Sunday, 27 May 2018

reckless love

In a few short days, I will say goodbye to this wonderfully rich place. This last month, we have had numerous final ceremonies to honour the people we have had the privilege to work with. To name a few....

34 participants celebrating at the Agriculture graduation

10 of the 23 graduates receiving their certificates from City and Guilds at the Biomed Graduation

42 participants including those from our Surgeon, Anaesthesia, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Biomed and Sterile Processing mentoring programs at Hopital General receiving their certificates last week. 

Our team celebrating 24 children with straight feed at the final Ponseti Celebration

Our Managing Director presenting a gift to the Minister of Health at our Thank you Ceremony earlier this month. 

  Last Friday we said goodbye to 270 Day Crew - our Cameroonian team whom without we would have achieved literally NOTHING!

Life doesn’t get much richer than when you get to celebrate the power of God at work and the tremendous things that we have achieved together. There have been 2746 life changing surgeries and 1564 people have been a part of our medical capacity building programs! Who knows how many people these will go on to impact.

In this place I have found friends to share the deepest parts of my heart, my hopes and dreams - and failures too. When you get to rub shoulders with people who see you for who you are, who challenge you to see beyond what meets the eye and who call you higher, it’s pretty special.  

I’ve been challenged a lot lately as I think about leaving a place that holds so much of my heart and my understanding of who I am…. I’ve been reminded that I am still me, wherever I go, and that God is too. I am committed to a continent that I love so much, to a people who understand and express joy far more beautifully than I have ever experienced and to a culture that teaches me how to always put people first. I am committed to continue to fight fiercely for light to overcome the injustices that continue to affect so many.

Our God is extravagantly good. He’s kind, He’s gracious, He’s full of mercy. He literally gives hope to the hopeless, He sets people free and He clothes those who were once mourning with pure joy. I have witnessed it, I can testify to it and even though I come away with some battle scars, there are a million faith building victories that I hope will fuel my future steps.

Let’s not stop dreaming friends. We can’t. We are here on Earth for a purpose and the best is yet to come.

This is what love looks like. Baby Paul at the brink of death, now facing a life full of opportunity. Unbelievable. More than we could ask or imagine. It's been a privilege to serve with individuals who pour out such a reckless kind of love.

Here's to more as we watch the next part of the story unfold.

Thanks for friendship and love forever, KWW

Saturday, 5 May 2018

faith, hope and love...

I wonder how you capture the end of a season -- knowing that it will never be quite the same. I have truly been transformed by the power of faith, hope and love.

Traveling throughout Benin a couple of weeks ago has given me time for thought. We wanted to invest some time to visit some of the hospitals who we delivered training to a year ago and learn a bit. Did we do what we said we’d do? How could we do better next time? And how can we encourage the teams we met?

We had the privilege of observing several operations and some beautifully humble teams hard at work. Without surprise, the majority of surgeries that happen in many hospitals in Benin are Caesarian sections. Sometimes planned, sometimes emergencies and sometimes really really dire emergencies. As you drive past the villages whose population is served by the 'Hopitaux des zones' you begin to understand the kind of people who end up through their gates and on their operating tables. People without any money, without any belongings except enough for today, and maybe not even that. People who try all sorts of other solutions when faced with obstructed labour, before they may arrive for help.

And so I was delighted to witness the first breath of a precious baby girl. Her tense little limbs lifted out of the safety of her first home to embrace the coolness of the operating room. Held by her ankles, she was welcomed into the world and swung (gently) in front of her mother’s face to show she was a girl before being whisked into the comfort of the midwives skilled hands.

I wasn't present for the next one but I enjoyed hearing the cry that announced her arrival.  --- We had barely noticed your mother enter the operating room - we were busily chatting to the staff right outside, asking questions about the training, and before we knew it, you were out! Abdomen open and out you came. I didn't even hear a whimper from your brave mother and there she was, all alone. Your tufts of dark curly hair and your full volume cry gave me a glimpse of who you are. Fight beautiful little one, tell the world you've arrived! I prayed that your precious little feet would be blessed and that you’d be a woman of courage, influence and power.  

