Wednesday, June 25, 2014

But Wait, There's More!

I am blogging today from the “Ministry Machine”.  We are making our way back from SW Uganda to Kampala, the capital.  We have just completed a 2 week trip through several small villages in the rural SW part of the country.  This part of Uganda is beautiful with small mountains, banana trees, cows and many Ugandan Cranes.  This is our longest Ugandan road trip ever.  We have hosted 9 days of clinic and treated more than 2,000 people.  We have seen many professions of faith, including around 90 over the past 4 clinic days.  The last two days, we were able to work again with Pastor Ken Gallyen, from Alabama and The Call to Africa team.   
Through the help of RAW Church and other donors, our team has been able to distribute more than 100 bibles in the local language.  We have experienced a couple of health issues, on our team, but we are recovering well.


I want to continue my look at some of the specific ways that you can help Due Unto Others and our projects in Uganda, and give you an update on those that I mentioned in the “Let Me Count the Ways” blog.   Emmauel traveled to Mbarara and Dr. Simon evaluated him.
He was subsequently admitted to the hospital and had an operation on his eye yesterday. 
It was found to be congenital glaucoma (high pressure in his eye, since birth) and not a tumor.  As they tried to release the pressure in his left eye, the eye started bleeding and they had trouble getting it to stop.  They ended up being required to remove his eye.  The good news is, his right eye was found to be normal and he should move forward without much consequence.  Glory to God for the help that donors made for this boy. 


Pamela traveled from Bwambara to Mbarara yesterday.  She was seen in the cardiology clinic there.  Some of our team was able to receive her in Mbarara and help Pamela and her mother find the Cardiology clinic.  She was admitted to the hospital in Mbarara and is awaiting to see the cardiologist tomorrow.


The last update is on Polite.  She is awaiting a trip to Kampala in the next week or two to begin her burn treatment CORSU hospital.  We will likely see her as she starts this process and then receive updates, once we are back in the USA.


The first of the new children that you can specifically help with is Chrispus. 

She is a 4 year old girl from Bushenyi.  We treated her last Thursday, during our clinic in Ishaka.  She had suffered severe burns to her right foot and ankle.  This has scarred so that her foot is flexed up and scarred against her lower leg.  This prevents her from walking.  She also had some small burns in other areas.  This accident happened about 4 months ago.  Her mother, Mercy, was praising God that Chrispus was going to get medical treatment.  She said that Chrispus has “suffered for so long”.  We have made arrangements for her to be treated at the University Hospital in Ishaka.  The cost for her surgery and after care will be $220 (US dollars).  This procedure should completely change her life.  She should be able to walk again and get back to living a normal life.


The next special child that you can participate in a life change with is Elizabeth.  She is a 14 year girl from Rukungiri.  She has been chronically anemic.  Elizabeth has received the extent of the workup available in the SW region.  She needs a bone marrow biopsy, which can only be done in Kampala, at Mulago.  There is a suspicion that she could have leukemia.  She is traveling to Kampala today, June 25th, to have this test done, later this week.  The way I understand it, her initial work up will cost about $180 USD.  If she is found to have a leukemia, there are government funded treatment programs that she could fall into.  I have committed Due Unto Others funds to cover this amount.  If you would like to help Elizabeth in her workup, please let me know.


The next patient that Due Unto Others has discovered, needing help, is Gift.  Gift is a 5 year old boy from Ishaka.  His problem started after getting a cut on his left leg, about 8 months ago.  This formed an infection that has continued to smolder and he now has an infection (osteomyelitis) that involves his tibia (shin bone) and all of the surrounding soft tissues.  This type of infection is difficult to treat.  At a minimum, it requires a surgery to clean out the infection and iv antibiotics.  Sometimes, even in the US, it requires an amputation.  Gift was taken straight from our clinic to the University Hospital in Ishaka.  He had surgery on Monday and is receiving the iv antibiotics.  The cost for Gift’s care is $300 USD.


Each of these beautiful children have a medical problem that desperately needs to be investigated or treated.  They all have a very good chance of recovery to a normal life.  Without treatment, they would risk death or chronic disability.  Please pray to ask God how you might help with these kids.  Any small amount would be helpful.  Email me at and I will direct you on where to send donations.


