What a great week Amy and I have had here in Bongolo! I have been busy at the hospital teaching anesthesia to the anesthetists and the surgical residents. We have had a few tough cases and some heartbreak but all in all a good week of being the hands of God in ministering to these gracious patients.
Mike is a clinical engineer from Cleveland and accompanied me on this trip. We have spent a lot of the week checking out all the anesthesia and surgical equipment, fixing things when needed and doing some preventative maintenance. It has been a blessing to have him on this trip as I am learning things that will prove useful when I am here without such help. I thank God for bringing us together and for Mike’s servant heart.
Today we spent most of the day celebrating the graduation of one of the PAACS (Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons) residents, Anatole. We started with church at 9am for a couple hours followed by the graduation ceremony in the same building. This lasted another 2 hours. We then gathered for food, dessert and celebration. It was a joy to honor Anatole and his accomplishment--finishing the 5 year surgery residency. PAACS trains and disciples Christian surgeons to remain in Africa in underserved areas. Part of my responsibility when I am here on short term and eventually when we are here permanently is to teach these residents basic anesthesia skills. Many of them will go to places lacking quality anesthesia services.
Tomorrow we start another busy week in the hospital and mission. We look forward to the end of the week when we will accompany the Thelander family on a trip to the coast for some rest and relaxation. Thank you all for your prayers and support. Have a blessed week!
“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” - 2 Timothy 2:2
Amy and I arrived at Bongolo Hospital safe and sound yesterday afternoon. Mike (clinical engineer) and Sharon (accountant) are traveling with us to serve at the hospital as well. The last leg of travel is by small airplane from Libreville to Bongolo and takes about 1.5 hours, much easier than the path by road. God has blessed the hospital with the airplane and pilot. It is wonderful to fly, avoiding the 10 hour trip by road. It is long, dusty, bumpy and inconvenient, especially after traveling many hours to get to Gabon. Most of the time during the short flight you get great views of a beautiful county including lush tropical jungle, rivers, and small towns and villages. If you look close enough, you can even see people. It was on a flight like this that God called me to serve at Bongolo.
On yesterday's flight the skies were overcast and we were above the cloud cover. Even though we were flying at the same low altitude, we couldn't see anything--just cloud cover. No jungle, no countryside, no beauty, and no people. As I was peering out the window, God spoke to me again on this flight. As Christians do we spend most of our lives flying above the cloud cover? We like the convenient, quick, fast and clean routes of life. Yet, we cannot see the people below who are hurting and lost. We cannot see God's beauty because we are not even looking.
My prayer for this trip and life is to get below the clouds, take the inconvenient, tough, longer, route. That's where we see the people and their hurts and lostness. That's were we see God.