A Dream Come True

The passion burned inside her and she knew what she must do. She was going to become a nurse. People needed her, and she knew she had to do something about it. Do you ever feel that dream, that burning passion pulling you to serve others? Read more to learn about how Christine Stanfield, missionary to Uganda, took her passion to be a nurse and not only achieved it but also let God multiply it and mold it into something bigger than she first imagined.

Jeff and Christine Stanfield

Last week I renewed my nursing license. We drove across the city to the office of the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council. On the way I reminisced through my childhood dream, my dream of being a nurse one day. I wanted to help people.

June of 1981 my dream became a reality. I graduated from nursing school. November of the same year I received my official registration (RN) from the Oregon State Board of Nursing. Hooray! I worked as a hospital nurse for nine years in Oregon, learning much and helping many people. Through nursing I connected people to Jesus. I loved my work.

Little did I know that ten years later I would become a KRN; a registered nurse in Kenya. My dream multiplied. I was Christine Stanfield, RN, KRN. My avenue for helping people multiplied as well. Oh, how I loved teaching nursing students, in Tenwek School of Nursing, how to help people. My students helped more people than I ever could as just one nurse. They connected many people to Jesus. I loved my work.

Imagine my surprise when 21 years later God invited Jeff and me to join Him in what He is doing in Uganda. We moved to Kampala, the capital city, in 2012. For the first year I observed and I listened. I learned much. Then my dream multiplied again. I went through the process to be registered as a nurse in Uganda. Now I am Christine Stanfield, RN, KRN, URN (Uganda Registered Nurse). I don’t work in a hospital and I don’t teach in a nursing school. I still help the people God brings my way.

Sometimes they come to my door. Sometimes I go to where they are playing sports. Once in a while I give advice on medication dosages or clarify medical reports for people unpracticed in reading the medical language. I teach community health lessons, helping people know how to help themselves and others. I take blood pressures and pray with pregnant women as I hand out a maternity delivery kit, called a Mama Kit. I have many opportunities to give spiritual care, connecting people to Jesus. I help people. I love my work.

At a sports tournament (Photo credit: Christine Stanfield)

I had a dream and God multiplied it. I am a nurse. I help people, connecting them to Jesus. I love my work.

ACT: Take time today to write down or think about some of the dreams God has for you. Then sit in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what you need to do next. Give these dreams to God, and He will multiply them. God is waiting for you to ask Him. Who knows how many people’s lives you will impact if you let Him guide you.

In the Red Dirt of Africa

Dan and Heather Galat are missionaries with World Gospel Mission serving at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya. In this post, Dr. Dan Galat shares an amazing story of God’s calling, a reluctant but obedient answer, and God’s amazing grace and mercy as the transition happened. Read about the Galats’ move to Kijabe and how God has been bringing people and purpose around them to comfort them during a difficult time in the red African “dirt”. (All photos were taken by Dan and Heather.)

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“If you would have told me a year ago that our family would be leaving Tenwek Hospital—the place we have called home since arriving in 2008, the place where we saw God work in powerful ways through the orthopaedic service in the hospital, the place where our visions and dreams for the future were so strong—and settling in a new place of ministry, I would have thought it was impossible. But through a series of family events and realizations of some deeper needs of our children, coupled with the sense that God was not finished with us in Kenya, we made what has felt like an impossible transition to a new hospital, a new home, and a new place of ministry so that we can be with our children as they attend school at Rift Valley Academy.

“The pain of packing our belongings, moving out of our house (which we recently remodeled) at Tenwek, and saying goodbye to those we served and suffered alongside of for so many years was almost more than we could bear. Starting over in a new hospital, making new friends, and struggling with questions of purpose felt overwhelming and exhausting. The more “ego-testing” challenges, such as learning to rest, asking for help, letting others take up the mantle of what we started, and feeling like I had let others down, almost proved more difficult to manage. Despite the need and “rightness” of this transition, my faith has been bent to the point where it feels it might break. “Is God really in all the transition and pain,” I have asked myself on numerous occasions.

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“Moving in Africa was quite the experience…despite the potholes and last 8 km of bumpy dirt roads, only one item broke during the process…a single coffee mug!” – Galats

“However, it is at these lowest points in the dirt of transition that God’s whispers are heard most clearly. It was in the dirt that I rediscovered Hebrews 12:5-7 (NIV): “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.” It was in the dirt that I “found” a book, which had been “hidden” on my bookshelf for years. Streams in the Desert, a daily devotional compiled in the early 20th century, has, on certain days, felt like it was written just for me. It was in the dirt when I heard most loudly the sound of laughter around the dinner table as each child told the highs and lows of their day. It was in the dirt, while asking God “why” that I heard him say, “Because you’ve worked hard, and it’s time for you to rest a little.” These small, divine reminders, truths, and events in the hardest challenges of transition helped keep me on track. It is because Jesus is there in the dirt with us; His blood stained it red, securing for us hope in the future. “A bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out” (Isaiah 42:3 NIV).

