My mom’s eye surgery went well, the doctor did not find the feared hole in her retina, which means her recovery will be more straightforward and she can hope for improvement in her vision within the next month. Some of our dearest family friends came to stay with her this week, my aunt and uncle will be there soon, and my sister over the weekend. Missionaries need rather extensive support teams, people who can fill in the gap we leave in our absence. We are grateful.
Two new WHM Africa missionaries were approved today: Nathan Elwood, who graduated from college a whopping three days ago, is the newest member of the Bundibugyo team. He’ll spend about two years here before grad school, contributing to public health and education and we hope using some of his soccer and musical skills as well. We are praying that he can raise support quickly and arrive with Jason Blair. We need the help: with Pamela gone, tomorrow’s major Kwejuna Project food distribution has already almost done Scott in, and it hasn’t even started yet, thousands of dollars of beans and oil and salt, medical care and family planning, weight monitoring and encouragement in the Gospel, provided to well over a hundred families. Nathan was in the same application group as Physician Assistant Scott Will, who served here for six months this past year, including through the entire Ebola crisis. In an “outside the box” attempt to accommodate his interests and our needs, he’ll come to Bundibugyo for a few months initially and then shift his focus to Sudan. We see our teams as integrally related, and look forward to forging this unique partnership with the Massos and the other Sudan appointees, allowing personnel to move back and forth a bit as opportunities arise and needs shift. Scott Will is like part of the family, so we are very glad to have him headed back in this direction. His support-raising will depend upon WHM being approved as a partner with MedSend, an organization that attempts to free young medical grads up to serve in areas of poverty in the world by taking over debt repayment for school loans while the person works overseas. We hope that if this works for Scott, it might encourage other newly-graduated doctors, nurses, PA’s or others, to join our fields.
Between team meeting, intern orientation, ART clinic, new nutrition admissions, setting up plans and projects for the summer, kids’ adjusting back to the new school term, patients, neighbors with needs, dinners to cook, and emails to answer . . . It has been a full half-week. I became very aware over the day today of the teamwork that I often take for granted, and thankful for the friends with whom I labor: Heidi organizing reports to be sure patients get their treatment, Pat counseling a newly diagnosed AIDS patient, Scotticus working to connect us with sources of nutritional help for patients, David peacemaking and preaching and supervising at school with Annelise thinking creatively about funding and discipleship, Karen accounting for money and making sure the new chicks survive while feeding her neglected neighbor kids as they go through crisis, Michael designing an improved airstrip drainage so that we don’t have planes landing in puddles again, Sarah’s music lessons with Acacia and Luke at school resulting in a haunting duet performed after team meeting tonight, Ashley juggling multiple grade levels and inspiring girls to play soccer, Kim putting aside personal interests and plans to serve the team by planning for the interns . . . And all that was just today. We have an amazing team of people pursuing deep knowledge of God even if the path takes them through deep waters of challenge. Sometimes I think our role is mostly to not get in their way too much!
Anyway, much to be thankful for on both sides of the ocean, at the end of a long day.