Tuesday, September 16, 2014


There have been some changes in the Ebola outbreak in the DRC.  It meets the criteria our team set for Tier 1 evacuation.  Unless we get the news soon that the suspected cases and deaths were not from Ebola, our team will begin Tier 1 evacuation.  We do not believe we are in immediate danger, but given the difficulties of traveling to and from Impfondo, we are being cautious.  The children and I will be traveling with the Samoutou family to Brazzaville.  Stephen will be staying here to work at the hospital.  Please pray for our family and all the others involved.

Elliot Tenpenny at Reigning in Life gives a good overview of the situation- with a map!

The current situation with Ebola is changing. Just yesterday (current as of sept 10) there have been reports of 10 suspected cases of ebola with 8 deaths in the Bongandanga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is significantly north of the previous outbreak and outside the stated quarantine zone. These 10 cases and 8 deaths are suspected cases at this point and samples have been sent to lab. This is still a distance from our hospital, but significant that if it is confirmed the disease continues to spread. Also there has been one suspected death in Kinshasa, the large city across the river from where we are now.

Please pray for everyone involved on our team as they have some difficult decisions to be made over the next few days. Also please pray for our leadership at Samaritans Purse and World Medical Mission as they decide where and how we are to serve in the future.

See the attached below for more information. The circle in the upper left is the location of our hospital.


An excellent article, "Just Who is Leading the Fight Against Ebola," explains some of the things that are being done (and aren't being done) to treat the Ebola epidemic in Western Africa.

The Ebola toll is fast approaching 5,000, with 2,400 people dead in the space of a few months, the World Health Organization said Friday. It’s getting worse and not better. Yet aid is not pouring into West Africa.

It mystifies Sophie Delaunay, executive director of the U.S. office of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF or Doctors Without Borders). “We know what needs to be done but we don’t know why it’s not being done. It’s incomprehensible to us,” she told NBC News.

Dr. Oliver Johnson of the King's Sierra Leone Partnership at Connaught Hospital in Freetown echoes the sentiment. “The international response to the outbreak remains virtually non-existent, in terms of actual impact on the ground,” Johnson wrote in a plea to international infectious disease specialists. “At Connaught … our isolation unit is full with adult and pediatric cases and we have suspected cases in the waiting area and emergency room that we can't isolate — I don't know how much longer the hospital will be able to stay open in these circumstances.”

The No. 1 need? People.

"The number of new patients is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them. We need to surge at least three to four times to catch up with the outbreaks,” WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan said Friday. "The right people, the right specialists, and specialists who are appropriately trained and know how to keep themselves safe."

The lion’s share of the work in Liberia, the hardest-hit country, and much of West Africa has been and is being done by missionaries whose groups had been slogging away for decades through civil wars and disasters to try to minister to the people there.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Another lady with a huge, heavy load.
The strength of the women here never ceases to amaze me!

A lovely day at the hospital
Stephen and Millie have a quick consultation at the front of the admin building.
Fun at the playground!

Another lovely day!  These are the general medicine wards- men, women & pediatrics.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Around the Web

A Life Overseas has a great article about conflict:

I used to think that when Jesus said to forgive seventy times seven times, he meant that people would be so mean, so sinful, that they would keep sinning against me (and I against them) and I should forgive each new transgression as readily as the first. And forgiving them looked something like accepting their apology, shaking their hand, or kissing their cheek and hugging, and saying, “I forgive you.”

That seemed challenging but easy enough. I could offer a limp hand or a sideways hug, mumble the words in a quiet voice, and move on. One sin against me, one forgiveness offered, voila, the scales were balanced. And vice versa.

Until this method stopped working. Until a friend hurt me so deeply I couldn’t breathe. Until mumbling, “I forgive you” didn’t erase the anger, bitterness, and sick feeling. Until she bolted so quickly there was no time for shaking hands and I couldn’t accept an apology that has never been offered.

What does forgiveness look like then?

Read the rest: Seventy Times Seven, Conflict and Forgiveness


Franklin Graham prays before Dr. Brantly's speech.
We were all happy to hear that Samaritan's Purse missionaries, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, recovered and were released from treatment.  Read how Dr. Brantly has cause to Remember God's Goodness.

