Dear friends and coworkers of CEH,
Thanksgiving and Christmas bring a precious reminder of all we are grateful for — especially God’s amazing gift of His Son, our Savior and Lord. May each of you be fully blessed this season.
I Thessalonians 5:8 says, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” It is easy to give thanks for the good things, but much harder to do so when we experience suffering, loss, and trouble. Yet in these later things we often come to know experientially that God is still sovereign, all powerful, always present, gracious, caring, holy and purposing to make us holy, steadfast in love, and faithful. It is often in these hard times that we come to know Him, love Him, and serve Him best. “This is eternal life: to know God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
In this update, Dr. Stephen Merry, CEH Board President, shares some recent difficult things. We ask for your prayers, so we may rejoice together in all things as we know, love, and serve Him better.
Join us in thanksgiving for the ongoing work of our faithful Father. Among all His gifts this is supreme, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!” (Luke 2:11)
Your brother in Christ,
Dwight E. Slater, MD
CEO of CEH
Dr. Paul and Elisabeth
Dr. Paul, CEH general surgeon, and his wife, Elisabeth, Director of Human Resources, are a great encouragement and blessing to CEH. Dr. Paul's general and orthopedic surgery preserved life and restored function for many traumatized and disabled patients in Guinea. He and his wife model godliness and a healthy marriage. They recently moved into their newly completed home on the CEH campus with their son, Mickael, CEH photographer.
Dr. Paul personally underwent a significant surgical procedure at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya on November 15 with excellent results. He will resume work at CEH in mid-December.
Thank God for all He has done to provide for Paul's needs; please pray he will continue to be restored to full health.
Photos below: Paul and Elisabeth and their new home
In the last year CEH administration noted a gradual loss of pharmaceutical stock. Through multiple avenues of investigation, there appeared to be several routes by which this was happening and continued despite various interventions. Ultimately two thirds of the hospital’s pharmaceutical stock was lost.
Eventually CEH administration learned that a number of staff members were stealing and reselling the medications to patients in town and selling medications and pocketing the payments at the hospital. A thorough investigation was completed in consultation with our Christian Guinean lawyer involving the police and other government officials. This found five persons on staff involved in a thievery ring. Ultimately, the hospital administration fired all five – ten percent of our hospital staff. Four of these five are professing Christians, and were leaders of our nursing staff. Though they admitted to committing the crime, they did not demonstrate attitudes of repentance. A local church pastor publicly opposed the discipline, accommodating cultural norms rather than preaching Biblical principles. These thefts fractured our hospital community. There is a sense of deep sadness among the remaining staff. But we recognize this is part of God’s work of purifying CEH for His service and future blessing. Thankfully, some mature staff are prayerfully encouraging their peers to work more diligently and honestly. Indeed, the reverential fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and ethical behavior. The hospital administration set up new medication sign-out protocols and other security measures throughout the hospital to try to prevent any future losses. Ultimately, we must replenish our pharmaceutical stock for the hospital to function. Most importantly we must work together to achieve mutual understanding and trust within the CEH community.
Dr. Kristen — Community Health Program
During the last many years, Dr. Kristen, directed the development of our community health program now active in 19 villages surrounding Mamou. The program includes newborn resuscitation training for midwives and birth attendants, malaria prevention with insecticide treated bed nets, a wide variety of school preventative education programs, dental and vision education, agriculture and nutrition education, and a broad radio educational program reaching central Guinea. Funding for the program is robust from a variety of foundations and supporters. A large and diverse committee in the US provided counsel and assistance in growing the program under the excellent leadership of CEH board member, Dr. Janet Balke, RN, PhD.
On November 3, Dr. Kristen and her assistant director of the program, Anne, RN, turned in their resignations to the CEH board of directors. They will continue the same work under another Christian ministry in Guinea. Again, we recognize God is sovereign and omnipotent. Give thanks with us for all God has and will continue to accomplish for the health of Guinea and His glory through community health care.
Photo: Anne, village health worker, and Dr. Kristen
Construction of Ward F
Ward F, an 11-bed surgical/trauma ward, is half completed. It is projected to be completed Spring 2023. Plumbing and electrical expertise will be provided by a US construction team led by George Weertz, CEH board member from Highland Park Baptist Church. George led development of most of the CEH physical plant. With Dr. Paul's expected continued increase in orthopedic SIGN Nail intramedullary rod placement expertise (generously funded by a group of orthopedists from Autumn Ridge Church) and Dr. Allison, general surgeon from Dallas, joining the work in January, this building is expected to get plenty of use. Please pray for Dr. Allison and her husband Daniel, an International Mission Board church planter, as they complete their final steps of French language training in Mamou. They will be living in Etienne's and Paulette's former home. Please pray for the finishing of Ward F and for this family as they launch their new ministry together.
