Dear friends and prayer partners,
During the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, I often make a personal list of things to be thankful for in my family. I make a second list for the ministry of Compassion Evangelical Hospital. Shorter winter days cause me to reflect that time for work is limited. I review the accomplishments of the year and plan for the coming year in anticipation of the lengthening days by the grace and order
"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:5-6 NIV). Not all the events in our lives are positive, but He invites us to be thankful in all things, even those things that could make us worry or bring discouragement. He promises peace this world cannot understand or produce.
These reflections, in the presence of the God who strengthens me, are a renewal for my spirit. Jesus appreciated the gratefulness of the tenth leper (Luke 17:11-19) and affirmed it before his disciples. This season may my spirit and yours be like the thankful leper.
Grateful for the Facility, Equipment, and Work Teams
Arial view of Compassion Evangelical Hospital
This year we completed six patient showers: tile, plastic curtains, and electrical lighting. Six western style toilets for the staff and two more out-house toilets for patients and family support were added. These now total 12. These facilities are much more than what most people have in their homes. Using ditches or open fields is common.
The fall construction team completed the plumbing and electrical instal lation for the Ophthalmology and Dental Offices. They roughed in the plumbing and electrical for the Pharmacy. The national workers will complete the two offices, roofing, masonry, ceiling, windows, doors, and flooring for the Pharmacy as the necessary funds are available ($35,000). The final plumbing and electrical fixtures, some IT connections for the cash register, and metal shelving scheduled for the next shipping container will allow the Pharmacy to be ready for full use hopefully by July 2020.
Hard-working construction team Joey, Chris, George, John, and Jacob
God provides enough money yearly to generally add two new buildings. Next year we will prioritize finishing the Pharmacy ($35,000). Then possibly two residences for our professional staff ($50,000 each). After that the classroom for the Nursing School ($28,000). If provision is abundant, we will expand the solar arrays and the batteries by 33% at a cost of about $50,000, complete the clinic extension with seven more consultation rooms ($75,000) and two more ward buildings ($35,000 each). The Community Health Program, though it maintains a separate budget, envisions building their administrative office on the compound this year as well. Though the hospital by western standards is very simple, within its setting in one of the poorest 15 nations on earth it is a lighthouse to the glory of God. With the lab equipment mentioned above, the X-ray, several ultrasounds, EKG, the slit lamp, the operating ophthalmoscope, the lens meter, two very functional ORs, the large medical supply building, several sterilizers, dental chairs and dental x-ray, the 24/7 electricity provided by the solar panels, and 58 dedicated staff, the hospital is set apart and is above any other hospital in the interior of Guinea. Also the contribution of the construction teams from the U.S. in plumbing, electrical, septic and well and water systems is tremendous. The permanent African construction team who follow our stronger ratio of cement to sand code and weld metal frames for the metal roofing, build better functioning, more durable buildings than anywhere in the region. People notice. It is to God's Glory. In 2018 we built a well and water tower just across the road. It is a way to offer a cup of water in Jesus' name for the community. It has become the rest stop for buses coming from the East, prior to reaching Mamou. This main National Highway #2 that runs the E-W length of the country accounts for 20% of the long-distance highway traffic in the nation. Many travelers compliment us on the beauty and cleanliness of the campus. Guinean businessmen traveling to Europe by air complimented me on the hospital which they saw or visited as they traveled by. This cleanliness is part of a total team effort. In particular, it is the work of a young uneducated peasant from an unreached tribe that has fewer than 300 believers among four million people. He accepted Christ at the hospital, found employment with us in grounds-keeping, and works wholeheartedly for God. He is a bold witness for Christ. God orchestrates this to His own glory. I praise Him and thank Him. I am amazed He allows us to be a part of His work.
Well and water tower across the road
Grateful for Staff Training Two medical students are contracted to us though scholarships for future medical doctor needs: Asaph, son of the former president of the CMA churches in Guinea, was a leader of the university Bible study group in Conakry during his schooling. He is now in his final year of medical school. His thesis is in ophthalmology and he is waiting for a date to defend it in the African/French pattern. He served internships in a Christian ophthalmology clinic and at CEH for three summers during his training. He will come to us this winter for a general internship year before pursuing further ophthalmology residency training. We will retain the part time Catholic doctor who currently serves with us until the time Asaph returns to lead our Ophthalmology Program. Ivan is Etienne and Paulette's son, who grew up in Mamou the last 11 years, is now in the second of a seven-year medical school in Dakar and doing well. We will welcome him back to CEH as he develops his medical foundation of training. Pray with us for the development of these future servants of God at CEH. We recognize the need for more nurses to fill service roles. The other two mission hospitals and the Ophthalmology Clinic in Guinea have similar needs. We plan to open the Nursing School on our campus this winter as a refresher course for 10 ̶ 16 nurses with prior government training. Much of the government training is inadequate for good patient care. Remedial work is necessary to help these professionals. Pray with us as we select the nursing students. Elizabeth will administer the school and Doris, a CMA Canadian nurse, will lead this training. Doctors and senior CEH nurses will also help. They will start classes on the large porch of the guest house until a future classroom is built. Funds needed for that building are about $28,000. The foundation was dug in 2018 as the seed of faith that God will provide. Our laboratory staff recently trained to perform new chemistry exams that few other hospitals in the region have available to them. New equipment was purchased in country where they can reliably get the reagents which they'll need. The doctors are thrilled with this new reinforcement of their clinical skills, which serves the patients much better. Etienne and Dr. Paul are pursuing their Doctorate in Christian Leadership Studies through the leading West African seminary in Abidjan, CDI. They each have one to two years left to complete their theses. This training will help each of them administer and train others better. We strongly believe that training all our personnel is essential to serving God well and serving our patients well. These principle foundations of getting good personnel and continuously training them is essential for doing good work for God at CEH.
CEH Staff (TR holding baby on right)
Grateful for New Personnel
For several years our chief prayer request was for a general surgeon and second to that, an Assistant Administrator to facilitate Etienne's role as Hospital Director. This year God gave us both in Paul and Elizabeth. I first met Paul in 1996 at the Ferke hospital. He was a young medical graduate whom I was able to begin training as a family practice/surgeon. Over seven years four doctors were trained, and I believe Paul was the best. Last year he felt he accomplished all that God had for him at Ferke and was seeking God's new calling. Elizabeth completed 25 years of public high school teaching and was looking for an administrative role to use her creative spiritual gifts in ministry for God. They examined several opportunities available to them and then accepted the appointment as missionaries under MIAPE from Cote d Ivoire (CDI) to serve with us at CEH. Both come with gifts and abilities which are already making important contributions. We are very grateful to God!
We also prayed for a biomedical tech. God gave us Fassou, a Guinean who was trained in this specialty at a new Cuban school in Mamou. He already repaired numerous instruments including the Surgical Electrical Cauterizer. He is helping with some of the electrical and IT infrastructure and is actively involved in the local church as well. We are so grateful to God!
As Pastor Oumar returned to CDI, the vacancy of a hospital chaplain/evangelist was evident. Four local pastors are filling the role until Pastor Moise and his wife Deborah complete their training in the summer of 2021. We pray this will facilitate new converts at the hospital to be integrated into local evangelical churches. This is always a part of our overall plan in obedience to Matthew 28:19-20.