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Artisan Fair and Bazaar to Support International Missions

Start your holiday shopping at Saint John’s Lutheran Church, where the work of thirty artists and craftspeople will be available for sale. Well-known local artisans will be selling handmade items including woodcrafts, pottery, jewelry, textiles and fine cuisine. Saint John’s will be selling crafts collected from around the world. Visitors will enjoy door prizes, a bake sale and a silent auction. Concessions (breakfast and lunch) will be available all day.

The booth fees and proceeds from Saint John’s sales will support local and international work and support for those in need around the world, including medical clinic work in the jungle of Peru and villages in eastern Africa, relief work in Haiti, restoration in New Orleans and outreach to our neighbors right here on the Front Range.

Support this important work while enjoying the handiwork of our fantastic vendors. It’s a two-day event you don’t want to miss: Friday, November 10, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Saturday, November 11, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, at Saint John’s. Free admission.

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

Uganda Medical Mission, Post-Clinic

After a productive week of serving in the Pokot villages, we packed up the bus Saturday morning and began the drive back to Jinja. We were once again able to enjoy the scenic drive and beauty of the Ugandan countryside.

As we approached the city of Jinja, we were able to stop and tour the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Uganda in Magamaga. The site is under construction as fundraising continues, but many of the buildings are in use with great vision for how the property will continue to develop and be utilized. Seminary students recently returned to class for the fall semester. There are four years of education for the seminary students. The first two years are spent in didactic classroom instruction. The third year the students complete a vicarage, and then in the fourth year they are back in the classroom. There are three separate classrooms set up for the three years of teaching. Other buildings on the campus include an administrative building, a space for an e-library in the future that will connect to one of the LCMS seminaries in the United States, a space for a book library, a multipurpose hall to be used for worship and conferences, and dormitories where the students can stay. The seminary can hold 50 students at capacity. Students come from every region or district of the Lutheran Church of Uganda, so all parts of the country are represented. Construction is coming along, and there are some great murals in place for decoration. The potential and vision for the site is inspiring.

At the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Uganda.

Sunday morning we were able to worship at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Jinja where Reverend Enoch Macben is the pastor. The church currently meets in a local school. It was neat to read all of the educational material on the walls in the school as the children appear to be learning English. The church service was in English, and we used a red Lutheran hymnal from 1941 for the service. There was a bit of a Ugandan flare added to the service with the offering song, which added to the cultural worship experience.

Rev. Enoch Macben.

In the evening, our group was able to take a boat cruise on Lake Victoria and to see where the Nile River begins. The time out on the water was relaxing and enjoyable. The evening allowed us to spend time as a group at the home of Mark and Megan Mantey, career LCMS missionaries to Uganda. We enjoyed a meal of Mexican food and were able to try jack fruit, which was quite tasty.

Boat ride on Lake Victoria to see the source of the Nile River.

Monday brought shopping and then a time consuming bus travel journey to the airport in Entebbe. We are all beginning our journeys home excited to see family and friends again and full of memories of time spent together in rural Uganda with the Pokot people.

MMT group following church service.

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

Uganda Medical Mission, Clinic Day Five

The final morning of clinic began in a more timely fashion here in African time where one often waits to begin waiting. After loading the bus full of people with servant hearts and making the trek to Lopedot, we actually arrived at the clinic site at 10:00 AM. Many Pokot were waiting our arrival. The day began with evangelism, and the local pastors led the crowd in a bit of singing prayer. Several team members then began the task of triaging patients to ensure that those who were truly ill were registered and received medical care. It seems to be very challenging for the Pokot to line up to be assessed and registered. The preferred method by the Pokot seems to be to crowd, push and shove to plead the case for their need for medical treatment. It is daunting just to watch this process and not wonder if we missed a person who truly needs care. However, we pray that God guided us to those who need our help and service the most.

Two lines for triage and evangelism to begin the day.
Mary in nursing triage.
Rachel in nursing triage.
Sarah providing care to a dehydrated woman.
Shara keeping pharmacy organized.

Through this last day of clinic we were able to provide care for 297 people. We had several patients come through very sick with malaria and with temperatures of 104 degrees Farhenheit. Many people presented with allergies and upper respiratory tract infections. Pneumonia, urinary tract infections and fungal skin infections remain as common diagnoses as well. Another child came through today with malnutrition and failure to thrive. Today one patient did return who was minimally responsive and presumed to be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy or incomplete miscarriage. The woman was provided with IV fluids and then transported to the Amudat hospital for further testing and treatment. This patient's presentation led to a pelvic exam, which confirmed the continuing practice of female genital mutilation as a rite of passage and part of the Pokot cultural traditions. Education continues but cultural practices are challenging to break.