I encourage you to lift these children and their families in prayer.  Through these medical treatments, God’s love can be shown to these families and His name can be glorified throughout their villages!


Preparing for “Due Season”

Galatians 6:9



Monday, June 23, 2014

Simon Says

John 9:1-7 says: 1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

 6After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7“Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.


As many of you know, God has given me a “vision” to try to help the older people of Uganda with their untreated cataracts.  We have been laying some ground work for “Mud in Your Eyes” ministries over the past 2 years.  Our last 2 clinics of this trip will include eye care, as we seek to set an efficient format for finding patients with cataracts and then organizing/financing their care.  It has been my thought that we could set up a small operating suite in Wentz Medical Center, our home base.  Then go out to rural areas to host eye clinics.  As we find appropriate cataract patients, we would arrange their transport on a specific week each month.  For that week, we would try to schedule a visiting Ophthalmologist from the USA to come and do cataract surgeries all week.  This may still become a reality.


This week, however, we worked with Dr. Viola, a local Ugandan doctor, while hosting our clinic in Ishaka.  We invited her to dinner with us on Friday night.  As we visited with her, we found out that her husband, Dr. Simon, is an Ophthalmologist in Mbarrara.  He works at a private eye hospital and is also an attending (teaching) physician at a local eye residency program.  This prompted me to push for a meeting with Dr. Simon while we are still in Mbarrara.  That meeting happened on Saturday, while relaxing around the pool at our hotel.  That’s right, our hotel has no AC, sometimes no power, and this morning no water, but it has a swimming pool! 
In this relaxed setting, I was able to ask him many questions about the procedure of removing cataracts.  I also learned much about the equipment and the aftercare.  Dr. Simon has already been a great resource but the story does not stop there.


With some pointed questions to Dr. Simon, I think that we have narrowed the locations that perform cataract surgeries to 5 hospitals:

1.)    Mulago in Kampala (capital city and national referral hospital)

2.)    Mengo Hospital in Kampala – This is primarily an eye hospital, yet they only do about 30 cataract surgeries per week, in a country of 30 million.

3.)    Private hospital in Eastern Uganda, right on the Kenyan border.

4.)    Mbarrara University & Referral Eye Center (MURHEC), a teaching hospital in Mbarrara

5.)    Ruharo, a private hospital in Mbarrara.

The whole western, southwestern and southern portions of Uganda, come to Mbarrara for their eye care.  But despite being the regional medical hub for these 3 regions, they do very few cataract surgeries.  Dr. Simon also made me aware of something that I had not thought of.  He says that when someone has cataracts and the resulting visual loss, it not only effects the patient, but there is another component.  Many times, a child is taken out of school to stay home and care for the disabled grandparent.  This causes a trickle down social/educational problem as well.  Another thing that he mentioned, is that our threshold for taking out cataracts in the USA is when vision gets as bad as 20/40.  In Uganda, the cataracts are usually to the point of no light perception or perhaps being able to tell if a hand is waving in front of their eyes. 


The teaching hospital in Mbarrara sees very few cataract patients.  It is a new hospital and a new program.  They perform the surgery for just the cost of the implanted lens ($20).  Despite this, very few people get into the system enough to know that this treatment is available.  I actually saw a 74 year old man last week that had been paralyzed for 50+ years and had never been to the doctor to figure out why!


I have begun to talk to Simon about a partnership.  If we could set up our Mud in Your Eyes network for SW Uganda, we could bring all of those patients to Dr. Simon in Mbarrara.  This would be much easier than trying to bring them an additional 5 hours back to Kampala.  For an initial investment of $6,000 to buy 4 additional instrument sets (each will last about 1,000 uses) we can bring as many cataract patients as we can find to have their sight restored for about $20 each.  If we can get some lenses donated by a drug company in the USA, the treatment would be free!  In addition to this arrangement, it is likely that when we go out to host an eye clinic, to identify appropriate cataract patients, the residency could send a resident doctor with us to help screen the patients.  This will insure that the people that we transport to the hospital have the correct diagnosis.  If God allows this to come together, we will likely need an office space in Mbarrara, another vehicle and at least one full time staff member in Mbarrara.  It was such a divine introduction to Dr. Simon.


