Celebrating Victor’s Life

The brethren here in our local fellowships have pulled together in an amazing way over these past few days to honor the life of our brother, Victor, who recently passed away after a long battle with cancer. We are more than thankful for the saints from afar whose financial gifts have made all of these arrangements easier, removing a large burden from both Victor’s family and the church at this time.

The burial took place yesterday (Wednesday, the 18th of May) at the home of one of Victor’s relatives. Our church’s wazee and deacons faithfully managed all the details, from food for the mourners, to transport for various brethren, to tents, chairs, PA system. Many of our church’s ladies volunteered their time from Tuesday onward, to prepare the massive amounts of food that would be served after the burial.

Here are some photos from the day’s activities:

Victor suffered for about six years from cancer. Neither his family nor various government agencies could help him, but our local chief asked Kingdom Driven Ministries  for help about two years ago. Because of our involvement in his care, Victor heard the message of the Gospel, repented of his sins, and was baptized into Christ. Eventually we helped Victor find a new home, where he lived in close contact with several other brothers and sisters in the Lord. Though occasionally discouraged because of his illness, and particularly at the end, because of pain, Victor always had a ready smile and rarely complained. He regularly attended the weekly “wazee” (elders) meeting; though he was still a relatively young man (only in his 30s), he was welcomed by the wazee because he had experienced ill health and suffering, which gave a different perspective on life than other youth. When called upon to teach during Discovery Bible Study or share a testimony during the weekly fellowship, Victor did so with an understanding of the Scriptures but even more, with a sense of deep relationship with God. Though of course not a perfect man, he was quick to repent when he fell short. We will miss our brother’s dedication, his friendship, and his warm smile. Thank you again for all you’ve done to assist with his medical needs and improve the quality of his life for the time that he remained with us. We praise God that Victor will enter into our Father’s rest.

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Donate to Kingdom Driven Ministries when you Shop Amazon.com

Just a quick post to let you know how you can help KDM while you shop for things you would normally buy on Amazon.com…

Kingdom Driven Ministries is a registered charitable organization with Amazon Smile. Visit www.smile.amazon.com today; the first time you visit, you will need to choose your charity. Search for and select Kingdom Driven Ministries. Then, each time you want to purchase something on Amazon.com, do so through www.smile.amazon.com. Your login, wishlist, cart, and interface are exactly the same as Amazon.com, but with Amazon Smile, a portion of eligible purchases will automatically go to Kingdom Driven Ministries! Go–sign up–then shop for KDM! 🙂

April Medical Update

These days, Kingdom Driven Ministries is fortunate enough to have a deacon who oversees our churches’ and community’s medical needs, so we don’t directly meet all those we help. We also don’t always know their stories, which is somewhat of a disappointment since we have been so personally involved in this aspect of the ministry since our arrival in Kenya in 2012. To compound the slight disconnect, we’ve also recently been blessed to be able to hire an office staff member, who has been charged with various administrative tasks. This includes taking photos and interviewing patients post-treatment, so that we can give a good update to our medical ministry partners.

As we looked forward to preparing the April medical report, I asked our trusty reporter to take some representative photos and see if he could get a few good stories. He brought back some photos, but shook his head sadly, saying, “There are no stories this month. Everyone just had malaria.”

We did have a few special cases that were referred to the District Hospital, but diagnoses are rarely provided in those cases, so reporting is difficult. As well, it is hard to follow up with those patients who are farther away or may not be well-known to those who work with the ministry. I thought that later on, as I looked at the month-end receipts from the clinic, I might be able to suggest a specific follow-up. But when the time came, indeed—with only two exceptions of pneumonia—everyone was, in fact, treated for malaria.  Sometimes “malaria, and…” typhoid, asthma, or what have you; but the initial diagnosis was always malaria. It must just be the season. But we thank God for the support that enables us to treat all these sick folks. Believe me, malaria is no fun. The local population has such a high resistance to malaria, and such strength in enduring it, that by the time they come asking for treatment you can be sure that they are miserable. Many were elderly or young children, so their treatment was a particularly pressing need.

