Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

We hope this finds you all well.

We came back from Cameroon in May to resettle in the US so we could be closer to our families. This summer we had the great opportunity to travel around the US by car for 2 months visiting many family and friends and seeing many sights. We appreciate all of you who were so hospitable and generous with time, resources, and places for 6 of us to stay as we travelled along.

Since August we have been living in Frazier Park, CA,  about an hour from Jennifer's parents. It is a small rural community of about 2000 people nestled in the Los Padres National Forest at an elevation of 4,600 feet and a few miles off I-5.

The children are going to a small public charter school called "Peak to Peak" that sits surrounded by national forest at an elevation of over 6200 feet. It has a total of 80 children in K - 8th with multiple grade levels in one classroom. Christopher and Elizabeth are in 8th grade, Julianne is in 6th and Nicholas is in 4th. All of them are really enjoying their new school and making new friends.

Brent and Jennifer are working with Clinica Sierra Vista.  This is a very large federally qualified health center system in California (third largest the the nation) with over 1000 employees operating out of 70 sites in Kern and Fresno counties. The clinic we are working at is in Lebec, CA. Besides the two of us (who share one full-time job), there is a pediatric nurse practitioner who comes twice a week and a OB/Gyn who comes once a month. The communities that the clinic serves are anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours from any other healthcare services. So, for as close as we are to LA, the location is relatively rural.  There is one flashing red light on the 17 mile road connecting the 5 mountain communities. Reminds us a bit of the rural places we've lived in other countries.

We are enjoying the work and slowly coming around to the electronic medical record.   Clinica Sierra Vista is very interested in allowing us to continue our mission service and will allow us a month off (in addition to vacation time) to return to the missions every year.  In addition, we are hoping to start a global health track with the family practice residency program that is associated with the Clinica system in Bakersfield.  

While we miss many things from the mission field, we are grateful for our new life in the US and the opportunities to put service into action here. We are profoundly thankful for your prayers and support over the past 6 years while we were with Mission Doctors Association. Please continue to support MDA and their work to support missionaries around the world.

God bless you and your loved ones. We hope the holidays bring peace and joy.

Brent, Jennifer, Christopher, Elizabeth, Julianne and Nicholas



Friday, May 6, 2016

Dear family and friends,

We will be returning to the US in mid May 2016.   We are going back to be closer to our parents who are growing older. It is hard to leave Cameroon, but we feel that it is important for us to be at home at
this time.

We want to thank all of you for your support over the last 6 years. When we arrived in Guatemala in February 2010, we never imagined the gifts that God would bring to our family and to each of us individually as we've tried to answer God's call.  Thank you for allowing this to happen. Through your prayers and support we have truly seen God's presence here on earth. 

Our time in Cameroon has been very special. We have been inspired by the witness of the Tertiary Sisters if St. Francis in their service to the sick and poor.

We will especially miss the patients and friends we have made here. The patients are so grateful. Out of their small resources they often show their gratitude with a bag of corn or beans or avocados. We will miss the rain, mangos,ndole and ground nut soup. We will miss living so close to the hospital, school and church that we can walk to each in less than 10 minutes. We will miss feeling needed and wanted in our work. We will miss the faithfulness of the people. We will miss the slower pace of life and having more family time. We will even miss homeschooling.

Please continue to pray for God’s healing to come down on the patients in Guatemala and Cameroon, for the staff as they continue to serve those in need, and for our family as we move back to the US.

Again, thank you for making this life changing experience possible for our family. We will continue this blog during our transition back and invite you to continue following us.


Peace and love to you and your loved ones,
 Brent, Jennifer, Christopher, Elizabeth, Julianne and Nicholas


May 2010, not long after our arrival in Guatemala

February 2016, family photo at the Sonshine Christian Academy in Cameroon

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Nelly

Nelly is a 6 year old boy who presented with measles. It is not common to see measles in the US or
even here in Cameroon due to vaccination.

Besides the measles, he was secondarily infected with pneumonia. He was very sick, requiring oxygen for several days. He is better in the photo although still looks sick. His 3 and 4 year old brothers were also admitted in the same room, also with measles and severe secondary infections.

They all recovered and at discharge were back to normal.



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Yaya

Yaya is an 8 year old child who was recently admitted with fever and vomiting and found to be unconscious and anemic. He began to have seizures shortly after admission.

He was diagnosed with cerebral malaria and severe anemia, given IV fluids, malaria treatment, antibiotics, anti-seizure medication, and had a blood transfusion.

After about 5 days of waiting and reassurance to his parents, Yaya began to wake up. A few days later, he was talking, playing, eating, and walking without difficulty.

It is amazing how fast children can bounce back after a serious illness!


Monday, September 21, 2015

Project Hope Play House

We've had this old refrigerator box in the house since we arrived. A volunteer who supports Project Hope gave us the idea to make a house out of it.

Project Hope is the hospital department that works with all the HIV positive adults and children. The have support groups for adults and HIV clubs for the children.  

Our kids had a wonderful time painting it and playing in it. Then we took it to the playroom at Project Hope where it was a big hit. A lot of times with children the best present is the box, not what's inside.



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This child came in with severe blistering cellulitis of her leg.

She was a really stoic child and never really cried, but also never really smiled... that is until she was ready to go home.

Who could resist a face like that!



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Water


Like in California and other parts of the US, shortage of water has been a huge problem for the hospital compound this year. Even though the rainy season started in March, the hospital (for unclear reasons) did not have a steady supply of water until the beginning of July. This meant only a few hours of running water every day in the hospital as well as in our house. Water would come on at about 4-5am and was sometimes out by 6am. We had a system of filling garbage cans, buckets, water bottles, etc... which took up to 45 minutes every day. No water went down the drain without being used at least 2 or 3 times. For example, we could wash vegetables, then use that water to wash dishes, and finally to flush the toilet. Water's last stop was almost always the toilet. Our whole family could make it on about 50 liters a day, maybe a bit more if it was bucket bath day!

Not having water in the hospital was even more problematic. Can you imagine being a nurse taking care of patients or a doctor on ward rounds and not being able to wash your hands? Hand sanitizer only goes so far.