Sunday evening, we were able to go with Simon and Viola to tour MURHEC and Ruharo.  Both were nice, but MURHEC was really nice. 
New facilities and easily as well built and kept facilities as we have seen in Uganda.  MURHEC does intake on Mondays, surgery on Tuesdays, and then discharges patients over the next couple of days.  There were no patients in the inpatient wards on this Sunday.


Following our tours, Dr. Simon and Dr. Viola took us to Igongo. 
It is a place 12km out of Mbarrara.  It has a nice restaurant, a cultural center/museum, and a new hotel.  We learned more about the history of SW Uganda and the tribes from this area.  We had a good meal and we were able to talk more about what God might have in store for this project.


Please join me in these specific prayers:

1.)    That God would show us if this is the best way to get “Mud in Your Eyes” off the ground.

2.)    That if this works, He will allow us to parlay this partnership and successes into partnerships in Eastern Uganda and perhaps our own surgery suite in Kampala.

3.)    That He will show us the right staff member and facilities in the Mbarrara area.

4.)    That He will provide the needed resources for initial start-up ($32,000 estimated total for medical tools, additional vehicle, and office start up).


Can you imagine the demonstration of God’s love when people who have been blind, can now see again?  Can you imagine their witness to their family, friends, and village?  We have been very clear with Dr. Simon that Jesus and the gospel will be intertwined in this project and he is very much ok with that.

 Preparing for "Due Season".

Saturday, June 21, 2014

God's New Grace

As we started our clinic at the Ishaka Community Church clinic, I was working at registration, close to Joseph’s station where he was seeing patients. 

One of his previous patients had returned with her lab results from the next tent over where lab, pharmacy and spiritual clinic were located.  Her name is Grace. 
She is 66 years old and her blood sugar level was 570.  {Normal is up to 110.}  Joseph called me to take her paper to Dr. Viola from the district health facility who was assigned to work with us by the government.  She was very receptive to the need to admit her to the government hospital in Bushenyi which is about 7 to 8 kilometers south of Ishaka.  She wrote admit orders on Grace’s form.  Pastor Sam sent an interpreter, Alex, to show Ronald how to find this hospital.  I wasn’t sure if I should go or stay.  I asked Joseph and he told me I should go.  The volunteers from Ishaka Community Church (ICC) were quick to take my place in registration and keeping the crowd moving through the clinic.  So, we left in the “Ministry Machine” to head to the hospital.  I asked Alex to ask Grace if I could pray for her.  She said yes and we prayed.  I then felt prompted to ask her if she was born again.  She told Alex no, but she had come to the clinic to be saved.  I then asked if Benneth her daughter was saved. The answer was no, but she also wanted to accept Jesus into her heart as Lord and Savior. Pastor Sam had been preaching and sharing with the crowd as they were waiting to be registered and seen by the medical and spiritual team in the other two tents.  So I was blessed to lead them in a prayer to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior via Alex who translated. 
Of Course, the Lord needed no translation as he heard their hearts’ cry to become Lord and Savior of their lives.  I asked if they had a bible in their local language.  They did not.  So upon reaching the hospital, they were each given one. 

Alex and Ronald helped us get Grace into the door of the registration building at the hospital.  We were told she was to be admitted, and we needed to take her to another part of the hospital compound.  As she was being helped by the guys out of the first building, she told Alex she now could not see.  We got her settled on a bare plastic mattress hospital bed. 
At this point I knew we must take Benneth to get some provisions for Grace’s stay.  As we have mentioned before, if you are in the hospital here, the patient’s family is responsible for the patient’s food, bedding and laundry.  Before we left, I wrote a note to Grace in English in the cover of her Bible and gave it to her.  She immediately held it up toward heaven and began praising as she prayed in her native language. 
Even though I did not know the words, I knew by the Holy Spirit the authenticity of her prayer and praise.  We prayed over her once again before leaving with Benneth and her baby. 