Two of the sweet girls who were treated for malaria

Thus, though we don’t have any particularly touching stories, I can assure you that all those who were treated in their time of need are grateful for the assistance our partners so generously provide. Our month-end regular medical expenses totaled almost $400 for the treatment of 20 patients.

We also addressed several continuing special medical cases. Five-year-old Michael Wafula was finally able to be fitted with a new brace to help correct his spine after a bout with spinal TB. Praise the Lord!

The young man Micah Juma, who has some pressing injuries resulting from a road accident some time ago, has spent the last six weeks or so on a regimen of antibiotics, in anticipation of his body healing enough to perform required surgery on his leg. He returned to the hospital recently for a consultation but, in spite of traveling to the appointment and waiting for some time, the surgeon turned out not to be available. We are tentatively going to consult with a different hospital to see if the leg surgery can be performed elsewhere.

We continue to provide for pain medication and other needs for our brother, Victor, who is struggling with cancer. Though he recently visited Uganda for another round of radiation and followed up with an oncologist here in Kenya, the assessment was that the radiation might not be effective and that palliative care may be the only remaining option. Indeed, it appears the cancer has metastasized and Victor continues to suffer. Please keep him in your prayers. We are discussing next steps and looking for consultation on providing some sort of hospice care for our brother.

All told, our special medical needs amounted to approximately $360 during the month of April. We thank all those of you who continue to provide for all these needs!

 

Medical Missions Report–March 2016

The month of March was an interesting one for Mzee Timothy, our church’s deacon who oversees our medical program. Timothy typically goes shopping on Wednesday for the malnourished children that we serve, then packages up their weekly food supplements on Thursday, and distributes them on Friday. All of these steps are more time-consuming than you might think, so he appreciates the help of two of our church’s wazee (“old men”), Cosmos and Samwell, who escort patients to various hospitals or appointments as necessary. However, on one Thursday this month, Timothy’s work of bundling foodstuffs was interrupted by an emergency: a 20 year-old woman with a hand injury. Apparently, she and her husband were visiting Kenya from Uganda and had found day labor; however, they had gotten into an argument and he attacked her with a panga (machete). Timothy reported that the husband had intended to slice his wife’s throat, but “thankfully, she diverted, and he only cut her hand, but very deep!” He added, “It’s very important that we help the foreigner. The Bible says so. But there are no wazee to take her, and I am busy. What can I do?”

I sat and thought about who might be available to bring her to the District Hospital, as our local clinic does not generally do stitching. I offered a couple of suggestions, but it looked like everyone was already busy with patients, or other day-to-day personal tasks. Abruptly, Timothy said, “I will go! I can finish my bundling tonight. I will work late.” (You must understand that when one visits the hospital, there are no appointments, and the wait is long. It was already about 11 AM, so between transport, waiting, and receiving the necessary care, we both knew he’d return late in the evening.) Such is the dedication of our Mzee Timothy! Off they went, and the stitching was gratefully accomplished.

IMG_0982One Saturday, another of our church’s deacons, Silas, approached us with a unique problem: a 5 year-old boy and his age mates were horsing around and decided to see what would happen if they put some of the milky excretion from a local plant on each other…and it ended up on the boy’s private parts, which almost immediately swelled and became painful. We brought him to a local health center, which referred him to the District Hospital. Silas took the boy (with his mother) for treatment, and by the next day, with some anti-histamine and other drugs, the boy was thankfully feeling better.

We are blessed to see how God has worked through our medical missions team here, to serve the needs in our community and our fellowships. Just this month, our regular budget for medical was doubled through the generous gift of one of our partners; this means that we can do even more! We are happy to report that this month, our regular medical expenses amounted to almost $400, and despite a couple months’ shortfalls for medical, we had earmarked money for all these needs! We praise God and are so thankful for all who make this possible.