But then there was the one whose cry we didn't hear. Your mother was too late. Who knew what kept her - fear, money, geography - I don't know. Her uterus had ruptured and the focus was on saving her life.... I didn't see you, I didn't know you, I don't even know from where you came. But I saw your mother there - groaning just slightly - as her abdomen gaped open - and I saw that she was tough. You were her tenth baby. Only 6 have survived. I imagined what that must feel like. I imagined how inevitable some of this must be - to lose a child - and I hated it. I hated to think that this would never be me. I hated to think that I would always get the health care I needed and when I needed it. My heart rested as I imagined you with Jesus. And the words of our driver from that morning rang in my head, ‘we do nothing, except through Him; we only wake up because of Him; we only live another day, because of Him’. It says nothing to the injustice and the grief, but I lifted up my eyes and gave thanks.

Thank you for another day. Thank you for the life of this mother who can wake up another day. Thank you for the grace and skill of a surgical team who do so much with so little.

My last few years have been full of stories of faith -- and hope -- and love and I am so thankful.

As I sat belted on the plane back to Douala after 10 magnificent days in Benin, my eyes filled with tears. It's the relationships that undo me.

That same day, I had walked into CNHU - the hospital I had spent hours at in 2014 as a part of our Advance team, carefully building foundations for a field service that took 2 more years to start than we planned. Ebola sent us sailing 1000s of miles in the other direction and meanwhile Benin waited patiently. The smiles were slightly wry when we returned 2 years later; '…we told you Ebola wouldn’t come to us!'. I remember the reunions and the satisfaction of delivering our belated promises. How rich it all was. And so nearly 4 years later from our original meeting, I walked into the ENT department at Cotonou's university hospital. I immediately spotted the department’s chief. His back was towards me but as his colleague signaled to him that someone was approaching, he turned. 'Ce n'est pas vrai!'  With hugs and kisses, he sent us to wait in his office. Others were there also waiting and so we attempted to wait outside but it didn't take long before the office dwellers were kicked out. I resisted, ‘…ce n'est pas nécessaire!'.... but the response : 'C'est absolument nécessaire! C'est Mercy Ships! C'est nécessaire!'  - and we took our seats. I could hear the corridor ripples - 'Mercy Ships sont la!' and I saw the photo of me and others on his wall.

I knew already that relationships were what it was all about, but that day I learned it some more. The chief of the department and the head nurse told us over and over, ‘…you're different to other missions! Please tell your people that. You must pass it on. You're different. You're the best. Others come, they don't speak the language, they operate in our operating rooms and they don't even tell us what they are doing. Mercy Ships, you are different! You didn't forget us. You came to say hello!’.

And even as I write this, tears are streaming down my face. Somehow it's too much. Somehow my God did more than I could ask or imagine. He made it all new. He worked it all together for His glory. He did it again. Who knows how to quantify that in our statistics or our reports to our amazing donors. Love deposited? Is that what we'd call it? I don't know. But I see love in that moment and it's one of the most powerful lessons I've been learning. Relationship matters. And it's why I so desire to stay a part of what Mercy Ships do. We’ve seen it here in Cameroon as well and as far as our medical capacity building programs go, I can only describe what I see as an open Heaven. Immense favour. Wonderful relationships and a lasting impact that will impact generations to come.

He does it every time. When we submit ourselves, when we let Him have His way, when we love one another - He redeems, He creates, He lets love abound.

On my journey I noticed the flowering trees that apparently only flower in the dry season and when all the other trees around have lost their leaves, their beauty stands out even more. How wise they were to drink in the rain when it came and to use it for glory when all around was dry. Jesus, make me like these trees! I want your glory to shine around, I want to reflect it, even when all around is barren and dry. Let your sweet aroma and stunning beauty somehow shine through. And it does. All the time.