They told us that they had traveled 5 Kilometers to get to ICC from their home.  As we traveled back through Ishaka to the North, we counted from ICC to their home and it was more like 9 kilometers.  I assume that they traveled this distance on foot. 
As Benneth retrieved what she needed from Grace’s home, another lady named Scovia came inside the small dirt floor home with her baby.  Alex asked her about her faith.  He then asked me to share Christ with her.  She too wanted to ask Jesus to be her Savior and Lord.  Then she asked about her baby.  She told us she was 3.  She looked to me to be about 9 months, but with a full mouth of teeth.  So I instructed her to come with us so Treasure could be seen.  A second lady entered the house, also named Grace.  She too was a neighbor.  Alex talked to her a bit and told me she was already a born again.  I asked if she had a Bible.  She did not and cannot read, but her children can.

When Alex told her about Grace, Benneth, and Scovia accepting Christ she said, “REALLY!”  We shared with her about the importance of discipling them as new believers.  Pastor Sam and Alex will follow up and visit this area soon.

We then left and returned to the ICC clinic. 
Jay saw Treasure, Scovia’s baby, and determined she was malnourished because she had stopped nursing at 2 months. Treasure was then given cow’s milk.  We gave her some vitamins and realized Treasure has been followed by the nutrition center in Ishaka.  

Shortly after lunch, Ronald, Alex, and I went to take Benneth, her baby, and provisions for Grace back up to the hospital.  Someone had been sweet enough to lend her some material to lay on.  She was sleeping. (I made sure I saw her breathing.)  They had started the IV medication she needed.  We checked on her again as we passed though Bushenyi on our way back to Mbarrara.  She was awake and looked better. We found out that Grace had heard about the clinic from listening the night before when Dr. Jonathon had been given an hour on a radio talk show to  share that the free medical clinic would be at the future site of the Ishaka Community Church.  She put dry cell batteries in her radio so she could listen to the radio the night before.  She was excited to meet him and he prayed over her as we left.  Another women in the bed across from Grace asked if we would pray for her before we left also.  She was in the hospital for the same reason as Grace.  Her name is Jane.


Dr.  Viola let me know, after the clinic, that she would check on Grace, and she would be her patient.  Dr. Viola will make sure she has needed supplies and transport home once her sugar levels stabilize.  She will also educate her on how to administer her insulin injections herself. 


Day 2 at Ishaka will have to be a blog on its own.  But, I must share that as I got to know Dr. Viola better, I discovered she lives in Mbarrara where we are staying.  So, at the end of clinic Friday, she accepted our invitation to ride back and stop to check on Grace on the way.  She joined us for dinner and while talking we discovered her husband is an ophthalmologist here in Uganda. Do you remember Jay's "VISION" of Mud in Your Eyes?  This fact too will have to be a blog on its own.  All I can say is God is always at work!  Such a blessing as He reveals glimpses of what He has been doing!!!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support!  To God be the Glory!!!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Oh Let Me Count the Ways!

We have just finished a great clinic day in Ishaka, in SW Uganda.  We held the clinic on a piece of land where Ishaka Community Church will be located.  They had set up 3 tents for us.  After a few hours of seeing patients, it got cloudy and started to rain.  Everyone scrambled to get out of the rain and then to keep the roofs from collapsing.  This was an adventure, but did slow our clinic flow a little bit. 


People, fairly frequently, ask me how they can specifically help Due Unto Others in the work that God is doing in Uganda.  Today, I would like to share a few of the special “That One Person” friends that we have met over the past week or so.  I will write about the others in the days to come.  See if God might speak to you about specifically helping with one of these cases.


Emmanuel is a 5 year old boy that lives in Bwambara.  He has a clouding and enlargement of his left eye.  This has been slowly growing over some time.  He can no longer see out of the eye.  It causes him some pain, but is not debilitating, at this point.  His underlying problem is likely an eye tumor. 
Pastor Elisha had met Emmanuel and his family when making some home visits in the village.  He invited the family to our clinic that we hosted there, earlier this week.  Emmanuel reminds me our little friend, Joseph of Mytianna, who passed away in 2012 after a bout with a facial rhabdomyosarcoma.  What is also uncanny, is that Emmanuel’s father reminds us of Joseph’s father Elya.  We have made arrangements for Emmanuel to travel to Rukungiri on Saturday for an initial evaluation.  He will likely then be referred to the regional hospital in Mbarrara.  If this can happen early enough on Saturday, we might be able to attend his appointment in Mbarrara.  We will be in town that day with a day “off”.  The estimated expense for Emmanuel is $500 (US dollars).


