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Dear family and friends,
Greetings from the land of dust and sun! Yes, we are in full-blown dry season. Mbingo Hill, in back of our house, has been burned as it is every year at this time to remove the dead grass (a practice that is widespread in Africa) and everything is covered with soot and Harmattan dust blown down from the Sahara Desert. Many are experiencing coughs and dry eyes. We also are having water shortages and have been warned to use water judiciously. But praise the Lord He is still our Living Water, and we can never run dry if we are connected to Him. We returned from our 4 month furlough the beginning of January. Since the last time we wrote in November we had many more wonderful times with our 2 children and their families!! We tried to savor each moment! We enjoyed times at the park, putting together puzzles, building Lego towers, trampoline jumping, taking walks, and also cooing and making baby sounds back at our youngest grandchild, Mia Grace, while she began learning how to smile and to make her own sounds. We cheered her on to sit up, roll over, etc. The transition back to Africa seems to get harder, but we are confident that what God has called us to He will equip us to do.
Rick’s re-entry to his pathology work was easier this time thanks to Dr. Jen, a pathologist who volunteered to work at Mbingo during late December and early January. She was such a great help since her time here overlapped with our arrival. She was here during the first week after we arrived. This allowed for 2 pathologists to handle the load and kept the backlog down to a reasonable amount. We equally want to thank Drs Tim, Robert, and Albert for the time they were able to come to Mbingo to carry on the path service at MBH during our furlough. Unfortunately, there were lapses of times without path coverage, but we thank God for other pathologists who were willing to read slides that were carried to the US by other medical volunteers traveling from Mbingo during those times. Rick’s work is now back to status quo and he is enjoying his new office and pathology lab in the new building that was completed while we were gone.
On another note we are still looking for pathologists to cover for the CMDA meeting in March. At this point it looks like we will not be able to attend due to lack of coverage. We are trusting God to provide if it is meant for us to go.
Deb has enjoyed getting back to her work at the HIV outpatient clinic. She got many hugs from patients who were glad to see her back. She loved showing them the pictures of her grandkids, how they have grown, and the new one added. One great thing that happened while she was gone was that the scripture card ministry kept going! Deb was able to teach one of her colleagues how to make the scripture cards on the computer, print, and then cut. So, the scripture cards were handed to patients every day during her time away, a real answer to prayer.
We have had certain challenges in our area this past week. We have had opportunities to minister to others this last week that would not have happened in any other time. We have been able to have friends stay in our home, pray with others over their situation, and encourage all that our hope and trust is in God. He alone is faithful and remains unchanged in our ever-changing world.
Thank you for your prayers and ongoing support!
In His Matchless Love,
Debbie and Rick