We also had some special medical expenses, including ongoing cancer treatment for our brother, Victor, who visited Uganda again for a follow-up with the oncologist.The boy, Esau, with the enlarged spleen, returned to the hospital for blood tests to evaluate for sickle-cell, and received more medicine to treat for malaria, “just in case.” We’re still without a firm diagnosis for this poor boy! Our team also organized treatment for Metrine, a young mother with severe pain and disability and one of her hands. After several scans and a consult at a private hospital, she was diagnosed with a rather generic “arthralgia” an d given several medications as well as some suggestions for ongoing physical therapy that might improve both the pain and her range of motion.We’re still waiting to be able to treat Micah Juma’s badly broken leg. Despite two trips this month to the hospital and being on an antibiotic regimen for several weeks, they still have not cleared him for surgery, due to an ongoing infection. Please keep him in your prayers. These special medical expenses amounted to just over $500, and again, we are thankful that God is meeting these ongoing needs with provision through His people!

 

 

Indigenous Leadership in Action

We’ve shared in recent blog posts the desire of Kingdom Driven Ministries to raise up indigenous leaders in our various fellowships. Absent these key leaders, this has the potential to be a one-generation mission rather than a reproducible, sustainable movement of the Kingdom of God. One of our ordained teacher/evangelists is Lazarus Lordia, from our Bidii fellowship. Not only does he oversee the group in Bidii, but you’ll also often find him on his motorbike, traveling between our various other fellowships: teaching, encouraging, mediating conflicts, and baptizing new believers.

Here’s a report from Lazarus about his activity during the month of March. This will give you an idea of how this dedicated servant of God spends much of his time:

            This month, much of my focus was on building up the local fellowship that meets in my home. I spent a lot of time in discipleship with the young man, Daniel, who was recently baptized along with his wife. He has been experiencing issues in his marriage, and has not had a good example in how to deal with those conflicts.

I personally had some difficulties with my wife a while back, and Marc was able to counsel me through them. I applied some of his advice in how I was relating to my wife and son, and I’m seeing a lot of positive changes in our relationships. I am happy to report that I was able to pass along similar advice, and encouragement, to Daniel, because of what the Lord allowed me to go through. I praise God for how He works in our lives, to teach us and help us to use those lessons for the benefit of others.

I also continued facilitating leadership training classes on a weekly basis at the Kingdom Driven Ministries office. The goal is to give a solid foundation to all our disciples, and equip those who may be gifted as teachers to be able to share the message of the gospel effectively. We continue to go through all four of KDM’s teaching booklets in groups of two, to practice how to present teachings on the gospel; surrender, repentance, and baptism; obedience to Christ; and home fellowship.

I’ve been visiting the growing churches in Saboti, Mroki, Kamkuywa, and Nasianda. One of the highlights was visiting the fellowship of a former imam, who shared Christ with his neighbor. That elderly man, Silas, was baptized this month!

For the first time, I also visited the group of young believers in Uganda, where a fellowship was planted by our brother, Nashon Ouma. I spent almost a week there, developing relationships and evaluating how they were doing with the Discovery Bible Study. We also baptized one new believer there.

We rejoice in what God is doing in and through our brother Lazarus, and are excited to see how God will continue to use him to strengthen the fellowships here and lead new people into the Kingdom of God. Please keep Lazarus, his family, and his work in your prayers.

Resurrection Day Celebration

Many people in Kenya celebrate Christmas, but not in quite the same way that Westerners do. No Christmas trees, no Santa Claus, no nativity scenes, and (at least here in the village), not even any presents. But it is a good excuse to buy everyone in the family a new set of clothes, and maybe there will even be kuku (chicken) for supper.

Back in December, the wazee (“old men”) were all asking Marc if we were going to celebrate Christmas as a church. (And nothing is a gift quite like something you can eat…at least, that’s how everyone views it around here!) He had to disappoint them by saying that it wasn’t something he felt comfortable doing, given that the early church (Ante-Nicene) did not affirm the “holiday.” He did say, however, that the AN church did consider Christ’s Resurrection day worthy of celebration. Well. Somehow, that turned into a “promise” of celebrating on Resurrection Sunday, and so the wazee came mid-week last week to remind him of this promise.

sheep

Our deacon, Timothy, was tasked with organizing all the food, laborers, and supplies. Marc gave him a budget of about $100, and by the next day we had a sheep in our yard.

