Ethiopia 2019 Team Update #6
July 28, 2019
Friday, July 26
Serving Vulnerable Families
Most of our teams were working alongside churches serving vulnerable children and their families today. Most of these kids live with one parent, or an older sibling or perhaps a grandparent. The churches invited, in advance, up to 100 exceptionally vulnerable children and parents/caretakers to come for a day of gospel-centered programs, indoor/outdoor games, lunch, prayer, care packages and encouragement. Hundreds of kids and adults in difficult life circumstances participated in these gatherings with the churches and our teams today.
Serving alongside local churches has been the focus of this trip and the MBC/Orphan Care Ethiopia efforts here over the past year. It’s been a joy to meet so many local church members who have a desire to get to know children in the orphanages and other difficult circumstances, and to help foster a willingness to have their heart broken in a way that honors the Lord. This weekend 175+ local church volunteers, 50+ mentors, and several mentor-trainers will gather together for training.
Our medical team on this trip consists of general practitioners, a neurosurgeon, an eye surgeon, nurses and other medical professionals. Each day the majority of the medical team heads out to team up with Ethiopian doctors and nurses to bring the best care available to vulnerable kids. On a typical day they will see 100+ babies, toddlers and/or teens, giving them a medical exam, creating a medical record and treating their ailments. Typically, an MBC team and a local church team will join up with the medical team at their location to engage with the kids through play and one-on-one discussions and prayer.
The two surgeons have focused most of their time operating on patients alongside medical residents, who are eager to learn. Dr. Leiphart, a neurosurgeon, taught Ethiopian neurosurgery residents how to perform some epilepsy surgeries using the equipment they had available. He also joined his team for a couple of shifts doing medical exams at the orphanages, for which his team provided him with a pediatric cheat sheet.
Our pediatric eye surgeon, Dr. Ellis, operated on 23 young patients this week, including Addis, one of the teenage girls at Kechene Orphanage who was cross-eyed and had long needed surgery, but never thought it was possible. Everyone rallied to make it happen for Addis. Her mentor-mom and a local OCE staff member got her to her pre- and post-op appointments and were by her side at the hospital. Addis, is thrilled to have had the surgery and is recovering nicely.
Throughout the week, we have been supplying local churches with items to give away to vulnerable children and families. These included toiletry packs for 1300 kids, clothing items for 500 kids, backpacks and school supplies for 250 kids and thousands of diapers, bibs, bottles and other baby items. Many of these items were donated by folks from MBC over the past several months. Team members Bert and Jamie Wicks, who celebrated their 2nd wedding anniversary this week, took responsibility for packing all these items and overseeing their transportation to Ethiopia. Thank you, MBC!