Friday, January 30, 2009

The Big Day

So it happened today. The new hospital is dedicated.

It wasn't easy. We lined up at 9:00 AM. Then we had procession from the road to the big tent. Then music and speeches, including local leaders, various church and Nazarene Health Ministries officials, and a politician. Then the group moved, not in the planned orderly procession, but in a haphazard swarm to the new hospital. A ribbon was cut, a plaque was unveiled, then the invited guests were allowed to walk through the new hospital, such as it is in it's not-quite-complete state. Despite the admonitions, the crowd went ahead and moved through the hospital, not the buildings themselves, but the walkways, most of them seeing it from this perspective for the first time.

We went on to eat in three different venues. I don't have the exact statistics on the food, but hundreds were served. It was past 3:30 by the time I got home and settled down to a cup of coffee.

I've looked through the photos I tood today, trying to decide what would really symbolize, would summarize the day. I settled on this one of the crowd of people surging through the heart of the new hospital. The hospital is for the people, not just the dignitaries, the politicians, the officials, but for the people of the Wahgi Valley, the Jimi Valley and of East Kambia, and as many more as we can accommodate. The picture says it.


Pulled Two Ways

Tomorrow is the opening of the hospital. We have known for some time that it would not be complete by then, but this is when church leaders were already scheduled to be in PNG, and the date has been set for a long time. The push this week was to get things as finished-looking as possible. Work continued today, but a lot of what was done was purely clean-up; washing walls and floors, carting away trash, moving unused building materials out of sight, etc.

Again, I spent part of the afternoon on the construction site, as did several of the doctors and other volunteers.

However, this evening was the final session of the district assembly of the Western Highlands District of The Church of the Nazarene. The final evening is usually reserved for the ordination service. The district nominated 18 candidates, a record number. Included were 6 women, also a record for PNG. Several of our friends were being ordained this evening, and we felt strongly that our family should be represented. Since Judy was sick with a bad cold, I needed to be there.

It was a great service. Our denomination is lead by a group of 6 General Superintendents. They divide the world into jurisdictions, and rotate responsibilities every 2 years. The one who is currently in jurisdiction over our part of the world is Dr. Jess Middendorf. He conducted a beautiful ordination, and it was a real joy to be able to witness it.

1. The "main entrance" of the new hospital. The Outptients building is on the left, and the maternity ward on the right behind the site of the pharmacy.
2. Pastor Elis Kope, with her husband Kope kneeling beside her, is ordained by General Superintendent Dr. Jess Middendorf.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Two Days to Go!

We're now only 2 days away from the dedication and opening of the new hospital. A lot of the people around the station is pitching in to help get things ready. Dr. Bill McCoy has been working at it full-time, as has his dad, Al McCoy who is visiting from California. Several of the doctors have spent time working on various jobs, some of which aren't particularly glamorous.

Today is my usual afternoon away from the hospital, to catch up on matters relating to the volunteers, or email, or a bit of leisure. My leisure activity for the afternoon was drilling holes and placing concrete anchors and attaching the plaques which say "Gift from the people of Australia to the people of Papua New Guinea. Presen i kam long ol pipol bilong Australia i go long ol pipol biling Papua New Guinea." Note that "pipol" is not a legitimate Pidgin word. None the less, I attached 1 of these plaques to each of the 9 buildings in the project (4 wards, 2 toilet blocks, outpatient building, emergency room building and operating room building).

The photo is of the new pediatrics ward. Try to imagine it full of beds containing screaming children and their parents! The medical and surgical wards are very similar, except for the color scheme. The maternity ward is a bit different. One end of the building contains 6 delivery rooms and a nursery; the ward itself is similar to these.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hospital Construction

The photo on the left was taken this morning as they prepared the forms for the sidewalk that will be the main entrance to the new hospital. The one on the right was taken this evening as they were finishing part of the concrete.

If you're keeping track, it's now 3 days until the grand opening/dedication of the new facility. Sadly, we're still several weeks away from occupancy.


