Jim and Martha Ritchie are missionaries in Kenya at Chogoria Hospital. In this blog post, they share about some benchmark successes and answers to prayer for their ministry and for their family. Read more to hear how God is using their ministry in Chogoria to bless the people there.
“We felt led to come to rural Chogoria Hospital to help start a Christian Family Medicine residency in the community here. We didn’t know if anyone would join us here, if the hospital would be able to carry a residency, if the patients would be happy with things, if the interns would be happy with the changes, how the kids would do here, and so many other things. We think it’s safe to say we have answers to many of those questions. So much has happened. Here are a few short accounts of what the Lord is doing here.
“Our good friend Franklin Ikunda told me (Jim), ‘I have realized that Martha is Mama Watoto Wengi.’ I agreed, because the literal Swahili translation is “mother of many children.” (And we have six kids.) But he said I didn’t understand. It’s sort of a title. It is the title of the lady of the neighborhood whose door is always open, who always welcomes anyone, whose house is known for being a friendly place for anyone to come and visit or eat or play. The Mother of Many Children.
“Of course, he was exactly right. I never know who will be in our house when I come home from work. Might be the neighbors, or interns, or the wife of one of the doctors who only speaks French, or the residents, or any of our other friends or acquaintances.
“The Brothers and Sisters of our home church, Avalon Hills Bible Church in Virginia Beach, wanted to bless some of our most needy patients at Christmas. So we asked the director of our Palliative Care program for ideas. This program cares for patients with terminal cancer, severe heart disease, and similar conditions that are debilitating. The Palliative Care Director said the most helpful thing would be to provide basic staples for food. So our home church saints sent funds for us to buy flour, oil, cooking fat, rice, and other staples. We gave out about 12 packages to some of the patients in a ceremony at our hospital chapel. But most of the patients were too ill to come for the ceremony. So we took the packages to about thirty-five households. The gratitude for such a simple gift was overwhelming. Thank you, Saints of God, for blessing these suffering people.
“Our Family Medicine residents received a superb four-month series of courses at Kabarak University before coming to the teaching hospitals. Jim’s part in those courses was teaching resuscitation medicine for two weeks. The residents were marvelous students. And they were happy to have a party afterwards and roast the goat thorax we had used for procedure practice.
“We have homeschooled all of our kids through high school. But Chogoria was a lonesome place for these two, because all of the Kenyans kids their age are in boarding school and unavailable to play or hang out. So now, after much prayer and counsel, Meredith and James are at Rift Valley Academy about five hours from Chogoria. After some adjustments, they are thriving. Quite a change for a homeschooling family, but we had been wisely advised not to be too ‘married’ to our plan when we came here. To be honest, Martha and I have been very sad for this necessity. We miss our kids. But we see the Lord doing good things with the whole situation. We are so grateful for such an outstanding school for missionary kids.
“Over the last two weeks, we were able to introduce Advanced Cardiac Life Support to Chogoria. This hadn’t been possible previously due to lack of equipment and instructors and time. But some wonderful friends sent a new defibrillator and volunteered to teach, and our new interns came a month early, so we were able finally to carry it off. This next week, we will have all interns and many others (about 20, so far) who are qualified and equipped to deal with cardiac emergencies. Even during the second week of the course, a young lady on the ward suffered cardiac arrest. The team (who had trained the week before) successfully shocked her back to life.
“Many of you have helped us with Bibles. We have purchased some locally, we have invited the Gideons to come (and they did in a big way!), and we have worked with Samaritan’s Purse to bring Bibles in four languages. Many of the people here can’t afford a Bible, much less a “specialty Bible” in their language. Being able to provide the Word to those who truly need it is one of our favorite goals. We love seeing these Bibles being put to work, as in the photo here where a patient is reading a Gideon testament on the Medicine ward. Thanks to all of you who have supported us in this way. ”
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