Several of the ladies in our fellowship were commissioned to make chapati, cabbage, rice, and (of course!) ugali. The guy who runs a hotel (restaurant) in the KDM building was put in charge of making the mutton. They would earn a couple hundred shillings each (about $2), and we would all feast. Win-win, especially considering that one of the ladies is disabled, another has been abandoned by her husband, and yet another is a widow.They all struggle, so it’s a real blessing to be able to offer them day labor.

On Saturday, Maurice and Ben showed up at our door and asked for a few implements to assist them in slaughtering the sheep, which was done in our side yard. The carcass hung in the KDM office over night. Only in Africa, folks!

The Sunday service was packed, so we met outside. We had about 50 people (including children), from our village “mother church”  and our sister churches in Matunda/Milele, Birunda, and Naitiri. With the cost of transport being an issue, we didn’t have any visitors from our fellowships farther away. However, the testimonies were very encouraging, and all the brethren enjoyed seeing people from the other fellowships. Our friend, Silas, had a great teaching-turned-dramatization about what a “ransom” is, and why Jesus died on the cross.

The meal was amazing, and plates were piled high with food. An 18 month-old boy ate about as much as I did! Our children (the wazungu kids!) don’t eat quite like their African counterparts, so they came back with lots of leftovers on their plates. It seemed a waste, but we just couldn’t communicate well enough that the servers really needed to downsize A LOT. Marc struggled to find a bucket, thinking it would at least serve a purpose as pig slop, but the woman sitting next to me said, “Just give it to the children outside!” Keep in mind, the KDM building is the site of the village water pump, so there are always people around–mostly children, since Moms usually send them when water is needed for the household.

Of course, in America, most people don’t eat other people’s “seconds,” and I didn’t want to insult anyone, so I said, “You’re sure they will take it?” She said, “Of course!” And sure enough, there were some very happy kids out front who ate what was left on all the plates we brought out.

Praise the Lord, a great time was had by all. We are so blessed to continually celebrate Jesus with our brethren here in Kenya.

 

 

Financial Resources and the Work of the Ministry

Working within an organization such as Kingdom Driven Ministries has posed some challenges as we walk out the commands of Jesus on the ground. He said to “Go and make disciples,” and “teach them to obey all that [Jesus] commanded.” Well, Jesus asks us to store up treasures in Heaven, not on Earth. He challenged the rich young man to sell his possessions and give to the poor. We read in Acts of the early believers selling what they had and re-distributing the resources to meet existing needs. Jesus said that man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions (Luke 12:15). Yet, as Nik Ripken aptly notes in The Insanity of Obedience,

“We [Westerners] tend to rely on the power of financial resources to accomplish the highest goals and aims of both individual believers and mission organizations.”

It is true that we, in the West, overwhelmingly think of meeting needs in terms of allocating our financial resources. But here at KDM, we have always believed as Ripken implies: an injection of money into a Kingdom mission that is designed to make disciples is actually detrimental to the health of that mission. The Scriptures are clear that many are led astray by their desire for money (1 Timothy 6:10); unfortunately (because of both colonial and missionary history), East Africa has already been corrupted by the influence of outside money and the power that is exerted with its contribution.

Our primary mission is, and always has been, to introduce the authentic Kingdom Gospel and see resulting life transformation in the form of obedience to Jesus. This should naturally result in faithful disciples who make disciples, thereby forming new fellowships of Christ-followers. But because of the color of the missionary’s skin and the association it has with money, many come just seeking assistance. So, as much as possible, we try to separate the mission (which is The Great Commission) from financial assistance.

Jesus said to “let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and they should glorify your Father in the heavens” (Matthew 5:16). The Apostle Paul also exhorts in Galatians 6:10, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” We cannot proliferate a Kingdom mission without also modeling the commands the Scriptures in this regard. Yet, it does create a quandary when such assistance is contrary to disciple-making.