I tense, not just a little, when I hear some say that our time in Cameroon has been difficult. I understand it and I agree. There have been challenges with this new relationship. But something in that statement makes me want to shout. Negative talk never breeds life. Speculation that speaks from difficult past experience creates earthly vision. We are called higher than that and we are called to see through the eyes of faith that say nothing is impossible. That says light overcomes darkness. That believes mountains move and that Gods Kingdom is coming here on Earth. That believes that we have a part in God’s unfolding story. I refuse to cooperate with anything less.

It's about the journey and not just the destination. How do we represent faith, hope and love on the way?

It's all about relationships. Amongst each other, amongst our hosts in every nation.

May love win. Always. And may His Kingdom come here on Earth.

Love forever, KWW

A few of the many million mangos we saw on our journey. 5 for about 50p

Saturday, 7 April 2018

grief begins... 54 sleeps to go...

I came to give and it all got turned upside down.
The sharp edges and the broken pieces.
They found a place to be more whole.
I came to do my bit, to experience the privilege of watching and learning
from those so much richer than myself.
I wanted them to know that they are loved –
The ones whose tumours and bent bones
had twisted the world’s view of who they really are.
The ones who know far more about faith, about hope,
about watching and waiting than I.
The so called poor.
And meanwhile, it was me who was poor.
My gross tumours metastasizing their way to make me play small. Glaring me in the face.
If only I had their courage.
To step into the unknown.
To hold the mirror up and stare them in the face.

Your sweet corridor songs,
your eyes that have met mine,
your unshakable faith.
It has taught me so much.
And to the teams I have been a part of and the treasures that have been such gold on my path – you have no reason to trust me but I’m humbled that you did.
Your passion has inspired me.
Your vision has astounded me.
You have pruned me
with kindness and grace.
On my off days you have always given me a second chance.
I wanted you to know that you are trusted and treasured.
That you could move mountains.
And to be known for who you are.
And in it, you’ve shown me what love looks like in a million different ways.

I wonder how this country girl got so rich.
To begin to understand
that I belong just as much as you.
To find wings that allow me to soar
above the opinions of others and the battles below.
To know the gift of forgiveness which has set this broken heart free.

There’s more to be done
And there are too many days I forget to stand tall.
Or to remember who I am.
There are too many who don’t yet get to be known for who they really are.
So let’s not give up. Not yet.

Thanks to the brave man with this crazy dream
and to the ones who cheered him on.
Which allowed this puzzle a chance to be played.
Whose pieces are wrapped in grace, wrapped in love, wrapped in even deeper hopes of eternity.
I came to give and it got turned upside down.
And deeper thanks, you will never know.

MCB Final Dinner - by the nature of what we do, we are not often in the same place at the same time!

Sunday, 25 March 2018

it always seems impossible until it's done

On March 9th it was 15 years since I first walked on African soil and up the gangway of the m/v Anastasis for the first time. I remember those 3 weeks well – I worked as a nurse in the Recovery Room and whilst I marveled at my first tastes of Mercy Ships life, I spent most of the time swallowing the lump in my throat and hiding my bulging, tear filled eyes. Shielded by my introverted heart, I stuck it out, but I missed home and I couldn’t understand for a minute how people could devote their lives to a life like this. I vividly remember a Bible verse on the wall outside the Operating Rooms – Mathew 29:19, ‘And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life’ – and I remember thinking, ‘it better be true…!’.

And yet here I am 15 years on and my heart is full. Fuller than I ever thought it could be.

The weekend of March 9th, I went on a big hiking trip to what Mercy Shippers call the ‘crater lakes’. A 4 ish hour drive north-west from Douala, takes you to a nice little rural town called Melong and to a tranquil guesthouse called Villa Luciole.

Over 2 days, we walked 5 hours up and 4 hours down – camping at the crater lakes 2100m above sea level the night in between. The scenery was breathtaking and it was a welcome break from our grey and dusty container walled dockside home.