The next opportunity to change a child’s life is Pamela. 
She is 10 years old and also lives in Bwambara.  She has recently dropped out of school because she can no longer manage to walk to school and carry out her normal activities there.  We feel that this is related to her heart.  She has a loud murmur and needs to have it evaluated.  The Due Unto Others team, in association with the Rukungiri Community Church, has made arrangements for Pamela and her mother to travel to Mbarrara on next Tuesday (June 24) to have an appointment with the cardiologist, get an x-ray and an echocardiogram.  If she has a surgical problem with her heart, we will then need to bring her to Mulago Hospital, in Kampala, for a heart surgery.  The initial work up for Pamela will be about $100.  Any additional expenses will be determined by what her diagnosis is found to be.


The last “That One Person” for today is Polite. 

She is a 4 year old girl that fell into a pot of hot posho (think malt-o-meal that is really dry, bland and sticky).  She suffered a burn on her right hand and forearm, up to the elbow.  She has significant scarring of the right hand, to the point that she cannot close the hand.  We have seen tremendous progress with Kevin and Shakib when they were treated at CORSU hospital in Entebbe.  We are making arrangements for Polite and her mother to travel the 8 hours to Gabba, hopefully next week.  They will spend the night at Wentz Medical Center and then be taken for a consultation at CORSU the next day.  I suspect that she will need 2-3 operations to get the hand at least semi-functional again.  Polite was not even seen in our clinic in Bwambara.  As we were packing up to leave and meeting with the parents of Emmanuel, Jayne was playing with and loving on the local kids, outside of the church.  She noticed Polite’s hand and brought her in for us to see.  The trips from Bwambara to Entebbe will be a little costly, but our estimate for Polite’s care is around $800.


I am constantly reminded, by God, that one of the only things better than God answering your prayers is for Him to use you to answer someone else’s prayer.  If you would like to give towards one of these cases, please contact me at  Even small amounts will help us to make a difference for these kids.  Please continue to pray for each of these beautiful children by name too.  This is a great opportunity for the Body of Christ to show His love.


This past week has been quite fruitful for us finding TOPs.  I have several more to tell you about in the next couple of days.


Preparing for “Due Season”,



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Remember your testimony

What is a testimony?  The dictionary would tell us that it is “a declaration of truth or fact”.  In the church world, we might think of a testimony as a compilation of words that tells others about our faith.  It can explain why we are Christians, how we have overcome sin, and how we have been transformed by our Savior.  I think of a testimony as the story of how God has delivered us.  Those stories are varied but all exciting, in their own ways.  We might think that some people’s testimonies are “sexier” than ours, but if we have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, we have all been rescued from the same eternal death.

This week, while we were working in Rukungiri, Jamil was asked to give his testimony to the people waiting in line to be seen by the doctors.  So he bravely stood in front of probably 50 adults, loud speaker in hand and said this:


There was a pastor that got my picture and gave it to those people (pointed at us inside working). When they got those pictures and they came to work at my school, and again they take my photos.  When they took my photos, in 2012, they took me to Mulago Hospital.  They operated me, and it was clearing, but after some time came some swelling.  Again in 2013 they operated me.  They then took me to radiotherapy to treat the wound.  Again the wound becomes ok, but again the tumor is coming back.  They want to take me to America maybe again to operate me.  But I thank God, because he is a healer.  He helped me.  Now I am ok.  I thank God that now I am ok and not having any pain.  That is my testimony.  God bless you.


We talked to Jamil, later that night.  We wanted to know how Jesus fit into his testimony.  After we each shared our salvation stories, Jamil shared his.  This was not recorded, but the best we could piece together by memory.