Now that we’ve been on the ground in Kenya for four years, we have settled on a plan of action which seems to facilitate meeting both goals: the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. First, we (Western missionaries) model the teachings of Jesus by personally helping our brothers and sisters in the church and our neighbors in the village. We bandage cuts, give medication off our shelf, and give financially when asked. However, we are careful to articulate that financial gifts are from us personally, in obedience to Jesus’ teaching to “give to those who ask”–it is NOT associated with our church fellowships or the organization of KDM. Sure, there can be some wrong assumptions about that, but we do our best to be clear and to be a good witness in that regard.

When assistance is provided through KDM, we leverage our indigenous discipleship and leaders to actually do the work and stand out front, to minimize the association between the mzungu (white person) and money. We also do not “advertise” Kingdom Driven Ministries as an organization when we do any projects or medical missions work. This is in an attempt to keep people from affiliating with our fellowships out of obligation, or in an attempt to find personal benefit. We are also very careful about the types of projects we take on and the work we commit to in the community. Some of this has been learned the hard way, by trying to assist (particularly with microloan/gifts for businesses) and seeing the negative outcomes that have resulted in pretty much every case.

We at KDM appreciate the partnership of our donors, and we hope that you appreciate that we try to be good stewards not only of your financial gifts, but also of the health and growth of the Kingdom mission here. In addition to your giving for “the least of these,” please also pray for the medical needs, for the poor, for the malnourished, for those suffering with HIV, and especially for the discipleship and emerging leadership who will soon be responsible for the next generation of believers in East Africa. We praise God for all he has done and will continue to do through our partnership with faraway brothers and sisters in Christ who care deeply about the mission here on the other side of the world.

February 2016 Medical Update

Apparently February was a month for broken bones in our small Kenya village. We sent two young girls to the District Hospital, one to set a hand broken in a fall (pictured below, after cast was removed) and another to set a leg broken when she was hit by a motorbike (pictured below with cast). If you remember the elderly Mama with the broken ankle from last month, she also re-visited the hospital for a follow-up and to have her cast removed. We are pleased to report that she is back on her feet, praise God!

Eunice, a mother of 10 children (nine girls and one boy!) went to the clinic with what she suspected to be malaria, but it turns out she picked up brucellosis, a disease common among those who have milking cows (which Eunice does). This took several visits to the clinic for injections, and she now reports improvement. A neighbor of ours, Rose, a middle-aged Mama, was bitten on the leg by the dog of one of our other neighbors. She also went to the clinic for treatment.

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Judith

Mzee Robert

Mzee Robert

Judith, an abandoned wife with two teen girls in our fellowship, has struggled through TB treatments for the past several months, and had finally been improving. You can imagine how difficult it was for her to get sick again this month, now with malaria and typhoid. After much prayer and treatment, she is now feeling better. Please keep her in prayer, as her TB needs ongoing treatment (it is government subsidized), and when she has other ailments it is very challenging for her physically.

Our Matunda fellowship’s Mzee Robert was assaulted by a neighbor and injured. We sent him to the clinic for treatment. Also visiting the clinic was Lucky, a 16 month-old boy in our church who is always smiling as he toddles around (somewhat unsteadily). Apparently, in toddler fashion, he got an injury that no one noticed until it got good and infected. It was lanced, drained, and cleaned, and Lucky went home with some antibiotics.

Throughout this month, 13 patients were treated (some for more than one problem, i.e., malaria and typhoid) at our local clinic with the following diagnoses: malaria (6), typhoid (5), soft tissue injury (2), septic wound (1), urinary tract infection (1), and brucellosis (1). The total cost for these treatments was $125. We had referrals to the District Hospital for the broken bones and wound care, in the amount of $90. We also replenished our supply of OTC malaria meds and ibuprofen, which were given out as needed. In addition, several HIV patients were assisted with transport to and from the District Hospital to pick up their monthly medications. In total, our routine medical expenditures (excluding special cases such as surgeries and treatment for chronic illnesses) came in just under $350.

