This is an extract from the message I shared with our teammates at the start of the year. It has been edited slightly for this audience. I hope it will encourage you too.
(The essential is invisible to our eyes; it is only with the heart that one [truly] sees.)
God gave Kibuye Hope Hospital many good gifts in 2022. Not least among these is the presence of two Samaritan’s Purse post-resident doctors, Drs Ben Roose & Selina Thomas. We struggled in other areas of staffing last year, particularly without a DAAF, but specialist physician coverage was on solid footing. With four surgeons (plus some short- / medium-term help) and three family doctors, residency training moves forward. PAACS officially started their second class this month and FM is getting ready to submit their dossier for internal and external reviews. We also hosted five visiting residents/fellows in FM, ophthalmology, and emergency medicine, a record number for Kibuye.
When wells and fuel ran dry in the middle of the year, God brought us some amazing encouragement via outside support. MSF (Doctors Without Borders) took over paying for severe malaria cases. We performed 61 cleft lips / palate repairs (with the support of SmileTrain), put in about 300 intramedullary nails (a way to surgically fix a broken leg bone) from SIGN — making us #10 in the world, and enrolled over 30 kids in the only retinoblastoma program in the region (sponsored by SEE International). AMH (African Mission Healthcare) continues to support this work and help us fundraise for big projects like the massive Peds Building (which hit max capacity in its first year in usage, BTW). And of course our mission, Serge, continues to shower us with financial, logistical, and spiritual support. Our hospital was able to score maximum points in our quality of clinical care evaluations that happen every quarter. Things are getting better. There is much room to grow, but progress abounded in 2022.
For the year upcoming, I hope to see the hospital take greater strides towards community and organizational sustainability. Caleb is building our capacity to be totally grid-independent for water and power. Michael is setting the stage for an information technology revolution at Kibuye with distributed digital X-rays and improved charting / tracking software applications. With the new leadership structure of IMeLEA in place, we are hoping to move Kibuye Hope Hospital towards greater financial independence, with a large part of that being an upgrade to National Referral Hospital status. I’m personally committed to getting some additional quality measures in place and executed effectively.
Some of these are bold goals, audacious even in the face of years of struggle and difficulty to chart a new course, but I believe that God has given us the right team at the right time to accomplish these and many other good works in the year ahead. But I want to leave you with one number and one story that I think illustrate the best work we have to do here, that doesn’t require anything other than showing up for our patients, students, and colleagues every day.
That’s the number of patients whom God saved at the hospital in the last twelve months…at least that the chaplains know about. With the median US church attendance being 65 according to a 2021 study by Lifeway, that is like planting >23 churches in a year!
And maybe not all of those are new conversions or good soil that will bear fruit 30-, 60-, and 100-fold, but many are like Divine* (not her real name), a 32 year old woman whose husband left her when she delivered their 3rd stillborn baby. She was destitute and paralyzed by despair. Where could she go? What would she do? Yet into her dark cell of depression and abandonment shone a ray of hope from one of our chaplains. Could he pray with her? OK, I guess so.
He shared with her about true Hope. She repented of her sins and confessed Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord that day. That painful, horrible day had brought new life to Divine’s soul and she was released from the fear of the hex placed on her by a neighbor, freed from the shame of being unable to bear children and now being a functional widow, filled with a love everlasting that wasn’t at all based on who she was or what she had done but on who Christ is and what He did.
Let us press on into 2023 and pray that our Master and Friend will continue using us as He reaches into the brokenness of our world to bring forth beauty and grace!