Saturday, May 25, 2019

Heart surgery on my heart???

As the sun comes up over the mountains of western Uganda, I sit on the porch with a French press of Eote coffee enjoying my last Saturday in one of my favorite places.  We have an off day today, but my “inner Due” alarm clock went off early this morning.  My mind started thinking about the mechanics and logistics of the coming week.  When I last blogged, we had completed 2 out of our 6 clinics and we had 24 patients scheduled for eye operations.

On Monday and Tuesday, we had relatively light volume clinics in Ishaka and Sanga.  Between these two clinics we saw about 375 patients and signed up 14 people for eye surgery. The Due Unto Others team has been to Ishaka several times in the past.  
Jayne and our Ishaka TOP Crispus.

We have come to love their church and feel that we are a part of it.  Due Unto was there in 2014, the days before they launched the church in a tent.  Now they are about to celebrate their 5th birthday!  We had never been to Sanga before. Sanga Community Church is a plant from Rushere Community Church.  We had a wonderful time and enjoyed meeting the pastor and members of the community.  Despite having only myself and one other doctor, we were able to see 225 patients.  

On Thursday, we went to a community not far from Mbarara called Ruti.  When we pulled up, we were greeted by overwhelming numbers of people.  

Despite the rain that fell for much of the morning, people stayed around all day.  We were not able to see everyone, but we did see 325 patients and signed up 41 people for surgery from this location.  In addition, through the spiritual care part of the clinic, 28 people gave their lives to Christ.  We exhausted most of our supply of reading glasses and had to call back to Kampala to get more glasses purchased and sent out with Jamil.  Ruti is a church plant from Pastor Johnson’s church that we worked with in Kabale back in December of 2015.

On Friday, we went to Itara.  This is a lovely village up in the banana trees west of Mbarara that we had visited 2 times in the past.  

Jamil joined us Thursday night.

The location is quite rural, so I was not sure if we would have a full day of patients.  The church and Pastor Joseph did a great job of getting the word out.  

We were able to see 300 patients and sign up another 31 patients for eye surgeries.  Through the spiritual care clinic, another 29 patients professed faith in Jesus!  What a day.  As we drove back down the dirt roads between the banana trees, we were already trying to think through the logistics of transporting, feeding, treating, and arranging follow up for the 110 patients that we have found that need eye surgery. 

So this recap gets you caught up on our week and gives you some insight into why I woke up at 5:00 am this am doing math/planning.  We will be receiving about 70 of these patients on Sunday and the Ruti group on either Tuesday or Wednesday am.  As some of you know, we leased a small bus on this trip instead of just using our old Toyota van.  We are going to be able to transport more than half of our 110 surgical patients to the hospital with our leased bus, rather than having to send them on a taxi.  This will help us offset some of the bus expense.  It should also make the trip more comfortable for our Due Unto patients.  Today, Saturday, we will be taking our friend Berna to the market in Mbarara to buy supplies to feed this large group of people lunch and dinner for the time that they are in the hospital.  Berna and her team from Divine Harvesters Church, have been gracious to help us with this task each time that we have hosted an eye surgery camp in Mbarara.

Needless to say, as we work through some of these logistics, eye surgeries are on my mind, but at the same time Heart surgeries are on my heart?  I agree, this is a strange phrase and title of a blog, but let me explain.  There are two different children that we know in western Uganda that need open heart surgery. 

The first is a young girl named Precious.  We met Precious in Ishaka back in 2017.  We noticed her because of the loud murmur that she had on exam. Over the past 2 years, Precious has undergone echocardiogram and evaluation by the heart surgeons at Mulago Hospital in Kampala.  They feel that she is now big enough that she can undergo a repair for her Ventricular Septal Defect (hole in the heart between the ventricles).  A VSD allows blood to flow the wrong way as it pumps.  This is inefficient and is not something that can be sustained as Precious gets older.  Even though Mulago is a government hospital, the open heart surgery, for Precious, will cost 18 million shillings.  At the current conversion, that is $5,000 US dollars.  This is obviously a lot of money, but it is also life or death for this young girl.  Over the past year, both of my grandmothers, Jo Gregston & Toady Due, have passed away.  As part of their obituaries, the families requested that in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to Due Unto Others.  If you  gave in memory of either of them, your donated funds will go directly to the surgery for Precious.  I feel that this is the best way to continue their memory in the heart of a 3 year old girl.  This will still leave us about $2,500 short.  If you would like to donate towards this specific need, please let me know.  The doctors are now just waiting on the green light of available funds.

