Today I want to highlight the preemies and their fighter mommas. On any given day we have on average around 20 premature babies. The moms live in the hospital the entire duration (weeks even months) until their baby is discharged. They must live, cook, sleep and stay there until it’s time for the baby to go home. This is not easy, as most mom’s have other children at home and must find some outside help to provide care for the rest of their family.
I really love the personalities of the moms here. Usually they have a joking attitude and a lot of “sass”. It is also what makes them strong enough to last months on end in the hospital. Each mom and their personality has made rounds in morning so enjoyable. Several babies or their mom’s have earned nicknames. One baby frantically swung his arms in the air anytime I came near him, and the mom taped socks to his hands so he wouldn’t pull his feeding tube out… so we called him “baby karate”. The mom loved it and made sure each morning that I “greeted” baby karate in Bambara (the local language) or else he would be “mad with me”. When she came back for her weight check weeks later she announced to everyone in the peds unit that “baby karate is back!!”
There are a number of factors that determine when we will discharge a kid… One of the requirements is the child being a weight of at least 2 kg (just under 5 lbs). Each day we greet the mom’s and their babies and everyone wants to know the same thing… Has my baby gained weight? This is usually funny as the mom’s compete against each other as to which baby is gaining faster as if a race towards the finish line. We joke with each mom and question wether they are placing their hand or thumb on the scale with the baby when they’ve gained a lot of weight over night. They always find this amusing.
One mom was always surfing on her phone as we did rounds and were asking her questions about how her baby was doing. She earned the title “madame facebook”. She left this week with her baby who is still doing well. I’m always happy to see a family get to go home or back to their village, but deep down I begin to miss these families I have built a bond with.
Lately, I have been trying to help encourage mom’s to pump and breastfeed as well as do “kangaroo care” (putting the baby skin to skin on their chest). Several times I’ve walked in the room to a mom who has been with us for weeks hooking up a new mom to a pump or teaching her how to do kangaroo care. It is such a proud moment to see the veteran moms teaching the new moms. The room that the preemies are in now has created a good environment for the mom’s to bond. There is only room for 6-7 babies cramped together in that room, so we often have babies spread out over the peds unit. I am very excited for the NICU where we can keep all the babies in the same room. I think the camaraderie is good for the moms too.
Another thing we're trying to instill is putting the tiniest of babies in little ziplock bags to keep them warm after birth. This does make you look twice, and it scared the moms and nurses here quite a bit. I had several nurses ask me "Binta WHATTT are you doing?!?!" This is actually research proven one of the BEST ways to retain body heat for the littlest of babies. Yup just a regular old zip loc bag! The moms here get scared that the baby will get "TOO hot". Even here where it is very hot outside, the extremely low birth weight infants still loose far too much heat and insensible water loss as their skin is just not adequate to retain it when born this early.
A shoutout THANK YOU to my Harris NICU in Fort Worth - great work on this research - you should know I'm trying to extend it's benefits here in Mali as well!
Our smallest baby right now came in at 900 grams and is doing well and gaining weight. She was born in the village and the mom thought the baby was too small to survive. Thankfully the grandma has been at our hospital before and called one of my coworkers, told her of the little baby, and asked what to do. My coworker asked if the baby was breathing and to hurry the baby to the peds unit. She is indeed NOT too small to survive. She is doing very well and weighs 1.6 kg - almost double her birthweight.
These twins were with us a few months ago, and one twin had a very large distended belly. We did a work up and found he had hirschprungs (a blockage in the intestines). Since I work with a pediatric surgeon, he was able to give the kid a stoma (a small opening in the abdomen where the intestine is brought out to the skin) so that the child can stool. This kid was pretty sick for a number of days, and wasn’t sure how well he would do. They are both doing great now! They visited for their checkup and both are gaining weight and doing fabulous. In a few months when the child is older and has gained some weight, Dan will be able to reconnect the intestines and the child should hopefully have a normal life. Always great to see kids doing well after they leave us!
