Dear friends and partners in our Lord’s work at CEH,
When I was a teen, I was blessed to have a friend, more mature than me, who influenced my life greatly in personal character and setting moral principles as we prepared to return to the USA from our lives as missionary kids in Africa. We resolved to habitually put on the spiritual armor of God as we faced new challenges. One of the spiritual songs he sang, influences my thoughts to this day; “When the storms of life are raging, STAND BY ME”. If we are standing for the Lord on His principles, abiding in Him, we can prayerfully ask, STAND BY ME. In these recent days I felt like that. This summer, I entered retirement from American medicine, and am learning to walk this new chapter and make it productive; hopefully even to thrive in it together with my precious wife of 44 years. It’s not all easy. We know we grow most in challenging times. So here we are.
Your brother and fellow servant,
Dr. Dwight E. Slater, MD
CEO of CEH
A Political Storm—Guinea coup:
On September 5th a portion of the military staged a successful bloodless coup in Guinea. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned it and offered to mediate, but it seems the population of the country and the rest of the military is accepting it though President Conde was elected with 56% of the vote in 2020. The opposition party’s political prisoners (80) were liberated, and their supporters celebrated in the streets, but the future is quite unknown. Promises to move to a new democratically elected government are unsure. The top levels of all 18 Ministers’ offices, the 8 Regional Governors, and the 33 Prefets who ran the entire country were dismissed and replaced by the military commanders in their areas. We had very good relationships with people at all levels of government to this point as well as with the local military commanders. The commerce of the country resumed but many questions remain about honoring prior commitments and contracts of the prior governments. International agreements are also held in question. The military leaders are holding meetings with ECOWAS, the mining companies and with key stakeholders in the country including political parties and religious leaders. GOD is sovereign. STAND BY ME, Lord. Pray with us through the stormy days.
A Literal Storm—Lightning strikes: On August 26th a severe thunderstorm, of which there are many this season in Mamou, passed by the hospital and lightning struck it. Sadly, a child in a neighboring village was killed by a bolt of lightning. The CEH garage was stuck on one corner causing minor structural damage. Other bolts struck fenceposts, trees, and ground at multiple sites. The solar electrical system had key relays destroyed that control the system.
The well pump, suspended 300 feet below ground in the well water shaft, was grilled. Most of the electrical lines are buried underground, but the one building connected by a suspended line had that line burned up ($200). There was minor damage to several bulbs in the OR but, very thankfully, no other equipment was damaged. The two diesel generators were undamaged and successfully started as backups. They are serving the hospital from morning until evening, when we switch back to giving medical care by flashlight through the night. This costs about 50 dollars per day for fuel until the solar is repaired. The
was replaced the next day with a pump replacement that the only local plumber happened to have on hand ($700). Electrical engineers from the USA
(five connected to our CEH teams) consulting with
others from Denmark, France, and Guinean electricians
and engineers from our USA suppliers were able to
trouble shoot the electrical system and purchase
the replacement relays ($1700). As of this writing
we are trying to expedite shipment of these
two relays to Guinea ($400).
We hope this will resolve that issue completely.
Please pray, we know GOD is sovereign even in these storms.
Photos: Tree and relay damage
Financial Storm—TVA Tax of 18%: We had a contract with the Ministry of Health and the government of Guinea to pay only 2% taxes on the declared value
of the medical equipment and construction supplies we send to CEH because they are sent to help the people of Guinea, especially the very poor with their medical needs. Other NGOs however abused their contracts, so the Minister of Economics annulled all prior contracts and applied an 18% additional Total Value Added Tax to all importations. This occured just as we imported an anesthesia machine by air to the hospital in May. Then in June our 20th container passed through the Conakry port. In total we paid ($22,000) unanticipated taxes and fees.
God is sovereign, STAND BY ME, Oh Lord.
Photo: Container arrives at CEH and unloaded safely
A Spiritual Storm—Container safety: As each container is shipped, we consecrate its shipment and pray for safe arrival to our Lord. As this one left the USA, I was troubled more than usual. Reports of ships spilling their containers into the ocean came to mind and there is the common risk of theft, police barricades sometimes asking for fraudulent bribes, and the tortuous mountain roads in Guinea. As the truck transporting the container brought the container toward the hospital the driver contacted Etienne to say there were engine and brake problems on the truck but the owner advised to proceed any way, as slowly as necessary. The normal 8-hour truck trip took 3 days, but it did arrive safely at dusk. The next morning it was unpacked with no damage to any contents. That is a little bit like Christmas in June. Even the young 24-year-old mechanic who traveled with the limping truck to get it there, joyfully helped. The empty container was removed from the truck and placed on its new pedestals to serve as a storage room in the future. Etienne was asked by the young mechanic, “What is all this stuff?” Etienne shared how it was sent from the USA to serve the people of Guinea by Christians who wanted to help them and to share the Gospel of Christ. Etienne asked him if he was yet a believer. The answer was, “Not yet…”. They left the hospital and a mere 15 miles down the road with an empty truck bed, relieved of the load of about 20 tons, the driver lost control, hit an embankment on the mountain road and the mechanic was killed on site. Eternal decisions are always in the balance. We are grateful for the equipment that will save many lives through the hospital services but grieve with the family of this young man. He was an orphan with one living younger sister. Etienne communicated with her to comfort her and give her a gift in condolence. The driver had minor injuries. The truck owner took no responsibility and did nothing to our knowledge. God is still sovereign, and the God of eternity. STAND BY ME oh Lord.
