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April 2015 MMC: End of the Week

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

After a long day of driving, we have arrived at our hotel in Narok, a town Southeast of Kitale.  We had to say goodbye to some of our Kenyan team members this morning.  When you spend 24/7 with people, relationships are formed and it’s always hard to say goodbye.  Thankful to know these incredible people and be able to work with them during each medical camp.

Along the way to Narok, we stopped by Pastor Moses’ house in Matete to greet him and his family.  We had a nice time enjoying tea and mandazi and good conversation.   Pastor Moses is one of the API pastors and his church was built as a result of the API Brad Pederson Memorial Building Fund.  In August 2013, API did a medical camp at his church as well.

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Yesterday, our last day of Medical Ministry Camp was another success.  The people continued to come, which is always hard because we have to tell them we won’t have time to see everyone.  Even though by the end of the week the team is exhausted, sending people away is one of the hardest things we have to do and makes us want to stay longer.  The problem is, we could stay for a whole month and people would probably still come seeking treatment.  The need is great and there is simply just not enough time or resources.    

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Over the week, we saw a variety of diagnosis.  As usual, we saw a lot of people with malaria, upper respiratory infections, and worms.  Many kids had high fevers and were pretty out of it.  We made some referrals for surgery and for other problems that we couldn’t deal with at medical camp, but overall, we didn’t have any life-threatening emergencies.  Praise God!

One of the most challenging things we dealt with this week was a mother who came in with her three children.  All four of them had jiggers on their feet and hands.  The mother said she had them for ten years!  Jiggers are small fleas that burrow into the skin.  They lay eggs and create pea-sized egg sacks that must be removed in order to stop them from multiplying.  They are itchy and extremely painful.  Once the jigger and egg sack are removed, a huge hole is left behind, which can lead to infection.  Kenyans are known to be really tough and not show a lot of emotion even when in pain, but whenever I’ve experienced people being “de-jiggered”, there is a lot of screaming and crying.  It is heart breaking to listen to these kids scream in pain for hours. while the jiggers are removed.  The people with jiggers aren’t necessarily as physically sick as some others per se, but it is super important to get the jiggers out of their skin, and the process is excruciating. 

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At the end of the day, we packed up all of the medical equipment and loaded everything into the vehicles.  Before we left, the people from the church had a nice surprise for us.  We sang some songs and they gave each of us a little gift to remember them.  It was such a special ceremony.  Once again, these people live extremely minimal lives, yet are blessing us with gifts and are so appreciative of us coming.  Moments like that definitely make you think about how you care for others.

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We have an early morning tomorrow as we go to Masai Mara for the day.  The team is doing well and is excited for tomorrow!  Thank you for all of your prayers! God is so good, and we had a great week serving the people of Natwana!

Good night!

 

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April 2015 MMC: The morning of our last day of MMC

Friday, April 17th, 2015

The sun is peeking through the trees as it begins to rise on this beautiful, clear morning.  Today will be our last day of Medical Ministry Camp.  The team has worked so hard this week; we are tired and have been stretched in many ways.  We have been praying for today, that we would be able to see all the people that need medical care, that the sickest would be seen first and not have to wait in the hot sun, and that each person that comes through Medical Ministry Camp would feel the love of Jesus Christ and have the opportunity to make a decision for Him.

Each day of Medical Ministry Camp has been going well.  We have stayed busy throughout the whole day, as the line of people never seems to dwindle.  Our team has worked extremely well together, and it has been such a joy to work alongside of these incredible people!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the flow of medical camp, here is a breakdown of what each patient goes through as they walk through our doors:

Registration:  One of our team members gets some basic information about the person, such as name, gender, and date of birth.

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Intake:  This is where we get the person’s vitals, including heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature.  We ask a few questions regarding their medical history as well as if they have been tested for HIV/AIDS.

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Doctors:  This year, we have four doctors who are seeing these people and prescribing necessary medications.

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Pharmacy:  All of those pills that we have been packaging into the little bags?  All those bags are organized into slots in metal cases, and this is where those prescriptions are given to the patient.  The bags are alphabetized and separated between pills and syrups.  This system makes it pretty quick and easy to find exactly what is needed.  We also have implemented bar coding this year.  Before the patient receives his/her prescription, one of our team members scans the patient record form, the doctor that saw the patient, the diagnosis, and the medication label.  The information is transferred onto the computer or iPad.  Eventually, API plans to use this program as a complete medical record system for several medical clinics that API supports in Kenya.  Alex, one of the team members, has spent numerous hours creating this program.  API is extremely grateful for all of his hard work and dedication to what he has put into this program!  Thank you so much, Alex!

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Reading Glasses:  We have a two cases full of reading glasses.  We have sheets of paper with bible verses in different size lettering, so we can accurately determine what prescription the patient needs.  It is so fun to watch a patient try on different glasses until they find the one that helps them read the smallest print.  A huge smile spreads across their face, and they become so excited that they will be able to read again.

Lab:  George is the boss in the lab.  He is a lab technologist and has worked in many clinics.  He is incredible and has so much knowledge!  Usually, someone from our team is in the lab as well to help him.  They give injections, dress wounds, and have the equipment to run various lab tests from urine and blood.

 

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Dental:  Ezequiel has been very busy seeing dental patients.  He is able to pull teeth, fill cavities, provide basic cleaning, and educate patients about the importance of dental hygiene.  Unfortunately, there are way too many people for just one dentist to handle.  By Wednesday afternoon, we were telling the patients to come back on Friday to be seen because he already had so many people waiting for the rest of the afternoon on Wednesday and all of Thursday.  If you are a dentist and are interested in coming on a future trip, the need is great!