1. I told you in my last post about Zeina, my language partner, who has become my Malian sister. Her family is my family here and I spend a quite a bit of time with them throughout the week. We had quite a scare with her 5 year old brother Daouda last week. He began vomiting and “acting weird" then lost control of his bowels/urine. He has a heart condition that we know about, but the family didn’t know just how bad it was. Zeina ran him to the hospital and found me in peds. I found him fairly unresponsive, so we picked him up and ran him to the pediatric ER to find his oxygen saturation in the 40’s (for the non-medical this is very bad). He ended up doing all right. He had a bout dehydration and malaria which strained his heart condition. The difficult part was breaking to Zeina and her family just how serious and unfixable his heart condition is at this point. I sat with them as they were in tears processing this information. We sat together, prayed for Daouda and talked of how Jesus is the ultimate healer and we will pray for a miracle for him. This has opened the doors to conversation about Jesus and His love for Daouda and his family. Pray that they come to know the power of Jesus and pray for a miracle in Daouda’s little heart. He is stable for now, but he will need nothing short of a miracle to continue living with the state his heart is in.
2. I was quite sick last month again even after treating malaria. I ended up taking a trip to the capital city to do some more extensive blood work to search for what has been causing my daily fevers. I took a few days to rest in a hotel while waiting for lab results. I ended up having a night there where my fever climbed above 105. Thankfully I was traveling with my (nurse) roommate, and most medicines/IV’s are available over the counter, so she was able to take care of me/hook me up to an IV and we were able to run a bunch of tests. It looks as if Dengue fever was possibly the culprit. I have begun to feel better the last week or 2, and even been able to play soccer again - praise God. Please continue to pray for my health. We had an inter-church tournament where I played with the guys from our church. We ended getting 2nd place with a 4-4 tie then losing in penalty kicks! It was such a blast and I was so thankful to be healthy enough to play!
3. The sea container has made it through customs and we expect it sometime this month! Pray for us as we unload everything and get the NICU set up very soon, and for the container to arrive safely this month!
It has been a while - forgive me for the delay between now and my last update. There has been quite a lot going on here the last few weeks!
You may remember the catholic orphanage I spoke of in a previous update. There is a group of 4 columbian nuns who run an orphanage in a village quite near to us. We often work with these nuns as they bring the orphans into our hospital when they need care. I’ve grown to love these women their heart to serve and the work they do. In February, a group of armed men (reported self proclaimed jihadists) kidnapped Gloria - one of the nuns - and she has not been heard from since. Kidnappings are not new to Mali, but this has been the farthest south and felt closest to home since we know Gloria. I ask that you join me in continuing to pray for Gloria - wherever she may be - for her safety and her release. God is sovereign and cares deeply for Gloria. Pray for the men who kidnapped her. Pray that she is a light to them, and that they will come to know the power of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Malaria strikes again...
I have been quite sick the last couple months. I’ve had malaria a couple times with recurring fevers. I had an allergic reaction to one of the medications used to treat malaria and broke out in a rash all over my body, and honestly I have had weeks on end of feeling physically very run down. I’ve felt much better after this last malaria treatment - praise God! Please pray for my health to continue to improve, and for me to continue to lean on God when times are difficult even when health doesn't improve. I am so grateful for all of your prayers!
Your friendly neighbourhood mechanic...
One thing I love about Koutiala, is the neighborly love of this community. Many times I’ve been able to count on the aid of a stranger to lend a hand. Mariam and I set out for church on 2 motos one Sunday morning. We brought with us 2 women - long term patients from our hospital - who were wanting to join us for church. Halfway to church, in the midst of acres of cotton fields, my moto died. I couldn’t get it going again with all the usual fixes. Before we could decide what to do next, I had 5-6 people around me all trying to get my moto started again. No one could get it moving. One man came out from the cotton field, and said he was a mechanic. After he discovered I needed a new spark plug, he sent a young man to take the spark plug out of HIS own moto to replace mine. I was then able to go buy and replace that spark plug and return it to the man in the middle of the cotton field. Something that could have felt frustrating or turned into a really long walk home, turned into such a nice way to meet a new group of people, and make a new community of friends on my route to church. One little boy came and sat with me under a tree and gave me “advice”. He had a very serious, concerned, cute little facial expression and waved his little finger at me over and over. I later learned he was saying… “Listen white girl - you just run as fast as you can and push your moto and it will get started again, so you better run really fast”… haha!
