Two weeks ago I left the United States, traveled alone 20+ hours by plane to West Africa, and met up with a missionary family (pediatric surgeon Dr. Dan Kim, his wife and kids) who were total strangers to me. I had no idea what this trip would look like, but I felt the Lord leading me to join them on their mission… “to provide the best medical care to the people of Mali in Christ’s name.” This week I have returned to the States completely in awe of God’s power, so in love with the people of Mali, and a new adopted family of my own in the Kim’s!
I spent each day working in the Women and Children’s hospital in Koutiala. In the morning I would make rounds with the Malian practitioners to the pediatric unit, specifically the preemie babies, to help come up with ideas for improving care. Each afternoon I was able to assist Dr. Dan by scrubbing into surgery in the operating room. There were so many little faces that completely stole my heart in the past 2 weeks! I especially loved spending my time in the Neonatal unit, helping care for the preemies and teaching the moms basics to caring for their tiny babies.
A simple but very effective tool I was able to help the mom’s with was keeping their babies “swaddled”. So many preemies loose weight and drop temperature due to this tiny detail. I was also able to help Dr. Dan successfully set up bubble CPAP - an increased respiratory support - for a few of the babies who were really struggling to breathe. This was such a success as we were able to stabilize 2 sick little babies! Bubble CPAP will dramatically increase the level of care that the Malians are able to provide for their tiny babies. Praise God!
Providing the Malians with the best possible medical care is just simply the open door to sharing the love of Christ with these beautiful people. Patients and families are hearing the message of the Gospel when they enter the hospital, and they are seeing the love of Jesus lived out in the work being done there. I had the pleasure of helping Dr. Kim’s wife, Julie, meet with long term patients at the hospital to teach them to read in their native language, Bambara. A cancer patient who had been living at the hospital for months, begged her to teach him to read so he could read the Bible for himself. He has shared Christ with his friends in his unit, now there is a whole group of long-term patients wanting to learn Bambara so they can read the Bible. I was so inspired by her dedication to teach these patients.
The greatest thing I learned on this trip, is that the Lord uses where I am weak and inadequate to show His almighty power. I’ve seen the Lord provide when the circumstances seemed impossible. I sincerely thank each one of you for supporting me financially and praying for me nonstop. The medical supplies I was able to bring because of your generosity truly saved lives. I have found my calling and passion in serving the people in Mali. God willing I am planning my return back to West Africa later this year for a longer period of time - I would love your continued prayers!