I remember that I prayed to ask God to save me on a Saturday.  I went to church on Sunday and the pastors, they prayed with me.  They gave me some things to read, but I could not read them, so I gave them away.  Then, I had no money.  My clothes were worn.  I had no soap, so I bathed with just water.  It was soon, Pastor Kabanda came to Kamugee, I went to the church and sat in the front.  After he was done preaching, he took my photo.


As God would orchestrate it, we met Jonathan Kabanda a few weeks after he had taken the photos of Jamil in Pallisa.  It is truly amazing how God has provided for Jamil.  We know that God has a big plan, including a big testimony, for him.

With more discussion, we did find out that Jamil has never been Baptized.  So, we are planning a Baptism party in the River Nile in a couple of weeks! 


Take some time today and think about your transformation story.  Remember what God has saved you from, and tell someone about it!


Preparing for “Due Season”!



Friday, June 13, 2014

The Rapids of Life

Early last week, we had an off day in Jinja.  It was the last off day before Anna Catherine Ortego and Mason Lang headed back to the USA.  Given the opportunity, Anna Catherine and April Berry wanted to white water raft on the Nile.  We contacted one of the 2 big rafting companies in Jinja.  They had no one scheduled, and needed at least 3 people to make a tour.  So I joined the ladies for a trip down the Nile.


I have rafted in Durango and at the Royal Gorge in Colorado.  I have also rafted 3 times prior on the Nile in Uganda.  My first trip down the Nile was with the men’s group from Henderson Hills Baptist Church in January of 2011.  Since that time, two hydroelectric dams have been constructed along the Nile as it starts north out of Jinja.  This has moved the rafting course downstream a few miles.  The rafting companies come up with creative names for the different rapids.  I have been through “the smelter”, “the silverback”, “50/50”, the “Nile Special” among others.


On this most recent rafting trip, we elected to go through the level 5 rapids. 
We wore helmets and life jackets. 
As is usually done, we put in at some calm waters and took some time to do some safety training.  We learned to paddle together, how to “get down” while going through rapids, what to do if we fell out of the boat, and what to do if the boat capsized.  Then off we went for our adventure.  After a few adrenaline pumping rapids, we came to the slow part of the trip.  We were served fresh pineapple and watermelon.  I think that the freshly cut up pineapple on the Nile is the best pineapple anywhere.  Since there were only 3 of us, we could have eaten a whole pineapple each.  I think that I was the only one that came close.  We then strapped back in for the final few rapids. 


With our teamwork and the excellent steering of our guide, we had navigated through all of the level 5 rapids with nothing but sheer excitement.  As we came up to the last set of two rapids, the guide got our attention to let us know what was coming.  The first of the 2 last rapids was called “the bad place”.  It was an area where the water dropped then rolled back on itself.  If our raft got caught in the circulation of water, it would be “bad”.  There was a narrow space between the bank and “the bad place” where we were to go to avoid the trouble.  As we approached “the bad place”, we focused all of our effort on avoiding it.  We made it past “the bad place” and immediately were flowing into the second level 5 rapid, “the other place”.  As we hit “the other place”, our boat got sideways then turned up on its side and flipped over. 


As the boat flipped, I was able to remember what to do from my previous experiences.  I was able to grab onto the rope that goes around the boat’s edge.  I went into the river, but barely under the water.  As my eyes cleared, I saw April coming up, looking a little startled, and facing away from the boat.  I was able to grab her arm and bring her hand to the boat’s rope.  I was on the opposite side of the boat from Anna, but I could hear her talking, so I knew she was above the water level.  Our guide then instructed us in flipping the boat back right side up.  We did this and then helped each other back into the boat.


This reminded me of some life situations.  

1.)     We can be lulled into a sense of security while navigating the rivers of life.  When we have successes, we often take for granted that future successes will come.

2.)    We often spend too much time and energy trying to avoid “the bad place” and end up wrecking in “the other place”.  Often we spend significant time and energy trying to do what is right or good, and miss out on the “best” that God has for us.

3.)    Preparing in advance and surrounding yourself with Christian friends is mandatory for safely navigating down life’s rapids.  If the waters are rough, we have to "get down" at times.  When our boat is turned upside down, we often need a friend, who has been down this rapid before, to grab us and lead us back to the rope.