Photo: Truck accident after delivering the
A Pandemic Storm—COVID: Guinea had cases, but far fewer than the USA. This still limits the travel of our short-term missionaries who want to travel to Guinea to help complete the plumbing and electrical installations in our current building projects. I also want to lead a small medical team. Visa procurement recently became more difficult. At the same time COVID governmental regulations hindered the travel of our patients; 40% coming from long distances for their care. Our clinic census regularly is 30-40 patients less than our capacity. Please pray. These are the people we came to serve and share the Gospel with. STAND BY ME, Lord.
An International Storm—USA leadership on the world stage weaker in the eyes of Africans: Afghanistan-Muslim terrorists vaunting their victory and resurgence, immigration, economy, decreased potential strength through power, and lack of resolve to act by Judeo-Christian principles all make the work harder and the risks greater. But ultimately, we are representing Christ, not the USA. God remains sovereign! STAND BY ME, Oh Lord.
Moise and Deborah: This couple returned from 3 years away at Bethel Bible School in Ivory Coast and were warmly received by the MIAPE congregation and their fellow missionaries. Thank you for your prayers for their reintegration into their roles as MIAPE pastor/ CEH Chaplain / children’s and women’s ministries as requested in our last update. One generous USA donor gave $5,000 to facilitate their reentry and reintegration to the Mamou ministry. This helped fund a new motorcycle to assist Moise in follow up ministry in the hospital and the chapel. Deborah is gifted in children’s ministry and will facilitate many of the new MIAPE and CEH endeavors in child evangelism. A fund to launch these was established. The costs of their return trip were reimbursed to them. The church celebrated their return inviting all the leaders of sister churches in town to a feast, consecrating the motorcycle to God and giving them other housewarming gifts. We praise our Sovereign God. STAND BY THEM!
Photos: Moise and Deborah welcomed back by MIAPE and consecrating the motorcycle for the chaplain and ministry work
Future Projects as God Provides:
A Child Evangelism Program and Center ($27,900)— planned for late fall. A small hangar next to the new hospital playground, mentioned in the last update, renovations to the soccer field, a new basketball/volleyball court, craft materials, an initial snack budget, and evangelism video equipment and films are planned.
Lab upgrade ($14,000)—the German embassy offered to help facilitate some of this.
Solar Electrical upgrade ($50,000)—we have a head start on this with refurbished equipment ($20,000) offered now by a Danish missionary electrical engineer in Africa who helped us in the past.
IT upgrade ($10,000) as fiber optic cable network is expected to become available to us within months. This will facilitate medical education and consultations with US doctors including some from Mayo Clinic to assist our African doctors and staff.
Ward F ($42,000) Increased surgery requires more beds, especially for ortho and trauma cases.
Loan program for Workers’ Homes ($6,000) This revolving fund assists nationals to build close to the hospital and thus be more available for emergency services when needed.
We look forward—Multiple construction projects in process: Included in this update is a map showing the location of the projects God has allowed us to work on this year (highlighted in yellow).
The primary project this year is construction of our surgeon, Dr. Sidjani’s, home. We have closed the roughed in structure but have many finishing touches to complete and then an independent medium house sized solar electric system to install. ($22,000 remaining).
The nursing school is getting its final touches of electrical installations, sink installations, floors to be poured and final painting. Moving in furnishings and plans to launch the school will occur in January, 2022. This was fully funded for construction. Government permissions were arranged with administrators prior to the above-mentioned coup. Pray to our sovereign God.
Fresh Rosée Christian School is completing its new 4 room Jr High school building as funded by the Hope for Africa Foundation ($17,000). It is on budget. Three new teachers will be needed. Pray for wisdom and God’s blessing of quality believing teachers.
The MIAPE Chapel was expanded by 30% and two new Sunday school classes were added: funded by their own church budget and giving. We are proud they are showing this vision and independence!
Photos: Dr. Sidjani's home and Fresh Rosee Jr. High Classrooms
L’AEMEG met at CEH in July to see God's work through the hospital: These are the key evangelical leaders in Guinea who have roles of coordinating the evangelical ministry in the country and representing the participating churches and missions before the government when needed. Our director, Etienne, and Pastor Kolié, who helped train our staff in Muslim evangelism in January 2021, represent CEH on this board. For half of the board this was their first visit to the hospital. They all rejoiced to see what God is accomplishing for His own Glory at and through CEH.
May all the nations praise Him, every knee shall bow and call Him Lord!
Photo: L’AEMEG Executive Committee