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Return to East Africa: One week

As we have been making preparations for our return to South Sudan in January, we have been saddened to hear of fighting along tribal divisions in the army of South Sudan. Our sending agency, Pioneers, and the ministry of Harvesters have been closely monitoring the situation there, and up until December 20th, they felt it was safe for the missionaries in Yei to remain. We were on the phone with our teammates on the ground in South Sudan last week, getting the latest from those in the midst of it. Last Friday, however, our missionary team met, prayed and felt the time had come to close down the hospital and leave for Uganda. They were scheduled to leave on January 2 for a conference in Ethiopia, but felt it was prudent to follow the advice of many to evacuate at this time.

Elizabeth and I have both sensed from the Lord that we are to return to East Africa, but we are uncertain in what capacity and place He will use us. Our hearts long to return immediately to the people of South Sudan and the work of which we were a part of beginning together with the team at His House of Hope Hospital-- but this may not be what God has for us right now. He is Sovereign, and He alone knows the outcome of this situation. We DO know that His goal is not any particular work, but that we and the people of South Sudan know Him Himself.

With that in mind, the guidance we are both sensing is to still plan to leave the US on January 2, fly to Ethiopia, and attend the conference with the rest of our team. We will then proceed to Uganda and reassess the situation for the people and our return to South Sudan (January 11-16). Historically, missionaries seeking to serve the people of South Sudan have spent a considerable amount of their time doing so from the neighboring countries of Uganda and Kenya (there are many refugees who reside there). Perhaps we are entering a time such as this; or, perhaps the Lord will allow continued progress within South Sudan for the sake of those who know suffering too well.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 21:06

Where in the World is the Perryclan?!

Where are we?!  Right now, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.  Last week, we were in Wisconsin, and before that, we were traversing the Eastern Seaboard of the US!  Thanks to the Lord inspiring Elizabeth to drive & praise most of the night through South Dakota, we covered Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and part of Wyoming in one stretch (1,050 miles).  

To date, we have covered 11,004 miles in 11 weeks... spanning 4 time zones, 35 states, 2 oceans, 2 Great Lakes, and one Canadian province.  Yet to go: another 3,000 miles, a 5th time zone, and 5 more states! Why all this crazy driving?!

People.  We are on "Home Assignment"-- a time to connect with people-- old friends, family, and new friends.  God has been faithful to raise up people who partner with us in the ministry we have been called to in South Sudan.  These people hail from many places-- from Florida to Alaska; from southern Colorado to New Hampshire; from Colorado to the Republic of Texas-- and MANY places in between.  

For this reason, we feel compelled to see people face to face.  In this age of "screens," nothing beats a good old-fashioned face-to-face, in-the-flesh visit.  (See photos above for just a few of the great faces we've seen!)

[Contrary to public opinion, this is not a vacation!  We are weary as we travel, and we covet your prayers as we do what the Lord  has told us to do.]

We are grateful to those who have welcomed us into their homes and lives for a morsel of time together.  Just as it pleases a parent to see children taking care of one another, it pleases God when His children love one another.

What next?  We will be in Colorado for the fall, then return to South Sudan in early January to resume the medical work and discipleship to which we have been called.  Thank you for joining with us!  Please connect with us-- see email link on this page.

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 16:12

The Most Common Medical History in Early Wet Season

As the rains start and the mangoes ripen, we spend less and less time getting a medical history and more time doing X-Rays and splints.  What is the this most common history you ask?!

"Fell from mango tree"

We almost don't need to ask when a young boy, man, or even a pregnant woman arrives with a deformed arm, leg, or a head injury, because it almost assuredly the "same same" history.  One of the founders of Harvesters, Pastor Dennis Klepp, is convinced that the fruit in the Garden of Eden was a mango, as he has seen people risk their lives over and over again to get these succulent morsels.

It wouldn't be so bad, except the fruit grows high in the tree, which can reach 40-50 feet in height, with the lower branches usually starting at about 10-12 feet.  

In the last week at His House of Hope, we have diagnosed, treated, and/or referred the following injuries: 14 year old boy with bilateral humerus fractures (one open), 8 year old boy with right femur fracture, 12 year old boy with fracture-dislocation of the elbow, adult man with comminuted skull fracture and traumatic brain injury, and many minor injuries that I can't even begin to list...

Pray that the people can safely enjoy the delicious food that God provides, and/or that they grow closer to Jesus as they heal from their injuries!

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 April 2013 17:36

Saving Baby Jordan - 1st American Born in South Sudan

Brooke (CNN) talks to Nancy and Shelvis Smith-Mather about the harrowing experience of their child's birth in South Sudan.  Click to watch the video.

More information in this letter.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 21:35

Medical and Family: Discipleship Snapshots

We'd like to share several recent examples of discipleship happening in our midst, as "word" snapshots...

  • As we sat outside of the CT scanner in Kampala, Uganda waiting to do a follow up scan after Given's head injury, we were struck by this image: Eva and Logan sitting on either side of a young M. girl about their age, dressed in the traditional head covering (b-ka).  They then quietly pull out their Bibles and begin to "feed their spirit" by reading God's Word to themselves.  It was humbling to watch as they did this, of their own accord, not because of our urging, and this young girl watched with curiosity as they did so.  What the impact of their actions is we will never know, but we simply live our lives and obey the Lord, and trust He is working in that little girl's life.  We didn't have a camera, nor would we have felt it appropriate to take a picture if we did, but the image will be forever burned in our minds.
  • Two high school students have been following Jeff for over a year as he does medical work-- whenever they are on a break from school.  Recently they finished the top level they are able to do in South Sudan, and are awaiting their results before pursuing further education in Uganda & Kenya.  In the meantime, His House of Hope has hired them on as medical assistants, along with another female student interested in being a nurse.  Over the last few weeks, they have learned to sterilize instruments, take vital signs, keep up the medical registers, and many other things.  One skill they are mastering is assisting in surgery.  While finishing up the 4th C-section of the week, I was struck by the fact that we were operating on complex patients in a resource-limited setting with a couple of high school students scrubbed in to help-- and doing a good job of it!  I said to one of them, "You are doing much more and have seen much more than I ever did at your age!  You will be a great doctor.  You just need to hurry up and finish your education so you can come back and relieve me!"
  • Recently, our own children have also started helping out in the hospital.  In her first few forrays into the hospital, our oldest daughter witnessed a one year old die of malaria, 2 C-sections (including holding the premature, 2 lb 14 oz baby after delivery), and assisted her dad with hand surgery.
Part of the reality of life is that there are many more disappointing examples than these positive ones.  We continue to disciple our own children, which is not always pretty.  Even as I have been writing this, my wife and I have had to break up a nearly physical fight between two of our girls-- over a shirt!  We share this so you know the whole story, because it is true, and so you are not tempted to think more highly of us than you ought.  We are an ordinary family, with toddlers to teenagers, simply walking out the call Jesus has put on our lives.  "AS YOU GO, OBEY and make disciples of all nations..."

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 19:16

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Our Mission:

Share the gospel of Jesus Christ and strengthen His Church through medical care and education, discipleship, and loving the people of South Sudan as a family.

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