healing faith

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The initial surgery, performed by a Kenyan orthopedic surgeon, revealed Mark not only had a compound fracture of his ulna bone, but a comminuted fracture to his wrist as well. His wrist was shattered – like corn flakes. They cleaned the wound but because of the amount of swelling they only installed two pins to align the ulna bone. Once the swelling lessened two days later, Dr. Mara, a fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon from the USA performed a second surgery to install an external fixator which stabilized his arm and shattered wrist. In the meantime Mark developed a fever and was put on IV antibiotics. His blood oxygen level was very low and caused concern. It was finally determined that he had torn a chest muscle in the fall. His broken arm being placed on his chest was preventing him from breathing properly.

Life in an African hospital, even one as good as Kijabe Hospital is quite different from what we are used to here in the USA. His first night there, he shared a room with a Kenyan man and it seemed his whole family as well. They treated Mark like one of the family, sitting on his bed and talking late into the night. Mark was later moved to a quiet private room. Everything must be paid for in advance in Kenya, even in the hospital. Each time something was needed – x-rays, medication, surgery – Mark’s father would walk to the finance office, stand in line, and pay the bill in shillings, returning with a paid receipt.

Daily meals consisted of porridge, fruit and tea for breakfast, stewed goat and boiled kale for lunch and dinner. Water to drink needed to be brought in by family. Mark’s IVs and physical condition prevented him from using the much-needed mosquito net so the mosquitos buzzed in his ears all night. He wondered why the sun was up so early that first morning only to learn that it was the lights. They were kept on all night to keep the mosquitos away, which of course did not work. A storm came through that week and knocked out the electricity and water in the hospital for a couple of days, which would make hospital life difficult anywhere in the world.

Sylvia, Mark’s step-mom, stayed with him through the nights and most of the days, walking up the road to their room at a small hotel for short rests. She shared with me that her years of working as a night nurse had taught her how to sleep upright in a chair. She called me regularly to keep me informed. God bless her! Mark’s Dad rested and recovered from the grueling task he had of driving Mark to the hospital. When he was not taking care of hospital paperwork, he met with many Kenyan pastors and friends. Mark’s brothers, upon returning from their safari came and spent a day with him at the hospital. One morning while waiting in the hall for an x-ray, Mark noticed a patient lying on a cot that had on a J316 bracelet. J316 Ministries is a ministry that we have partnered with. How amazing was that!?

oceans

oceans

One night that was particularly difficult for Mark. His Dad and Sylvia had returned to Kisumu to retrieve their things, since they had left in such a hurry when the accident happened. Mark was alone and recounts how he felt such darkness and oppression. Across the hall an expat couple was having a baby. They played music and it began to fill Mark’s room and soul; beautiful soothing familiar music that God used to calm him and let him know He was with him. When asked, Mark would say the thing he remembers the most about his stay at Kijabe Hospital was the kind gracious care of the Kenyan people. He is most grateful. A friend from my childhood days in Suriname lives in Nairobi and another friend from high school lives in Kijabe. Having them there willing to help Mark as needed was such a huge comfort and blessing.

Finally seven days after being admitted, Mark was discharged from the hospital free of infection and with a long road of recovery ahead of him. He recovered for two nights with his parents at the AIM Mayfield Guest House, a wonderful bed and breakfast in Nairobi where he enjoyed hot showers, a comfortable room and flavorful foods as well as listening to stories of adventures in Africa from the other guests; expats and missionaries.

And then the day finally arrived for him and his brothers to travel home to America. There just aren’t words for the relief and joy when he was finally home.

{DISCLAIMER: For some reason this was not easy to write. It’s taken me months to even begin. It just did not flow, nor is it good writing. Maybe because it’s just the facts and it is Mark’s story not mine. Maybe now is not the time to share what is underneath the facts. I hope that will come sooner than later. Regardless, I wanted to write it down… to record the goodness of the Lord, whether my writing is good or not.}

Read other posts about Mark’s African Adventure:

#1 faith not fear {Mark’s Africa trip} (the reason)

#2 faith in the middle of fear (the accident)

#3 traveling with fear (the trip to the hospital)

Heartfelt thanks to Mark’s brother, Paul De Jong, who generously shared his amazing professional photographs from this trip to Africa with us. Be sure to check out his photography website. He is also writing a series of historical novels of adventure and romance set in South Africa in the 1960’s.

11 responses »

  1. Good morning Luti, Thanks for the post. You have done a good job, in my opinion. Wonderful to see how God intervened in the situation. Good to hear the doctor is pleaswed with the progress. See you tomorrow for lunch and Edit. Love you, Mom

  2. I appreciated reading this – and seeing the pictures. I attended RVA and visited Kijabe Hospital often. Have also stayed in Mayfield guesthouse. Those pictures are as I remembered. However the hospital looks like it’s added a second story and grown a lot.

    Anyway…glad Mark is making good progress and was able to receive the care he did.

  3. Thank you, Ruthi, for finally telling the story. Have wondered since requests for prayers first went out what the outcome was. Having gone through such a long, hard battle with cancer where my husband was operated on for prostate cancer, had an eye condition which required two cornea transplants, radiation burns which required two surgeries, bone cancer which broke his C-2 and then the re-building of the C-2 and then cancer to the esophagus which required nasal tube feeding…a process of 9+ yrs. some on a walker, some in a wheel chair but praise God only one day in bed. It took me a long while to deal with it all, which included a move from Atlanta to Birmingham, 3 yrs. before his death. Only God is able to take care of all these things and allow us to deal with them one day at a time in faith that He will never leave us NOR forsake us. To Him be the glory!

    • Barb, I have missed you 🙂 Thanks for sharing your journey and how God proved Himself faithful. I hope to write more sooner than later.

  4. Thanks, Ruthi! Praising God with you for His faithfulness! Loved reading your post and seeing the pictures. You all will remain in our prayers.

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