In 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 emergency 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!
How do you maintain a healthy, and diverse, diet when you are a diabetic who lives in a rural Kenyan village, and you don’t have a generous budget or access to a fancy grocery store? This was the question we decided to take on in our Hope Matters Diabetes Support group. Today we had 19 diabetic patients join us for a live cooking demonstration of “Spiced Carrots”. Great fun was had by all. The comment “I’ve never been given food at my doctor’s visit before” was made accompanied with a big smile. There was even a door prize of a bottle of spices for one lucky group member. We are striving to not only provide quality care to our diabetic patients, but also have fun in an educational setting as members encourage and support each other at our monthly gatherings. All members get free blood sugar checks and medical consults at the conclusion of each meeting. For more pictures from this fun event, please visit our Facebook page by clicking here. A donation of $35 covers the expenses for a support group meeting. Click here if you would like to make a secure donation to cover the cost of one of our meetings.
Well the summer is flying by here in Kenya. Here are some ways you can be praying for us this month and next:
- The Village of Hope Medical Centre is exploding with growth! Word is out that medical and laboratory services are available and the patient flow has been very high. Some days it’s hard for the providers to find time to grab a bite of lunch to eat! Give thanks for the many patients who are receiving care at the medical centre. Pray with us that the Lord will open doors for additional space and staff as we are already outgrowing our current facility and are in need of more hands to help treat the high volume of patients.
- We were extremely blessed by our Nursing Team from Kingsburg Community Church. They taught two courses of Helping Babies Breathe in which we saw 37 providers receive certification in this critical skill. Give thanks for all they accomplished and pray that the providers will not forget what they have learned, and that lives can be saved as a result of their training.
- Our next team is en-route to Kenya I type this. This team from Kingsburg Community Church will be involved in several major optometry/diabetes/hypertension outreaches. They have a very busy schedule during their time in Kenya and will be serving with us from the 21st through 28th of July. Pray that they will be strong and effective in their ministry.
- In August we will have an intern from Canada serving with us for two weeks to help our staff transition into an electronic form of patient record keeping. This is a huge undertaking! Pray for her and the staff as they take on this huge task.
- We have learned that the soonest our patient Ann might be able to have her open-heart surgery would be October. This is because of the level of complication to her case and the need for an American surgeon to perform the procedure. Her condition is deteriorating and I have some concerns whether or not she will be strong enough for surgery when fall comes. Please pray for God to be in the middle of this difficult situation.
- We have been blessed to have a major Hope Advocate named Kim taking on a huge task to benefit our ministry. She is running from the American/Canadian border all the way to Alaska to raise funds. You can read more about her journey here: Alaska or Bust! Please pray for her safety and success on this huge endeavor! Pray that her efforts will be fruitful and that our ministry in Kenya will be blessed.
- We are still trying to raise the funds needed to bring our shipment of medical supplies over to Kenya. As the health ministry is really taking off, it would be a huge advantage to have access to these supplies. Pray that the floodgates of heaven might be opened so that we can get this equipment shipped to us where it can be put to good use!
We value your prayers and support! Please let us know if there is any way that we can be praying for you this season! You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!
We are loving having our team from Kingsburg Community Church here serving alongside us. The nurses are teaching courses about helping newborns to breathe for healthcare providers and reproductive health workers. Our non-nurse on the team has been incredibly helpful with various projects around the clinic from painting to installing flooring! For pictures and daily updates on their activities please check out our facebook page by clicking here.
It’s hard to believe that we are already in December! This month in addition to our regular ministry activities, we have a few special events related to Christmas. Here are some ways you can be praying for the ministry this month:
- “The Nativity” movie will be shown at several venues. Please pray that hearts will be receptive and open to learning more about Christ.
- On Christmas Eve we will be holding a special party for children in the slums of Turbo. We are hoping to distribute a pair of shoes to each child in need. Pray for the resources to be provided for us to meet this need. Pray that the children will experience God’s love and light on this special day.
- On December 11th we are partnering with the Training Center at Empowering Lives Int’l to provide a Basic Health Training in a train-the-trainers style, for approximately 40 individuals who will then take the education they have received and share it with others. Participants will be coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and all over Kenya. Pray that the material is understood, retained, and effective as it is shared with many beyond this training.
- Last month we asked for prayer for a journey the Kiprops needed to make to Nairobi. Please give thanks for the success and safety of this journey. An extra blessing was that Michelle’s Kenyan nursing license was approved for a same-day renewal. Normally it takes three to four months!
- We are praying and planning to hopefully initiate walk-in clinic services early next year. Please pray for us to have wisdom and direction as we are in the planning process for this exciting expansion in ministry.
- As always, every single day our entire team needs prayer for divine wisdom, strength, energy and renewed hope as we reach out to make a difference in the lives of East Africans.
Here are the latest prayer points for Hope Matters. Thanks for standing with us in prayer!
- Give thanks with us as we rejoice in God’s provision for a piece of property for Hope Matters. The three acres have been fully purchased with no balance-due!
- The next step is to begin developing the land. We will need to get things like electricity and a borehole for water before we can begin construction. Pray for God’s provision for development of the land.
- This month we have a few public health outreaches planned. A basic healthcare class will be taking place on May 12 and 13th. Pray that the students will come ready to learn and that we might have a positive physical and spiritual impact through the course.
- This month we have a volunteer with us for a week. Pray for Lexy as she serves alongside our team in Kenya.
