Author Archives: Michelle Kiprop

God With Us

82563335_185438952851788_8590227727812919296_nOur chaplain led us down the dirt road to the humble homestead of our neighbor. During our first visit, we came with pastors from across the world to pray for the old man. Lying on a thin mattress on the floor of his home, he was covered in layers of wool blankets hiding his catheter and frail body. Unable to move, a visiting pastor knelt beside him and shared the words of the 23rd Psalm.

We returned to see the man a few weeks later. His wife explained that he was getting worse and that they had thought they lost him the night before. He was still lying on the thin mattress, covered in blankets, unable to move. There wasn’t much more medically we could do for him. He didn’t want to be admitted anywhere, he just wanted to be home. Our chaplain then turned to me and asked if I could share a few words. Immediately the words, “God with us” came to my mind. I began to share with the old man and the others in the room of the day Jesus was born and was named, Immanuel, God with us. In that moment, lying on the floor, with nothing else to offer the man, all I could encourage him was that God was with him in this second, in this place, in his suffering and pain, in his final moments, in his heart and mind, in the mud walls on the thin mattress. God was with him – ready to bring him home. My prayer was that, in the final moments of his life, he would experience the intimacy of God with him.

He passed away a few days later. I have no idea what he felt in the days, hours, minutes, and seconds before he died. What I know was that God was so near to him then, and that they are now together in heaven.

When we ponder the ways that Hope Matters has grown over the last year, we can truly say that God has been with us. We’ve seen God’s hand on the many patients we have treated including Alex, Jescah, and Baby Caleb. From the hospital walls being built and the tiles laid, to the rose bushes being planted at the entrance to the prayer garden. From treating hundreds of people in unreached communities, to helping a mother understand her child’s down syndrome diagnosis. From the communication towers being put up at our clinics as our receptionist learns our online patient management system, to breaking the news to patients that they have cancer. From the water pump being repaired after hauling water for days, to doubling our staff in a matter of months. This last year held a full spectrum of life experiences and healthcare encounters. We watched small babies show up for their newborn check-ups, and we received massive traumas on our front steps. From watching the sun beam through the leaves outside our clinic, to entering the homes of our neighbors who are on their death beds, God has truly been with us.

As we enter 2020, we know that God is still with us. And while we prepare to open our hospital, double our staff, increase in capacity and care, and so much more, we know, without a doubt, that God is indeed with us.

– By Nikole Opiyo, Hope Matters Missionary

Jescah’s Brain Tumor

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A few months ago, I shared about Jescah. She has a brain tumor which has caused her to lose her sight, as well as most of her hearing. She’s the same age as me, which really makes it feel personal. Jescah is also a wife and a mother of five children who need her. Since we met Jescah, it’s been a bit of a challenging journey.

a65580f1-4f81-4cd2-bb7e-5fb4ab4f77ecWe were able to connect her with one of the few neurosurgeons in Kenya. Her test results showed that not only is this tumor most likely not cancerous, but that it is operable. Good news all around. We were able to enroll her in a health insurance program that could help pay expenses for treatment. A surgical date was booked and we were all hopeful. And then she dropped off the grid. Phones were not answered and texts were not acknowledged. We finally learned that her family have had quite a few fears about what seeking treatment might mean. Many thought that if she had surgery it meant for sure she would die. They relocated her to a very interior area and stopped taking our calls.f414f0d1-70c6-476a-babf-cc0eed0b971c

With persistence we were able to find her. We explained that the surgery would be life-saving, not life-taking. They heard us and agreed to move forward. When we reached out to try to re-schedule her surgery, we learned that the neurosurgeon had left the country and there was not a return date on the calendar at this time.. So discouraging!

But then I remembered something. Part of what allows me to be here in Kenya is a grant from Medsend, an organization committed to getting medical missionaries on the field. I had recently seen an updated from Medsend saying that they were introducing a new neurosurgeon who would be posted in Kenya. I reached out to them and found out that he had just arrived with his family. Medsend was able to put us in contact with each other. The surgeon has reviewed Jescah’s report and says he has a 95% confidence level he can remove her entire tumor!

5e960050-e7ba-4fa4-bf0a-bb282c6c1030When I shared about Jescah before, some of you helped contribute to her medical expenses. We were able to cover her expenses for her workup, specialized CT scans, and travel back and forth between the hospital near Nairobi. Our understanding is that her co-pay for this neurosurgery is going to be approximately $1,000. Part of our Hope Matters team visited Jescah in her home this morning. The situation there was not good with very little resources available. As a ministry, we would like to help cover her surgical and travel travel expenses. We are setting a goal of $1,200 to raise for Jescah and her family. If you would like to help contribute, you can click here to make an online donation. Just make a note that your gift is for “Jescah’s Surgery”. Checks can also be sent to our office: Hope Matters International, P.O. Box 9293, Alta Loma CA 91701.

