A role I thought I'd never have and a bit of gardening

(by Jenn Harling)

"Chef de Service, Pédiatrie" - that's my current role at the hospital - head of Pediatrics.

REWIND to one year ago, during our "vision trip" the summer of 2019.  This is how I imagined it would play out:
  • September 2019 - We would go back to the States to deliver Mark (our third child) and I would have learned enough during our vision trip at Kibuye to be able to round on my own when we came back in January 2020.  Just enough to scratch the surface of the vast amount of information there is to learn regarding pediatrics at Kibuye, but enough to take care of patients and be in a position to continue learning under Alyssa and Logan. 
  • End of 2019 - Alyssa (head of Peds at Kibuye...well, the only Pediatrician at Kibuye) leaves Kibuye to return to the States for home assignment (furlough) for an anticipated 5 months.  Logan Banks would take over the role of head of pediatrics while Alyssa was gone.  
  • January 2020 - I would return to Kibuye in January, Logan would be head of Peds until Alyssa returned in April and during this time I'd be gleaning information and wisdom from the docs who are used to this stuff, who go to the department meetings, who fix problems, who run the pediatric specialty clinic, who know how the hospital works, how the feeding program works, etc etc etc... 
Enter.... need I even say it? 

Alyssa was stranded in the States and the Banks left for home assignment in April.  

I was named head of Peds in April. 

This is how I saw myself at that moment in time: Dr. Jenn Harling, who had never taken a tropical medical course.  Who had just finished the chapter in a tropical medicine textbook about malaria because she had so much to learn and people were asking questions expecting the expert, the specialist to know the answers. Who at that point didn't know all the names of the nurses on Peds.  Who never expected this responsibility, this title. 

Do you know what I've learned? None of those qualifications or un-qualifications matter in the kingdom of God.  God will accomplish His will despite my readiness or my unreadiness, despite my breadth of knowledge or lack thereof, despite my not-so-great medical French and essentially non-existent Kirundi, and despite my imperfections.  

"Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?"
Exodus 4:10-11

These past six months have been such an amazing time of growth, learning, and stretching for me. And a whoooole lot of being humbled.  I can't count the number of times I've said "I'm not sure, I'll need to look that up" or more frequently "I'm not sure, I'll have to talk to Dr. Alyssa and get back to you."  God knew Alyssa wouldn't come back in April. He knew Logan would be leaving in April.  And it just so happened that He placed a pediatrician to be at Kibuye when otherwise there wouldn't be.  He is sovereign and so so good. 


Since Michael and I job share, I work Mondays and Tuesdays and some weekends, and he works Wednesday through Friday and some weekends.  That means I'm home a good amount and while I'm not taking care of the children, I'm tending to household things, working on lectures, etc.... and sometimes find time to do some gardening ◡̈  Turns out I love it!

Here are a few pictures of some things we've tried since being here!  

Our first two tomatoes 

Carrots, pole beans, bush beans, tomatoes, broccoli, parsley, hot peppers, lenga lenga, celery, Swiss chard. 

We ended up with baby carrots. The girls loved snacking on them! 

Brussels sprouts plants

Baaaaaaaby brussels sprouts

Baaaaaaaby broccoli


While gardening has become a hobby, as we discussed during our family worship time this week, it is God who makes the seed grow.  It is He who made the soil and causes the sun to shine.  My part and privilege is to serve Him diligently, in all my weaknesses, and He will make His kingdom grow.

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” - Matthew 13:31,32


Beth Harling said...

Wow! God’s timing is amazing! And how He works through yoi!

Unknown said...

So excited for where God is taking you! Blessings as you continue to trust Him!!

Dana Habig said...

So proud of you and all you are doing! I am enjoying our garden too! Love from all the Habigs.

DrsMyhre said...

For such a time as this . . . Esther comes to mind. Thanks for your faithful courage. And may I just assure you that 26+ years later I'm still not sure what to do with many patients many days. We're never ready, but never alone.