Saturday, September 24, 2011

Seeing Sudan

Seeing a child leading adults who can't navigate on their own due to blindness just breaks my heart.  

But that was countered by a vist to one of our cataract patients after his surgery.  How exciting to see him take out his Bible after getting home!  And a special bonus was that his Bible came from the Bible distribution I was involved with in 2008.
Girls will be girls and I will have to say that I always enjoy a little shopping, whether it's in a modern mall in Nairobi or in rural South Sudan.  Unfortunately, I didn't see anything that caught my eye and I came home with all my Sudanese pounds unspent.  

My friend, Heather, who is working at Tenwek was able to join me and experience a little of South Sudan, including teaching under a mango tree.  David (to her right) is a pastor and is helping her with translation.  He and 6 others are on their way to northern Uganda, even now, to attend a training facilitated by WGM Uganda on Community Health Evangelism.

Judah, another pastor from Tonj (assisting a cataract surgery patient below) is attending the training as well.  Please pray for our new staff, Adhanom, and 3 men from Tonj, including David and Judah, and 3 from Lui who will be introduced to many new ideas this next week.  Pray that they will return home transormed and that the new and exciting ideas they are exposed to will spill over into the lives of others within their circles of influence.

Here's an exciting testimony from the cataract clinic. The man below was a soldier during the war.  He had an accident when his gun exploded and he lost his right eye.  That accident also left him with a traumatic cataract in his left eye.  There was a chance that surgery could leave him with less sight than he had and the doctor originally refused to operate.  This man was persistent and pleaded with the doctor to do the surgery.  He had never clearly seen his child.  The doctor did the surgery which was successful and this man could now see out of his one eye.  During this process he was very open in discussing the animistic beliefs he held and eventually prayed to give his life to the Lord.  Not only that but he asked the doctor who did the surgery to cut off the charm that was around his child's neck.  

This young woman (below) had cataracts at an early age and had never seen her young baby.  The Tenwek staff were so anxious for her to be able to see again, as they could imagine what it was like to have young children and not "see" them.  Everyone was happy the day this woman's bandages came off.  She was not an emotional woman but you can see the relief in her smile as she easily passed the visual acuity test!
To see how some of our patients expressed their excitement after being given their sight watch here!

How is God working in your life?  Do you sense a call to South Sudan and Mango Ministries?  Maybe God is calling you to join a team involved in transformational development?  Or to volunteer for a short term medical assignment at a mission hospital.  There is an pressing need for short term medical doctors and surgeons at Memorial Christian Hospital.  Interested?  Let me know. . .  I'd love to chat.



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Seeing Eyes . . . .

In three and a half operating days 137 cataract surgeries have been completed here in Tonj where Mango Ministries is partnering with In Deed and Truth Ministries. 

“I can see your teeth.”  These were the first words out of our first cataract patient when the bandages were removed the day after surgry. 

We’ve had an incredible time here in Tonj since arriving mid-day last Saturday.  In this blog post I’ll walk you through what's been going on. 

Planning for this one week cataract clinic started in April with the logistics of getting here – a half day of flying.  And the staff of In Deed and Truth started looking for cataract patients.  Dr. Tom (kneeling) and Dennis (in black) found many patients to refer to us this week.  Also pictured are Dr. Dan Gradin (left), Richard Tonui, and Dr. Ben Roberts (on right). 

On arrival Saturday we were greeted by our friends Suzy and Sabet Kuj and were wisked off to the government hospital which has some unused rooms they have allowed us to use for this clinic. 

We brought about 750 pounds of equipment from Tenwek including 2 operating microscopes (being assembles above), lots of eye drops, drapes and even the operating tables. 

Registration of patients came next.  Besides the clinic referrals the news of our coming had gone out on the local radio so we have seen an incredible turnout.  That and the fact that no one can remember eye care ever being offered in Tonj before. 

Next the staff examine each patient to see if they are a surgical canditate.  

Wilson (pictured below) checks each patient’s eyes to ensure that the right lens is inserted after the cataract is removed. 

Scrub sinks are improvised.

Instruments are boiled in between cases to sterilize them and Richard has been running between the gas jiko and the operating room where he circulates.

I have beem doing odd jobs trying to keep things moving.  Here I’m folding drapes to prepare for sterilizing. 

It is rainy season in South Sudan which is great as it’s been relatively cool with daytime highs about 85 degrees F.  But that blessing is countered by the difficulty in drying the drapes to keep ahead of the busy surgeons!

Patients receive a local anesthetic block and are then taken to the operating room.

With a patch over their eye each patient is led to the ward where they rest until morning.

Eash evening the wards are bursting at the seams, 43 patients were operated on one day. 

The local staff  have helped immensely with translation, washing operating drapes, running between the clinic and hospital to bring forgotten items, and cooking delicious meals for us.  The South Sudanese pastors who are studying at the pastoral training school here at In Deed and Truth are sharing Bible stories, doing one-on-one counseling, and praying with patients and family members all day long. 

I’ll share some of the patient’s stories in my next blog as well as some “day after surgery” pictures when physical sight is restored.  

A HUGE thank you  to those who are praying and those who have given to make this cataract clinic possible. It's still not too late to give a gift of sight to one Sudanese.  A gift of $150 ensures one South Sudanese receives sight giving surgery and hears about God's love through Jesus Christ.   God is definitely at work!