Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mosquito Nets & Apartment Living

      We live on the lower level of this building in the lower compound.  We get our drinking water from a collection tank supplied by rain water from the roof (after boiling and filtration).  We have two bedroom a bathroom and a kitchen and dining room.  We are lucky to have many families around with kids who love to play.
  We all sleep under mosquito nets at night to prevent malaria.  This is Amelia on the left and Meredith on the right.  Our first week in Kenya Meredith pulled her net down accidentally and she had mosquito bites all over her face.  We felt terrible--as now her net is better secured.


Monday, December 29, 2008


We have not blogged about something we've spent much time discerning through prayer, conversations with other missionaries and World Medical Mission. Before we wrote, we wanted to be certain we knew God's direction. 
Since arriving in Kenya, we have felt growing uncertainty about going to Cameroon. We attributed this initially to not knowing what faced us at Banso Hospital. But the more we talked to other missionaries and the more we prayed the more we knew God desired us to remain in Kenya. After talking with our mission board they agreed as well. Tenwek Hospital and Kijabe Hospital, both in Kenya,  have things we need to be successful for the next 2 years and possibly for life. There is schooling, a large mission community, help from other specialties, and many other families supporting us as we both work. This was agonizing as we had committed to Cameroon, but we believe God is sovereign. We also believe God knew our plans long before we understood them. And as we know what God desires we have no choice but to obey. So, we will remain at Tenwek for at least 6 months and then likely be going to Kijabe Hospital. The dates/timing is not all arranged yet. We also would still like to visit Cameroon a short time while we are here. 
Amelia asked me a wonderful question tonight. She said, "Mommy, I think two years is too short. Can we please stay 6 years or even the rest of life in Kenya?" She did not know we were staying in Kenya yet. We believe God called our entire family to missions and even Amelia is hearing that call. 

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day

This is our first time celebrating boxing and we're not exactly sure what to do. But it does mean a day off, a potluck, and time to take down Christmas decorations.

We had a great Christmas. The Christmas Eve service included myself reading a sermon from our good friend Pastor Derek Starr Redwine which was planned no more than 3 hours before the service. Christmas Day we began celebrating in church with music and the children's program. Then we brought gifts and caroled in the pediatric ward as a church. Next we shared lunch with the Crognales, a dual physician couple with 2 little girls, very much like us. Dino Crognale made a wonderful lasagna and I made Amy Starr Redwine's buttermilk chess pie. After visiting we went to our friends the Galat's. We first met the Galat's at our Samaritan Purse orientation. We watched Cheaper by the Dozen and ate popcorn with orange fanta. 

Our internet connection worked well enough to Skype with both of our families. This is always an encouragement.  Tomorrow we head into Nairobi which on a good day is a 4 hour drive one-way. We will be grocery shopping and visiting the Massai Market, the local craft market and returning Sunday.  

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Meredith turns 2!

"Happy Day!" as Meredith would say. She enjoyed her 2nd birthday with cake and friends.  Her gift was a rag doll we affectionately called "Mercy". One of the most popular names here. Her face and knees bear the scars from constant tree climbing, running, swinging and trying to keep up with Amelia, but the smile never leaves. One thing we cherish about Meredith is her generally content disposition.

I'm on-call this weekend and grateful for the help of another OB/GYN. Its trying as we've already delivered 2 very premature babies and held a term baby as he passed from probable lung disease.  Many patients need the peace only Jesus brings.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Visitors Welcome

We welcome visitors at Tenwek!  We have plenty of room, the need is great, and their will always be a warm cup of chai waiting for you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Even Princesses can get a Black Eye

     Amelia has taken to life in Africa.  She climbs trees barefoot, holds geckos with her bare hands, and makes forts with her friend Clair in the Bush.  The other day she asked for a pocket knife  because she wanted to carve a spear. 
     As you can see from the picture Amelia took a knock from a child in a swing. 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

On Being a Missionary

When I grew up (Malin writing now) I always thought missionaries were kind of peculiar people.  Some summer sunday evening a missionary would come to share at our church.   They were always wearing awkward clothes and trying to get you to eat strange foods.  Then they would pray or preach in a foreign language.   I use to think that is great, but not for me.
   Here I am now, no Sara and I, no really Sara, Amelia, Meredith and myself living as missionaries.   God has called our whole family.  We, as a family, are trying to determine what that means together.   How will God shape us?  How will God use our hands in the dental clinic, in the hospital...and how will He use the smallest hands in our family as Meredith makes a friend?   

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New things

Malin and I have seen lots of new things this week. For myself, these include a 6 year old injured while trying to pick mangos  and a 60 year old woman who was bent over picking beans only to have a cow kick her (since you know my speciality you can probably figure out where these injuries were located). Both are recovering well from surgery. 

Malin also had the opportunity to see 1 of the 7 C-sections I did in the past 3 days. And he went to the OR as well to assist in a jaw fracture and cleft lip. This morning's c-section was a woman that had been admitted the past 3 weeks for severe pre-eclampsia. She had only 1 living child and 3 dead children and we were trying to wait as long as safe for her health prior to delivery so that this baby would not be too premature. We prayed before the c-section (as we pray before any surgery) and then delivered a 1100 gram vigorous baby boy. She began crying and praising God for an alive child.  Please join us in praying that this baby will grow strong and live, also that Lillian will have a safe recovery. The pictures are of a c-section for twin boys and Malin wiring a jaw with Dr. Kuyaya (Tenwek's dentist).

Monday, December 8, 2008

New games

This weekend we rested, hiked, baked cookies, and shared a meal with friends. Amelia and her friends made a "village" out of some bushes. They each owned certain products and traded them for other goods.  There is also a trampoline here which the girls have enjoyed playing on. I'm really appreciating how much the girls play outside and are using their imaginations. Above our some pictures of the animals we've encountered.  Meredith enjoyed feeding giraffes, but Amelia was too scared. On the other hand, Amelia will hold any reptile (something I prefer not to touch!). 

Malin went to the OR today for a facial tumor. I have to head there as well for a repeat C-section. Thankfully I had a short break this morning to homeschool and e-mail.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A quick update

One week worked and I don't think either of us believe all the pathology and complex medical problems we've seen. The girls did remarkable well with their Kenyan nannies.  It is customary to eat lunch at 1pm together as a family. Our meals ranged from chicken stir fry, tacos, to lentil soup and local greens. Janet is an incredible cook.  We have little planned this weekend, but hope to explore a bit more on foot Bomet, the district Tenwek Hospital is located in.