She's Back!

Judy got back home early this afternoon after a 10-day adventure in Dusin, deep in the mountains north of here. It's actually in the second major river drainage to the north, the first being the Jimi where I was yesterday.

Our camera had battery issues, so she didn't take too many with it. We'll be getting photos from Becky Morsch in the next day or two, and get a few more here, and a large album on Facebook.

Though we've both seen spectacular scenery, and have been with great people in the last few days, we're glad to be back together. We've started planning the next trip to Dusin; we'll go together this time. Judy has promised that we will hike to Ainong, the home of our friend Thompson Gimalo, who is in the second photo, along with his wife Sandy and their two boys.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Jimi Valley!!!

Yesterday I had a last-minute chance to go to the Jimi Valley, and I jumped at it. I had to jump pretty fast to get ready in about 20 minutes for an overnight trip. I got to go along with 4 men who are all in some sense my bosses; General Superintendent Rev. Jesse Middendorf, Asia-Pacific Regional Director, Rev. Verne Ward, the current Field Strategy Coordinator for the Melanesia Field, Rev. James Johnson, and the man who is replacing him in that position, Rev. Harmon Schmelzenback IV. They were going into the Jimi to conduct the district assembly of the Bromley Memorial District. It sounds like a pretty intimidating bunch, but they are all great guys, and all but Dr. Middendorf have been my friends for several years, and after this trip he seems like a friend, too. They are all relaxed and easy to get along with, but all committed followers of Jesus, insightful thinkers, and dedicated workers in the church.

In the Jimi we stayed in the house build over 40 years ago by pioneer missionary Will Bromley. I've known his story form many years, and have wanted for a long time to see where he lived and worked. He had the habit of carrying flower seeds in his pocket, and as he would walk the rugged trails of this remote valley he would scatter them along the path. I don't know which flowers he introduced, but there are a lot of flowers there today.

The road into the Jimi is rough and barely-developed. At times it has been very dangerous or even completely impassable. At the moment it is in pretty good shape. Other then the josstling from the ruts and potholes, it was a pretty good trip, although it was a bit crowded in the Land Cruiser. Any inconvenience was compensated by the spectacular views, and the beautiful people who greeted us on arrival at the village of Singaropa, and worshiped with us in the evening service.


Friday, January 23, 2009

PNG Gothic

Judy's birthday gift to Dr. Becky Morsch was getting the yard ready at the house that Becky would be moving into and sharing with Dr. Steph Doenges. She didn't actually do much of the work, but paid our friend and helper Meti to do it. The work picture was posed. In the "American Gothic" knock-off, the signs mean "genuine" and "false" or "fake".

The fake gardener will be home in 3 days. In the meantime, the true gardener, Meti, has kept our garden and our house in good shape. I'd be in a mess (literally) without her.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Evening In Paradise

Last evening I took one of the cars to the Radcliffes, and Kathy invited me to stay for supper. There were some other guests, Mike and Diane Chapman (construction project coordinator and elementary school teacher) and a volunteer named Dan, whose last name I haven't learned yet. After a delicious supper we played games. Anyone who knows me knows that I MUST be lonely if I'd stay around some place where they are playing games!

We ended with "Four On A Couch." The photo shows the winning team, including the 4 who ended up on the couch, and Josiah Radcliffe, the fifth team member. Jo is on top. The others (left to right) are me, Mike, Jim Radcliffe and Dan the volunteer. (Photo by Priscilla Radcliffe)

Good News

The child that was missing last night is safe and sound. It seems he had been trying to walk from his uncle's house to the hospital to see his mom and brother. A passer by took him home, and then brought him home this morning and demanded to be paid for "taking care" of him.

Thanks for your prayers.