It was physically satisfying, not to mention very special to do with friends who were willing to take breaks even when they probably didn’t need them and who walked slower than their legs may have wanted to, just for me. That’s what friends do and it was a sweet reminder of the gift of so many friends I have made over the years. It was also another reminder that it always seems impossible until it's done!

Back in August last year right after we docked in Cameroon, we began to dream as a team – we allowed God to fill our hearts and minds with His hopes and dreams for the next 10 months for a place and people that would become our home. You can read more about them here 'We arrived' but the top 3 are captured on a note card that I keep above my desk.  

And so on busy days when I sometimes don’t even know where to start or when I look back on a whirlwind of a day and wonder if I even achieved anything, I look up at it and focus. The calling of a leader comes in seasons – others before me have been asked to do different things and no doubt those who come after me will be trusted with a different array of goals. But these were mine.

Nearly 8 months later, I am lost for words. We have a very special team – just now, I was trawling through the photo archives and seeing many of our team in action and my eyes are bulging once again. Hope takes courage. Believing in others takes courage. Seeing the beauty in others takes courage. But my team of capacity builders is full of people with big hearts who do just that and I am so proud to walk with them. Here's a tiny taste...

A team of 34 participants celebrated their graduation from the Nutritional Agriculture - Food for Life program last Friday. They completed a 22 week program and as with all our programs, they have been trained to teach others. Eliphaz and his team can be proud. 

Nick and his team have 8 trained people in the Ponseti method of correcting clubfeet. We are dreaming big for the National Clubfoot program here in Cameroon to grow from strength to strength.

Here are 2 of our favourite mentoring participants – Dr Hentchoya (Anaesthetist) and Dr Jacques (ENT Surgeon). During our time here we have had 32 surgeons and anaesthesia providers work alongside us in the ORs. The numbers might not sound that big but they have spent 100s of hours working 1:1 with us and the feedback has been incredible. People comment not only on the opportunity to improve their technical skills, but on the attitude of love and the presence of God in this place. I would say it’s been one of our most successful mentoring programs so far and I am so very thankful. Sophie and the whole team can be so proud!

This is Dr Eyoup – she spent several months working with our Ophthalmic surgeon, Dr Glenn Strauss. She had never performed surgery before and is now a fully fledged cataract surgeon!

And besides all the capacity building, the lives transformed continue...

Salamatou And Mariama
“Because you never smile, I’m going to heal before you!” said Salamatou (left) to her younger sister Mariama. The sibling rivalry throughout their time on the Africa Mercy encouraged recovery as they competed with one another to reach each milestone. Now, both girls leave the ship having had successful surgery to correct their windswept legs! You might notice that the horse is the same one pictured above who carried our camping gear up the mountain! 

“I believe I have freedom from head to toe now,” says Claudine, who has received surgery to remove the goiter she’d carried for 10 years. “I am so comfortable now, I feel free to move and eat and breathe with no problems!” Her family has even started calling her ‘the resurrected one,’ believing she has come from the brink of death back into a full life.

Djenabou’s neck had been growing for over 18 years. For more than half her life, she carried its weight…

I can only think these precious ones, once thought what they needed was impossible too. 

We never run out of life transforming stories here and as much as I love it, I have decided to take a breather from all this in June and as the time gets closer, I am realising how much I will miss it all. Sometimes people talk about transition as a negative thing and I know from previous experience that it can be challenging. Seasons come and go but God is always the same. He’s always good.

Sometimes I fear that my identity is wrapped up in what I do, and maybe some of it is. Who am I outside of this place? It's been a while and I'm not totally sure but I have a deep sense of commitment, a big heart of love and am passionate about injustice and I hope I will be these things wherever I am.  I’m looking forward to a break and to new life and fresh perspective. I will take a couple of months to catch up with friends and family before starting 6 months of French Language School in Albertville, France. I see it as a time for refueling and equipping myself for the next season and I have to say, I’m pretty excited! 