Pokot in the village of Lopedot.

At the end of the day the remaining supplies were packed up and sorted. Many supplies were donated to the Amudat hospital for the care and treatment they provide there to these Pokot communities. Other supplies will be inventoried and stored for the next MMT to Uganda.

On the return trip to Nakapiripirit this evening, we were treated to a goat roast at the Lutheran church in Amudat. Many congregation members were there as we arrived, and several women prepared for us a meal of roasted goat, potatoes, rice, matoke (plantains in ground nut sauce) and cabbage. It was a special treat and honor to receive this meal from the congregation.

Goat roast on the grounds of the Amudat Lutheran Church.

The Amudat Lutheran church has actually outgrown their current church building, and they are gathering supplies to build a new, larger church. The Lutheran church of Uganda is the fastest growing church body in this area. Several other parcels of land have been purchased in the area as well for future church development and expansion. It is excellent to see the faith growing and spreading here.

Tomorrow the team will make the return bus trip to Jinja to enjoy a couple of days exploring this portion of Uganda and relaxing in the tourist role. We are all very grateful for a successful and productive week of clinics to share the Gospel and provide medical care. God is good all the time.

The Mercy Medical Team that provided care this week.

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

Uganda Medical Mission, Clinic Day Four

The morning bus devotion was very timely and appropriate today. Pastor Dave stayed back at the hotel today for some rest and recovery for a travel bug, so we used a devotion from the Medical Mission Team book as our opening. The theme of the devotion was to stay focused even though we may want to provide more and feel there is more that can be done here in rural east Africa. The writer reminds us that what we and all of the people need most in life is the Savior. This remains the first need and should be the focus. As individuals here to serve we can only do what we are given to do right now. God will lead and provide for how to continue to provide assistance. But in this moment, we need to complete what is set before us.

This message was very poignant on this fourth day of clinic that felt like a first day as we prepared for service at a new site. The morning moved very slowly as plans were made with the district health office for resources and transportation to the Lopedot site. We eventually left Amudat mid-morning in the bus loaded full with supplies and two four-wheel drive vehicles carrying some of the personnel. The full drive from Nakapiripirit to Lopedot takes about an hour and 45 minutes on a dusty, bumpy road. Instead of traveling down the road to the Lutheran church in Lopedot where the bus got stuck in the mud earlier in the week, we set up clinic in the main town area at a school. We were able to have three tents set up to provide additional clinic space in the shade. By the time everything was unpacked and set up, it was midday.

Sarah and Dam triaging patients for registration.

The day began with Pastor Moses providing a Gospel message for the crowd. It was neat to hear them sing together to begin. Then, with our late arrival and the large crowd of people waiting to be seen, we had to be selective in choosing the truly sick patients who would receive care. Sarah, a LCMS career missionary and nurse, and Dama, a Ugandan clinical officer, triaged patients and only allowed those with fevers and true signs of infection to be registered. This was a very challenging and exhausting task for these two women. Those working in vitals spent the majority of the day taking temperatures on children who were very apprehensive to be cared for by a white person. There were lots of tears and crying today. The children do seem to really enjoy receiving a sticker, though, as a small reward.

Katie and Nelly obtaining vital signs.
Lorrie's magic touch weighing patients.
Ted and Katie taking vital signs.
Benjamin and Kimberly in nursing triage.
The pharmacy crew.

Overall, today we were able to provide care for 222 people in our short four-hour time frame. Patients presented with similar symptoms and diagnoses, including malaria, ear infections, sinus problems, allergies, upper respiratory tract infections and generalized body pain. There were many more patients with wounds and burns today. Several children also arrived with IV catheters already placed in their hands or arms. Apparently there is a private health clinic in the area that is providing questionable medical treatment at a high cost. Those who truly need the care have paid the fees, traveled by foot to the clinic and then may have received incorrect treatment. This is an unfortunate use of resources in this area where the need for accessible and accurate healthcare is very high.

Late in the afternoon we packed up all of the supplies and hauled them across the field to store them in the Full Gospel Church (Pentecostal) for the night. We had our late lunch of rice, beans and posho before beginning the return bus ride. The team was able to explore the local Pokot village a bit throughout the day and see the cooking hut where a dik dik (a type of small antelope) that had been killed in the bush was being cooked. The women were also cooking up some donated food for the villagers. We were also able to see the camels that were wandering through the community. These animals seem to belong to local villagers and are not wild.