1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing”.


As we navigate the river of life, the rapids will come.  Take advantage of the calm waters to nourish yourself and prepare yourself and your “team” for the times that you fall into the river.



Sunday, June 8, 2014

Updating from our last several days.

Things are going quickly here in Uganda.  We are now just over a month away from our scheduled trip home.  I have a few things that I want to catch you up on.


On our last day in Konko, last Tuesday, we were just getting our clinic going when an older man came into the clinic.  As he was starting to check in, he passed out.  His family caught him as he started to have a little shaking.  Bystanders were quick to offer their mats and pieces of clothing to make a spot for him to lay down on the dirt floor of the little church. 
We noted that his blood pressure and pulse were low.  After we got him stabilized, we moved him to a house, next door, to continue his treatment.  April went with him to give him some IV fluids, while Jayne and Jake went to support in any way needed. 
Jake was even able to improvise an IV pole out of para-cord hanging from the rafters. 
While April came back to help in the clinic, Jake and Jayne were able to talk with William and get to know him.  William staggered and fell into our clinic, but walked away.


On the following day, we went to Lubbe.  This is a village outside of one of the Watoto children’s villages.  We were invited by our friend, from Ardmore, Lianna Schultz.  She has worked a lot at the Watoto farm in Lubbe and has gotten to know the people there.  We occupied a small clinic building and saw 200+ patients.


The next two days (Thursday and Friday) were spent in Buddo.  This is the home of Jonathan Kabanda, an evangelist friend of ours from years past.  Jonathan has traveled with us at times and actually introduced us to Jamil.  We hosted our clinic in Buddo Community Bible Church. 
This clinic, more than most of the others this year, presented us with really sick patients.  We identified a 14 year old boy that likely has hemophilia.  He was sent for blood testing and is now getting arranged with a hematology appointment.  He is a muslim, so we are praying for his heart and his blood clotting.  Showing God’s love to him is our first step.  We also met two small children with malnutrition and subsequent illness.  We wanted to take them to Mulago immediately, but due to the inability to arrange a receiving doctor, we had to delay until early this week.  Dr. Raphael will be helping to make that connection for us.  We met a lady with a large thyroid goiter and helped to get her pointed in the right direction for care.  The second day we were in Buddo, we saw multiple kids with developmental delay or mental retardation due to febrile illnesses in the past.  Most of them could not walk or talk and required constant care.  We did our best to maintain their current health and to explain their likely chronic disability.  Unfortunately, there is not much that we can do to change their long term reality. 


At lunch of the first day in Buddo, we got to meet the cook.  It was LOVINSA! 
Lovinsa was a worship leader in Buddo Community Bible Church when we met her last May.  She had a chronic, growing mass on her neck.  This was causing her great pain and affecting her ability to sing.  Due Unto Others donors helped Lovinsa to get a surgery that has completely healed her!  She was very thankful and is back to leading worship at the church.  People that helped support Lovinsa in prayer and by giving towards her care, I accepted a hug for your on Earth, but I am sure she will be looking you up in heaven!


We have spent the weekend working in Uganda and back to the US on trying to get things in order for Jamil to return with us for medical treatment.  We have a meeting on Monday morning with an attorney in Uganda that has experience with legal guardianship in urgent medical cases.


Please continue to lift our team in prayer as we prepare for Due Season!  Galatians 6:9



Friday, June 6, 2014

Offended by God

I blog today from the “Ministry Machine”.  I have to admit to you that I am struggling today.  I have spent the last 8 hours dealing with an unanswered prayer.  I am struggling to keep from being “offended by God”. 


I know people that are diligent and faithful in their walk with Christ and in their prayer life.  They might be some of the first people that I would call if I had an urgent prayer request.  Some of them have even seen great answers to their prayers while interceding for others.  Yet all the while, they see no results to prayers lifted for a loved one that is ill, their spouse that is not a believer, or their business that is struggling.  Sometimes I wonder how those people can continue on. 


Some of you may know, we got CT scan results back today on one of our special friends, Jamil. 