Our goal is for Jescah to travel to Tenwek Mission hospital within the next few weeks for this surgery. Please pray with us for all the pieces to come together for her. Pray for every need to be provided and for total healing. Thank you!

Believing that Hope Really Does Matter,

Welcome Kelvin and Nikole!

Opiyo Family Photo (1)Welcome Kelvin and Nikole!! In recent years Hope Matters has grown and expanded in ways that are only explained by God. As the ministry has grown, so has the need to grow our team. We are overjoyed to share the news that the Opiyo family are an answer to prayer, and are coming to serve with us. In just a few months they will transition from full time ministry In Mombasa, to serving with us in the highlands of Kenya. Kelvin will be assisting us with programs management, and Nikole is heading up our short-term volunteers program. We are so blessed to have them joining the team.

The Power of Education

IMG_4669IMG_2727In May I traveled to Mombasa with HMI intern, Julie, to teach a first aid and CPR course to a group of football (soccer for you USA friends) coaches. There was a lot of sweat, and even more laughter, throughout the course. We ran the full introduction to first-aid and basic health information class. A few coaches asked early on why it wasn’t just sports focused. We shared that what we were teaching was useful information that could be used at any time on, or off, the soccer pitch.

Just today I received an update from our hosts that a few of the coaches responded to an IMG_4596emergency over the weekend. They were able to help an epileptic woman who collapsed and was having a seizure on a public street. Not only were they able to safely administer first-aid, but they handled crowd-control and follow-up medical care, just as they had been trained to do. Another coach was able to identify a neighbor who was having seizures. People were saying that this neighbor was being possessed by an evil spirit. The coach was able to share the need to get medical help for this very real physical condition. What a blessing to get this report!

It was also really special to hear our hosts share that the coaches were impressed with how we showed love to them through running this course. The comment was made that it was clear what we were doing was out of love, not a requirement by our religion. I continue to be blessed at how powerful holistic ministry can be. Thanks for praying for and supporting the work we do here. Because hope really does matter!

Stories of Hope: Sarah

This is Sarah. She’s fifteen years old and one of my neighbors. When I met her, she was certain she was dying. Her resting heart-rate was 140 beats a minute. She was having constant fine tremors in her hands. ShIMG_E3840e couldn’t sleep, felt like she was losing her mind, and was sweating all the time. Plus she had this growth in her neck that terrified her. Sarah has a thyroid disorder that has been wreaking havoc on her body. Thankfully we’ve been able to connect her with some great surgeons who will be able to help her. It’s been a battle to get her medically stable for surgery. But we have finally reached that point. Unfortunately we just found out that she is going to need $700 to get the surgery done. Sarah comes from an unstable situation and has no way of getting these funds on her own. We are hoping to be able to help her out. We’ve been walking this journey with her for a few months now. Her bubbly, energetic, can-do spirit always makes me smile. I look forward to the days she is scheduled in my office. Please pray with us for Sarah. Pray for her future. For her total healing, and for provision for her to get this necessary surgery. If you would like to help, you can make a secure donation on our website by clicking here.

Relentless

IMG_3984Do you ever have days where you feel like life is just relentless in the beating it hands out? I’ve had a number of those days lately. The word relentless has been resonating in my heart and mind lately.

We have had a ridiculous amount of rain and flooding across Kenya this last month. One morning I woke up to once again hear rain pounding on the roof. I wanted to scream “It’s relentless, this rain!” A few hours later I encountered a woman in my office asking for money. She was so drunk that she didn’t notice that her naked toddler was pooping on the floor next to her. Relentless. I lost a patient. I spoke with and prayed with this young man just a few hours before he died. William drove him to the hospital for a blood transfusion. They didn’t get there in time. He died. Relentless.

A few days later, I was getting ready for the day when my precious son Ryan came running through the door in his pajamas and rain boots. He hollered that I needed to come outside right away. There was a rainbow stretched out over our house. It was beautiful. I stopped in the drizzling, hazy, sunrise and drank it in. Relentless. Our heavenly father is relentless in his love for us.

PZOT7392The rains have been so heavy that our available machinery couldn’t make it through the mud at the hospital construction site. So we called a bunch of men from the area and asked them if they wanted work. Muscles, sweat, shovels, hoes, and wheelbarrows, went into action. A Bible study outreach was planned for the team of workers. Eight people have requested prayer to help them give their lives over to the Lord. Relentless, God’s love, his compassion, his pursuit, his grace, they are all relentless.

 YEWB7168I’m reminded of how frequently we don’t see the big picture. What we saw as a delay was actually a ministry opportunity. The hospital construction timeline was pushed back. And lives were eternally impacted because of the delays. I’m pleased to share that God brought us a bulldozer to use this week. Construction progress is being made. We have a team of local workers who are gathering for weekly Bible study. Hope is being found at the medical center.

