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“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth” (Job 19:25 NIV). This verse helps us keep perspective during times like COVID and social unrest in both the US and Cameroon. It seems that the Lord continues to teach us lessons of how to live in unstable, unpredictable, and unprecedented times. He is teaching us that He is the only unmovable, unchangeable, reliable force in the world today.
In February, we helped Jeanna and Ryan move into their new home in Winter Garden, Florida. We had lots of special times with grandkids, Mia and Trace, while their mom and dad unpacked. 😊 Rick helped Ryan do some big projects around the house. I enjoyed helping Jeanna shop for furniture.
Then on to Franklin, Tennessee, to be with Jess, Faryn, Caleb, Josiah, Daniel, and David. We experienced an ice and snowstorm. It was beautiful but kept us snowed in for three days. Daniel, our 8-year-old grandson, broke his leg while sledding during that time. (We thank the Lord he is out of his cast now). We enjoyed playing games together, going to movies, and especially movie nights on Fridays at their house, and just hanging out!
March brought the long-awaited Villani family reunion that was postponed in 2020 because of COVID. Twenty-five of us gathered in Granby, Colorado, for a wonderful five days of snow activities and the main event, the spreading of Deb’s mom’s ashes after a memorial service together. Cousins got to know each other and play together, and it was a grand time for all!!
We traveled back to Franklin and were able to get our COVID vaccine and then returned to Cameroon the end of March. April brought a big COVID surge to Cameroon and to our hospital. Up until then it had been so blessed to have very little. Recently, a COVID vaccine came available for our staff and vaccinations for our workers have started. Hopefully, the general population will follow. Pray for the country’s resources for COVID tests, vaccines, PPE equipment, etc.
God knows when we need a bright spot, a warm fuzzy, an encouragement, and so He did just that one day when a lot of discouraging things were going on. I had shared the monthly scripture with a patient after refilling his meds. The scripture from Hebrews 12:1–2 talks about running the race of life with endurance and that we are only able to do that by keeping our eyes on Jesus. I then asked my patient what I often do, “Who is Jesus to you?” I have found that most people have some sort of answer, but he really didn’t have an answer. Then I said, “Do you know Jesus?” He said no, not really. We then proceeded to talk about who Jesus is and the eternal life He offers to all who believe in Him and know Him as Savior. We prayed together before he left, and I believe God is really working in his life and he is starting a new chapter in his life of getting to know who Jesus really is.
We are really excited about another development. The group of doctors Rick worked with in Michigan before coming to Cameroon (Southwestern Medical Clinic) has committed to provide a matching fund to buy an automated slide scanner for Mbingo! This will go a long way to increase the capacity of the lab to meet the needs of patients needing pathology service. Also, Dr. Mbanga, the doctor who is training in Pathology in Nairobi with plans to come to Mbingo afterward, is within a year of finishing! COVID lockdowns have caused major delays in his training, but we are trusting God to bring him through.
Joy in Jesus,
Rick & Debbie Bardin