Here’s an update from our partner George Zakayo resulting from the September training in Eldoret of South Sundanese refugees:
The Lord is working among the South Sudanese in such an amazing way. Barely a month after the training in Eldoret, the trainees have already trained others. This picture is of Daniel who was not part of the initial training, but was trained by the ToTs and is currently working just like he was trained by the US team.
Helping Babies Breathe – Since the training, the trainees have helped mothers to deliver more than 10 babies. One exciting story is of Rebecca Adhieu, who took one of the mothers to a hospital. After being examined by the medical doctors, they said she wasn’t ready. Rebecca decided not to leave because according to her, all signs showed that the patient was ready. The doctors left. In about 15 minutes, the patient was ready to deliver. Rebecca helped her deliver at the hospital when the nurse had left.
Pictured: A home visit by one of the trainees. The group of trainees have seen 82 men and 178 women in their health care screenings in just over 2 months.
In the midst of all the challenges that the South Sudanese face as refugees, they managed to get land on which they are doing their farming. The land is almost 1/4 of an acre. They are currently practicing Farming God’s Way. They have planted maize and beans.
Introduction Pastor Thomas, a resident of Homabay, is married and has a daughter. Apart from being a pastor, he is also a businessman, and has ventured into farming. He got to hear about the first Teach to Transform training in Homabay through Pastor Peter, a fellow pastor. He was keen to attend since he has always had a passion for health and medicine.
Health Screening After completing the training, Pastor Thomas decided to first clear it with the Medical Officer of Health, so that he could be authorized to work as a health screener. (The MOH oversees the hospitals in the region.) Pastor Thomas was finally cleared after two months and was even required to screen some of the health workers in the hospital, before he could be certified. He reports that the MOH was very impressed with the job he did.
Having been cleared, Pastor Thomas was able to organize a screening camp with his colleague, Pastor Peter. They were able to publicize it during their door to door evangelism. The camp was successful and they managed to screen 40 people. They even referred to the district hospital, some who had high blood pressure.
Afterwards, he was able to do a second camp, which he reports, was through God’s divine plan. He was attending a funeral for one of his relatives who had died of a heart condition. It is during the funeral that one of the attendees mentioned that it was very important for them to regularly have their blood pressure checked. Knowing that Pastor Thomas had undergone a health training, he asked if he could screen them immediately. Pastor Thomas had to rush home, get the backpack and come back. Together with his assistant, they got to work and managed to screen about 50 people. They even referred one woman to the hospital and she was put under antihypertensives for 10 days. The woman’s blood pressure has since returned to normal.
Still eager to use the knowledge he had gained regarding Helping Babies Breathe, Pastor Thomas’ lucky day came when he was called one night to help a mother deliver. He quickly organized an emergency plan and responded to the call. However, he was unable to help in the delivery since the woman was in labor for more than two hours and Pastor Thomas feared any complications, since it was the woman’s first delivery. His emergency plan came in handy since he immediately referred the woman to hospital. The baby was delivered safely in hospital and Pastor Thomas even received a token of appreciation from the family.
Evangelism Pastor Thomas was quick to state that his backpack has come in handy during his door to door evangelism. This is because it has enabled him to minister to both the spiritual and medical needs of people.
Moreover, as a health screener, those he ministers to open up more easily and he is also able to win their trust. This way, Pastor Thomas has been able to spread the love of Jesus to more people, and nothing gives him greater joy. His goal this year is to use his backpack and the knowledge he has gained on health to bring more souls to Christ. For him, the journey has only began, and he is more than eager to go the extra mile.
Esther and Phoebe were trained by TTT in August 2014. Soon after this, they put their expertise into practice. Walking from village to village, they have dedicated their time to sharing the gospel and managing minor cases of burns, managing dehydration using oral rehydration salts, wound cleaning and taking of vital signs. The zeal to do this amidst all odds is they say, their love for Christ.
The journey In November, they were confronted by a situation that very few would dare face given the nature of prevailing circumstances. Esther had hardly rested after her day in the market where she sells tomatoes when she received a distress call from an expectant mother. She was in labor and needed Esther’s assistance. She immediately called Phoebe who gladly agreed to be her assistant. It was already dark and Esther requested her sons to accompany her to the home of the expectant mother. This was a long journey. It took them one hour to arrive since they walked to the place. About two hours later Phoebe arrived aboard a motorbike. She comes from a different locality far from Esther’s home and it is so far that she couldn’t have managed to walk in the dark. Phoebe parted with 150 Kenya shillings ($1.64) as transport charges. Phoebe said she had to make it whatever the cost as nothing is as painful as losing a child. (She has lost four children in their early years of life.)
Her first home delivery As they have made it mandatory to pray with all the patients they attend to, they did so and prepared the room to be ready to conduct delivery. This was the expectant mother’s sixth pregnancy. She had lost one child to HIV/AIDS. Her husband had also died due to the same. In the previous births, she had given birth in a hospital facility. In her last hospital delivery, she was found to have HIV. All this was unraveled as these two volunteers were taking a brief history before conducting delivery. “Nothing could stop us since we had been taught how to take care of ourselves when conducting deliveries. So we put our gloves on,” Esther said.
Baby Esther Phoebe At a few minutes past 11 pm, a baby who later was named Esther Phoebe was born (named after the TTT volunteers who conducted the delivery). This was a great joy to the mother who only had boys and had never given birth to a baby girl. They took time to counsel the mother on the feeding options to adopt and convinced her to enroll for ARVs. The baby was also put on medication. Since then they have been visiting the family, praying for them and ensuring that they take ARVs as prescribed. Baby Esther Phoebe is now 3 weeks old.
Note: Wife inheritance happens when a bereaved widow is taken up as a wife by the relative to her late husband. They may meet their physical needs but mostly it is just conjugal- to continue having children. Also in farming, a sexual act has to be done before planting on the farm every season, so those without husbands cannot plant; they have to take on a man. What’s more, the siblings or children cannot plant unless the mother (if she is alive) or their big brother plants first. These are some of the unbiblical practices that we see as affecting the land productivity, survival of children at birth and big number of miscarriages, and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Our trainees were grasping this and will continue to bring education to these superstitious practices and teach Biblical principles.
With the ravishing effects of ebola in West Africa, it’s easy to forget that there are other long-term global health crises that continue their devastation 24/7. Our friends in Kenya recommended Bala Ministries in Homa Bay as a training site in part because Homa Bay is home to almost one million people; 1 out of 10 are infected with HIV, and about 10 percent of those infected are children. “You have come to Samaria,” Pastor Peter told Dr. Tom McKechnie.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15 (NIV)