Photo: Etienne, Dietrich, Dr. Allison, Daniel, and Dr. Dwight
Nursing School Progress
We continue to make progress toward the opening of our Nursing School. The Guinea Ministry of Professional Training’s final approval is still pending. The classrooms are built and we went through all the steps of curriculum development, teacher credentialing and approval of clinic and hospital services for clinical nursing education led by CMA missionary in Mamou, Doris, RN. A final regional and then national inspection are expected soon which should result in permission to open the school. Additional educational resources are still needed including manikins, a skeleton, and computers for student use. We are very grateful for the numerous partners who have provided support for this project. Please pray for this exciting opportunity to prepare well-trained allied health professionals for decades to come in Guinea.
Photo: Nursing School
Dr. Kaba, the Ministry of Health's Hospital Director of Guinean hospitals, told us that he believes CEH is a “jewel” and a model of the hoped-for standards of care and facilities the Guinean Ministry of Health desires to develop in Guinea. He committed to admitting CEH to the government subsidized obstetrics program so we can better serve pregnant women in our area. This government subsidy covers the full cost of childbirth in participating hospitals and disadvantaged CEH in not being able to participate in the program. This discouraged women from coming to CEH for deliveries despite our modest fee for service.
This new funding opportunity comes at an opportune time as our CEH medical director, Dr. Jean Paul, completed additional training in obstetrics and gynecology at the Women and Children’s Hospital in Mali last year. With a Guinean maternal death rate of 576/100,000 deliveries (vs 23.8/100,000 in the US) and a reported infant mortality of 62/1,000 (ninth worst in the world vs 5.6/1,000 live births in the US), we are excited to better meet the needs of Guinean families hoping to welcome a new child into the world. With this new opportunity, a maternity and delivery ward will become our next building project in 2023.
Photo: Local mother with child
Ophthalmology, Laboratory, and Pharmacy
The Ophthalmology, Laboratory, and Pharmacy services all received equipment upgrades this past year for which we are very grateful. Additional donated equipment awaiting shipment to Guinea includes a high resolution, newer generation ultrasound machine, maternal-fetal monitoring machines, several ECG machines, hospital beds for the new ward, and additional durable medical supplies. In addition, we anticipate funding purchase of a wall-mounted x-ray unit to upgrade our digital imaging capabilities and some new laboratory equipment. Please consider joining us in financing this exciting new imaging capability. Fund raising for this is led by Autumn Ridge radiographer Eugene Frank who directed development of our digital x-ray system and training of the technicians.
Fresh Dew Christian School and Outreach
The Fresh Dew Christian School is thriving with over 400 students, though they need another 60-passenger bus to transport students. Fund-raising for that is being led by Chantal O’Driscoll in Rochester, MN who supported development of the Christian school for many years in partnership with school director, Paulette.
The CEVEEN after-school ministry is opening to provide children a safe and enjoyable place to play and encounter the gospel after school for the community and surrounding neighborhoods. CEVEEN stands for Centre d'Eveil et d'Encadrement pour Enfant which translated is the Center to Awaken and Educate Children. It is, in fact, a modest name for the Children’s Evangelism Center. This was funded by a special project at Autumn Ridge Church. The soccer field and two beautiful new playgrounds donated and installed at CEH and at Fresh Dew Christian School by the US-based ministry Kids Around the World are enthusiastically used.
The ministry of the Baptist church planted next to CEH by our African missionaries sent from Cote d’Ivoire by MIAPE (Mission Inter-Africaine Pour l’Evangelisation or International African Mission for Evangelization) is steadily growing. The Welcome Center the MIAPE missionaries built beside the church is currently home to four young believers, and also gives space for overflow patients from the hospital when needed.
Four of our MIAPE missionary families built new homes on or near the hospital campus. God has also brought four new missionary families through other organizations to the Mamou community this past year. For all of this we give God thanks! Please join us in expecting Him to do great things in this coming year!
Photo: Children ride the bus