Esau

Esau

broken arm

Wafula

Our special medical expenditures for this month amounted to almost $70. We sent Wafula to the Orthopedic Hospital for a checkup on his badly broken arm (which last month was repaired through surgery with screws, etc.). Also, the young boy Esau (about age 13), who has severe swelling of his spleen, went for further appointments. Last year he was treated for visceral leishmaniasis, which proved ineffective. Earlier this year, he was treated for malaria as a possible cause; they also speculated that the problem could be related to sickle-cell anemia. After taking various medications, he went this month for a follow up and it was determined that the treatments made little progress in reducing the swelling. At the end of next month, he will return to the regional teaching/referral hospital to see if we can nail down an underlying cause and get an effective treatment in order. Please pray for him in the coming days; we trust that God can heal him.

Testimony of Faith through Deeds

20160216_120122Mzee Erasto, age 56, is the father of eight children and the grandfather of Eliya and Abigail (two of the children in our malnourished program). He is also one among many wazee (“older men”)  in our house church network. How did this man come to the knowledge of God? What prompted him to seek salvation? This man saw faith in deed and believed.

Mzee Erasto was bitter and sour in heart. His daily life was full of adversities and hard problems; indeed he was in great distress. Being a breadwinner and a father of eight children was a big and unhappy task for him, keeping in mind that he had no job and means to sustain his family. He was in despair and concerned especially about two of his grandchildren, as their health was deteriorating day by day. They were children of his daughter, Robbies, who had been married but returned home in disgrace because of mental health issues. She had obviously struggled to care for the children; they had developmental delays and were severely malnourished. When she returned to her home community, the whole family was ridiculed. Neighbors asked among themselves, “Where will they bury these children? They don’t even have a shamba [farm]!” This only added to Mzee Erasto’s burden. How did he come to see the Kingdom of God through all this?

Eliya and Abigail were first discovered by the Sweazys, the missionary family who sojourned here for a little while before moving to Uganda. When they came across these needy little ones, they took them in their house and shared the love of Christ with them. To Mzee Erasto this was not an ordinary thing; it was something not of this world. Truly to him they were good Samaritans sent by God to answer his deep secret prayer.

”My prayer was that if God would be merciful and remember these little children, and restore their health, then I will serve and love the Lord God with my house,” said Mzee Erasto. Did God listen to this man’s prayer? Was he answered and granted his desire? Of course yes, the Lord granted the request through His servants. Truly this man came to believe that this is a permanent law: ask and you will receive.

After a few weeks of visiting the local fellowship and attending the weekly wazee meetings, Mzee Erasto was moved and greatly touched by the ways and simplicity of the brethren. During one of the fellowship meetings, he stood and declared, “I have met people who are not of the world. I have met people of God, and I want to be one of them.” So our dear brother Silas shared the message of the Kingdom and planted the seed of truth. Mzee Erasto was guided through repentance, and eventually baptism. The Words of Christ resonated with him: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Mzee Erasto’s life was changed and transformed, his heart softened and sweetened by the love of God. His eternal gratitude is to the brothers and sisters who made this miracle a reality, and above all to the great God and Father who is in Heaven.

“I am so happy every day when I see my grandchildren looking just like other children. I am very grateful to the people who unselfishly helped us. Now we have food at home and the truth of the Gospel. I am a poor man and I cannot repay all the people who helped my grandchildren and other children, but God will repay them. I will always repay them in prayers,” said Mzee Erasto. This man is overjoyed that now his neighbors see the work of God in the lives of his children and grandchildren. Even Robbies has miraculously improved, working at home and helping to care for her children. He looks forward to Abigail and Eliya being able to attend school just like other children, something he had previously not thought possible.

The Kingdom Driven community also thanks all of you brothers and sisters for you great help and donations, for enabling us to serve and help the people around us. Every single dollar donated in the spirit of LOVE is an immortal dollar; every dollar that can be converted into LOVE is eternal treasure.