I know there will be adventures and ones that loom like huge crater lakes, too big to climb. So remind me if you can – it always seems impossible until it’s done.

Love always, KWW

‘Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energises you’. Ephesians 3:20 

Saturday, 9 December 2017

more than meets the eye

It was a hot and sticky afternoon following some meetings at 4 of the major Hospitals in the capital city of Yaoundé when we retreated to an air conditioned Boulangerie for lunch and free Wifi. It’s a paradox I have become used to and one that lures and yet always feels so odd. One minute discussing how we can come alongside and address the situation of making surgery safer in Hospitals and the next sinking into the comfort of indulgence and extravagance. We walk through Hospitals which are very often in complete disrepair, in need of not just a good coat of paint but for so much more. We know that the vast majority of our world (2/3rds) simply can’t access surgical care and there we are ordering our £4 orange juice and £6 crepe.

I breathe with ease and enjoy the cool air that brings refreshment to my clammy exterior and try not to ponder too closely what that money could have bought… a life? a safe arrival of a little one? The comfort of the A/C exposes my own discomfort and it’s then that I notice the flip flopped hands.

The view itself shows the kind of neighbourhood our Boulangerie was in; fancy cars carrying more of the privileged to join me in filling their bellies with all sorts of wondrous delicacies… but it’s not all that meets the eye. There’s a guy down there, sitting on what looks like a skateboard, wizened legs folded beneath and flip flopped hands moving him along…. do you see him?

My life feels full of so many extremes – often of temeperature... but of need, of pain, of joy…

Ouessini who has spent the last few weeks having his feet straightened. Isn’t it wonderful?

Sidonie, a nurse anaesthetist, spent 2 weeks mentoring on board with us and has just completed a week on one of our anaesthesia courses – “I leave with an extraordinary experience and a feeling of harmony between anesthetists and the surgical team. All the care given to patients by doctors, most especially post operative pain management, has changed my perspective on patient care. Here, the patient is the priority.”

And Dr Jacques, a max fac surgeon who has spent a few weeks with us - “The reminder of God's presence before, during and after the activities through prayer changed my perspective on patient care. The group spirit that suddenly invades the Mercy Ships crew. Everybody tries to give the best he can give.”

Kennedy, one of our local Day Crew who translates and helps us deliver many of our training programs always responds, ‘I just can’t even explain…’ whenever I ask him how his day was. 

Valerie shared, “At first, I wasn’t sure it was me...” when she saw herself in the mirror for the first time since surgery. Her facial tumor, which has been continually growing for the past 25 years, weighed almost eight pounds when removed.

Paul, once frail and dangerously underweight, is barely recognizable now as a bouncing, chubby-cheeked baby. Thanks to the caring hands of the infant feeding program dietitians, he now weighs a whopping 6 kilograms and is on his way to being healthy enough to receive cleft lip surgery.

There’s so much more than meets the eye. And in this season when we are reminded of our waiting for Hope, for a Saviour - it’s a good reminder. I read that the Hebrew word for ‘wait’ is ‘Qavah’ and it also means to entwine or to wrap tightly. What a beautiful twist to contrast the often negative connotations that waiting brings! Waiting is more than empty hope, but a time when we actually become stronger. To entwine our purposes with His, to be wrapped tightly, to know Him better. It’s so much more than meets the eye.

To the man with flip flopped hands and folded legs, it feels empty to hope for you, but I do…  I know there’s more…

To the kid whose feet are now straight. The hopes, the dreams, the imprisoned feet now set free, the pride your parents must feel, the joy, the testimony of hope you can bring. Go and show the world that there’s more than meets the eye!

To baby Paul who will soon get his new lip. You have shown us how to get strong in the waiting. May your life display His glory. 

Behind the twinkly Christmas lights and extravagance of Christmas celebrations – there’s so much more than meets the eye. Let’s celebrate our Mighty God! Everlasting Father! Prince of Peace!

May you be wrapped, entwined and in all your waiting, may you know hope and joy.

