Hi everyone, hope all is well at OSLC. We had a great day, although long. We traveled from Karen to Luanda, Nairobi and staying overnight before we go out and evaluate the clinic site for tomorrow as well as do some evangelizing in the local neighborhood. We traveled on a bus today for 9 hours. The actual trip was only suppose to take 6 hours, but because of some issues on the short route we traveled an alternate route for safety. The trip was great. The typography here is absolutely beautiful. Saw lots of wild zebras along the way. Went through tea country and went over the equator. Shara and Jacob our coordinators are wonderful. We feel very safe. Everyone so far is healthy. Accommodations and meals are very good. Had orientation tonight and devotions centered on the beginning and end of Matthew - that Jesus is with us and we are not alone to go out and give all the good news. On another note, we must our own toilet paper while on the road. I sold everyone a square for 10 shillings a piece. It's been a great day! We miss you all and thank you for all your prayers. Keep them coming. God is with us.
The small group I am in has been studying Romans 12, I have been particularly mindful of Romans 12.3 -being mindful of recognizing who I am as a unique person- in relation to the whole community working together changing each others hearts as well as the hearts of those we think we are serving . And today -while on this long ride seeing new sights and so many people of the side of the road, selling goods and being in their community - I found myself in a thoughtful retreat mode wondering how we will put into perspective our mercy medical team work as part of Romans 12 calling all Christians to be in community. Read Romans 12 and Agape to all
The journey thus far has challenged us with the inconveniences that we expect as Westerners traveling to a developing country, but the startling beauty of landscapes and people continuously breaks through and reminds us of the glorious work of God's hand. First, on the flight to Amsterdam, we witnessed the sunrise at 40 thousand feet; the sky seemed lacquered in rose gold. This preceded a view of the Sahara, stretched out beneath us for hours like a sheet of weathered parchment. Then, the long drive today granted us a panorama of lush and varied countryside, with tea plantations yielding to savannahs and mountains, all exquisite illustrations of God's artistry. The realization that we all share the same Gospel in the midst of such diversity, brought tears to my eyes.
We are serving in Luanda, a rural town about an hour outside of Kisumu, and here we will set up our clinic on Tuesday. Access to healthcare in this region is poor, with most facilities charging fees that locals cannot pay. Patients do not seek care until the advanced stages of illness. Additionally, manpower is insufficient; a missionary today lamented to me that most doctors who train in Kenya leave to practice in the West, for better compensation. The need for healthcare is huge; the LCMS staff anticipate 2-3,000 patients attending our clinic over the course of five days.
Most importantly, the clinic serves as a forum for evangelism. ELCK (the Lutheran church in Kenya) missionaries have conversations with every patient as they wait to be seen by a practitioner. We heard many stories today of patients who sought out the local church after attending clinic. Additionally, LCMS partners very closely with the *local* church and healthcare resources; our role is to build up the church and community here, not to provide an isolated one-time service upon which people become dependent.
Thank you all for your prayers and support. Your outpouring of love has both overwhelmed and sustained us during these first days. Please continue to pray for peace and stamina for us, and for open hearts and minds among our patients. Please pray that we may serve God with justice and compassion. Family and friends, we miss you, love you, and are grateful for the courage and inspiration your love breathes into us.