Heavy Heart

This evening a small boy disappeared on the station. He is 4 or 5 years old. His brother is a patient in the hospital, and he was staying with his uncle, a station employee. He went for water (from a near-by outdoor facet, I assume), and didn't return. The uncle lives near the canal for the hydroelectric system, so after a search of the area failed to find him, the water was shut off. When I got the call, I went, along with Dr. Scott Dooley, Mike Chapman, Bill McCoy and visiting team leader Randy Cronk, along with about 25 station staff, to help with the search. After the water level in the canal went down, we searched the canal and the overflow thoroughly, but he wasn't found. We're hoping that he's just at someone's house; maybe he got lost and someone took him in for the night.

I'm sorry, but I don't even know the little guy's name, but I'm asking you to pray. I'm writing this at a bit after 11 PM here, which would be 6 AM Mountain time. I'll let you know when we learn anything.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Long Day

Not a bad one, just a long one.

Work didn't go too late in the afternoon. I worked out, then went to have supper with the team from MVNU. I got called away from there to go do a c-section, as I'm on back-up call. Now home.

This is the 4th night Judy's been away. But who's counting?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Worship at Wagmil

From time to time I'm still invited to preach at churches in the area. Today was my third time to speak at Wagmil, the Todd Winter Memory Church of the Nazarene. You'll remember Dr. Todd. He's the one who loads up those containers with donated supplies for us every few months. He has been to PNG several times, once staying for 3 months as a volunteer doctor.

During that time he met some of the folks from the Wagmil church, and learned of their disire to build a permanent church building. He gave some of the money needed for this, and they wanted to honor him by naming the church for him. They probably wanted to call it the "Todd Winter Memorial..." but someone told them that would imply that he's dead. Several churches have been similarly named as memorials for people who are still alive. I think someone spread the word to the, and several of them have beeh "un-named".

Our friends Kunje and Kenem, and their daughter Margie and son-in-law Nensol all attend this church. Since Judy is away at Dusin (this is a reminder to pity me), it was good to have volunteer doctor Niles Batdorf and his wife and physical therapist Patty, as well as medical student Michelle Carlson and Dr. Becky Wallace along. Margie was Dr. Becky's language tutor, and Becky wanted to visit with her, Nensol and the kids.

For me, the service was a much needed time of worship. I believe that one can worship alone, but I strongly believe that we all need corporate worship as well. We really do need each other. The music wasn't great. But singing with these friends brought me closer to God. Sitting with my brother Kunje inspired me to want to walk with Jesus as closely as he does. The preaching wasn't great, either, but (as He always does) God spoke to me through my own preaching!

1. The Wagmil congregation worshiping in their new building
2. Pastor James and his wife and daughter singing a special song in the service
3. The back row is Dr. Becky, Margie, Nensol, Kunje and Kenem. The front row is Margie and Nensol's kids and some other people who just got into the photo.


Spelling Issues Revisited

I happened to be looking again at yesterday's post ("why ever would he read his own blog?" you ask? "because I don't always remember what I said", I say), and noticed at least 3 typing errors--extra letters, a missing apostrophe. I thought about editing the post, but the 'net is running veeeeeerrrrryyy slooooooooly right now, so it would take a long time. So I decided that instead of fixing it, I'd just apologize. Sorry. I'm old and shaky, and my fingers don't always hit the right keys.

Sometimes it's not just keys adjacent to the correct ones that I manage to hit, but keys in a far part of the keyboard, extra letters just inserted at odd places. I suspect that subconscious motor patterns developed over the years just take over, and certain letter combinations just lead to instinctively adding certain other letters. For instance, I find it hard to type the word "and." "Odd," you say? "You've typed 'and' many times, and with so much practice, that one should be easy." "Ah," I say. "But I've typed it so many times followed by a 'y' that sometimes my fingers just automatically want do that."

