Dear Friends, Supporters and Prayer Partners,
This is a season of celebrating multiple blessings from God and His greatest gift in the person of Christ at Christmas. How wonderful God is! Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter are my favorite holidays because of their spiritual meanings. May you and your families be blessed in them this year.
I am writing on a warm rainy November day on my 12-year-old computer purchased in 2003 when Etienne visited us from Cote d'Ivoire (CDI). At that time we were just dreaming about the creation of CEH and a sister mission based in CDI that could send missionaries to help us launch a hospital to touch the Guinean people for Christ. The foundational documents for those two missions were the first compositions on this computer after we dedicated it to God. This old computer holds all the archives of what God did through these years and is probably why it is so precious to me. Besides, it still works fine. So let me share through it again of God's blessings.
Ten years ago we bought the land and built the garage as the first building. All the others were built out of it. I can remember kneeling at the cornerstone of the property as the land was dedicated to God in front of Christian and Muslim witnesses. Then the construction staff was dedicated for their work. The future medical staff was symbolically dedicated as Kristen and I were prayed for. Finally three pastors, two missionaries and the Christian community were prayed for on September 30, 2005. The guest house, the primary hospital building and the first two electrical buildings were completed over the next two years. We opened on November 28, 2007.
We grew our staff to 54 people most of whom are Guineans. A strong delegation of 12 missionaries came through MIAPE, the African mission from CDI we were just dreaming about in 2003. God brought this to fruition in 2007. Two full time US missionaries serve part time at the hospital. This year we will register our 80,000th patient visit to the clinic. The 24 hospital beds have been well used as have the two ORs. The ER, dental office, Pharmacy, Lab and nurses station are currently letting us give the best care available in the region. The set back of the X-ray breaking down was disappointing this year but plans are in place to install a portable backup and to repair it again this next year. All of this is the blessing of God. We give thanks.
On November 18, 2015 for the first time we ran the hospital on solar energy! The vision of Autumn Ridge Church (ARC) in Minnesota allowed the funding of this through their Light and Sight fundraising campaign last year. ARC member, Neil, orchestrated the planning and purchase of the materials which were sent via container. The short term work team from ARC and Highland Park Baptist Church (HPBC) in Michigan completed the installation this month.
CEH solar panels
Prior to this, night time care was done by lanterns and flashlights. With 24/7 electricity and lights we can again take a great step forward in quality of care including doing emergency surgery when necessary. We will also conserve nearly $1,200 per month on the cost of fuel to run our generators for essential electricity during the key daytime work hours these first eight years.
Laundry Another major step forward this year was the construction of the laundry building now installed with two washers and dryers. The same USA work team completed the plumbing and electrical set up for this project which the nationals initiated. Africa is not a "disposable" oriented society as we frequently are in the USA. Can you imagine washing all the hospital laundry, surgical drapes, and uniforms by hand in tubs and a washboard? Three of our seven housekeeping/maintenance staff did this for years. Then this year the Ebola Crisis came with the escalated fear of body fluids contaminating health workers and other patients. We never had a case at CEH but there was always the potential that provoked caution and anxiety. The laundry staff will now be trained to do it in a new and better way. Praise God. (Thankfully the last known Ebola case diagnosed on October 29has now been treated and released from the main governmental Ebola hospital in Conakry.)
New laundry machines
Two months prior to the ARC/HPBC work team's arrival, the wiring to the well burned out. Three times each day workers had to take a portable generator out to the well to pump the essential water. The hydraulics on the CAT also malfunctioned making it useless. Local and Guinean CAT national mechanics were consulted but their diagnosis was inaccurate and their parts prices were exorbitant. George who led the Michigan part of the team was able to consult a US dealer and mechanic to purchase the potential parts that might have been the cause. When he made the repairs on the CAT it was the last suggested part that worked. The CAT which Wayne B and Don W raised funds for five years ago assists us in all of the construction work and frees us to do it much more efficiently. We praise God.
The CAT repaired and back to work The final project, led by Doc, was the connection of the hospital computers to the internet. A 2G cell tower system is all that is available in Guinea. This will assist in all of our future transatlantic communication.
We praise God that Pastor Oumar and his wife Mariettou returned from vacation in Abidjan and can resume their roles in the MIAPE Christian School and the hospital. They brought with them the first edition (1,000 copies) of Oumar's book on evangelism of Muslims which he completed last year as a tool to help the hospital and the Guinean churches do an even better work for the Lord. The school started November 9 with 140 students registered, up from last year's 116 students. Mariettou is the Bible story teacher for children from preschool to 6th grade and assists as the hospital chaplain; especially to women. Pray for them and for the enduring fruit of their labors. The school expressed they need a "new to them" used bus (about $6000) to help transport the children.
New MIAPE School Building
As we look to next year we are praying that God will give us two general surgeons to begin to do much more surgery. We are talking to three residency trained Christian surgeons and a nurse anesthetist.The need is great. We are also talking to a Christian ophthalmologist to care for general eye needs and perform cataract surgery with lens implants similar to how this is done in the USA. This year we brought on a Christian dentist in a make shift office. To accommodate this increase of professional staff and especially the demand for consultation rooms, we will expand the clinic to its planned second phase. This will add six more consultation rooms for the surgery, ophthalmology and dental services at a cost of about $80,000. Later in 2016 we will be pressed to add one or two more eight-bed wards at a cost of $48,000 each. Most of our staff currently rent homes in Mamou eight miles from the hospital. We ultimately want to house these professionals on the station so they would be available for emergencies. This requires building better homes for them at a cost of $50,000 each. In all these activities we are feeling God's leading. We pray to the Lord of the Harvest that He will send forth the laborers He desires, and we will know His will and the steps in which He would have us walk.
These steps forward on the ground are seen as a testimony to all the Guinean people that God loves them, that He is blessing the CEH work and doing things that they, and even we, never imagined. God is reaching out to them through our compassionate service and testimony to invite them to Christ as Savior and Lord.
May God give each of you a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas. May your partnership with us in the work at CEH for God's glory be a part of your joy and thanksgiving this year.
Your brother in Christ,
Dr. Dwight Slater, MD
CEO of CEH