Happy Fall everyone! We are getting used to a new concept of “seasons”. In reality, there really is no Fall here. There are just two seasons, dry and rainy. Right now we are finishing up the dry season. It is dusty, smoky, and at times difficult to breathe. In preparation for the rainy season, people in the area are burning their fields. When the fields burn, we hear what sounds like gun shots but it is really the bamboo stalks popping from the heat. The days are getting hotter, too. While we don’t look forward to the hotter weather, we will be grateful for the rain to lessen the dust.
After a little more than two months, we are settling into routines here in Gabon. We have both been figuring out our work at the hospital, Amy in the cashier’s office and Jeff in the operating room. Little by little (petit à petit) God is showing us how he wants us to serve him here. By nature, we are both “doers”. We are trying to pace ourselves and not say “yes” to the myriad of things that need to be done to keep this mission team and hospital afloat. Pray for wisdom as we seek God’s guidance and listen for his leading. As we learned in some of our training and have been reminded here, “it is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Visiting doctors have come out, and while that makes it busy, it is such an encouragement to the patients who are able to receive specialized medical treatment. It also helps the staff at the hospital and those on the team. Not all visitors are for the operating room or even from the United States. In addition to two orthopedic surgeons from the US, our most recent visitors included an ophthalmologist from France and a psychiatrist from Switzerland. The psychiatrist was here to lead a week long spiritual retreat for the staff of the hospital on grief. It was two sessions a day and full of Biblical information and examples--great principles and great French listening practice! It was very well received by the hospital staff. The orthopedists kept the operating rooms busy fixing club feet, straightening arms and legs, and repairing various other bones along the way. Many of these operations were life-changing for people who need strong, working limbs to survive in this culture. Praise God for his goodness.
We received our shipping container this week. It ships out of Cleveland once or twice a year full of items for the different missionary families as well as supplies for the hospital. It was all unloaded in about 4 hours. For us, it had items from a food order as well as some things to make our apartment feel more like home. What a pleasure to eat real Cheerios!!
We are still looking for a church to attend regularly. There are a few different ones in the area, a large one right here on the hospital grounds and a few other smaller ones in the villages. We have been visiting them to see where God would like us to attend and begin to serve. Also pray for our French. We use it every day but sometimes it is frustrating. The other day a resident’s wife was talking to Amy and she said (in French) your French is good, but you speak with fear. Pray for us to gain confidence in our speaking, and speak boldly even if there are some mistakes. We are thankful for those around us who are patient and help us learn new words or how they say things her.
"...Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9