Happy Christmas!

From ‘Seasons’ by Hillsong

I can see the promise
I can see the future
You're the God of seasons
I'm just in the winter
If all I know of harvest
Is that it's worth my patience
Then if You're not done working
God I'm not done waiting
You can see my promise
Even in the winter
Cause You're the God of greatness
Even in a manger
For all I know of seasons
Is that You take Your time
You could have saved us in a second
Instead You sent a child

Saturday, 21 October 2017

safe surgery for all 7.5 billion - now that's a magical idea

5 billion of the world's 7.5 billion people lack access to safe, affordable and timely surgery. It's why I'm here. Last April I had the opportunity to do a TEDx talk in Benin - it was their first ever TEDx event and so it was an honour for Mercy Ships to be invited to join them. You can watch my 12 minute talk here 'Safe surgery for all 7.5 billion, now that's a magical idea'. Hopefully you can't see my knees knocking in terror! If you know me well, you know I like to get mad about things so I tried to make the most of the opportunity. Me and injustice will never be friends!

Things here are shaping up. Everything MCB wise is in full swing. The WHO Checklist team are on the road and will spend the next many months training in over 30 Hospitals. The Ponseti team are doing an incredible job and it almost feels like we have been here longer than we have. We have already had discussions with the Ministry of Health about the future of clubfoot treatment in the Country and that feels thrilling to me. It's always good to feel a glimpse of combined efforts being multiplied.

Feeling encouraged, empowered and supported are all so important to me and it's great to have opportunity to be a part of that, not just within our team, but with our local partners.

The rain is slowing and the days are getting hotter... here are a few photos to give you a glimpse of life here.

35 participants started a 22 week training program in nutritional agriculture this week and they each receive a wheelbarrow! This was captured at the opening ceremony in Edea, about 1.5 hours drive from Douala. It was good to get out of the city and watch another set of hungry students embrace the opportunities ahead.

Thanks for love and support.

Love always, KWW

Sunday, 10 September 2017

We arrived!

It seems only yesterday that I was marveling at the Swiss mountains and filling my heart with the sound of cow bells and my belly with delicious cheese and wine. After a wonderful time at home followed by 4 weeks at French language school, I re-joined the ship in Gran Canaria and after a fairly smooth 13 day sail, we arrived in Douala, Cameroon. If I say it quickly, I can forget the sail, but truth is, it wasn’t my favourite time. In the past it has been fun – but for some reason, the necessary anti sea-sickness drugs made me more weary than normal and the gentle roll of the ship left me semi-comatose most days. It’s a weird feeling and somehow it exacerbated the discomfort of the transition between home and here.

We arrived in Douala, where we were then not allowed to leave the port for 5 days! The reality dawned on us that we were arriving mid rainy season and that the river we now called home was a rich muddy brown and the skies a permanent grey, with bulging rain clouds…. there was a bit of self-talk necessary… it was going to be alright. Right?

It’s now nearly been 4 weeks since we arrived and I’m slowly falling in love. The sun has shown itself at least twice (!) and Mount Cameroon even revealed itself across the river during a most beautiful sunset. Our Day Crew who help us translate pretty much all we do are fabulous. The meetings we have had with local healthcare staff have been engaging and have fanned the flames of hope that we can partner with some wonderful people and hopefully learn from each other as well as encourage and empower them to make surgery safer here in Cameroon.

                                         An all crew photo the day the clouds cleared!

If I told you there are 1.15 surgical specialists per 100,000 people (compared to 92 in the UK) with a total of 83 surgeons and 24 anaesthetic doctors for their 23.4 million people would you believe me? Because such injustice is true and it’s part of the reason 5 billion people in the world lack access to safe, affordable and timely surgical care. It’s not right.

I begin to hesitate as I lament my lack of cheese and wine and mountains. How dare I.

