Dear friends and family,
Much has happened the past few days! Here is a quick update of some highlights..
The Home Medical Care training ended this past Wednesday. This was a 3 day workshop where our medical team instructed other CHE (Community Health Evangelism) trainers in various parishes of the diocese, as well as members of the Mothers Union and school teachers. We taught about how to clean and dress wounds (Joyce), nutrition/malnutrition treatment and poisonings/bites (Lynda), first response and choking (Sarah), and how to care for someone who is ill without medications, how to treat with basic medications, and when to refer to clinic (me) – and more importantly we them how to teach OTHER people these skills and to make an action plan to do it soon!
This was dramatically different than our previous visit to Pader 3 years ago, when we ran village clinics. We worked hard last time with our clinics, and of course we were well received as we brought medications and free gifts. But we also knew that we were only “patching” a bigger problem. We sensed the Lord was leading us to a different direction and approach this time around. This visit, our goal was NOT to provide treatment or run clinics, but to empower them to teach each other basic health care. This included teaching some skills and new approaches to treatment that were foreign to them. One important teaching point from us included NOT to self-medicate or to take pills unnecessarily or when you are not sure if it is required, especially when it is on your own and not physician-directed (you can buy prescription meds over the counter in Pader, and many just buy tabs without seeing the doctor or getting any proper education about them). Our approach differed greatly from previous teachings of theirs, which suggested a more “liberal” approach to taking “tabs” or medications on their own when they are sick.
At the end of the first day of the Medical Care training, I was initially discouraged as many participants of the workshop were concerned how what we were teaching them conflicted with what they were currently practicing. In a way, I thought “who was I that they would listen to what I had to teach them?”. Two Reverends who attended the workshop actually sat down beside me during dinner and they told me how can they present this new information effectively into the community. We shared and we prayed and I came to the revelation that both of us were on the same side, and that this was not that dissimilar to sharing the truth of the gospel to those who believe differently. If we believe this approach to medical treatment is better, we should not be afraid to share it, and the Lord will help us! We prayed for unity, and what I witnessed during the next two days of the workshop was just that! Both Reverends led devotions the next couple of days before the start of workshop which perfectly complemented what we were teaching and promoting. And also, I saw how each participant in the group were committed and focused on how to teach others this info to their community, and the workshop ended with such a high note. I saw how the Lord united His people, Praise the Lord for this!!
Our medical team will be helping to run an HIV workshop focused on grief counseling/listening in the next few days – pray for the effectiveness of this on the community and His continued guidance.
Curtis has been actively involved with his soccer ministry running camps with Francis, and many have come to the Lord! He looks forward to this upcoming Wednesday where 4 teams will gather for a friendly tournament. Each team will be given a handful of Luo Bibles for follow-up on the Gospel message and testimony that he gave during the clinics. Sarah will also be sharing some scriptures on this day and it is almost certain to be heard by hundreds of spectators and participants so please keep her and the team in your prayers on that day (Sept 11th)
Among other activities, we have also been visiting local villages (Pagor and Labongo) to encourage with scripture verses, singing, and praying with them. We also had a Jesus film night at the EI compound and 12 people accepted Christ that night!
We have all been taking turns stepping out of our comfort zones and leaping into unknown territory in various ministry opportunities and it is inspiring to see what the Lord is doing in each of the team members as well as those on the receiving end.
We love you all and long to share each of these incredible stories and testimonies of Gods amazing works with you in person in just over a week!
- Ken (On behalf of the team)