- Written by Tom Miles Tom Miles
- Created: 23 June 2017 23 June 2017
Friday brings the close of the clinic and a busy day as we try to care for as many patients as possible. We arrived earlier today to the clinic site and to a large crowd of patients waiting for us. There were over 200 patients pre-registered for the day.
The morning began with song and prayer. The LCEA pastors had the crowd join in song to the familiar tune of Rock of Ages. Pastor Schulte then opened the day in prayer.
The team came together once again to provide care to approximately 300 patients. The day went quickly and efficiently. The clinic flow and set up worked well this week to alleviate bottlenecks and challenges in patient flow. All of the healthcare workers and pastors worked cohesively to provide effective, efficient, and educational care to the patients who presented. This really made the week run smoothly.
Today brought another myriad of diagnoses to treat. The woman with depression came back for further conversation and treatment. We saw many patients with high blood pressure, respiratory illnesses, fungal infections, skin diseases, joint pain and arthritis and digestive disorders. Today we saw several children who are developmentally delayed and an adolescent who was born blind. These scenarios are challenging because we cannot heal the patient and can only provide emotional and spiritual support and basic education. The patients who were to return to the clinic for further follow-up did appear and many had great improvements in their health, which brings great encouragement. The woman we saw early in the week with the diabetic foot wound did seek care at a local hospital, and her family raised some money for her care. Many on our team are donating funds for her continued treatment of her diabetes, wound debridement and possible amputation.
The morning once again began with a very sick patient. Baby Charles was brought to the clinic by his family. He was born May 31 with encephalocele, where part of his brain and the membranes covering it protrude out of the skull. In his case, the protrusion was on his face between his nose and mouth. This abnormality occurs when the neural tube does not close during pregnancy. The family was hopeful that we could fix this problem. Unfortunately baby Charles does not have many of the neural reflexes that are vital to life, and even in the United States the prognosis for baby Charles would not be good. The team shared with the family the fatality of this defect and the short life expectancy for this child. Education was provided to the family on how to care for the baby and his brain until he is called to his heavenly home. The nurses sang “Jesus Loves Me” to baby Charles as they provided care. After discussion with the family, Reverend Massawe from the LCEA and Pastor Pase from the LCMS baptized baby Charles. This family heard terrible news today and is going to experience many challenges through this. Hold them up in prayer.
Throughout the day Pastor Pase continued to work with the local pastors and seminary students in the evangelism area. Up to eleven different pastors and students provided the message today, prayed with patients and received guidance and mentoring.
Over 1,100 patients this week received care from our team in both body, mind, and spirit. Patients saw the work of the Lutheran Church in East Africa here in Tanzania and hopefully saw the love, kindness, and care from our American team. The team will continue to impact lives through the services provided here this week and as we all begin to return to our professional roles back home. For now, the team departs on safari tomorrow for some time to decompress, relax and enjoy before returning. It has been a meaningful week for all of us on this team.
“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?