Dear friends and prayer partners,
Recently, I sat in a government office of the county administrator in Mamou, Guinea. The administrator said the reputation of the hospital radiates to all the region of central Guinea and to Guinea's neighboring nations. (I thought, "Christ said we are the light of the world, we are like a city set on a hill that cannot be hid.") The administrator sincerely thanked us for the quality of service to the population and the contribution to the community.
They see Christ in and through us! We represent Him in this world to the people we touch. Christ said let your good work shine before men that they may glorify your Father who is in Heaven (Matthew 5:16). We pray this may be constantly true of CEH.
In November the national radio and television company, RTVG, came to the hospital. They shot a day of footage to make a documentary spot to air on national public TV and radio. They professionally edited that into a five-minute spot which was shown nationally eight times and echoed on the national and local radio. Etienne, our Hospital Director, was able to share our hospital purpose statement -- offering the best quality medical and surgical care possible according to the means God provides and to share the Gospel with all who come. Two of our doctors shared a summary of our expanding services and the compassion with which we seek to serve. Random testimonies from patients were also shared. Our light is shining to His glory! What a privilege to be His ambassador to the very needy country of Guinea, which is 85 percent Muslim and only one percent Evangelical Christian!
We thank each of you sincerely for your partnership with us in the Gospel throughout 2019.
May He bless our work together in 2020 for His glory.
As we share the gospel at the beginning of each day on the veranda, 90 percent of those listening raise their hands to indicate they want us to pray as we care for them during the day. The Christian staff do this regularly. Prayer precedes each surgery and consultations are often concluded with prayer. The staff also divide into pairs and visit every hospitalized patient with the express purpose of answering spiritual questions and witnessing every Friday morning as well as whenever the opportunities are evident. Christian videos and health education programs are shared daily on the waiting room TV. The Christian literature stand is open daily to the patients. Once an elderly man stopped the Director toward the end of the day and said, "You've said you would pray with us as patients, but no one has yet prayed with me personally today." The Director prayed immediately. That event was used to train the staff with the importance of this tangible act.
Three of our local pastors now share the role of Chaplain at the hospital since Oumar returned to Cote d' Ivoire (CDI) in August. To our knowledge, 42 people registered their decision to accept Christ as Savior in 2019. This brings the total to 256 people since the hospital opened in 2007. One of these recent converts is our mason who worked with us for over a decade. On Christmas Eve as testimonies were shared over the loud speaker publicly he was bold enough to share that he carefully studied the ways of the Christians at the hospital and found they were speaking and living in the path of truth and he was now committed to entering it himself. Heaven rejoices and so do we. This is the true light we can shine as we reflect Him to others!
Staff Needs -- Please Pray
Christ told us to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out the laborers that are needed. Pray with us for godly, competent professionals:
We desire a Laboratory Technician, a Pharmacist, and Nursing Educator.
We need an Anesthesiologist or Nurse Anesthetist. A new machine is pledged and already funded by ARC, when we can find a full-time person. This will also allow many more western surgeons to come to CEH and share in the ministry.
We have a potential Trauma Surgeon and Pulmonologist couple who were with us years ago right after medical school. They trained elsewhere and are willing to return if we have the funds to hire them.
We have two medical students training -- in Conakry (Seventh year) and in Dakar (Second year).
Financial Data for 2019
In total we have 60 African full-time staff. Nine of these are missionaries with MIAPE and supported by U.S. contributions. Dr. Kristen, our only long-term U.S. missionary, is supported by U.S. contributions, as well. Two Community Health Staff are also supported by the Community Health Program (CHP) contributions. The hospital's 12 construction and security staff salaries are subsidized by U.S. gifts as part of construction expenses because we desire to keep patient fees affordable for the local economy and do not want patient fees to be inflated by building costs. All other national staff are paid from Guinean revenues.
New Staff in 2019
Dr. Paul, our newest Cote d' Ivoire (CDI) MIAPE missionary, is gaining the reputation of being one of the best local surgeons in West Africa. He now performs general and orthopedic surgeries at the hospital for patients, some of whom travel from the capital, six hours away. They come to CEH because of our reputation for far fewer infections and higher quality of work than in the capital. Dr. Paul is training some of the younger Guinean doctors on staff in common surgical procedures. He recently shared that little children at CEH chant their welcome to him as he walks into work. He often picks them up in his arms in greeting like Christ did the children of his day. He talks about his joy in sharing compassionately with patients through the day. One patient said, "I know that you will not 'rob' me, as many other doctors in Guinea do, because you are from CDI." He responded, "No, it is not my nationality, but that I belong to Christ." We praise God for Dr. Paul, who is a great answer to years of prayer.
Elizabeth, Mickael, and Dr. Paul
Elizabeth, Dr. Paul's wife, is another answer to prayer. As a public high school professor and administrator with 25 years of experience in CDI, she came to serve as Assistant Hospital Director, lightening Etienne's load. She will lead in the CEH HR services and development of the nursing school. Elizabeth and Paul lost their two older sons in a tragic drowning accident five years ago. They have an autistic 16-year-old son who requires their attention and love. This is a testimony to the larger community as they see efforts by the family and the Christian community to care and develop persons with handicaps. They are participating in the MIAPE church and in the Assemblies of God church in town. Pray with us for them.
This past year God gave us Fassou, a Guinean biomedical tech, to help us maintain and repair some of our medical equipment. This was also one of our key prayer requests for personnel the last several years. He was able to repair the electrocautery machine for surgery, some of our laboratory machinery, and trouble shoot the dental x-ray we are installing. He is training to become integrated into the operation of our solar electrical system originally provided by Autumn Ridge Church (ARC) in 2015. We and our sister missionary hospital, Hope Clinic, are the only hospitals in the interior country that have reliable 24/7 electrical service. Even the capital hospitals and clinics lack this. Fassou, a mature young believer, is now leading the maintenance staff daily devotions and is active in the MIAPE church. We certainly praise God for him.
Staff Training and New Nursing School
Currently we have one General Surgeon, one OB-Gyn, one part-time Ophthalmologist, and three younger Medical Doctors, who serve our patients. Our 28 nurses receive continuous training to improve the level of care. We hope to start a nursing school (20 students) this coming year to train more nurses for ourselves and sister hospitals. The National and Regional Directors of Professional Training visited the hospital with a Counselor to the Ministry of Health. During that visit we received verbal government permission to start the nursing school with clinical training on the job. Most other nursing schools in the country give very little clinical training. Final written approvals are pending but promised. Curriculum is being developed integrating several African and western models. We have one Canadian Nurse (RN), six national doctors and our current senior nurses who will train them. We hope to train in sequential three and four-week modules taught by our local staff and western missionary nurses. Finding the right teachers will be an essential task. We recognize this continuous training of staff must be one of our highest intellectual priorities. It is a complex new enterprise. Pray that we will do it well for Him.
Special Projects for 2020
Pray with us as we trust God for these projects in 2020.