Dearest Supporters, 30 September, 2011
If you have kicked the top off an anthill and watched its inhabitants scurry you have a picture of TCC this month. Presenting at the clinic have been three adolescents with severe measles infection, rarely seen in the US due to widespread immunizations. All three were in danger of blindness caused by this virus, were treated with IVs at our clinic, and two were then hospitalized. Several mumps cases have also appeared and patients with typhoid fever are arriving daily; the latter infection has escalated in this drought as many people drink from the only water source they can find—filthy water holes contaminated by animals. All these debilitating diseases lead us to give thanks afresh for good immunization programs in the US and to determine to offer these as a community service in Africa.
Speaking of those programs, we are thankful to report that the TZ government has now located one of their Reproductive Child Health RNs with TCC, including immunization materials and a gas-powered refrigerator. Enjoying “Sabina’s” expertise, we are thankful for her help in triaging the increased patient load we have seen lately. Also, we appreciate so much Stephanie Stafford, a precious American Christian RN who volunteers at TCC at least two days a week and often more. Stephanie and her husband Cy have been in African missions for 12 years. Heartily we also thank Daniel Nicholas, a Harding Physician’s Assistant senior student who worked at TCC for six weeks completing a school rotation.
However, as you know, the reason for medical missions is not only to provide physical help for people but also to share the hope Jesus offers. At Maasai bomas Bible studies continue weekly and another young woman named “Dada” (sister) this month committed to Jesus and was baptized. Married to an older Maasai man who went blind three years ago, she guides her husband by the hand as they faithfully trek a long distance each week to attend church at the new Monduli Juu congregation. Leading prayer at our Bible studies at his home, that same man declared several weeks ago, “I love God but do not know how to go.” Although he cannot see physically, he seems to be observing more and more with his heart and we hope will soon submit his life to Jesus. And, speaking of the Monduli Juu church, 63 were present at the last service we attended, with Maasai and Swahili songs resounding. For Bible class Danny has been showing a professionally acted video in Swahili about Jesus’ life; mouths of adults and children in the audience are literally hanging open in fascination as they watch and listen.
Though people coming to Jesus brings us such joy, heartbreak is all around us. While preparing to baptize Dada we set up the portable baptistery beside a small watering hole and observed many animals drinking there. A mother and son had just arrived with their buckets from a long journey. Yet, gut wrenching was watching that mother’s thirsty son drop to his knees in the mud and begin lapping up that filthy water. Is it small wonder that diarrhea steals the lives of so many in the developing world?
So, in closing, a special thanks goes to all who have written, prayed, and given so generously in the last few months. Due to the severe drought we have now spent just under $1,000 on water for the clinic, residence, and guest house since June! Yet, God is still at work, giving the Water of Life to East Africa.
Honored to be a tiny part of that,
Danny and Nancy Smelser