Something that affects the final outcome of my typing efforts is my eyes. The letters on the screen just aren't as distinct as they should be. Not out of focus, exactly, just indistinct. Small adjacent letters sometimes blend together. Sometimes I manage to stick an extra 'i' into a word--the word doesn't quite look right, but I can't tell what's wrong, especially if the 'i' is next to a letter with a straight upright bit, like an 'n' or an 'm'. Maybe that's because I'm just a bad speller (mostly corrected electronically, these days) and really don't know that 'tyiping' is wrong? It's almost like the way old people describe their vision with cataracts! Hey, come to think of it, that eye doctor in Nampa laughed at me (we health professionals are allowed to break the rules of good chair-side manner with each other) when he was ophthalmoscoping my eyes because I (an incredibly young person to have such things) had cataracts.

Does anyone know any good any good ophthalmologists in the Nampa/Boise area? Maybe I should contact the afore-mentioned bemused optometrist and see who he likes. In the meantime, please be patient with me. I'm old and infirm.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wedding in Paradise

Weddings in PNG are beautiful, but very different from weddings in the US. In the village there is often little or no ceremony at all. The families come to an agreement on bride price, her relatives take the bride to the husbands village, receive the bride price, and she moves into her husband's house.

Christian couples often want a church wedding, but just like in North America, that has become an elaborate and expensive matter. We recently attended a wedding at Kukon, a village near Kudjip. A young pastor was marrying a girl from that church. As in America, the bride is brought in by her father, or other male relative, in this case an uncle. Unlike America, the groom is also ushered in by his father or older male relative, holding hands.

Then the pastor askes the families if they are in agreement on the marriage. A representative of the bride's family stands and makes a speeche about how great a young man the groom is, and that they have found him to be a suitable mate for their beloved daughter. Someone from the man's family makes a similar speech about the girl. The the ceremony can procede.

One custom that most visitors think is especially beautiful and touching is the flower ring. This is a large wreath of flowers that is held by the families or by the maid of honor and best man during prayer. It has much the same symbolism that a wedding ring has--the circle indicates the endless quality of the love that they share.

There is always a full-length sermon. At this wedding the pastor spoke very clearly about love, and that the couple are to show love and kindness to each other. That is definately a Christian message in this culture. We happened to know the groom in this case, and know him to be a kind and compassionate person. We have no doubt that he will be good to his wife.

Everyone is very serious at weddings. There is no smiling, at least not until everyone goes outside for the mumu (a big feast of food that is roasted in pits using hot stones). But even then everyone (especially the bride and groom) is careful not to act like they don't take the whole thing very seriously.

Before the mumu the gifts are given. The bride and groom sit in chairs, and everyone files past them shaking their hands and congratulating them, and then lays their presents on a tarp or blanket in front of them. In some cases family members, especially if they have helped to pay the wedding expenses claim some of the gifts. We understand that at this wedding the couple got to keep all of them.


Friday, January 16, 2009


This is a post intended to inspire pity. This morning my wife left me alone, and didn't even say "good-bye". Of course, she had to leave for the airport when I was still at the hospital doing an emergency cesarean section.

She's going with Dr. Becky Morsch to Dusin. They've been there together before. Becky will be presenting a "Training of Trainers" course for the Community Based Health Care program. Judy will be Becky's personal assistant and house keeper.

I'm jealous. I love Dusin, and wish I could be there with them. Many of my blog posts in the next 10 days will likely be plaintive pleas for addtional pity.

These photos were taken on Judy's last trip to Dusin.



Every other year, a group of students from Mount Vernon Nazarene University come to PNG during their "J Term." It's a class called something like "International Development," but they learn all kinds of things about PNG and about missions. A great group of bright, pleasant, helpful young people are with us at the moment. We are really enjoying them.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Foot Up

Joe has congenital talipes equinovarus--talipes for short. Clubfoot, as it is commonly know. I have been learning the art of correcting this birth defect with serial casting, stretching the tendons and ligaments once a week, and then placing casts that move the foot progressively closer to normal. He has only one more cast to go, then he'll wear a special splint for 3 months, and then a similar splint at night for 3 more years. His parents and big sister have been very faithful in bringing him every week, with rarely a miss. He'll do well.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Snapshots of Paradise

My days are a series of mental snapshots. If I could just up-load these pictures from my brain, it would tell my story pretty well. Most of the time I don't have the time to take the camera out of it's little holster. Sometimes it's just not appropriate to take pictures, or to share them in such a public venue as a blog.