 

Reagan

 

Kingdom Driven Ministries welcomes Reagan Simiyu as a contributing author to the blog.

 

January Medical Missions

In our little village, people have so many needs, and they are poor. Even those who are fortunate enough to have regular work likely only make enough to eat. (“Give us this day our daily bread” takes on real meaning here.) True, some are more well-off than others, but when unexpected illness strikes, it can quickly tap a family’s resources. That’s why the Medical Missions work of KDM is such a blessing to folks here. Let me give you the skinny on this month’s budget figures, but please read on for particulars and for stories/pictures. This month, our Acute/Emergency funding was $250; we spent $435. Our “Special Cases” funding was $1000; we spent about $1400. (Many of these were continuing cases that we just couldn’t drop in mid-stream; once a commitment is made, we feel we must continue until the need is met.)

I can’t count the number of times people have visited our home or the KDM office looking for help with a child or family member who has malaria. I ask them, “Have you taken medicine?” (If they have, and it hasn’t worked, they must go to the clinic for injections; however, if they haven’t, we have some malaria medicine ready on the shelf.) More often than not, they reply in the affirmative—Yes, they have taken medicine and the person is still sick! But upon further questioning, I find that they have taken “Action” or “Mara Moja.” What’s that? Why, pretty much Excedrin, or ibuprofen, or Tylenol. So their symptoms improve for a time, but when the underlying malaria is unmasked once again, the symptoms are worse and often harder to treat with over-the-counter medicines. Why is this so? Simple answer is, they’re doing the best they can with what they have. In our village center (several kilometers’ walk), there is a chemist (pharmacy of sorts) where one can buy malaria medicine, but to do that and pay for the transport on a piki piki is more than most people can manage. So they go to the local duka (small shop, where they probably also get their daily needs of soap, sugar, or vegetables) and pick up some pain reliever/fever reducer while they are there—a two-tablet package for 5 shillings (about 5cents).

We have a regular Medical monthly stipend of $200 that comes in from generous donors state-side; this is the lifeblood of our medical missions, which is designed to treat acute and emergency illnesses and injuries. There are plenty of those, and we’ve never “not” used up our $200 allotment. That, plus the irregular giving for Urgent Needs that comes in throughout the course of a given month has almost always been enough. If you follow us on Facebook or read our blog (even though we admittedly post pretty irregularly), you know that we also fundraise for larger amounts for a needed surgery or other out-of-the ordinary circumstance. For example, last month we funded a $1,500 surgery to re-set the broken arm of an ex-Muslim convert who is struggling to raise his 7 children on his daily wage from driving a piki piki. We also were able to remove the nasal polyp of a 4 year-old boy that became so large it fractured his nose. How can we say no to these needs? We think, What if it was my child?

            This week our 8 year-old Micah suddenly spiked a 104.5 degree fever in the evening. Malaria, for sure. I gave him some malaria tablets and an ibuprofen, which he promptly threw up. When Marc came home from attending communion, he gave Micah an injection (“a shot in the behind,” which no one likes, but which is necessary when you’re vomiting!). We are fortunate enough to have a well-stocked medicine shelf…but we know others do not. And that’s “just” malaria, never mind a traumatic injury.

We had approximately $250 come in during January that was earmarked for regular medical needs, and we spent $435. We also fund-raised for special medical needs to the tune of $1,000, but spent almost $1,400. (The balance for both deficits came out of our “general fund,” which also met a big tax burden this month and dished out a major sum of money to do our Kenyan NGO’s annual returns. I don’t mind being honest enough to say that our general fund is now depleted. That’s how we fund our monthly missions, which by necessity are now going to be quite bare-bones. That’s more than unfortunate.) So look with me at our last month of medical missions, where we well over-spent our monthly budget for the first time ever…but it was necessary, and everyone who was treated would say unequivocally that it was worth it.

