Declare His glory among the nations. Nations, with emphasis on the “s” apparently. When God pressed this verse on our hearts during our preparations to move overseas, we never considered that He might truly mean nations, as in more than one. We were prepared and excited to go to Liberia and, after a few months, we began to feel at home. Things were difficult and nothing like we had expected, and yet He proved faithful beyond my measure of faith. While at ELWA, we witnessed Him do incredible things, meeting needs in a way I never would have truly conceived possible. In spite of the difficult times, I have no doubt that God brought us to Liberia for this season.
And yet, now we have found ourselves in the midst of another move, from West Africa to East Africa, from Liberia to Kenya. As you probably know, we came to Liberia through the Samaritan’s Purse Post-Residency Program, a program designed to pair you up with a medical (or, in my case, surgical) mentor at a mission hospital. With my mentor leaving (see previous blog post), the question remained how I would gain the various skills necessary to provide comprehensive surgical care for patients—orthopedic, gynecologic, urologic, and neurosurgical skills in particular. These surgeries, performed by other specialists in the U.S., fall under the very large blanket of general surgery in most mission hospitals. (To put it in perspective, Liberia has two orthopedic surgeons and one neurosurgeon for the ENTIRE country, and these surgeons are frequently not accessible to most people. The neurosurgeon, for instance, is about eight hours from ELWA, and can take even longer during rainy season.) Our time in Liberia has shown us many things–maybe I will find a chance to share a few of those, given enough time, reflection, and humility. But among other things, it became clear to us that if we are to fulfill this long-term call, there are things we need to learn, both in and out of the OR, surgically and personally. Our team at SP voiced their concerns and commitment both for us and the hospital–not only of agreement that I need to learn and that a change of location would be necessary, but also that they will continue to seek surgeons to help assist with surgical coverage for ELWA. Knowing this, we prayerfully allowed SP to choose a new Post-Residency Program training site for us. A month or so later, after an SP conference and vacation, and after acquiring a couple of electronic visas, here we are in Chogoria, Kenya.
This has all happened rather quickly, such that we are still processing it ourselves. We have ALL the emotions about this move. We miss our Liberian home and friends, but are trusting that the Lord has picked us up from Liberia and placed us in Kenya for now. We know that He is sovereign and are trying to submit ourselves to His refining fire as He continues to form us into what He would have us to be for Him and His glory. We are choosing to focus on the positives (just ask Nathan about the weather in Chogoria if you want to hear what he’s most excited about) and are trying to settle into our new home and community. We are thankful for our mission family we left in Liberia and ask that you will continue to pray with us for them, the hospital, and the work there at ELWA. We are also thankful for those here who have welcomed us so warmly, and we ask that you pray for us as we discover what life and work looks like here. Currently, and for the next three months, we are doing language school learning Swahili. Please pray for us as we daily attempt to learn and as we are repeatedly humbled by the discovery of this new language and culture, that we may be able to join in the ministry here, declaring His glory among this people. May we always be faithful to Him and His call, whatever that looks like and wherever He leads. For now, thank you for going with us on this unexpected journey and karibu Kenya. Welcome to Kenya.
Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! –1 Chronicles 16:24