Sometimes the pictures mean "it was really fun to get to participate in this." Sometimes they say, "the world is full of sin, and this illustrates it." Sometimes they say, "there is so much work to be done."

Here's a real (not mental) photo from the first category. Those matching babies are twins that I delivered by cesarean section in the middle of the night to a mom with multiple complications. I gave a fair chance for them to deliver by the conventional route, but when they weren't coming, I knew I had to do it the other way. Seeing this happy seen on the ward is a great reward for any inconvenience I might have experienced. Look at the joy in the faces of this family!


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Secure in Paradise

A major change around Kudjip Station is a new security force. Up until the first of this month, Nazarene Health Ministries (the administrative body that runs Nazarene Hosptial) has hired the security guards. They did not have any real training, just a little coaching from their boss. Their equipment has been pretty minimal. For a time we had enough small hand-held walkie-talkies for all the men on duty to carry one, but one by one they either broke or were lost.

This past year the national board of the Church of the Nazarene here in PNG decided to hire a professional security firm. There are a lot of these in PNG! They selected one that has worked at a near-by non-denomination Bible college, to the great satisfaction of the people there.

We want even the security guards to be part of the ministry here. The ideal would be men who could witness to patients or their families, or to pray with people from time to time, but who would still be firm with people who's behavior is out of bounds. After NHM signed a contract with Asila Security Service, we found out that the owner of the company is a member of the Church of the Nazarene.

The Asila men wear neat and distinctive uniforms. They are extremely polite. They line up at attention for report at the beginning of each shift. They each carry a large billy stick that looks like it really means business. The supervisor and two assistant supervisors on each shift carry two-way radios. At the front gate they have a hand-held metal detector wand, and they check everyone coming in for weapons, and hold any knives until their owner leaves. We have not had a crisis or challenge since they have been here, so we don't know how they will handle a situation, but I have the impression that they will handle anything well.

Sad note: Ruth, the subject of yesterday's blog died early this morning.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Follow-Up on Nita

Nita is the subject of a great story told by Dr. Erin Meier on her blog two days ago. If you haven't read it yet, go there and read it first. I'm on call this weekend, so I rounded on the maternity ward this morning. I met Nita and her husband. She's feeling very well, just weak from all the blood loss. I ordered a little more blood for her, but she'll be ready to catch an MAF plane back to the Jimi Valley in the next few days.

Surprised by Life!

It's Saturday, and I'm on call. This morning I was making rounds on the wards when I was summoned urgently to the emergency room. There I found Ruth, an adult woman about 30 years old, who appeared to me near death. She had been at another hospital, and her husband said that they weren't doing anything at all for her there. I doubt that this was completely true, as there was some record of treatment in her outpatient record book, and she had an IV in her arm. She'd been ill with cough and fever for several days, getting progressively worse.

As I examined her, Ruth was completely unresponsive, even to deep pain. Her lungs sounded like something in a recording they play to you in your first year of medical school to teach you all the different abnormal long sounds, except that in her all the abnormal sounds were there at the same time. I slipped my little pulse oximeter (thanks Allan!) on her finger, and it read 60%, and that was with high-flow oxygen already being given.

I asked the ER nurse to give her a large dose of a broad-spectrum antibiotic, some inhaled bronchodilators and an industrial-strength dose of IV steroids. (It a long story, but there's an old saying among doctors that no one deserves to die without an industrial-strength dose of steroids.) I ordered some lab tests, had a serious talk with her husband in which I warned him that she was about to die, and returned to ward rounds, expecting to be called back at any moment to pronounce her dead.

It took an hour or a little more to finish ward rounds, and I went back to ER, to see that lady, and to see the long line of other patients that the nurse had lined up for me. I really expected to find either that Ruth had already died, or to be there when she did. Imagine my shock as I walked into the ER and saw this:

That's Rose, sitting cross-legged on the table visiting with her family! Laughing, even.

