Updated: Mar 21
Dear friends and prayer partners of Compassion Evangelical Hospital,
We strongly believe the foundation of all we do should be in prayer!
Our quarterly updates are designed to fuel your prayers, and we are so very thankful many of you pray fervently for this ministry. Thank you, thank you, thank you! When the mission was first born on April 19th of 2004, it was in a prayer meeting in the basement of a church in Royal Oak, Michigan. Now, every board meeting is opened and closed with prayer, as are every ExCom and Administrative Staff meeting. We truly want God to direct our thoughts and paths in all we do. Without Him we believe we labor in vain. Praying puts us in a position of dependency on God and allows Him to accomplish all He alone can do, which is truly all that is of eternal value. He charged us to preach the Gospel in all the world and to make disciples of Christ. That is exactly what we aim to accomplish for God in Guinea, and in our own individual places.
New Outdoor Equipment
Christ told his disciples to “let the children come unto Me.” So, Phil from Kids Around the World, and Joseph from HPBC, our common home church, accompanied me on a three to four week trip to Guinea last month. Their primary project was to install playground equipment in the MIAPE School and on the CEH campus. This was accomplished in the very hard red igneous/volcanic rock on which the hospital is built. The jackhammer and those who handled it had quite a workout. Sand was spread to protect the youthful knees and hands. Then the children were allowed to play joyfully on a huge toy none of them ever saw or imagined before. Also installed were two soccer goalposts and new nets to replace those destroyed in the 2020 brush fire. Soccer is the favorite national and continental sport of African children. The Weertz boys shared this need with their US teammates after their short-term mission trip in 2019 with their father Chris and Grandpa George. The team joyfully gave the initial set of nets and soccer balls for this. Adjacent to the field and lower playground a new Child Evangelism Center (funded by ARC in MN) is being built to facilitate the ongoing ministry to local children with the participation of the hospital staff and local churches. God is bringing this together with His servants from different churches (4 African/4 American). Praise God!
It is always important for me to emphasize the primary purpose of the hospital—to give the best quality medical and surgical care possible with compassion as God provides for us and to share the Gospel with all we serve. My role this trip was more medical and administrative. I rounded on the inpatients, advised on office consultations with the national physicians and nurse practitioner, and observed several general and cataract surgeries. During my visit we held a free screening day for three common but treatable illnesses. We checked for hypertension, diabetes, and cervical cancer. This brought 330 patients to the clinic that one day. (A clear record over our prior 110 patients in a day set several years ago.) There were 130 the next day including the normal clinic volume. Our medical staff worked overtime the first day and then finished by the normal 5 PM ending time on the next day! This proved to the staff their ability to handle such volumes. I met with each department of the hospital to listen and understand their needs and assess what can be done to best advance the work. I also had individual meetings with each of the MIAPE missionary couples, physicians with their spouses, and the heads of the hospital departments. Most often I shared an evening meal with my colleague missionaries mentioned above. There were several whole staff meetings and a celebration marking 15 years of service to the Guinean people. All of this was fruitful and will give direction to our ongoing efforts.
There are several urgent minor renovations needed in our existing buildings (lab, offices, and consultation rooms) to make them more functional. The hospital is now using the MIAPE welcome center (originally built as a refuge for ostracized new believers, where we could disciple them in their young faith pilgrimage) as a 10-bed ward building because there are chronically more patients than beds. This shows that the next new buildings should be a 10 bed Surgical/Ortho Ward and then a 10 bed OB/Gyn ward, (each at $40,000) thus postponing the clinic expansion until another year. Several staff also expressed the need for higher priority on more current equipment for departments within the hospital such as in Lab, Ophthalmology and in X-ray/Ultrasound over construction of more buildings. A healthy balance between these competing needs is important as we rely on our Father’s adequate faithful provision.
George W and John C are the next team returning to Mamou in March through early April to complete construction projects started in the past 2.5 years. This was just prior to the COVID pandemic which limited international travel for most. George, as the construction director always has a long list of projects to accomplish, and he amazingly gets through almost all of them. The projects include many plumbing and electrical areas and completing the surgeon’s house. The hope is to also train the staff in more of the preventative maintenance of hospital equipment and vehicles. One new project they personally invented and built was a water wagon to fight brush fires which repeatedly threaten the buildings and property. The staff tried it during my stay and certainly need better training from its inventors to use it well when a fire arises. George and John are both in their mid-seventies and recognize their strength is beginning to wane. These are also the hottest months in Mamou. Pray diligently for them. We as Christ’s body must stand behind them in prayer.
