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.
We 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.
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!
When 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,
Location: Nyenyilel 10 kilometers from the Village of Hope Medical Clinic
Eunice is a young widow and mother. When her husband died, her in-laws told her that she was no longer their concern. Her family didn’t want to take her back, as they said they had married her off and she was no longer their problem. Eunice has high blood pressure requiring close monitoring and treatment. When she came to the Village of Hope Medical Center, her pressure was 290/140. Our clinicians were amazed that she had not already had a stroke. The team prayed over her and provided emergency care. They had her transported and admitted to the government hospital over an hour away. She was treated for several days and then discharged without any prescriptions or follow-up plan. At Village of Hope, we started a treatment plan and have continued to follow her. Additionally, our team has been able to help get her started with a chicken business so that she can help provide for herself and for her family.
On this Thanksgiving we are thankful for you. Through your support and generosity, stories of hope like Eunice’s are made possible.
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!]]>
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.
The 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.
I’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
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.]]>
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 email@example.com to let us know if you purchase something. Thank you for helping to bring hope and healing in Kenya!]]>
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All teams should ideally be made up of 3 – 8 members. Individuals and couples/pairs are also welcome. Duration of the ministry trip will depend on the specifics of the project/outreach. A typical timeline is 5 – 10 days of service, with an additional two to three days of travel, and at least one full day for debriefing before returning home. Many volunteers choose to do an animal safari before leaving Kenya. Volunteers need to fund-raise or pay for their personal expenses and are also asked to help contribute to covering the cost of their ministry project. Donations can be processed either by the team’s home church or the Hope Matters Int’l (HMI) USA Office. HMI is a registered non-profit, so all donations are tax-deductible within the USA. HMI provides a training packet for all volunteers and asks that teams go through a preparation process together before coming to serve. We generally recommend a minimum of at least three months to adequately prepare and fund-raise.
Description: This team (or individual volunteers) would assist with construction on the new hospital building. This may include, but not be limited to: masonry, tiling, plumbing, electric installation, carpentry, and finishing work (door and window frames, ceiling work, painting etc.)
Requirements: Primarily professional Construction Workers
Time of Year: Feb – Oct 2018
Description: This team (or individual volunteers) would assist with documenting the ministry in order to share about the ministry. Photographers, videographers, and those who can edit media are all welcome.
Requirements: Experience in photography/filming/media editing
Time of Year: Flexible
Description: This team would be focused on working with children in primary school, (ages 5 – 15). The team would organize a children’s conference/VBS that would run from 10AM – 5PM for roughly four days. Activities will include group lessons, small break-out sessions, crafts, music, and game-time. The project expense will need to include providing lunch for the children each day as well as VBS materials.
Requirements: Open hearts, flexibility, and a heart for children. Some experience working with children is desirable.
Time of Year: Either April or August (when children are on break from school)
Description: Medical professionals who can train and equip Kenyan providers with up-to-date information related to any of the following topics: Maternal Child Care, Primary Care, Emergency Stabilization, Wound Care, or Chronic Disease Management. Trainings would likely be held in short sessions and repeated several times to allow multiple staff members to be trained. While not teaching, the volunteer can join in treating patients either in the outpatient centre or the hospital.
Requirements: Licensed medical professionals, some teaching/speaking experience preferred, but not required.
Time of Year: Flexible
Description: This highly specialized team would consist of both medical professionals and Christian leaders who are passionate about mentoring other believers in their walk with the Lord. We would like to give our national medical staff an opportunity to take time away for a spiritual-development retreat. Ideally the retreat would be a two-day event and would be run twice, allowing half of the national staff to participate at one time, and keeping half the staff in the clinic working alongside the medical team members. Staff would then rotate for the second session of the retreat.
Requirements: This will require medical professionals who can help cover the clinic operations, as well as a discipleship team to lead the retreat for the staff. Primary care provider (MD, NP or PA), nurse/medical assistant, and lab tech.
Time of Year: Flexible
Description: Coordinating and running a conference specifically focused on economic empowerment for small-scale farmers. Topics would include farming business development, budgeting, and making your farm productive. The conference would also include a spiritual track about living out one’s faith as a farmer.
Requirements: Volunteers with farming, economic, business, or development experience, as well as spiritual discipleship leaders.
Time of Year: Flexible
Description: Small teams or individuals who could be scheduled and counted in our staffing to provide service at the medical centre for a few weeks at a time. Often this would entail covering a national staff-member’s leave time. Volunteer(s) would be partnered with a national staff member who would assist with translation and local protocols.
Requirements: Licensed medical professionals (physicians, dentists, PA’s, NP’s, nurses, lab techs, medical assistants, etc.)
Time of Year: Flexible
We have a limited number of student internships available each year. The internship is designed so that the volunteer will typically spend part of their time working on a special project for the ministry, and part of their time shadowing/working with our staff in the medical centre. Students are often asked to help give educational presentations in local schools and support group settings. Internship duration is typically from two to four weeks based on current needs.
Description: Assisting the international director with basic administrative tasks such as scheduling, research, special projects, etc. We need someone who is humble, flexible, self-motivated, takes direction well, and is able to jump in where the need is. Ideally this person would have some medical training and experience.
Requirements: Follower of Christ. Must raise his/her own financial support. Medical training/license preferred but not required.
Timeline: Initial commitment of three to six months.
Description: Family or General Practice physician with OB experience preferred. This is a team leader position. This doctor will be hospital based, working with a team of primarily Kenyan medical professionals. Duties will include both out-patient and in-patient care in our new 24-bed hospital.
Requirements: Follower of Christ. Must raise his/her own financial support. Must be a licensed physician who has completed residency. International experience preferred. OB experience preferred.
Timeline: Initial commitment of six months to one year.
Description: Licensed medical professionals (MD’s, DO’s, NP’s, PA’s, RN’s, Lab techs, Radiology techs, etc.) Will be hospital based, working with a team of primarily Kenyan medical professionals. Duties will include both outpatient and in-patient care in our new 24-bed hospital.
Requirements: Follower of Christ. Must raise his/her own financial support. Must be licensed in his/her field of work. International experience preferred.
Timeline: Initial commitment of three to six months.
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.
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.