awa Conde, one of our housekeepers at CEH, who died of cancer of the throat. She was the wife of the sous-prefet of Mamou, a mid level government official. Two hundred fifty people attended her funeral, including the Governor of the Mamou Region. CEH and the Assembly of God Church in Mamou provided all the essentials for the celebration of her life. Our eternal hope in Christ and heaven which He prepared for us was proclaimed. In Africa, honoring those who die and caring for their bereaved is an essential part of our witness for Christ. This was well done!
Facility Updates The hospital is situated with frontage on Highway #1. Several thousand people travel this road daily. We recently initiated a project to repaint the exterior of the 10-year-old buildings. The efforts of keeping the property clean and well-kept is a welcome site in the community.
View of CEH from Highway #1
This year Wards D and E were added bringing the total to 42 beds available for inpatient care. A patient Kitchen and Family Gazebo in honor of Joan of Arc were also built this year. Currently we are constructing a large medical storage building next to the Surgery Building to contain and better dispense all the medical materials sent to CEH in the containers from the U.S. Each building is completed as you, God's children, provide the funds. We never had to borrow money. Each year we invest about $100,000 in capital expansion. All the buildings have a simple durable beauty that is a testimony to the Guinean people that our living God loves them and is reaching out to them in this day with the best medical care in the region and the eternal Gospel of Christ. Thank you again for serving with us in this! The Solar Electrical System, with a diesel generator backup, is providing 24/7 electricity to care for our patients. For the past two years, this has been a luxury, in this country lacking 24 hour electricity even in the capital city. Night travelers on the main road cannot miss our lights. The IT connection via cell towers advanced our care of patients. This spring the Chinese subsidized a fiber optic cable that runs right along the north side of Highway #1. A connection hub was placed for us and we hope to connect this coming year when it is functional.
2017 Medical Conference The connection with the Mayo Clinic doctors from Autumn Ridge Church both through clinical consultation, and the bi-annual Medical Evangelistic Conference offered in Mamou are a tremendous advantage. Last January over 145 Christian medical professionals from our hospital and other mission hospitals throughout West Africa were trained for five days. The next medical conference is being planned for January 2019. We offered to the national medical school to sponsor a medical conference in the capital for them the week preceding or following our conference. They were very enthusiastic. Pray with us for the realization of these projects to the honor of God.
Last summer, as I visited, the local Muslim leaders invited Etienne and me to meet with them in their mosques' classroom across the street. They were very thankful for the services of the hospital to their community. During our visit, we mutually exchanged several requests for services. As their population grows, the source of water runs out during the dry winter months from October to April. We currently share from our water tower during the daytime hours when we can replenish it before sunset. They asked us to help provide a drilled well for them. I agreed we will help them in this way for the sake of good community relationships. This will be one of our winter projects. In exchange, I asked them for ten lots to be sold to our workers so some of our medical staff can move into the community and be more available for urgent medical services. They agreed to this and CEH fronted the money for these lots which are designated for our staff at 50% off the initial price. Official papers are being completed in the names of our medical members who will repay this amount into a special hospital fund as a deduction from their salary. That fund will be available as a revolving loan for construction of their own homes.
MIAPE Welcome Center
The Welcome Center sponsored through our sister mission MIAPE opened with 28 bunk beds this year. The center provides housing to those who may be ostracized from their families. Job training is provided as well as a nurturing community surrounding them with support. A few of those who were welcomed are M, O and his daughter, and a CEH nurse. M came to faith during the last two years and is trained as a painter, groundskeeper and landscaper for the hospital. He is a respected part of the CEH community. His gentle and humble character is attractive to others and a reflection of his young faith. He participates in the construction staff daily devotions, a weekly discipleship meeting and the MIAPE chapel services every weekend. O and his daughter were cared for at the hospital for chronic wounds and during that time came to faith. They too are surrounded with a caring support group. One of our young nurses is also housed by the community and encouraged while earning her living at the hospital. We pray for these numbers tobe multiplied.
Planning for Growth
Our plans for this coming year or two: Finishing the medical supply building ($20,000) Dig a well for local community water supply ($7,000) Nursing school classrooms, modify old medical supply building ($5,000) IT updates and connection to fiber optic ($10,000) Dental and Ophthalmology offices ($40,000) Clinic expansion - adding six more consultation rooms ($60,000) Pharmacy and warehouse for medications ($60,000) Development of the CEH community health program ($40,000) (Dr. Kristen will be seeking the funding of this separately)