At the hospital, I have been wanting to better get to know the Malian nurses and nurses aids that I work with in pediatrics each day. Each day I rotate working with all 4 different “équipes” (or teams). Each shift the same team works together, which usually consists of 1-2 nurses and 4-5 nurses aids. They rotate which days of the week they work, but they always work with the same team. Most of these teams have worked together for long periods of time. This last month, my roommate, Mariam, and I invited over each team for a dinner and game night. It was a wonderful time to get to know my colleagues better and get to laugh and have fun with them outside of work. I am thankful as I continue to learn French, little by little I am better able to communicate with the nurses, and have even begun making good friends. These peds teams are my co-laborers to share Christ with the patients we serve in the hospital. Pray that we join together in the mission to make Jesus famous in all we do each day in the patients we serve; that we would work together and boldly proclaim Jesus.
Never thought that would happen...
A few fun random happenings around here have included a visiting vet team that “fixed” our pets on the front porch of a neighbors yard. Ray has been fixed, and the vet taught me how to intubate her and get her IV going. There are a couple things I never thought I’d do haha. (And yes she is healthy and alive haha :)
One day riding my moto home from work, I passed by a couple young boys on horseback. We don’t see too many horses in our town, as donkeys are most often used for work. I spoke with the boys, made a few freinds, and they let me take one of their horses for a ride! I was thankful for this afternoon as it felt like a little piece of home in Texas to be able to go for a quick “trail ride” in the middle of the afternoon.
Pastor Enoch’s orphans have found a good home to live with enough space, and have enough money to pay rent and supply milk/food for the little ones this next year in the interim before the big property becomes available for an actual orphanage. Thank you for your generosity! Pray for the ladies and family members caring for these little ones day in and day out. Praise God, a local Malian family has decided to adopt one of the older girls and provide a home for her! Adoption here is not common as it is very costly to add another family member to an already usually big family. Praise God for a willing heart to provide for these kiddos. The 3 youngest babies had been in and out of the hospital often the end of last year, and one (Marie Elizabeth) was very sick. They are all doing well now and gaining weight. Pray for their health and for them to come to know the Lord as they grow.
She is one my local freinds here in Mali, who I’ve grown close to. She is helping me learn French, and I am helping her learn English. We meet each week to practice French/English, and lately we have had some time to hang out do some fun things together. She has taught me to make “ouijila” which is this amazing steamed bread dipped in sauce (most often with fish) common in the North of Mali. She is a part of a theatre group in school and I’ve seen one of her plays - she is very talented! We have also been to the “coiffure” (hair salon) to have our hair braided (moro moro - long twist braids with added hair mesh). Because pourquoi pas (why not)! Some of my favorite times here have been spent chatting in her courtyard with her and her family. Her family is precious, and has even become like family to me. Zeina and her family are part of the majority religion here - please pray they come to know the loving, saving power of Jesus, and that I would bodly share the hope that is within me because of our Savior. I would love more than anything for my new family to experience the Truth.
Lessons from Leah:
Meet Leah. She has a progressive cancer that needs chemo and radiation, of which we can only provide the chemo. This little girl and her family have completely captured my heart the last few months she has lived in our hospital. When she arrived she barely spoke and her father carried her around. She had a massive tumor on her face, that made it difficult to eat or talk. After several rounds of chemo she perked up and easily became the liveliest little girl I’ve met here in Mali so far. The tumor left her blind, but that never stopped her from seeing the beauty in life. Each morning on rounds, Leah was the highlight of my morning. She wanted to sing/clap/dance with the nurses and docs and praise the Lord. She would get everyone singing, laughing and dancing with her. Her joy was infectious! Every day she would grab our hands and tell us how “beautiful or pretty” we were, how “beautiful” her little baby brother was, or tell us how much she was eating. Remember Leah is blind. She has taught me a few things….