The second child that has “heart surgery on my heart” is Dickson.  Dickson is a 15 year old boy in Rukungiri Uganda.  One of our friends and medical partners, Dr Jonathan Kintu, brought this need to my attention.  Dickson is in need of a heart valve replacement due to complications of rheumatic heart disease.  After having rheumatic fever, Dickson has growths on his Mitral and Aortic valves and these valves need to be repaired or replaced. Dickson has suffered slowed growth, exercise intolerance and shortness of breath due to this condition.  Dickson has been seen and evaluated at the Uganda Heart Institute and has been booked for heart surgery in November.  This will only be carried out if he has the funds to cover the cost of the surgery.  This surgery is slightly more than the one for Precious at $5,880. Again, this is a big number, but if we work together, just think of what God could Due for this boy, through us.  I have said it before, the only thing better than God answering your prayers is for God to use you to be an answer to someone else’s prayer. They have been earnestly praying for God to provide funding for the surgery. The following is a letter that was put out by the Dickson's church.  I can't imagine being in the father's position.


If God has blessed you in a way that allows you to give towards these two critically needed heart surgeries, please email me.

You can give by check or paypal. 

Due Unto Others

C/O Jay Gregston

5900 Mosteller Dr #122

Oklahoma City, OK 73112

Please pray for efficiency and miracles at the eye hospital this week.  We have these 110 patients scheduled and we are supposed to fly out on Thursday evening.  We will likely have to lean more heavily on our Ugandan team to finish the project here on Thursday and Friday.  

What ever you Due!


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Up and Running in Uganda!

We are off and running with our eye clinics in Uganda.  

Our team arrived in Uganda at 4:00 am on Monday morning.  We slept a while and then went to Wentz Medical Center to start packing our trunks and ordering our medications for our 6 eye clinics.  We spent Tuesday visiting some friends in the Kampala area. You might remember Nakiganda and Tendo.  They were some of our “that one person” (TOP) friends that Due Unto Others supporters helped to get medical care in 2012.  Tendo is now about to turn 13, is in 6th grade, and is doing well in school and physically.  Tendo came with us for the day and told Jayne that she was “more active before”.

Nakiganda, now 14, seems to be doing well.  She has grown and seems to understand and communicate much better than she did in the past.  She is in top class, which is like pre-k in the US.


We also got to spend a couple of evenings with Jamil.  Jamil is busy preparing for his primary school leaving exams. He will get to join us for more time in the latter part of our trip. 

The bus was loaded and the Due Unto Others team of 2019 headed out to Mbarara on Wednesday to start our clinics.

On Thursday and Friday we hosted eye clinics in Rushere.  We had been to Rushere in 2012 and 2013, but we have not been back since that time.   On our initial trip to Rushere, the church was just a frame in the middle of an open field and was partially roofed.  We stayed in guest rooms around a bar and we took care of a boy named David.  On our second trip to Rushere, the church was completed, and we were introduced to Kevin, a boy with severe burns.  On that trip, we stayed in a guest house near the hospital.  This guest house was at the top of a hill and with the relative lack of lights, we saw some of the most spectacular stars.

Now, in 2019, the church building has doubled in size, they have added 2 school buildings and have dug the footing of a large sanctuary that they plan to build over the next year.  It is currently a school holiday here in Uganda, but on a regular school day, the school educates more than 100 students. 

On day 1 in Rushere, we saw 150 patients for eye treatment.  Through this first Rushere clinic, we were also able to experience 12 people accept Christ and 16 patients were signed up for operations. We also gave out many pair of reading glasses, primarily to the aging patients that could no longer read or do things up close.  

The Rushere church helped us with great translators and a nurse.  On day 2 of the Rushere clinic, we saw 110 patients and added 5 salvations and 8 surgery candidates. 

