Well, before I finished telling you about my trip to Masaramu, I wanted to share how a recent trip to Louisville Kentucky went. I promise that I'll finish sharing about Masaramu soon. I've been in Louisville Kentucky for the last week attending a medical missions conference. One of our mission's leaders had asked me in August if I'd be willing to travel to Louisville to represent HCJB Global at the Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC). I'd never been before and I knew that it would be a great way for those interested in medical missions to know more about HCJB Global and our ministries worldwide. I could also talk about Shell and our specific needs. As a plus, it would give me an opportunity to visit Target one more time and do some Christmas shopping :-D. Needless to say, it was not a difficult decision. Unfortunately, Tracy was not going to be able to go with me. She's teaching at the Nate Saint Memorial School and couldn't get away. Fortunately, I was only gone for 1 week and my brother, Pat, flew out to spend some time with me.
The GMHC is a conference where those interested in medical missions (whether nurses, dentists, physicians or other discipline) can come together and visit with representatives from around 150 different organizations that have a heart for the gospel and health care. It all takes place at the Southeastern Christian Church in Louisville. Many of the registrants are students but I met many who are well into their careers but wanted to take part in short term projects around the world. I spent most of my time at the HCJB Global booth but did have an opportunity to listen to some of the lectures as well. There were breakout sessions held throughout the day on many different topics. I attended one on tuberculosis, one on malnutrition, and also one on our calling as missionaries. I had a great time.
One of the main reasons that I was there was to "recruit" staff for the hospital. We are in dire need of more missionaries, physicians especially, and I got to meet several that were very interested in learning more about Shell and coming down. One, a pediatrician named Judy, will be finishing her training in June and would be a great addition to the staff here. There was another couple that came by my table while I was away and has already been in contact with some of the other staff here about coming down. As promising as the interactions were, I know that it ultimately is the Lord's work. Please pray that their decisions may involve Shell.
While in Louisville, I got to see a few of the missionaries who have worked in Shell in the past. This picture shows Kim Kirk and Jerry Koleski. Kim is a nurse that was with us for the last year and actually 'house sat' for us while we were in the States. She's returned to Michigan but hopefully will be back down in the future. Jerry is a family physician that currently is in Malawi with HCJB and served with his family in Shell for 5 years before we arrived. I met him in 2007 when we werer in Shell to work with and visit the Hardin's. He and his family will remain in Malawi until next summer, when they'll return to the States.
Lastly, I wanted to share what a blessing it was to have my brother, Patrick, come and spend a few days with me. He and his wife are expecting their second child and I know that it was difficult, he not being with his family. I'd like to say that we did a lot of cool stuff like visit the Lousville Slugger museum or Churchill Downs or Kentucky Derby Museum, but we just saw a movie, did some shopping and ate some good food (Chuy's Mexican was my favorite). Soon, our time was up and it was time to head back to Shell. I'd been homesick for Tracy and the kids and was ready to be home. The trip back was fairly uneventful except for the image of part of the fuselage taken off so mechanics could fix a faulty light. I prayed that he didn't have any remaining screws after putting everything back together! We left the gate a few hours late and I got into Quito well after midnight. I was tired but had a great time. Please pray that it was fruitful. For those interested in finding out more about the GMHC or medical missions, visit their website - www.medicalmissions.com.