 

Little one with malaria

Little one with malaria

Most of our regular medical cases are referred to a local clinic that is close (cheaper on transport costs) and comparatively inexpensive. This month, we treated many cases of malaria, brucella, and typhoid. That’s pretty routine. We also bought Hypertension medicines for a couple of Mamas in our fellowship, which we have done regularly for many months now. Why, since this is not an acute or emergency need? It’s a simple matter of economics. The monthly medication they need to control their hypertension costs about $3. When we were *not* buying it, these same Mamas would end up with an “acute” illness and get treated at the clinic, to the tune of $20 or more. This happened several times within a six-month period before we got wise and realized that it made more sense to spend the $3 per month. Now everyone is happy, and so is our medical budget.

Pius, with knee injury

Pius, with knee injury

I think one reason our medical budget was higher than usual this month was because of the sheer number of cases that had to be referred to the District hospital. (This costs more on transport, and more for treatment.) For example, Pius Omule had a motoribike accident some time ago, and tried to treat it at home. Later, however, it became swollen and infected. At that point, he came seeking help that he could not afford and he was taken to the District Hospital. He had to go back several times over the course of the month, to scrape, clean, bandage, and re-bandage the wound, as well as get antibiotics.

On a Saturday morning, an elderly widow with a severely broken ankle was carried by piki piki to our door (imagine that…how uncomfortable!). She had to make the journey to District Hospital via public transport for casting.

Broken Ankle emergency

Broken Ankle emergency

Another referral to District hospital was Anna, who got gouged in the eye by a bull. Apparently her eyeball was actually popped back into its socket at the scene and again, they played the “wait and see” game, but after a time her eye was severely swollen and bruised, so she was brought to us. The District Hospital tried to treat the eye but determined that it would need to be sewed shut. We learned that she had already had limited use of the eye for some reason, so the disappointment over the complete loss of the eye was somewhat mitigated.

Anna's eye injury

Anna’s eye injury

Special medical needs are also part of our scope and we fund-raise on a case-by-case basis. Our biggest special medical need this month was for Victor, who was sent to Kampala, Uganda for a second round of radiation in hopes of fighting back against the continued onslaught of cancer in his body. The entirety of our Special Medical funds ($1000) were earmarked to Victor, and we sent him to Kampala with approximately $1,060, which we are hopeful will meet all the financial need. Please pray for Victor’s perseverance and healing.

Our brother, Victor

Our brother, Victor

The $400+ overage in our special medical spending went to several patients. We have a few “special” cases of folks who are assisted with getting their monthly HIV medications at the District Hospital. The medicine is free, but transport is a burden so in many cases, we help. One of those cases is Sharon, a two year-old whose mother died of HIV last year and left her an orphan. Another is Daniel, a 14 year-old boy in our Saboti fellowship whose mother had HIV and passed away within the last year (he was treated this month for complications from his TB). Our dear friend, Silas, has a real heart for HIV education and treatment, and this month he asked us if we could help Dickson, a man he knew in the community. As a first step, we also tested Dickson’s wife and children. Unfortunately, his wife and youngest child (about age 2) also tested positive. We brought Dickson and his daughter to the hospital for their first round and second rounds of medications this month.

 

5 year-old Michael Wafula

5 year-old Michael Wafula

Also on the special medical front, we needed to follow up on the treatment for our brother Ishmael’s severely broken arm, though his earmarked funds had been depleted last month following the surgery. We also had some unexpected follow-up on an old case of Spinal TB for 5 year-old Michael Wafula, whose earmarked funds had also run out. He needed new body bracing for correction of his spine, as he was rapidly outgrowing his existing brace. In order to do that, several other steps needed to be completed first, including scans and cortisone injections. We operated on a negative budget for him in January, but thankfully we’ve gotten a generous donation to re-coup those funds and proceed with work in February.

            If you would like to help us fortify our all-important (but oft-neglected) General Fund, or donate to support continued Medical Missions (a need which we see increasing, rather than diminishing), please do so at www.KingdomDriven.org/donate. A monthly subscription donation will help us the most, as we will then have a known budget to work within, but all gifts are of course appreciated. Thank you for your giving and also for your ongoing prayers for the mission here and the folks we serve.