We met him over 2 years ago when he had a very large eye tumor.  Due Unto Others donors sponsored him to have an operation to remove the tumor.  As he went for his 1 year follow up in 2013, it was found that his tumor was back and starting to creep along the optic nerve in the optic canal (channel in the bone that allows the nerve to the eye exit the skull).  He again had an operation to remove all that could be removed and then radiation treatments to attempt to reach where the scalpel could not.  He was scheduled to have treatment for 6 weeks, but it took 10 weeks because the machine intermittently was working.


When we caught up with Jamil this year, he was growing, doing well in school and looked so much better.  We ordered and paid for a new CT scan to make sure that the tumor was gone and not returning.  We found out today that there still is evidence of residual tumor with bone involvement.  There is no evidence that the tumor extends to the brain.  When I read the scans and reports this am, my heart grew heavy.  We have grown to love Jamil and we have been praying that God would heal him from this tumor.  Jamil told us last week that he wanted to be a doctor and we were encouraging him to continue to excel in his school work so that he could get into the medical school in Uganda.


Despite all of our prayers, all the time Jamil has spent in Mulago hospital, all of the money donated and earmarked for Jamil, his tumor remains.  We have seen miracles in Uganda.  We have seen needless death in Uganda.  We sure thought this would be the former.  I am not sure what God’s plan is, but it is painful today

I have mentioned before that I am reading a book called the Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.  There is a paragraph on page 90 that I keep going back to.

Jesus is doing miracles right and left.  He is healing diseases, driving out demons, and restoring sight to the blind, but John the Baptist misses the miracle train.  It seems like Jesus is rescuing everyone but his most faithful follower, who is in prison.   And John is his cousin, nonetheless.  It seems that Jesus could have and maybe should have, organized a rescue operation and busted him out before he was beheaded.  Instead He sends a message via John’s disciples.  He tells them to tell John about all of the miracles that he is doing and then he asks them to relay this promise: “Blessed is the one that is not offended by me.”


That speaks right to the point.  When I went back to look at this paragraph tonight. I noticed that I had written “It is well” in the book below this. 

Job 1:21 says: “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord!


Jill and I have been feeling lead that if Jamil’s tumor returned again, we should determine if there was any way to bring Jamil home to Oklahoma with us to seek out a higher level of treatment.  Even though we have hosted a busy clinic today, in Buddo,

we have started to make some phone calls and arrangements.  We have to have a Senior Doctor here write a letter that says that leaving the country is needed (appointment on Saturday).  We have to have a receiving specialist (probably ENT or Ophthalmology) that will write a letter agreeing to take over Jamil’s care in the US.  Then we have to figure out the matter of custody.  Jamil is an orphan, and we have built a trusting relationship with his Uncle Joseph and his grandparents.  These 3 are primary guardians now.  I think that they would sign anything that needed to be signed.  For us to have custody and sign consent for procedures in the US, we may have to have other USA legal work done.  Another option is for a male health worker from Uganda to travel with us to be his custodian. 


The next hurdle will be financial.  There will likely be a CT or MRI, another surgery, and follow up radiation or chemo.  This would be quite costly in the US.  So I am prayerful that God will lead us down a path to find people and facilities willing to donate the services needed.


I don’t want this scenario to turn into an effort to get Jamil to the USA.  I am interested in Jamil’s healing.  So I pray that God will open the right doors in the right direction for healing to occur.  I choose to not be offended by God.  I will trust in His plan and I know that His plan will ultimately be to His glory.  If you would, please join me in prayer that Jamil is healed and that God receives the glory.


Preparing for Due Season – Galatians 6:9




PS:  Jamil is staying with us for a few days, so he went with us to the airport tonight.  We were taking Mason Lang and Anna Catherine Ortego to fly back to the US.  This was Jamil’s first trip to Entebbe or to see an airplane on the ground.  He sat by me at dinner and among other questions, I asked him when his birthday was.  It broke my heart as he said that he did not know.  I asked if he knew which month he had been born in.  Again he did not know.  So he says that he is 12, but when does he add a year?  Has he never had a birthday party?  I think that we should come up with a birthdate for Jamil.  I think it should soon and that we should have a big celebration with ice cream and cake!