- Pray for the rains to be steady and strong. We have been facing a shortage of rain which is greatly impacting many of the farmers in our area. The rains seem to have started this week, but we have had a few false-starts this season. So please pray for consistent rainfall so that crops can grow and empty bellies can be fed.
- We are praising God for bringing us through the technology challenges. Michelle is back to work on a dependable computer. Although internet continues to be a challenge we have found a place in Eldoret where a strong connection can be made when needed.
- If you follow international news, you may have seen Kenya making headlines recently. There is an ongoing struggle with a terror group making random attacks. Although we are very secure in the village and are many, many, miles from the hot spots, we would greatly appreciate your prayers for peace in Kenya and for wisdom for the authorities as they struggle to get ahead of the terrorists.
Today, Friday April 25th, is World Malaria Day. So I want to take just a few moments to share some thoughts and stories about this wretched disease.
I’ll never forget the first malaria death I handled here in Kenya. I don’t remember the date, but I vividly remember the patient. She was just 7-years-old… Her mom carried her into the clinic. She was unconscious, dehydrated, anemic and had extremely high fevers. We did everything we could. Shortly after she started IV medical therapy we lost her pulse because her heart had stopped beating. I knew she was gone but I did CPR anyway. She was only seven! It felt wrong. Really, really, wrong, for such a sweet young life to be cut so short by a disease that came from a mosquito bite. Her mom was in shock. I was in shock. It was a tough day.
I’ll also never forget what it felt like to get malaria for the first time. It landed me in the hospital as a patient and took weeks for me to fully recover. At one point I actually dreamed that I was going to a white light and my life was over. I was really disappointed when I woke up from that dream to discover I was still alive. Thankfully I did live through the experience and came out the other side with some pretty strong feelings about malaria!
Someone recently asked me how malaria affects someone. I explained that malaria is a parasite in the blood. So everywhere that the blood goes, malaria goes. These are just a few of the symptoms commonly observed:
- High Fevers (like 105 degrees Fahrenheit high!)
- Body-Shaking Chills
- Serious Anemia
- Migraine-like Headaches
- Bone Crushing Ache in the Bones and Joints
- Vomiting and Diarrhea
- Coughing and Difficulty Breathing
- Seizures in Young Children (Brought on by the high fevers)
The bad news is that according to the World Health Organization we are still seeing more than 200 million cases annually and that approximately 627,000 people actually die from this disease each year. Most of those deaths are children in Africa under the age of five. The good news is that these numbers actually represent a 54% drop in mortality since the year 2000. So we are making progress!
The best thing that we as health providers can do about malaria is working to prevent it from happening in the first place. We do this by distributing mosquito nets and teaching people about the importance of having every member of the household sleep under a net. We educate about eliminating stagnant water which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. We encourage people to stay indoors and take proper precautions in the evenings when the malaria-carrying mosquitoes tend to make their appearance. We encourage families to seek appropriate care immediately at the first signs of sickness. Treating an early case is much easier and has a greater success rate that treating someone with advanced illness.
Slowly by slowly we wage war on malaria and the mosquitoes transmitting this disease! If you would like to learn more about malaria you can visit the World Health Organization site by clicking here.
Hope Matters is pleased to announce that after much prayer, fund-raising, and searching, we are welcoming this Toyota Land Cruiser Prado into service. It will duo as an ambulance and community health vehicle. Please join us in giving thanks as we dedicate this vehicle to the glory of God and for the service of Kenyan people. A big thanks to those who helped to make this purchase possible!
Empowerment through health education is something I’m very passionate about. I love teaching health classes here in Kenya because the students are always super excited for the opportunity to learn. Especially when the subject revolves around things that impact their day-to-day life.
But sometimes during a class, I’ll have a student come up to me and share that they desperately wish they could have been given this information earlier because they believe they could have possibly saved a life that was lost.
This week I had one of those experiences. The beautiful lady pictured above came to me during our first break with tears in her eyes and shared that her baby had died last year. She believes the baby died from choking. It was emotional for her to hold the infant mannikins and practice the life-saving steps she was being taught.
Throughout the course she continuously sought me out during breaks. She began to share more about her life and struggles. She specifically asked for prayer and advice related to some relationship difficulties. We talked. We prayed. Cried a little too. It was a powerful time. What a reminder to me that what I do encompasses so much more than just putting band-aids on, delivering babies, or teaching chest compressions. I’m here to serve. To listen. To cry. To pray. And most of all, to bring HOPE!
Prayer Points for December
- Give THANKS for a wonderful visit in the USA for the Kiprop family and for their safe return to Kenya.
- Rejoice with us as we thank the Lord for the ways he has provided. We now have enough funds to purchase a community health vehicle/ambulance. We have nearly half of the money needed to purchase land. Join us in praying for an increase in financial monthly support for the ministry of Hope Matters as there is still a need there. Ask God if He might have you become one of those partners.
- Pray with us for WISDOM and DIRECTION as we move forward with laying a strong foundation for Hope Matters in Kenya
December is a very busy month for us with a number of outreaches planned. Here are a few specific dates and events you can be praying for:
- December 8: Mary, a volunteer nurse arrives to join us for several weeks.
- December 12 – 13: First Aid and Basic Health Training Course
- December 15 – 16: Physical Exams on approximately 70 orphans living in a Children’s Home in Kitale
- December 17 – 18: First Aid and Basic Health Training for house-parents from several orphanages
- Date TBA: Jigger (foot) Clinic for Children