1 Beauty is not always seen with your eyes
2 Joy does not need to depend on your circumstance
3 Even if you are suffering - it is completely possible to be the one
giving joy and life to everyone around you - in the way she brought
me joy each day!
Leah left this earth yesterday to be with her heavenly father. We always asked Leah if she knew Jesus, of which she always said yes and seemed to understand His love for her. Pray for her family as they travel home without their sweet Leah. I praise God for the joy and life she brought to us working in the hospital, and the lessons she taught me.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11
But we have these treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be also revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
I grow to understand more and more I am/we are simply jars of clay. Fragile, breakable, moldable. It is not who we ARE or what we can provide in this earthly body that brings our worth - we are simple jars of clay; but what we carry inside - the power of the resurrected living God - is where our strength comes from. HE is worth all the glory & honor and is worth giving our whole heart and life to serve. It is Him - giving us that strength - that allows us to continue to live in this broken world filled with death and sickness and keep going. When friends are kidnapped, babies and sweet little cancer patients are dying, and malaria won't seem to go away - the reason we continue to serve is knowing we are living for a king who has already conquered death. A God and king who is bigger than fear and greater than sickness.
Praise to GOD "who is able to do immeasurably more than all we
ask or imagine, according to His power..."
Christmas is Mali looked like new traditions for me this year. On Christmas day, the ladies at the church wake up early and cook for the entire congregation. I went with Julie at 5am this year to help the ladies cook. It was quite a fun time learning how to cook the holiday staple here “en-za-may”, and celebrating with my local friends. The tradition is that everyone at church buys and tailors the same "christmas cloth", so the majority of the church is matching on Christmas day :)
Christmas was also very special as we were able to celebrate with the patients at the hospital. Dr. Dan loaded up the van with all the patients we could fit and drove them to church. It was so fun to interact with them outside of the hospital and see their faces light up with the feast prepared. Even more, I’m so grateful for the chance for them to hear the message of the gospel. I pray each one of these sweet patients, who have each captured my heart, will grow the know the power of Jesus and His love for each of them.
I can’t thank each of you enough for sending and donating breast-pumps! We went from only having one and sharing it between every mom at feeding times, to having enough for just about every mom to use their own while their preemie is in the hospital - because of your gifts! I’ve seen more mom’s helped to produce milk which is the best thing for the tummies of these tiny babies. We aim to help them continue use breastmilk and not be discouraged to keep pumping.
Helping Babies Breath:
Every other Friday I have been helping a Pediatrician here teach “Helping Babies Breath”. It is a simple neonatal resuscitation course created for 3rd world countries to teach how to resuscitate and keep a baby breathing when it is having trouble in the first minute of life, with limited resources. We are trying to instil confidence in all the staff (not just pediatrics) to have the tools and training to keep a baby breathing when it is struggling. Most of the staff is receptive and eager to learn, and we have seen some lives saved and staff feeling confident after the course. Prayers for that to continue!
When I first arrived in Mali, I felt as if God had laid “orphans” on my heart. I wasn’t even sure in what context, or if there were even many orphans here, so I began asking around. I saw several of our babies in the unit were orphans and asked what options they had. There is an orphanage a ways outside of our town, but no place for orphans directly in Koutiala. I visited this orphanage outside of town run by Catholic nuns and it captured my heart. I so loved how these kids were being cared for, and I journaled to God asking how I could be of help for orphans in our area. It felt like something much to big to even think about or tackle, but God moves in incredible ways.
