My First Few Weeks
June 19, 2011
It is just after noon on Sunday, I am sitting in a small courtyard beside my cottage overlooking the Zambezi River below. Chitokoloki Mission Hospital is built on a high embankment on the eastern side of the river. Looking westward I see the Zambezi River and beyond a line of trees that stretches all the way toward Angola (30 miles beyond). I hear the wind rustling in the tops of the trees all around me and bees flying above beautiful red and pink and yellow flowers. Ants scurry at my feet and I can hear children playing in their homes in a nearby village. I can smell the smoke from a fire in the distance. It is a beautiful and serene scene.
It has been a very busy week at the hospital. We not only take care of surgical patients but medical, pediatric and obstetrical patients. Dr. David is the only full-time physician here but is assisted by very capable nurse practitioners as well as various visitors that come to help. So I see the usual surgical patients—patients with huge thyroid glands that need surgery, burns, snakebites, hernias and infections, to mention a few. But we also take care of meningitis, malnutrition, diabetes, malaria, typhoid and the like. I saw my first patient with leprosy earlier in the week. The hospital has 100 beds and most of the time all the beds are occupied, with many additional patients being cared for on mattresses on the floor! There is no electricity in the area so all of our power comes from generators or solar power.
We are very busy during the day, but because of the remote location (miles from the nearest roads) patients cannot travel at night. That means we can usually sleep at night!
I have so enjoyed the community of believers here—the full-time missionaries that have made me feel so welcome. Many have been here at Chitokoloki for 20 or more years. They are a group of dedicated, faithful, godly men and women who live out what it means to live in unity and community. They have very intentional, regular times of fellowship, devotions and prayer. They have been so kind in welcoming to me into their community.
One thing that makes this hospital very special is that a group of people donated an airplane to the ministry. They built an airstrip right beside the hospital. Because the roads are nearly impassable during the rainy season, it would be impossible for patients to come to the hospital. But with the airplane, sick patients can quickly be transported here. What a blessing it is to have the little Cessna 206!
Overall, I have had a great first few weeks here in Zambia. I have been able to work alongside a team of wonderful brothers and sisters to touch and help and minister to many people. I look forward to the next 3 weeks of doing the same.
I’ll close with the scripture from our church service this morning:
Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose confidence (hope) is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green. It has no worries in the year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8
For all the fathers, Happy Father’s Day! And to my 5 incredible children, you are the BEST gift this father could ever be given.
Thanks for your prayers.
Blessings from Zambia,