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After the patient has received his/her medication, someone is waiting to evangelize and pray with the patient as he/she leaves.  It is incredible to listen to the stories and the prayer requests of these people.  It is such a privilege to be able to pray with them and explain to them how much God loves them and cares for them.  Often times, you can see the stress and anxiety dissipate as you share the Good News.  These people are desperate for something bigger than themselves and are very receptive to the Gospel. 

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The team is ready, and it looks like it’s time to load up the vehicles!  Would you join us in prayer for our last day of Medical Ministry Camp?

Sending love back to all of our family and friends!  

 

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April 2015 MMC: Purpose

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Good morning from Kenya!  There are a few of us up early sipping on our tea, spending some time in the Word, and enjoying the stillness of the morning before the world awakes.  Breakfast will be served shortly, and then we will head out for Day Three of Medical Ministry Camp.

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All I could see was the long line of people as I looked out the window from my intake station inside the church, which has been transformed into a clinic for Medical Ministry Camp.  People outside waiting so patiently to be seen and treated, wondering when their turn would be next.   We were only a few hours into our second day of Medical Ministry Camp, but for a moment, I felt so overwhelmed by the need.  There were patients waiting for intake, waiting for the doctors, and waiting for their meds at the pharmacy station.  It was crowded inside, yet when I saw the line outside stretching out towards the main road, the people inside seemed so small.  I questioned if we would be able to see everyone.  As I listen to what is going on around me, I hear a baby coughing and someone explaining the importance of being tested for HIV.

Through the noise and the chaos, I see a patient wiping her eyes as one of our team members envelops her frail 80-year old hands within hers.   That is why we are here.  We are here to take away headaches, treat infections, and help get rid of that nasty productive cough.  But our purpose is so much greater.  We are here to love.  We are here to encourage.  We are here to plant seeds.  As the 80-year old woman opens her eyes after praying, a huge smile spreads across her face.  Without any words, you could see the fear and the pain melt away.  Even if we cannot see every person in the village, we are here for a specific purpose.  God is using us.  God is moving. 

Over the past two days, medications have been prescribed, wounds have been cleaned and dressed, and injections given.  Our dentist, Ezequiel, has pulled many teeth, filled cavities, and chipped away thick plaque.  Once again, thank you so much for praying for the people of Kenya and for each of our team members.  God is good!

More pictures and stories to come! 

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April 2015 Medical Ministry Camp

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The sun is beginning to set after a beautiful day here in Kenya.  The team is finishing up packing the last of the medications to get us started for medical camp.  Day One starts tomorrow.  The team is excited to start seeing patients and finally implementing what we have been working so hard to accomplish over the last few days.

 

A little recap from our first days in Kenya:

On Tuesday and Wednesday, team members spent many hours traveling from the States over to Kenya.  Flights went smoothly and all of the luggage arrived on time.  Praise God! 

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On Friday, we spent the morning at Village Market.  We shopped at the Maasai market, where we walked through rows and rows of vendors with everything from jewelry to hand carved bowls to Kenyan artwork.  We also had the privilege of meeting Philip Njoroge, a world-class marathon runner.  The afternoon was spent filling prescription bags with the necessary pills and labeling each of the bags with the correct medication label and a Bible verse.

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The team was up bright and early on Saturday morning as we left the Hampton House, our hotel in Nairobi, around 6am to head west across Kenya.  After several stops for food and bathroom breaks, we made it to Eldoret nine hours later.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Dr. Douglas’ home, prepared by his wonderful wife.  What a treat!  Another hour in the car and we finally made it to Kitale, where we will be staying for the next week. 

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This morning (Sunday), we attended church service at the church where Medical Ministry Camp will be located.  The church is in a village called Natwana about 30 mins from Kitale.  We were blessed with chai and butter sandwiches as soon as we arrived.  It never ceases to amaze me how gracious the Kenyan people are; families living in mud huts who struggle to put food on their own table are happily welcoming us into their homes, serving us with huge smiles on their faces.  A humbling experience for us all and a perfect example of what it means to live like Jesus!

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We all enjoyed church this morning as well.  The choir was amazing!  Many of us were brought to tears by the beautiful Kenyan voices.  Towards the end of worship, a dove flew into the church and perched on one of the rafters.  Throughout the service, the dove quietly sat in the same spot overlooking the whole room.  Gary gave the message, and one woman committed her life to the Lord for the first time!  It wasn’t until the end of the service that the dove quietly flew out of the church.  As the dove represents the Holy Spirit, it was beautiful reminder that God is with us always.  

On the way home from church, we stopped at Agape Community Heath Centre, which is the clinic where Dr. Douglas practices.  Douglas was eager to show us the improvements at the clinic since API has chosen to sponsor the clinic. 

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This afternoon, we have been reorganizing all of the medical supplies and packing more medication.  It can be a tedious process, but so worth it.  There is nothing better than being able to provide free medical care to these people who desperately need it, yet have no way to get it. 

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Thank you for all of the prayers!  Please pray for tomorrow as we begin Medical Ministry Camp.  Pray that the sick would be able to come and get the necessary medication they need.  Even more importantly, please pray that God would work in their hearts and people would come to know Him and that they would feel His love through each of our team members.  Please pray for strength and energy for each of the team members. 

Bwana Asifiwe!

God Bless!

 

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