Right before I left for Texas, a local
Malian pastor who works in our hospital - Pastor Enoch - dropped off a report on Dan’s desk asking for help. He is 75 years old and has recently taken 5 orphans/street kids into his house when they had nowhere to go. He wrote in his packet his vision for an orphanage or a place here in Koutiala for “the least of these” and any of those forgotten with no homes can go to school and grown to know the Lord. I couldn’t believe how God had been softening our hearts for the same mission. I have since visited these precious kids and have grown to love them. They attend a church nearby where Enoch is the pastor under the shade of a small tarp, and after church we all go eat at the pastors house together and
spend time with the kids.
Pastor Enoch has developed a proposal specifically asking for funding for a home for orphans in Koutiala. He is asking for bedding, mosquito nets, food, clothing etc. The government has already granted him land to build this home and he just now needs funds for the building. Knowing the American dollar goes a long way in Africa, I have offered to help connect him to funding and help in any way I can. If you are interested in giving to these orphans or want to know more specifics, please let me know and I will send info!
Checks for the orphans can be sent to:
Team Healthcare, Inc.
4 Fidelian Way
Towaco, NJ 07082
Memo Line: Orphans
*Write “orphans” in the memo line and I can pull the money out here directly to give to Pastor Enoch!
My dear orphans… On this earth you may be fatherless but while we pray for you to find earthly family, we also pray you come to know this truth… “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such [you] are!
1 John 3:1
I am settling into the new normal here in Koutiala, Mali. I am truly so happy to be back and am so confident that this is where I’m supposed to be! My spirit is so at rest, and I’ve never been more confident that God’s hand is in the middle of my life. However, moving to a different country has not come without challenges!
New home, New Name:
There are many new things to navigate in my new home here in Africa. First, I have a new name - it's much easier for the locals to say, and it's kind of a cultural thing to accept a local name. Also it's an honor to accept a local last name, and everyone has one. So along with several new things- I'm now Binta Kamate (sounds like kah-muh-tay) :) Everything right now is either an adventure or a new learning experience. Just the simple daily things takes extra time, thought or preparation. I’m starting to find a bit of a routine. All food is made from scratch after shopping in a crowded market using my broken french or Bambara with help from the locals.
I have been driving a “moto” everywhere that I go, including back and forth the hospital each day. The “moto” is literally just a Yamaha dirt bike that has been a blast to drive everywhere - no complaints here - I’ve always wanted my own dirt bike! Now learning to navigate a crowded market, donkey carts or wandering herds of sheep/cattle is a different story - but I can gladly say no-one has been hurt yet! ;)
Praise God for such a wonderful team here in Mali! My mission team consists of Pediatric Surgeon Dan Kim with his wife Julie and 3 kids Sophia (12), Judson (10) and Anise (8); as well as Mariam -another young woman single missionary who works in the adult side of the hospital. Right now I live in the same home as Mariam, and another woman Tammy (who helps out at the hospital and teaching English). We live down the street from the Kim’s. We have found such a unity in our mission and I truly am crazy about my Malian family!
My birthday was in September and my team and I had a blast taking our moto’s out to the bush of Africa on a little adventure! We started with a few people on moto’s and a few on road bikes but ended with 3 on one moto and 4 on another haha! This is true malian style.
These first few months here for me are dedicated to intensive language study. The main language here is French - it is spoken and used in the Hospital, but most of the locals speak the native African language, Bambara. French is my first priority to be able to function at the hospital. Right now I spend 3 days a week working with a tutor and 2 days a week at the hospital. All other time is spent continuing to study language and get out and about in the culture/villages etc to meet with people and practice language. This will begin to taper to where I do less language and more time in the hospital, but for now French is the most critical to learn!
Right now I am the only expat nurse working in Peds working alongside all Malians. I really truly am loving the team of Malian nurses I work with! This brings many challenges as we don’t speak the same language and I am often confused, but little by little I have figured out the system here and how to be a help. Praise God for several little “breakthroughs” this last week where I understood enough French to communicate needs for the patients.