In preparation for this year’s trip, we had gathered some sport coats and suits to bring with us.  I gave 3 sport coats and one suit to Pastor Herbert in Rushere.  I asked him to give them away as he deemed appropriate.  I did not realize that the 3 gentleman that had been manning our “spiritual care” clinic were local pastors.  One from the church we were working in and 2 from other nearby churches.  He gave the sport coats to them and they were giddy with excitement.  It was more than a little warm in the church as we finished the day, but they kept the coats on their body and a smile on their face.  I randomly picked out the coats and suits from our duffle bag, but they all seemed to fit perfectly.  This was one of the highlights of the day.  Many of the suits belonged to my grandfather, Jack Gregston, and this made it all the sweeter.

We have a day off on Saturday and plan to attend Ishaka Community Church on Sunday.  Ishaka will be the site of our clinic on Monday. 

Please continue to keep our team in your prayers.  We are anticipating great things in all that we DUE. 

Whatever you DUE!

1 Chorinthians 10:31


Saturday, April 27, 2019

Whatever you DUE!

As we prepare to go to Uganda next month, I have been thinking about a verse to be our theme for this trip.  I have found one that seems to resonate with our name and overarching motto.

1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you DUE, DUE it all for the glory of God”.

This verse is taken out of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth and in the preceding verses, he had given instruction on what to do with food sacrificed to idols.  He emphasizes that the Christians are free to eat anything, as long as their conscience is clear about it and it does not cause someone else to stumble. 

This verse spells out some freedoms that we have through Christ and apart from the law.  This freedom allows us to DUE many things, but it also gives us a freedom to not do certain things.  The freedom allows us to honor Christ with our lives, without worrying about laws, rituals or opinions.  Our freedom to honor God should not be based on what society and popular culture dictates.

This verse also implores us to DUE everything to God’s glory, even in the boring, everyday tasks that we do.  I have been working a lot the past several months.  I have caught myself just trying to get through this time until I am able to go to Uganda in May.  This verse clearly tells me that I should be working all of these hours to God’s glory too, not separating one part of my life from the other.  All of what I DUE should be honoring God.  Things that we would normally consider “worldly”, like jobs, hobbies, school, etc. are where we intersect with society and others that need to see Christ.

I think that it is worth reminding ourselves of this verse often and take every opportunity to DUE things to God’s glory.

As we prepare to make a trip to Uganda, May 11-30, I am hoping to collect a few items to take with us when we go.

#1) Sport coats/blazers – Many adults in rural Uganda, men and women, wear sport coats every day (or at least to medical clinics).  This could be to dress up a little or to stay warm. I thought that it would be cool to take a big supply of sport coats to leave with local pastors to pass out as they see fit.  So, if you would, look through your closet and find a sport coat that you are no longer wearing and get it to me. If the coat is part of a suit, send the pants too.  This will be such a blessing to the local church and the people in the surrounding village.

Photo credit to Jayne

#2)  Silverware/Flatware – When we go to a location to host a medical clinic, the local church or school will usually make us a delicious lunch in the middle of the day.  We sometimes eat at the location of the clinic, but more often, we will go down the road or around the corner and squeeze into someone’s home.  As the guests, they usually make us go first and allow us to use the silverware.  Many times, by the time the end of the line is complete, people are required to eat with their fingers because the silverware is all used.  We have taken some plasticware in the past, and allowed people to use this for their meals.  Last time we were in Uganda, we had the idea of bringing a big supply of silverware with us.  We could allow the hosts preparing our meal to use the silverware and then leave it with them as a thank you.  To that end, if you have any silverware that is in storage or not being used, or if you want to buy some and send it, let me know.

If you would like to donate a sport coat, silverware, soccer balls or kids shoes please get them to one of these locations:

1.)    Urgent Med – 2004 N Highway 81 in Duncan

2.)    Impact580 Church – 58 N. 12th st in Duncan

3.)    Due Unto Others – 5900 Mosteller Dr #122 Oklahoma City , OK 73112

Our trip, this year, will be centered around hosting eye clinics and then helping the identified people get eye surgery.  The surgeries will be mainly to resolve cataracts and each of these surgeries costs about $55.  So if you would like to give towards these life changing operations, please send a check to the Due Unto Others address above or you can give via paypal at

We covet your prayers as we look forward to our May 2019 trip.

Whatever you DUE!


