The Countdown Begins!

Keith and Sue Forwith at Tenwek Hospital
Sue and me at Tenwek  (Bomet, Kenya February, 2010)

My departure for Africa is now less than a week away and my mind has turned fully to what lies ahead. I dreamed last night that I was at Tenwek, ordered a salad for lunch and nearly ate it before realizing that I was now back in Africa! The raw salad would most likely given me a good case of stuff that most people don't like to read about on blogs! The worst part of the dream was when I realized that I had not only forgot my Cipro, but I hadn't packed my anti-malaria medicine! The dream was vivid enough that I woke up in a panic before realizing I was still at home and my medicine was sitting just a few feet from my bed next to my partially packed suitcase. My mind has clearly begun the departure process.

When I think about it, there is a mixture of excitement, anxiety, hope and fear. How could anyone not be excited about Africa? The anxiety and fear come from a realistic view of what I'm about to do. Halfway around the world await patients who speak a language I don't understand. Surgical residents also await who will look to me for wisdom and guidance about diseases that they likely know more about than I do! So what do I have to offer? Why then am I even going? When I take a deep breath and calm my fears some things become more clear. I may not know tropical medicine but I know surgery. God gifted me in this area and 15 years of meticulous surgical thinking and refining of my surgical skills may lend some grounds by which I can be helpful. I can also lend some companionship and encouragement to the residents and their full time missionary mentors. In the end I have to trust that with a humble attitude and a servant's heart that I may be useful to those who live in the trenches and provide care for the needy each and every day. My short visit will just be a glimpse of their lives and the work they carry out for God's glory.