For the Babies:
Overall I’m very impressed by what is available for us to take care of the babies. We have assembled enough parts for 3 Bubble CPAP set ups, which has been a total game changer here! The other clinics send their sick babies to us because we have “bubble”. This oxygen support has really saved lives. Also, we have been able (for the most part) to have each baby attached safely to a monitor and pulse oximeter - praise God!
Nutrition is hard here. The Moms are very dehydrated or sick themselves and don't make much milk. The alternative is a powdered milk bought locally that does not provide enough nutrition or is too expensive for the family. We’ve found some donated powdered HMF which has been great for extra calories. We also found a breast pump that had been a GODSEND! Several moms that were making no milk are now able to.
Temperature control is a big issue. We have several isolettes (some work and some don’t) that provide homes for our tiny humans. The ones that work best come from Germany shipped to use “Ikea-style” and we can assemble them ourselves. They really work great! We can adjust air control and even some humidity. We can add lights for high bili levels - the only problem is we have no legit way to decrease the heat, so these little kids under the lights often get WAY too hot and we have to come up with make shift ways to adjust their temperatures. I often see babies with a temp of 96.5 warm up much too fast - to as high at 102 within an hour! There is much teaching about basic care needing to be communicated with nursing staff. The staff is eager to learn and hardworking, so with time I can foresee patient care increasing.
With so much temperature instability, I have been trying to implement Kangaroo care. This is putting the baby skin to skin on the mom's chest -which is the most effective way to regulate a baby's temperature, especially when premature. The key is not just doing something once, but getting it to stick as a "good practice" in this culture to help warm a baby up. Here is our first "Kangaroo care" success. This baby was far too cold, and warmed up perfectly after being skin to skin with mom. The local nurses seemed to like this concept and saw the positive results - which is great! Hopeful to continue to make this a standard of practice here.
God is sovereign..
I’ve seen more death here in just 4 shifts than I ever did in several years back in the states. Within just a few days time I've had to code, bag, give chest compressions/Epinephrine and the whole works to 3 kids that died right in front of me when there was nothing else we could have posssibly done. Coordinating CPR in english is hard enough, but running a code in another language is intense. We also have to make hard calls. For example, we only have enough equipment for BCPAP for 3 kids, so if 4 are sick then we take it off the healthiest and give it to the weakest. Please pray for these families of the little lives. Also please pray for strength for me to continue to press forward when death is frequent and days are more often than not harder than words can express.
It’s very hard to know what kind of care COULD be provided in the US and watch the suffering here. However, I remain optimistic as I know God is sovereign and does not let one tear fall to the floor without knowing the pain (Psalm 56:8)! When the days are hard, I am so thankful for a Savior in Jesus Christ who gives more purpose to life than I could ever create for myself or these little lives. Only the God of all creation can bring such joy in the hardest of places!
Prayers for Mali:
1. Prayers for endurance and strength mentally and physically as I navigate this new life - and finding a balance of rest.
2. For language study - that I will be a good student and learn all that I can so that I can be more helpful in the hospital.
3. For the new NICU (neonatal ICU) - for enough money to cover the building and needed supplies for these babies. More importantly that these mom’s and families will come the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as they stay in this building with their babies! (*more info to come!)
4. Praise God with me for such a wonderful and supportive team here in Koutiala that is battling for the kingdom of God with me! I could not be more grateful for my teammates.
5. Praise God for overall good health. I’ve battled a few bouts of the typical overseas sickness these first few weeks, but I have broken through and am feeling much better.
1. I’d like to get more breast pumps here if possible! We have an older simple modela model electric pump that is amazing! Even some hand pumps would be great. Anything to help these mom’s out a bit. If you have any extra you’d be willing to part with please let me know.
2. A few of the other expat doctos and myself are taking on the project of building and starting an actual NICU here so all the babies can be monitored in one place (rather than spread out throughout the hospital- as they are now). We will be raising money, and there are many needs! I will send a more complete list soon - stay tuned!
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!