Tomorrow we will return to this clinic site in Lopedot in hope of seeing many patients. We anticipate a larger crowd in the morning as the Lutheran church congregation members from five kilometers away in the next village over come to be treated. The word will also spread that we are providing care, and additional people will seek treatment. Our hope and plan is to leave a bit earlier in the morning in hopes of arriving to the clinic site, getting set up and beginning to see patients in a timely fashion. The team is feeling disheartened that we are leaving patients without medical care. However, the prayer and hope is that we are pulling out and treating the sickest. Others can certainly benefit from medical care, but our goal is to make sure the critically ill are treated and that all receive spiritual care. We will see what African time brings in the morning!

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

Uganda Medical Mission, Clinic Day Three

This morning our team was able to arrive at the clinic site a bit earlier where a large crowd was waiting. Some patients we were unable to see on Tuesday received numbers to allow them to be seen first today. The Pokot do have large families with many children, but it seems those with pre-registered numbers came back with their children as well as those belonging to relatives and neighbors. Each family unit receives a number, and then at time of registration each person being seen receives an individual registration paper. It seems people planned ahead for this today. Women were coming through with up to seven or eight children. The morning began with the large crowd receiving a Gospel message from Pastor Dave and Reverend Moses. Those gathered cheered at the end of the message, so it seems it was well received.

Pastor Dave sharing the Gospel message.
Reverend Benjamin and Felix assisting to register patients.

Today we were able to provide medical and spiritual care to 321 patients. The flow of the clinic was slower in the morning due to all of the children being seen. It takes a longer amount of time to check vitals, triage, and provide medical consultation when there are multiple children in each family unit. Midway through clinic we had to change the process and ask the family to register the one child in the family who was the most sick and in need of healthcare. This modification really assisted with clinic flow. However, there were still many people waiting, and we unfortunately did not have enough time to provide care to all. In the last one or two hours of clinic, Sarah and one of the Ugandan providers went out into the crowd to triage and assess who was sick and most in need of medical care. This was a daunting and challenging task for these two medical personnel.

Lines of patients waiting to be assessed for registration need.

Despite the challenge of not being able to provide care to all patients, we were able to reach many who benefited. One child presented with a severe case of malaria where his spleen had enlarged immensely. Malaria continues to be a prominent diagnosis in this area. Today 60 of 61 malaria tests came back positive for 19% of the patient population seen today being infected with malaria. Other medical concerns treated today include ear infections, urinary tract infections, asthma, allergies, upper respiratory tract infections, and several wounds. Many patients report generalized body pain related to manual labor and the local lifestyle. Headaches are also a common chief complaint and are most likely related to dehydration. We did have one positive HIV test today, and the Ugandan medical personnel were able to provide counseling and resources for the patient.

One benefit of working with the local healthcare providers is the friendships that develop amongst the team members. One of the translators today, an operating room technician, was sharing his family story and the history of this area. Many of the local tribes historically have been enemies, and the tribes were known for stealing cattle from each other, which may lead to murder and other dangerous crimes as well. In recent times, within the last ten years, the government has stepped in to assist with the brutality. The government has removed the weapons from the villages, which limits the ability to steal cattle effectively, and the government officials will become involved if cattle is stolen. Roads have also been developed in these more remote areas and allow the tribes to communicate and be more accessible to each other. Many of the local tribes continue to be enemies, but it seems the fierceness of the rivalries has subdued a little. However, the local healthcare workers report that even in the hospitals the tribes choose to be on opposite sides of the hospital wards to segregate from each other.

Children observing our team at the clinic site.

Our team has enjoyed homemade meals all week that have been prepared for us on charcoal fires by a team of women working tirelessly. They prepare rice, beans, and posho (corn maize flour and water) each day. Today the Pokot village donated a goat for our lunch as a thank you gift.

The cooks.
The lunch room.

Clinic ended today with the packing up of all the supplies. Tomorrow we will travel back to Lopedot to provide care to the people there. Lopedot was the original site for the clinic, but after the bus was unable to reach the proposed clinic site the plans for the week were changed. This week we have heard there are many people waiting there for our care as the clinic was advertised in the area. The team also observed the great need for medical care in the community while interacting with the villagers while the bus was stuck. Bishop elect Bameka from the Lutheran Church of Uganda and two LCMS missionaries to Uganda arrived tonight in a four wheel drive vehicle. The district health office has also offered the use of a four wheel drive vehicle. The plan is for the bus and supplies to travel to Lopedot with the two 4×4 vehicles coming along to provide backup and assistance if needed. These additional vehicles will also assist with the delivery of supplies and workers to the clinic site. We are anticipating a productive day tomorrow serving those awaiting our arrival in Lopedot.

Sunset in Nakapiripirit.

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

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