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“Sand Grouse, our new house at Kijabe. It has six bedrooms and is fully adequate for our family (and visitors!).” – Galats

“We are still in the red dirt of transition at our new place of service—Kijabe Hospital in Kenya. We still miss our life and work at Tenwek and hope God will call us back there at some point in the future. There are times when the sting, although diminishing, returns. However, God is sustaining us in the transition as this move was predicated on an investment in the lives of our children, who we pray will follow God to the hard and dirty places as they grow in faith. God never promised it would be easy. He did, however, promise He would be there with us through it all, especially in the red dirt of Africa.”

Will you pray for the Galat family during their continued time of adjustment? May this time of transition also be a time of rest and family growth as God uses the Galats in Kenya.

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“The view of the Great Rift Valley from our living room.” – Galats

Hope for a Little One

Mike and Julie Ganey are missionaries serving at Tenwek Hospital and in the surrounding community in Kenya. Did you know that Tenwek is more than just a hospital? Its motto, “We Treat, Jesus Heals,” is one that the staff truly takes to heart. Tenwek is not just a hospital; it is a battleground. God is answering prayers, fighting evil, healing the sick, and changing hearts on a daily basis. Today, thanks to the Ganeys’ latest blog post, you will get a glimpse into a miracle where Dr. Mike Ganey and his team treated and Jesus healed.

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Photo credit: Julian Anne Ganey

“A month ago I received an urgent page from the head nurse at Tenwek. A hospital was calling to send us a very sick newborn girl. She was only 2 kg and had been vomiting since she was born three days before. The transfer was arranged emergently.

“On arrival to Tenwek, we found her to be quite ill. Gravely so. We emergently took her to theatre to find what we feared – over half of her small intestine was twisted and black. It needed to be removed. Had it been much more she would not be able to survive without very expensive nutrition through her IV – perhaps indefinitely. Something that doesn’t happen here in subSaharan Africa. Some places can manage short term treatment like that, but not long term. We have been striving to provide such short term treatment for little ones like this and we thought we might be able to do so for her. For a little while…

“So we removed the dying intestine. But she was so sick we were worried she wouldn’t survive. We decided we would bring her back in two days (if she survived) to make sure no further intestine needed to be removed. Just before closing her little abdomen, I reached up with a finger to check her stomach and make sure the drain we placed through her nose was properly positioned inside the stomach to keep it decompressed after surgery. A routine thing. But instead of finding the tube as expected, I found her stomach was mostly dead.

“Two thirds of her stomach was falling apart. I quickly removed the portion that was affected and placed the tube inside the good portion that remained. Then I quickly sewed up the large hole where most of her stomach should have been. We placed a drainage catheter next to the repair and closed up her belly. I didn’t expect her to survive.

“Amazingly she woke up right away after the operation and the anesthetist took out her breathing tube. She was vigorous and breathing well. I didn’t expect that. Newborns don’t usually wake up so well after something like this. So while the team prepared to move her to the nursery, I went to find mom.”

To finish this amazing story, visit the Ganeys’ ministry blog. WGM can help you get involved in this powerful ministry. Visit wgm.org/tenwek to find out more about what you can do to make a difference for babies just like Tracy.

For In These Things I Have Delight

Clark and Valerie Sleeth are missionaries currently on homeland ministry assignment who will be serving at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. In their latest blog post, Valerie speaks about an uplifting surprise that recently got her thinking about God’s point of view when it comes to our worship. Read more to see what lessons she learned and how we can apply them to our lives.

“Last week I was startled in the most wonderful way. I was giving Hannah her standard morning ‘kiss attack’ and the strangest noise erupted beside my ear. It stopped me mid-smooch. Realizing what it might have been, I tentatively renewed my attack. And again! Hannah was laughing.

“When Hannah smiled for the first time I knew we were in trouble. At three and a half months she demands no more than cuddles and a dry diaper; but, when more varied requests start coming, I don’t know how we’ll say ‘no’ to that grin.

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“Since that laugh a week ago we have been doing all we can to hear it again. We have kissed and tweaked every accessible fat roll, engaged in a series of facial contortions that would bring a mime envy, and, by this point, have spent several man hours making nonsensical noises at every volume and tone. My mom—I think just by being Hannah’s Yaya—has brought forth one episode of spontaneous laughter. This, of course, has only caused us to renew our efforts.

“Recently, mid-coo, I realized that this is how I should be worshipping God. I was convicted. How many hours a day do I spend trying to elicit a baby-smile? Do I intentionally seek to bring God joy in the same way? We are created to bring Him glory. When I have a spare moment, or even when I’m already talking to God, do I stop to offer Him the praise and gratitude that I know makes Him smile?

“When Hannah smiles it melts my heart. I feel joy when I know that I have pleased my Father. Though Jesus tells us that as His followers there will be hardship as we bear His cross, we also have the assurance of knowing that we have been adopted as co-heirs and that God delights in His children.

“I have challenged myself—and I challenge you—each day to intentionally delight the Lord in a way that you’re not already doing. For me, so far, this has been thankful prayer, writing an encouraging note to a co-worker that I’ve been meaning to appreciate, and singing hymns with Hannah at the piano (the Lord delights even in my off-key worship!).

“May we hear some Lord laughter.”

I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:24 ESV)

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