Her chest x-ray showed severe pneumonia, but pneumonia doesn't respond to antibiotics in an hour's time. Asthma can respond quickly, especially with high doses of steroids, so I'm now thinking that she is a person with bad asthma who got pneumonia. Her CBC was normal, her kidney function is mildly impared. I wrote for further doses of the same medicines that I'd already given her, and sent her to the ward. Hopefully I'll give a happy follow-up in a few days.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Getting Well, but Why?

George is a young man who is a medical mystery to me. He came to Nazarene Hospital because the left side of his body was paralyzed. Left leg, left arm, left side of face and (this messes things up) the left side of his forehead. That's not supposed to go with the other stuff. And on top of that, he has something on x-ray that doesn't fit with the rest, either. It's a change in his 2nd lumbar vertebra. That is not a location where it could have anything to do with his arm or face. Leg maybe, but not the other stuff.

All the explanations we thought about seem unlikely. A malignant tumor that has sent metastases to different locations, thus affecting different parts of the body. Or maybe tuberculosis in his brain, along with TB of the spine.

At any rate, it looked like he was just getting worse, and would continue that way. Having nothing else to do, we started TB meds, prayed and hoped.

A few days later he said that he thought he could move his hand a little more. Then the next day the leg improved. This morning when I asked him to raise his eyebrows, they both went up equally! He's doing well enough that he doesn't really to be in the hospital, but his home is too far for him to come for his daily injection. So today he moved to the TB ward. It's been completely vacant for a couple of weeks, so he and his wife will have the whole place to themselves, interrupted only by a daily nurse visit for meds.

I'm still not sure if the meds I ordered are part of his improvement or not, but I'm thankful to God for making him better.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Alone in Paradise

Paku is pretty much alone in the world. Hi is widowed. He has grown children, but they don't have anything to do with him. I don't know why not, but I realize that there is probably a lot of history that I have no clue to. All I know is that he's a nice old man who lives alone, tends his own garden, cooks his own food, and looks out for himself. He says his house is old and broken, but that he's too old to build a new one.

He has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, probably caused by years of breathing smoke from the fire in his cook house. He came to the hospital in a severe flare-up of his COPD, very short of breath, wheezing and weak. He responded well to treatment, but I've been reluctant to discharge him until I know that he's very stable. I don't know how hard it might be for him to get back if he should need it. So I kept him longer than I would usually keep a similar patient who had lots of help and support. I even orded a daily "dose" of Nutrition Soup, a concoction that the hospital cook serves to patients that the doctors have identified as nutritionally compromised, in addition to the routine daily helping of sweet potato that all patients get.

It's been difficult trying to teach him to use an inhaler, but that is one of the prerequisites I set for his discharge. Today he was doing quite well, using only the inhalers for a few days, and wanted to go home. So I discharged him, asking him to come back and see us in 2 weeks. He wrapped his few personal items up in his bed sheet, and headed home.

The hospital chaplain is from Paku's home village. I'll ask him to check on him in a week or so. In the meantime, you can pray for this lonely old man. I believe that his stay at Nazarene Hospital was a time of encouragement and uplift emotionally and spiritually in his life, as well as a time of improvement in his health.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Two Little Ones

Yep, that's right. No photo. The resolution was a post a day, not a photo a day. And besides, there are some things that I can't photograph.

Two children died here today. A little girl (about 4) was behind a coffee truck that was parked along the road, and tried to run to her mommy who was across the road. What better, safer thing could a child do than to run to her mom? Well, not across "the most dangerous highway in the world." The driver of the passing car had no time to react. He stopped (which is a brave and dangerous thing to do at an accident here), and brought the child and her mom and a couple of other relatives to the hospital. I'm sure that she had died the moment the car struck her.

