The hospital really needs to have two surgeons at any given time. When Todd was here there were some weeks when he was the only person able to do surgeries for a week or so. He was a hard worker and didn’t mind covering spells where he was the only person. Since Todd’s death, we’ve been blessed with a number of short-term surgeons but Todd’s absence has been felt every day. We’ll find a new normal and we’ll carry his vision on, but we’ll never be the same…
Because two were arriving and two were departing we ended up with four surgeons here at the same time today so I snapped a photo of these four. We’re so thankful for the surgeons who have been willing to use vacation time and find ways to leave their lives in the US for a couple of weeks or a few months to help cover the hole left in surgical coverage by the loss of our friend and teammate.
Today Melissa and I were once again able to enjoy a moto ride following our Saturday morning waffle breakfast. With our schedules being a bit more hectic recently it was fun to get away from the hospital for a couple hours and see how some of the rains have changed the look of the countryside. We stopped and I talked with a farmer for a while as he sat and wove a new grass mat for the roof of his house. Melissa took the opportunity to try her hand at planting a cotton field with the Fulani women who had been hired by the farmer to plant his field. These women are paid 500 fcfa per day for their work. The current exchange rate is 580 fcfa to one US dollar, so for their work under the African sun planting a cotton field in one day they make less than one US dollar.
I’ve been helping with projecting the Jesus film in villages where we have started Bible lessons a couple of times a month. There’s something very special about sitting under a starlit sky, listening to the hum of the generator in the background, and watching people be introduced to Jesus for the first time in their own language. It’s not uncommon to have a crowd of 200 to 300 when we begin these presentations. It a privilege to drive, help with technical stuff, and have a chance to pray with the hospital chaplains as they lead these events.
This morning we were invited to attend some traditional dances. After an hour in the sun can you tell that Ezra had just about had enough of this cultural event?
The Hospital of Hope has a soccer team that plays matches from time to time and this week they had a rematch with the Hope Radio employees since their last match ended in a tie. This match also ended in a tie so there will probably be another match.
Today included two weddings of hospital employees, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. These are fun occasions to be a part of, and while at times it’s hard to know exactly what culture and customs expect of us at these events, it’s a privilege and honor to be a part of these times and see how attending helps us develop deeper relationships with our hospital employee family.
Selecting the next class of nurses that will be trained here at the HOH has been an exciting process and we’re getting down to the final steps and testing. With more than 700 applicants we are now nearly ready to announce the names of the 18 individuals that will begin this three year training program to be nurses at the Hospital of Hope. Their classes will begin June 6th and the hospital’s conference room will serve as their nursing school. Pray with us that the individuals that are selected for this class would come to know their Creature and have a passion to make him know through their care for the spiritual and physical needs of the hospital’s patients.
Eli’s class celebrated their last day of school today. Aaron and the older class of missionary children will continue for a couple of more weeks. Aunt Megan will be leaving to return to the US on Friday and she’ll be greatly missed. We arrived together in Togo in late August of 2014 and it’s hard to imagine how we could have survived and how our children could have thrived without Aunt Megan’s help both in the school and in our home. We are so thankful that God arranged for her to be here with us during these incredibly busy school years. We’re praying God directs her in what she’ll do next but we’re not too secretly hoping she decides that God has Togo in her future.
The first of May is Labor Day here in Togo so we formed a line of motos and drove around town and then returned to the hospital for a meal together. The employees organized the meal and took care of getting the annual hospital shirts. May Day is one of the bigger holidays here in Togo.
Melissa and I try to take a moto ride once a week together. Today’s ride took us to a small village were we met a patient who was just released from our hospital last Thursday. He’s the man in the tan standing in front of the tree. He had received a surgery, multiple skin grafts, and months of dressing changes and now has a foot that is healed and allows him to walk. He was incredibly grateful for the care he received and said that for the three years before coming to our hospital he had paid lots of money to another hospital, sold his animals and still couldn’t walk and had a major injury. He was so grateful for our hospital that he insisted that we take his rooster as a thank you gift. It was a very kind gesture and it would have been rude to refuse so the rooster joined us for the trip back though it made the ride a bit more cumbersome.
Today we had those that came to Waffle Breakfast join us for a quick photo so we could send birthday greetings to Drew DeKryger. He shares today as his birthday with Ezra. Happy birthday Drew and Ezra!
Since our birthdays are just one day apart (they would have been the same day if Ezra had been born in the US and not France) we get to celebrate them together. At some point Ezra might not like this idea, so I’ll enjoy it for now.
This medical conference has about 700 people attending including more than 100 children. The conference organizers recruited a small army of workers for the children’s program who paid their own way to come to Greece and serve by putting together a great two week kids program that included activities, Bible lessons and verse memorization, songs, crafts, and much more. Tonight for our evening chapel session the children from all ages put together a program.
Okay I’ll add a photos with the boys’ locations…
We also had the opportunity to visit the Panathenaic Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were hosted in 1896.
Our conference is off this weekend so we took advantage of the chance to tour the Acropolis in Athens and Mars Hill which were located just 30 minutes from our conference. While we were at Mars Hill we took time to read Paul’s speech from Acts 17 which he delivered here a few years ago.