It’s our first time in Cameroon and I’ve been challenged once again as I consider what it means to serve, ‘the forgotten poor’. That phrase conjures up lack and somehow hails us as the heros… but what it doesn’t do is describe the rich I see before my eyes. Because somehow life at home has taught me that my lack and my discomfort of where I find myself translates to who I am and it’s how I measure my joy. I’m happy when I have stuff, a good job and when all is well but when these things are not true, I am somehow less and my joy fades. But what I notice once again is the privilege to encounter those who know far more about building for eternity than I. I notice a people who are laughing and cheering each other on despite the relentless rain, despite the holes in their roofs, despite their spoilt crops. Somehow there’s a joy that doesn’t rest itself on what they have and don’t have. It’s deeper than that and it reminds me of my distance from eternity and makes me question where my identity lies.

And so I try to find a balance between the facts – the utter injustice of lack of access to healthcare and the reality of the deep joy I see. There’s no doubt about it – God didn’t create these people to die at 53 and so it fuels my purpose and reminds me both what I have to learn and what I have to share.

What if the question to ask in suffering isn’t so much “Why this?”— but “What for?”
For such a time as now, we move into people’s suffering, so love moves right in and kicks suffering right out.
For such time as now, we tear down our fences so we can build longer tables.
For such a times as now, we show up even when it seems small because this is how we love large.
For such a time as now, we love just one, like we’d absolutely love to love everyone. Like we would love to be loved.
For such a time as now, we live shaped like a Cross, reaching right out, because this how He begins to reshape the world.
When our “Why This” is made into “What For” — we find what we were made for —made for Brave Love, for Great Givenness, for Unafraid Joy — for such a time as now.
When all our Whys fade into What Fors, our deep pain leads into out deeper purpose.
(Ann Voskamp)

As the Field Service begins, we are corporately taking time to fix our eyes on the Kingdom of God.  Here on the Africa Mercy, our managing director asked us to consider what it would look like for, ‘His Kingdom to come and His will to be done’ for us here. I love these kinds of questions because I believe that’s exactly what God is calling us to – to partner with Him, in His dreams and in His plans, as he reveals Himself through all we do.  He has not called us to run nearly 20 courses, or travel the country to over 30 different Hospitals teaching about the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist, or prepare mentoring for over 50 Surgeons, Anesthesia providers and nurses or partner with the Cameroon Clubfoot program and train people how to straighten bent feet or select over 30 participants to take part in the Food for Life program just to keep us off the streets!

We believe we have been called to strengthen local surgical capacity and to somehow affect the 5 billion people in the world who lack access to safe, timely and affordable surgical care. We want to join the efforts around the world to transform surgery globally. What an incredible opportunity.

As a team, we are praying together for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done:

  •         We hope to continue building trust with our local partners and for God’s love to be seen in all of our interactions
  •       For our Ponseti program, to not just treat patients and provide training but to help broaden understanding and support for the Cameroon Clubfoot project.
  •          We pray we can find eager participants for all our courses and those who come will also have the authority to affect change in their work place.
  •          For our Courses, we teach using a ‘Train the trainer’ model. We hope to find excellent trainers who are willing and able to take the material they learn and continue teaching once we leave.
  •          For our Mentoring programs, I would like to see us continue to build a model that truly strengthens the professionals that work alongside us. This is complex as it involves a big commitment from the individuals as well as us. We pray we can really affect change in Cameroon as participants leave us having gained new skills that will enable people to access surgery here long after we have gone and for generations to come!
  •          Using the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist is mandatory in many operating rooms across the world. We hope to have conversations that explore whether this would also be a helpful step to make surgery safer here in Cameroon.
  •          In Madagascar and Benin we have been a part of initiating discussions with the Ministry of Health to create a National Surgical Plan. Often surgery does not feature heavily in a Country’s National Health plans – because it is so complex to fix. We hope to be a part of these discussions here in Cameroon.

This is just a taste of what God has put on our hearts and we are expectant to see Him open doors for us.

                                         Me and the Medical Capacity Building Team

May His Kingdom come and His will be done!

Love always, KWW