Thursday, June 4, 2009

Project MedSend...

In 1991, a survey showed that 33 mission agencies had 30 mission hospitals and clinics without a single health professional to minister to the sick and dying arriving at their doors. At the same time, some mission boards had 49 doctors as well as other health care professionals ready for service who were merely working to pay off their school loans. Project MedSend was formed at the request of Christian Medical & Dental Associations to prevent the delay of prospective missionaries from reaching their fields of service by overcoming the barrier of educational debt.

I worked full-time while I was in graduate school so that I was eligible for Vanderbilt’s tuition benefit. They covered 70-80% of my tuition costs (which was wonderful!), but I still graduated with about $7,000 in student loans. I applied for a Project MedSend grant in January, and found out last month that I was one of 45 they had selected this year! They will take over payments for my student loans when I go on salary with NMSI next March, and will continue to pay it as long as I am serving on the mission field! This grant is such a huge blessing, and reaffirms yet again that God has plans for me in Kenya!

P.S. – One requirement of Project MedSend before you leave for the field, is to attend a workshop about community health care in developing countries. That workshop happens to be another workshop at ECHO that I was planning to go to in October! Coincidence?…I think not:)

Florida escape...

Firsts from my recent trip to the CGO
(Center for Global Outreach for NMSI, my sending agency)
in Fort Myers, Florida:

- shot a cork gun

- went grocery shopping for a stranger
- danced the rumba
- went square dancing!

- modeled a friends beautiful hand-painted scarves

- visited a Florida winery
- sang karaoke!

- learned how to cook sukuma wiki and oogali (Kenyan dishes)!

There was also picnics and walks on the beach, putt-putt on a pirate ship, a Korean dinner party (thank you Shane & Helen!), road trip & concert in St. Pete, and so much fun fellowshipping with friends. I vividly remember once saying that I would never live Florida. Now, I long for this community when I’m away…I think it’s how God created us to live…sharing life, and loving and helping each other. Sadly, it’s hard to find many other places…

Gavin Degraw concert!!!


If you haven’t heard me talk about ECHO before, now is the time:) ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) is an absolutely amazing organization in Fort Myers, Florida that is fighting world hunger through agriculture. Angie (the other nurse that’s going to Kenya with me) and I were able to spend a week at the HIV/AIDS, Agriculture, & Nutrition workshop at ECHO in May. Through my nursing training, I’ve always known nutrition is important, but I can’t say that I realized the magnitude of its impact until recently, and how big of a part agriculture will play into the medical work Angie and I will be doing. I never thought I would be learning about agricultural techniques (‘crop propagation’ is now in my vocabulary), have thoughts about being a farmer (well…maybe gardener is a better word), or pick leaves off plants and eating them right then and there! :) I have now added to my prayer list that God lead an agricultural person to AfricaHope to help us out!

Moringa = the miracle plant!
I had never heard about Morniga until I went to ECHO. I don't know how that is because it is amazing. Among some of the amazing things it does include: fix malnutrition in children faster than conventional Western medicine, purify water, and when added to the diet with a grain called Amaranth can take away almost all HIV/AIDS symptoms because it makes those people that much healthier through nutrition that their medications work that much better! I'm convinced that Moringa is the tree mentioned in Exodus 15:25 :)

Harvesting Moringa off the ECHO farm

We then dried it, ground it, and sifted it...and now have Moringa powder to add to our food.

This handy dandy plant can almost "cure" you of malaria when you drink it in tea form 3 times a day! It is recommended that you combine it with Western meds, but still...pretty cool! Too bad it tastes horrible :(

Random picture...dirty feet after a day out on the farm!

One night we cooked dinner off of plants from the ECHO farm. This was our spread and lovely salad...pretty impressive!

I have a bunch more fun ECHO pictures on Facebook if you want to look...this is just the beginning:) Enjoy!