Our. God. Is. Relentless.

 “…my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘the Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” – Lamentations 3:20-26

 

Hospital Groundbreaking Ceremony

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On April 16, 2018 we officially broke ground, kicking off construction of the Village of Hope Hospital. To view a short video clip from this special ceremony, please click here. Please pray with us for God’s hand to be over this project from start to finish. Give thanks for the way he has already provided. Pray with us for daily wisdom, and for every need to be met along the way. Right now we are facing quite a bit of rain which is making progress slow. Please pray for favorable weather and safety on the job-site. Thank you for standing with us during this exciting season!

If you would like to support Hope Matters Financially, US tax-deductible donations can be made by clicking here.

Gifts of Hope this Season

ChristmasGiftIdeaDuring this holiday season we have a special opportunity for giving hope to the Village of Hope Medical Centre and hospital. We have set up a gift registry/wish list on Amazon. You can find the list by clicking here. When checking out please ship to “Tiffany Ninemire’s gift registry address”. She will be packing up and sending all of the items to us in Kenya.

If you would like to give a gift on someone’s behalf, please let us know and we can provide you with a printable gift note to share. We can also provide gift-in-kind receipts for tax purposes. So email us at office@hopemattersintl.org to let us know if you purchase something. Thank you for helping to bring hope and healing in Kenya!

Stories of Hope: Kiplagat

IMG_2265When I first met Kiplagat, his clinical picture was grim at best. I honestly did not expect him to survive. He had cerebral malaria, was unconscious, and his neurological exam was very concerning. I shared with the family quite honestly that the situation did not look good. And that without immediate brain surgery, he would not be likely to survive. I remember standing in the room and raising my hands to heaven as I prayed for him. I cried out to God to work a miracle in this situation that seemed beyond hope.

I went back to my office to write an emergency referral and organize for him to be taken to the hospital over an hour away. As I was typing the report, one of our staff members came in and told me that Kiplagat was awake and talking. I had to ask him to repeat himself. Yes, this woman of faith, who had just asked God to work a miracle, did not believe that the patient could be capable of talking. But he was. It didn’t make sense. So often our God works in ways that don’t make sense. Kiplagat still needed to get to the hospital, but it no longer seemed that death would be certain.

The next day the family came back to report that Kiplagat had survived surgery. A few weeks later the head of the family came to our staff meeting. He explained that the family had met together and decided that they needed to thank and honor us for our care of Kiplagat. So this past Sunday, a delegation from the Village of Hope staff traveled to his home.

Kiplagat Speaking

Kiplagat thanking the Village of Hope Staff for their care

As we bumped over miles and miles of rough, dirt, roads, I kept thinking what a miracle it was that Kiplagat even made it to our medical centre alive. The family served us lunch, then took time to share from their hearts. Person after person stood up to give thanks for what we had done. It was emphasized that it was shocking that we had been more worried about helping our patient, than making sure we would be paid for taking care of him. Several mentioned that I was the first mzungu (white person) to ever visit their neighborhood. And then Kiplagat stood up to speak. He shared with us that he has a newborn baby; that now he will get to see this little one grow. He has been given a second chance at life.

I was asked to be the final speaker of the day. I spoke from my heart and explained why it is that I am here serving in rural Kenya. That God has called me to serve those in need, to bring His hope and healing. I also reminded them of the prayer over Kiplagat’s unconscious body. It was not me, or my skills, that saved him. It was because of God’s healing touch that he has a second chance at life. And I am beyond thankful that I could be an instrument of healing in Kiplagat’s life. It is an honor and a privilege to live out this calling.

When you stand with Hope Matters by supporting the ministry financially, you are helping empower us to reach patients like Kiplagat with a healing touch. If you would like to make a one-time gift or set up monthly donations to help support the ministry, please click here.

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Joy in The Morning

IMG_1825 IMG_1818 IMG_1829I first met Sam and Naomi in January of this year. She was a bit quiet and shy.  She softly told me that she was pregnant. And that she was a type 1 diabetic. She and her husband have wanted a baby for many years. In fact, she lost her first one in childbirth back in 2011. There haven’t been any baby’s since then. She was excited. She was afraid. Could I help? Would I help? So much hope. So much fear. And thus our journey together began. I’ve been seeing her in clinic at least weekly since then. There have been some weeks when we had two, or even three visits. We’ve gone through hyper and hypoglycemia episodes. There was a big, scary, kidney infection. A few blood pressure worries along the way too. But yesterday Naomi safely brought baby Michelle into the world. I feel so honored and humbled that this precious little one would be given my name. This morning I had the honor of holding her in my arms; of praying over baby Michelle and her proud mama. This family had a long, dark, night before receiving this gift. What a blessing to be able to walk this path with them and rejoice together over this new life.

*Naomi has given permission for me to share her story and pictures with you.