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

First American baby born in South Sudan-- at Bet Eman

The following is a letter recently received from friends of ours, fellow missionaries in Yei, South Sudan, who delivered their first child here at Bet Eman.

Dear Servants of Harvesters and Bet Eman/His House of Hope,

We are writing this letter to thank you for your efforts on behalf of our family, update you on our progress and request your continued prayers.

My wife, Nancy, was scheduled to return to the US this week because our first child is due in December.  Nancy, however, went  into labor last Saturday, October 20, 2012. The Medical Team at Bet Eman knew a premature birth of this nature might exceed the capacity of their facilities, but they courageously worked to save the child's life. The doctor initially treated Nancy with a medicine to stop/delay the contractions, but the labor continued. They also injected her with steroids hoping that (with time) the treatment would transfer from Nancy's blood stream to the baby's, in order to strengthen baby's lungs. They hoped that the contractions would stop for 48 hours... but the labor continued.  Given the circumstances, once the baby was born, the head doctor advised a medical evacuation out of South Sudan to a hospital with a neo-natal care unit.

During all of these events, Nancy and I felt the presence of God in every step of the birth and evacuation. A short-term Mission Team from Wisconsin arrived days earlier to our town in South Sudan with medical equipment from the US which was used for the first time during Nancy's delivery. The head of the short-term mission team was a Pediatrician and his wife a nurse; they joined the hospital's staff and worked tirelessly to care for Nancy and the baby. Dr. Jeff Perry, the hospital's Head Doctor, remained composed, attentive, thorough and optimistic throughout the entire procedure. While his wife, Elizabeth, drew from years of experience mothering nine children and her graduate degree in Public Health to coach Nancy during the labor. In addition, we were surrounded by the prayers of dozens of South Sudanese mothers and children who left their own hospital beds to stand at the entrance of our door to pray. Many believe this level of medical assistance is unheard of in a country which was recently identified on International Women's Day as "the worst place in the world for a woman to give birth."

When the child was born, the doctor's assessed that a "CPAP Machine" (also known as a "Continuous Positive Airways Machine" was needed. They, however, did not own this expensive machine, so they used a device which was fashioned together months ago with plastic tubes, a cup of water and several small bands. This device was made "in the event" that a CPAP machine was ever needed.  And it worked beautifully, absolutely beautifully. The Medical Team also used the only incubator in town to stabilize the baby.

After the child's breathing steadied, a chain of colleagues from the Presbyterian Church USA, RECONCILE International, Yei's Immigration Office(S. Sudan), Juba Immigration Office (S. Sudan), the United States Embassy in Kenya and several NGOs secured an air evacuation plane holding a nurse, a doctor, and all the medical equipment needed to care for our baby. They flew into Yei, landed on the dirt airstrip, fixed the incubator into a Land Cruiser, transferred the baby into their medical equipment and flew us to Nairobi, Kenya. Once we arrived in Nairobi, an ambulance met us on the runway and hurried us to Aga Khan Hospital where the child was admitted immediately into neo-natal ICU.

As you can imagine, the last few days have been quite challenging, but we are convinced that through this process the Lord has revealed the height and depth of God's love through the hands of our South Sudanese, American and Kenyan sisters and brothers. We are happy to report baby continues to improve day by day. To God be the glory.  The US Embassy in Nairobi has also informed us that according to their records, little "Jordan Eman" is the first American born in the new country of South Sudan. (The 1st baby born from American-born parents).

To God be the glory for the life which has been given to our child and the hope which has been shared with us. I am receiving treatment for Malaria, but the doctors believe my condition will be remedied with rest and medication during the next few days. Nancy continues to make great strides in her recovery from labor and she has received outstanding care from Aga Khan Hospital since our arrival in Kenya.  Lastly, the doctors believe Jordan will shortly be moved out of ICU, and we are prayerful that he will continue to improve each day. We ask for your prayers for Jordan's continued progress and our rest.

Please feel free to share this with anyone who will pray for Jordan and our family.

Thank you.

In God's Grace,
Shelvis, Nancy & Jordan

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 19:16

Page 5 of 10

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.


Exciting Bridge Jeff and Elizabeth had to cross
Filtering water one bottle at a time
Moyo District - our new home
Our property with Mango and Avacado trees and a soccer area for kids to play once we mow.
Hazel in our new kitchen.  Here you have to provide everything:  cabinets, counters, applicances
Exciting Bridge Jeff and Elizabeth had to cross
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