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

We Lost a Good One Today

When my grandfather, Elmer Due (Grampus) died in the spring of 1987, I was 16 years old, and probably not the most observant person in town.  At that time, if you had asked me if my Granny was a “strong” person, I probably would have said no.  I would have seen her as caring, loving, kind, but dependent on my grandfather.  My Grampus passed away, unexpectedly, one day while the rest of us carried on our normal routines.  I got out of school, and because baseball season was over, I went to my part time job at the trophy shop.  When I got off of work at 5:00, I went back to the high school to lift weights.  In the days before cell phones, I finished my workout and headed home, which was east of Duncan, on Tucker road.  When I got home, there was no one there and a note on the bar.  “Come to the hospital……..GRAMPUS!”  My Grampus had survived a bypass surgery, the year prior, that we were concerned that he might not make it through, so I was thinking he might be having heart trouble.  I raced to Duncan Regional Hospital and asked the kind lady at the desk where I could find the room for Elmer Due.  She told me to find my family.  When I told her that my family told me to come here, she kindly broke her rules and informed me that my Grampus had “expired”.  I headed, with tears in my eyes (much like currently) to my grandparents’ house on Drexal.  There were many people there, including my parents, but as I walked in, I only noticed one person. My eyes met with Granny’s and she met me in the middle of their living room in a long compassionate hug.  Her words to me, “We lost a good one today”.  That was a moment I should have noticed her strength.  She was the one providing comfort.

Over the next few weeks and months, I am sure that Granny didn’t feel strong, as she was trying to figure out life without her husband.  I am sure there were times of crying, sobbing, and self-pity.  But I know that there were times of singing, praising and praying.  In a moment in her life when many of us would have hit back at God, hit the trail, hit the bottle, hit the prescription medications, or hit the fetal position, Granny hit her knees.  Looking back, that should have been the biggest evidence of her strength.  She had the wisdom to know where to get her strength.  My mom found a poem this week, while going through my Granny’s things.

The Lord My Source

He is my Savior, Comforter, and Friend

He gives me the courage to start life again.

He’s ever beside me, through the lonely nights and days,

He guides every footstep and shows me the way.

(Written after my husband died – Toady Due) 5/14/87

Over the next 10 years, I got married, attended college, graduated medical school and had a child. 

 Most of that time, I was busy with those things and didn’t check on my Granny as much as I should have.  Meanwhile, she was mowing the yard, providing loving child care for a great granddaughter, keeping a garden, balancing a check book, cooking for one and serving at her church.  Oh yeah, and one other thing, she was praying for me.  Yes, for me specifically, but not only me.  She had a list of everyone in the family and she would spend hours praying for each person individually and specifically.  I am pretty sure that her prayers had a lot to do with the list of things that I took on from age 16-26.  Her strength is obvious in this list.  I am sure that she had help from people at her church.  I know that she had help from my parents, Aunt Marsha and Uncle Joe Sam.  But probably more than the help she got from them, she gave out to others.  She was forever taking friends to doctor’s appointments, volunteering at the hospital and cooking lunch for grand kids and their friends every week.

Over the last couple of years, Granny had to move from her home on Drexal, where she had been for 30 years, by herself.  Initially to an assisted living and then to a nursing home.  As we would visit Granny, she would sometimes come back to the same conversations.  One of the things that she would usually say, at least once every time we visited, was how blessed she was. Granny would talk about how she had so many family and friends that loved her.  In fact, when I visited Granny in mid-February, her mind was starting to fade but we still had this conversation. Granny was easy to love.

Since my visit with her in February, she had a significant drop off in her physical status and her mentation.  She started to have trouble swallowing and had a fall, resulting in an ER visit and staples.  Our family had to make some difficult decisions, but Granny was placed on Hospice last Saturday.  My mom and I have discussed verses that might be used in her memorial service.  I thought of a couple, and I am sure that if you knew her, either as Toady or Granny, you could come up with some too.

John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

According to this, Granny was easy to spot as a disciple.  She had pretty much mastered the "love one another" thing.

Phillipians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Pray without ceasing was pretty much her specialty.

It’s 5:00am on April 3, 2019.  I am working a night shift in the ER currently.  I got the phone call at 2:43am from my mom telling me that Granny had died.  Fewer than 4 days after we put her on Hospice, her strength left her earthly body and she went to heaven.  I don’t think my heart could handle witnessing the sweet reunions there today. Flora/Toady/Granny Due was one of the strongest, most loving and gracious women that I will ever know. I already regret not learning more from her but feeling blessed that I knew her for 48 years.  “We lost a good one today”.