Thursday, October 15, 2015


 I'm not sure what can bring more universal comfort to people besides RELIEF. It's defined as the alleviation of pain, anxiety or distress.  Another definition said that it's a temporary break in a generally tense situation. For those of you who visit the blog regularly, I never want to give the impression that we are suffering 24/7, or that our days are always filled with sorrow. One missionary said today, "it's just that the peaks are so high, and the valleys so low." I'm not sure there is a better picture of life out here. Sometimes we are like the grass seeds underneath the desert sand, waiting for a drop of water so we can spring to life. And after the first rain of the season, you wake up to a field of green!

That's what the last few weeks have been like for our team, it seems. We had the amazing gift of a team from Springcreek Church (based in Wisconsin) come out for a visit. Among them were a pastor, a worship leader, Physical Therapist, 2 nurses, a doctor and a radiology technician. Somehow the Lord gifted them all with the ability to step into a place most of them had never been, and give rain! From the teaching to worship nights, to watching how 15 minutes with a Physical Therapist could change a Togolese woman's life--it was life giving.

Left lung filled with 3400 mL of blood (right). Xray after taking it all out! (left)
We've had some great cases of being able to provide relief for our patients as well. A young 20 year old Fulani man came in having been bit by a viper 2 weeks prior. He had sought treatment near his home but it wasn't quite enough and he progressively had trouble breathing. We obtained the Xray on the far right and found 3400mL of blood trapped between his lung and chest well (called a hemothorax)--that's as much as 14 cans of Coke....pressing in on his lung!! Needless to say, he was breathing much better afterwards and made a full recovery.

We are also full swing into rainy season, which unfortunately, is also malaria season. Sub-saharan Africa is home to 89% of all malaria cases and accounts for 91% of all malaria deaths. In the last year alone, the WHO estimates that there were 214 million cases of malaria with 438,000 deaths worldwide. Deaths from malaria here at HOH happen on a weekly, and sometimes daily basis and can bring a lot of discouragement. Most of these deaths are due to cerebral malaria--when the parasites enter the brain and cause seizures and swelling. The seizures can be very difficult to control and eventually the brain has enough. Children that do survive often suffer from some level of cerebral palsy afterwards. But sometimes we get to see kids in follow-up that recover with no long-term effects, like this cutie pie who was hospitalized for several days with cerebral malaria. Please continue to pray for many other children who are hospitalized at this very moment, fighting against this terrible illness. (our current number of in-patient children with severe malaria is 12!)
Coming in November I will also be getting some relief when I head out to Hong Kong on November 9-29th to visit a dear friend and her family! I have waited many years to go visit her in HK and I'm giddy with the idea that I'll be seeing her soon! Please pray for my travel and for the hospital staff who will have to fill in extra in my absence. Praise God for a Family doctor who will be coming to help during my 3 weeks away! Pray that she will not be overwhelmed and that the Lord would bless her and her family richly during their time here. 

Please pray that we can continue to provide relief here at the Hospital of Hope--physical, spiritual and emotional relief in times of suffering and great need.