Elliot Tenpenny writes about the Generosity of Samaritan's Purse, and he tells how they are helping our efforts to prepare in case the outbreak comes this way.  While in Brazzaville, Elliot is helping to coordinate preparation efforts for our hospital.

Be sure to read more of Elliot's updates about patients and his family's evacuation at Reigning in Life.

Read more:
Stay or Go When Ebola Breaks Out
Ebola: Speaking out against fear

Friday, September 12, 2014

Biking to the Market

About a month ago, I took my phone to get some pictures as I biked to the market.
There are many smaller stores along the way.
They usually carry basics and have baguettes from the local bakery in the evening.
Cute kids!
The main market entrance:
This is the most congested part of town.

Once you turn off the main road, the road is dirt-
or mud, depending on the amount of rainfall.

I usually leave my bike with Mama Claire.
Her son thought he would try it out.

This was a great market day due to the arrival of a supply boat.
Laughing cow had been out for weeks and they had jelly, a rarity here.
(I regret to say that I only bought 4 jars, and they were out the next time I went back.)

The store next door-
unloading the new arrivals

Time to head home

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Animal Party and Game Night

You may think that our lives exist only of talk of the Ebola outbreak, evacuation, and life and death decisions.
But everyone needs a break and some downtime!
The kids had an animal party to celebrate "back to school."

The night before some of our team evacuated we had a team game night.  More animals!   Phase 10 was the most played game of the night. :)
It was fun to relax and laugh together!
Any good party HAS to start with food.
We have our priorities straight!

A matching game with bears

Crime stoppers- spiderman

Phase 10 took up the most time.
Ian was the only one to make it through all 10 phases.

Monday, September 8, 2014


Some of the cutest faces around!
Hello, there!

On one of my bicycle rides I saw this fellow cyclist with several regimes of bananas.

Mama Sindi carrying dishes on her head

Women from North Africa who now live in the Congo.
I was shocked the first time a man told me how hard it was in his country (Chad)
and how he and his family all had to leave, a few at a time.
Some places are even more difficult to live than here,
and we have people who have been able to find a better life here.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Around the Web

The toughest patient I've ever seen is actually should not have been born for another eight weeks. Baby Brenda arrived three days old after being born at 31 or 32 weeks (normal is 40 weeks of time). She had been born in a health center in a neighboring town at only 700 grams of weight, less than one and a half pounds. After being sent home to die by the local health center, her mother traveled with her for two days on a truck and dugout canoe to reach our hospital... Read the rest

From Joyce at New Sight Congo:
Sadly, this precious baby suffered from a terrible chemical burn. Here one of the Samoutou children is cheering her up with a little soft toy. Like Mother Teresa said - We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love! Thank you for your love for your patients and families!


Read about the work of MAF in the DRC from Mission Network News:

Congo-Kinshasa (MNN) — Ebola still claims the headlines as the outbreak rampages through Liberia and other parts of West Africa.

Now, there’s word of a spate of Ebola-related deaths in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mission Aviation Fellowship DRC program manager Nick Frey sets the record straight on that account. “The current situation with Ebola here in DRC is not connected to any other place in Africa.”

Equally deadly, the virus has killed 31 people. However, it is contained, says Frey. “The case that broke out here is in a small village, which is over 575 miles from the city of Kinshasa, where [I am] right now.”

Containment is a huge piece of the puzzle in beating Ebola. Isolation is the best case scenario. “There’s no major air travel, there’s no major boat travel, or really, travel back and forth from major centers to this small village,” says Frey. 
Read the rest


And for a humorous take on travel in the Congo check out
Air Congo Amazing Race including things such as:
So two hours later, we left without tickets but we were three oranges richer. We had given ten people a ride across town, visited two different local homes asking cooking women for plane tickets, probably broken airport regulations, and bribed a official with the lure of quick surgery, but its still was not over after no tickets appeared at 4 pm.

To see some of our own travel experiences from our last term: