September 2010

Cheryl Gayle on September 24, 2010

   “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe…” (Heb 12:28).  These are appropriate words for us at any time as Christians, as we’re being “shaken…..so that what cannot be shaken may remain.”  This has been a month of “shaking” but also blessings. With only two full-time medical doctors at our hospital---Michael & Dr. Russ Ebersole---they have had their hands full.  It seems like there are no slow days anymore.  We have been blessed with different short termers though who have helped to fill in the gap. 

College Park in Indianapolis graciously spread out their medical team over about 8 weeks this summer to give the guys some relief.  When their team finished, we were blessed with a team from Bible Center Church in Charleston, WV  (GO WV!!!).     We talk about being shaken this month, because we felt like we had everything under control and going “our way,” but “our ways are not necessarily His Ways.”    While one of the doctors was here from College Park, he needed an emergency appendectomy.  He recovered well, but there was some concern about him until he was diagnosed and taken care of!  (He got to experience missions from the “patient’s” viewpoint!)  Thankfully, for Michael & Russ, he was only down for a couple of days, and then he went right back on call before he left.  He must be really tough or got excellent care (or both!).     

Then, within almost the same few days, one of our dear friends, Hilary Lapham, an anesthesiologist was having severe back pain that resulted in her having to have abdominal  surgery.  She and her husband (Dr. Dave Harris a cardio/thoracic surgeon) were planning on covering surgical/anesthesia needs for 3-4 weeks in mid Dec-mid-Jan, but at this time they are out of the picture until 2011. (Hilary is doing very well now and recovering nicely at home in South Africa.)     Now we’re back to the “drawing board” with another surgical (& anesthesia) hole. 

Then almost the same time as all this was going on, another dear friend, Dr. Ken Petersen (OB/GYN, who was coming out to cover OB/GYN surgical needs) got ill on his way to Lomé via Brussels and had to pull out of his expected arrival and coverage.  (Thankfully he is home now and getting help.)  This e-mail is almost sounding like something from the book of Job!  We were blessed though, when Dr. Fred Bahnson agreed to stay over an extra 10 days to help cover some OB/GYN surgery until we could get another surgeon here.    

And,  we were very blessed when Dr. Bruce Deckinga agreed at almost the last minute to fill in for a two week gap at the end of Sept into Oct for the hospital. These “incidents” look very “little” when they are written down, but while we’re going through them, as well as trying to maintain the day to day ministry here, they can be very overwhelming.  And all that we can do is to “cry out to God” for His help and interventions.   This has been a really tough month, but also a great month as we’ve seen His Hand in all these “little things” over and over again.

 A couple of amazing patient stories.  First of all, Baby Sarah who was born prematurely last fall and abandoned at our hospital has been adopted by a Togolese Family.  The parents are employed by the hospital, are strong Christians, and live in Adéta (right by the hospital.)  Pray for the adjustments that will be needed by all concerned.  The parents are adopting a 9 month old who has had constant attention and never slept in “the dark.”  We pray for good bonding between them.  Also, there was a man, just this week, who arrived at our hospital with an open compound fracture of his lower leg.  He had injured his leg in a moto accident 19 days before.  He had been to the “traditional” healer and been treated there.  For “some reason” this didn’t work, and he showed up at our hospital with a gangrenous lower leg.  He had to have his leg amputated.  While he was on the operating room table, our physician assistant anesthetist,  David shared the gospel with him.  The patient accepted Christ.  And as Dr. Fred said, “While the man was losing his physical body part, he was gaining eternal life.  The man lost what he could not keep, but gained what he could not lose!”  The patient prayed and then just started singing praises to God during the amputation.  It was a very touching and emotional time. 

We are in a spiritual battle, and we know that Satan does not want us to succeed.  He wants us to be discouraged.  We are weary and overwhelmed. But at the same time, we are so blessed with how God meets our needs.   Please keep praying for us.  We need more missionaries to join in the harvest here.  The harvest is great, but the laborers are few!   

For His Glory,  Michael  & Cheryl Gayle, ABWE

Medical Missionaries and church planters in Togo, W. Africa

 P.S.  Another blessing that we are looking forward to is our daughter, Stephanie, and her husband, Scott, coming to see us as we write this e-mail!  Them being here will be an encouragement to us.  Michael will be able to take off a few days at the end of their visit because our good friends Dr. Dave Oviatt and Dr. Susie Redecky coming to Togo to help out for 2 months the beginning of Oct.  We really look forward to all of them coming.  Keep the prayers flowing!