The other was a boy about the same age. He was admitted to our pediatrics ward 2 days ago, and went down hill quickly. He appeared to have some sort of encephalitis, but we don't have the diagnostic technology to tell for sure, or what organism may have been causing it. He had stopped breathing earlier, and Dr. Erin Meier had revived him. An hour or so later his breathing stopped again, and I was the one they found first to come and help. Sadly, there was no response to our efforts, and I had to tell a second set of young parents that their child was dead.

I believe in the salvation of innocents, so I believe that these children are happy and in heaven. But I feel for these parents, and the long years of thinking about their kids, and wondering about what might have been. Every time something like this happens, my imagination runs through scenarios involving each of my kids at the age of the child involved. I know that I can't fully empathize, but I know that it would hurt terribly.

Please pray for these young parents, along with brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and grandparents. And pray for us as we minister in these tough situations, that we may be vessels of Gods grace.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Raindrops Keep Falling on My...

It rained harder today than I remember it raining for a long time. The road from the hospital to the north end of the station where our house is was like a small stream. Most adults complain about rain and work to avoid it with umbrellas, rain coats, or just plain staying in doors. But some people, usually young ones, know how to embrace it, to turn what others treat as an annoyance, inconvenience or problem into a great opportunity for joy. These boys made me feel better about the rain. However I did not take off my excessive clothes and join them. Sad, isn't it?


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Cloudless Night

On call a few nights ago I went out in the early evening, and noted the clear sky, which is unusual during rainy season at night. It's usually clear in the morning, but in the afternoon it clouds up and rains through the evening and sometimes into the night. But the crescent moon and two gright stars just above it were particularly beautiful. Impulsively, I pulled my little camera out and shot hand-held. Of course, the exposure was too long for that, but I was surprised that I got an image. Here it is.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dinner in Paradise

Dinner guests tonight were volunteer surgeon Kevin Kerrigan and his wife Leslie, and our new hospital chaplain, Pastor Moses, his wife Lucy and their 2 youngest boys, Exodus and Israel.

In 2004 Pastor Moses was helping to repair a vehicle that belongs to our CBHC (Community-Based Health Care) program. Someone else hammered a metal part, and a chip flew up and penetrated his left eye. There was no eye doctor in the area at that time, but some weeks later he was able to travel to a place where he could see an ophthalmologist. He then learned that the vision in that eye was permanently lost.

When he returned home, his family urged him to demand compensation (equivalent of a lawsuit) from the church. But he refused.

"To ask for compensation, you have to ask for compensation from someone. Who would I ask? The church? The church is me. The district? The district is me. CBHC? CBHC is me. Jesus gave his blood to buy me--these eyes already belong to him. If I have vision in only one eye, that's his problem, not mine.

"Now that I've become chaplain here, this eye (gesturing to the right one) has seen wonderful things as people respond to the gospel."


Friday, January 2, 2009

New Hospital

I haven't said much about this here, but for those of you who are my Facebook friends, you know tht I've been putting up photos showing the progress of construction on the new hospital. It's behind schedule (aren't all construction projects?) but it's coming right along, and is going to be really nice. This picture shows the covered outpatient porch which will serve as the waiting room for those who want to see the doctor in OPD.

If you want to be my Facebook friend, and you can't find me, let me know by leaving a comment here.


New Years Resolutions

I'm not big on them. Don't usually make them.

But this year I think I'll make one or two. The main one is a promise to you, my faithful blog readers. This year, I'll try to have something new on the blog every day. Let's make 6 days a week the minimum. It won't be long.

The problem has been that I usually wait until I have a "big story" to tell. I feel like much of our lives are pretty mundane. Then I have to have photos. I spend a half-hour or hour writing, then another hour arranging the text and photos. I won't be as fussy about layout and arrangement.

I'm guessing that a lot of our friends, family and supporters just want to know what's happening on a day to day basis. So it won't be a reality show, or anything, just some little item about our day, about our friends, and especially, about our work. So it should still be the first in the US when this gets posted. I have a few more hours to get the one for the second.

Happy New Year!