Community Health Program
Under Dr. Kristen’s leadership we developed an emphasis on a Community Health Program (CHP). The hospital is developing medical education programs for our staff and new professionals. Both are significant aspects of the CEH medical ministry, and are beginning to grow significantly. The CHP Administrative office and conference room is finished and has both solar and generator power. The plumbing is mostly installed but waiting to be connected to a septic tank and field. CHP bought some furnishings and began to hold some meetings there, though most of the daily action is coordinated from Dr. Kristen’s home on the south side of Mamou across town. Dr. Kristen and Anne, a Guinean nurse, as her assistant, direct all this work. They developed a large network of village coordinators in the region, who are trained in 11 programs of preventative health lessons taught from posters. These lessons are taught in schools, villages, government health centers and local businesses. The system is working very well, and radio programs are also being produced for the two local radio stations. A dynamic pictorial survey of this ministry can be seen on the CEH website. Pray that these contacts will ultimately lead people to Christ. Praise God for this blossoming ministry!
The nursing school building was finished last year. With the recent coup, the government halted all new projects not fully approved by the prior government. So the startup of the nursing school is on temporary hold. The Nuss family also had some medical issues but now have medical clearance, and intend to return in April. Doris will be the lead teacher. Training continues internally for the nurses and our younger doctors. The senior doctors Paul and Jean Paul were blessed to receive training out of country in Orthopedics and Ob-Gyn respectively. The hospital is dreaming of a full nursing and para medical school and a doctor residency training to be launched within this new building. They are adopting the new name for the school “Compassion International Health Institute” (CIHI). At the doors of the nursing school’s first classroom, I was happy to pray with the staff leaders who developed this vision.
More Help Coming
We had the wonderful news from three missionary families already supported under different sister missions that they feel God’s calling to serve with us at CEH. Each of their skills and spiritual giftings will greatly contribute to God’s work at CEH.
Each of these families has a deep personal walk with the Lord and we are eager to have them with us to serve Christ at CEH. Each has their support and accountability lines of authority within their own missions. Pray that CEH will be an excellent host mission in these seconded relationships to work well together under the headship of Christ and the supreme authority of God’s Word for His glory and to win Guinea for God. What can we offer to these fellow missionaries? Our fervent prayers and friendship. We hope all in our constituency will uphold them in prayer.
Daniel and Dr. Allison
Daniel and Dr. Allison Travis are coming via International Mission Board (Southern Baptist). She is a board-certified surgeon who will help Dr. Paul in surgical work and training of young doctors. Daniel is a pastor/church planter with a vision for unreached people, specifically the Pular group of 5,300,000 who live in central Guinea. They are currently in French language study in Conakry.
Dr. Brendon and Dr. Angela
Dr. Brendon and Dr. Angela Esquibel are coming through Cornerstone International Mission and can serve as Surgeon and Family Practice doctors within CEH. They have three young sons who will be with them. They will come in April, Lord willing, for a three or four month vision trip prior to language school in France in September. Both can contribute greatly to the medical/surgical areas especially in the education of national professionals. Pray for this vision trip. Pray for both families: for clarity of God’s will and perseverance through the many adjustments, and language and cultural acquisition.
Pastor and Mrs. Kolié
The third couple, Pastor and Mrs. Kolié, are experienced African missionaries and are field leaders for Calvary Mission in Guinea since 2009. They now seek to lead nationals into more unreached areas like Mamou to evangelize and disciple those God gives them. He is Guinean and she is Ivoirian by birth. He is eager to work alongside our CEH/MIAPE Pastor Moise in the chaplaincy ministry and to further train nursing students and staff in evangelism.
Life is difficult in Guinea with the military coup from last fall. Sanctions from neighboring nations and the World Bank's disapproval of the coup made the economy struggle significantly, but there is relative peace in the country and some optimism for the future. The value of the dollar fell against the Guinea Franc by 10% over the past six months. Fraud declined nationally, but inflation was again at 12.5% this past year. So, everyone hopes raises will keep pace. However, unless the volume of our services increase and hospital income along with it, raises aren't possible. We set the goal of long-term self-sufficiency within the hospital resources rather than operational dependency on the US. This dilemma was clearly communicated but is not the rapid solution individuals want. As we increase our services for His Glory, ultimately their own salaries may also increase.
Within the hospital there were several instances of fraud to patients, internal thefts of medications or instruments, and some abuse of medical benefits. These bleed resources from the hospital. They must be correctly addressed, recognizing that our staff are professing believers raised in a culture where these actions are flagrant. Scripture teaches, "If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). It is the fear of God that is the beginning of wisdom. Pray fervently with us as we seek to correct this sin within our team, transforming our minds and actions to reflect Christ’s rather than conforming to this world, that we may become a living sacrifice acceptable unto God (Romans 12:1-2). I strongly encouraged the staff to keep their vision fixed on Christ, representing and serving Him well to all who come.
In the midst of life’s great challenges let us be faithful in prayer and action, then we can receive with thanksgiving all that our God wants to accomplish in and through us together. Amen
Your fellow servant,
Dr. Dwight E. Slater, MD
CEO of CEH