Brett and Sheri MacLean
Prayer Letter/Ministry Update
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Help From a Neighbor
This 5 year-old boy named Seydou was dying at home during the night due to severe malaria. His father didn't have any money and was in debt to many people. His neighbor saw the child and insisted that he bring the child to our hospital. The father refused saying that he could not take on any more debt. The poorest of Malians often find themselves so indebted to others that no one will help them even when it is a matter of life or death. Despite this, the neighbor picked up the unconscious child and brought him to us at 2AM. His blood count was immediately obtained and was lower than normally humanly possible (Hemoglobin 1.5 g/dl). He was immediately transfused and treated for malaria and he miraculously survived. By the day of discharge their bill was $50. The neighbor paid $30 and the rest was covered by the Koutiala benevolent fund (http://tinyurl.com/khpoorfund) Thank you for your support!
We continue to see treatable as well as untreatable forms of childhood cancer, rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. Mamadou and Abi are 2 of our more recent survivors both with different forms of lymphoma. Yet Sheri, along with others, continues to provide comfort care as well to those dying of cancer. We sadly had to watch as Moussa wasted away to skin and bones as he slowly died over months. He was an illegitimate child and was often treated as such in his home village. During the months he was here, he was able to see his importance as a child of God and his extreme value in God's and our eyes. We miss his smile and the way he patrolled the pediatric building as if he was the one in charge. Moussa passed quietly away as he was listening to Sheri sing with his grandmother "An taato file san fe. (We are on our way to heaven) An ka so nyuman de be yen (Our beautiful home is there). Matigi taara an nye fe (God has gone before us). An bee taa sigi a fe (We will all go sit next to Him)." Thank you for your prayers and support of the Great Commission Fund which enables us to serve in Mali and show the love and power of Christ to these children.
Body, Mind and Spirit...Helping to Provide Education
We often take for granted in the U.S. that if we work hard and apply ourselves, we can achieve almost anything. But this is not a given in Mali. Good education is hard to find. Illiteracy is roughly 80%, and government schools, including elementary, have over 100 children per teacher. Even this low level of education is out of reach for many. One of our leukemia patients Kadia (pictured to the left) comes from a large family where no one has attended school. When we asked what was preventing her from going, her parents informed us that she lacked a birth certificate that costs $10. We have now provided both her and her older brother with a birth certificate as he had looked at us sheepishly and said that he also wanted to go to school. His birth certificate will say 6 years old regardless of his actual age as the government will not allow older children to start school.
And for girls like Elizabeth, one of our juvenile insulin-dependent diabetics who had never attended school and is too old to pass for 6, there are not any public schooling options. Thankfully, as you may remember from our prior updates, we enrolled her into a 3-year school for uneducated teenage girls. She is learning life-skills such as sewing as well as learning to read and write, giving her the ability to read the Bible and gain a deeper understanding of her new faith. Unfortunately the C&MA that founded the school no longer has the funds to financially support it and the school is at risk of closing. Each girl's family pays $80 per year, and in the past the mission paid the additional required $80. We want to provide the necessary $2500 to keep this school open. Giving towards our work will help make this happen. We have also helped build a Christian high school in Koutiala. Not only is quality education rare, but so is a safe place for young women to learn without inappropriate pressure from their male teachers. This new high school will be a great place of education for Koutiala and the surrounding area. If you are interested in learning more about this project, please write us. Thanks!
We continue to see cases of tetanus every 3 or 4 months. Usually these are newborns such as our current patient to the left. He was still this rigid after 10 days of antibiotic and antibody therapy, requiring oxygen, heavy sedation, and continuous IV fluids for survival. Neonatal tetanus is devastatingly severe despite the fact that 1 simple vaccine to the mother while pregnant prevents the illness. We occasionally see older children (such as 14yo Moumine to the right) with tetanus as well since the government tetanus vaccines are only for pregnant women and babies up to 3 months old.
The Body's Coup d'Etat
We see tons of autoimmune illnesses at our hospital. These are illnesses where the body develops antibodies that attack itself. Other health centers in Mali see every illness as being due to microbes and they treat everything as such. So, in addition to all the microbial illnesses that we see, we also are presented with all the autoimmune cases that can't get diagnosed elsewhere in Mali. In training my staff, I use an analogy from Africa. I tell them that governments can't just look for an attack to come from outside one's borders but to think about a coup d'etat, an attack from within. These medical "coup d'etats" are numerous and include such illnesses as asthma, eczema, nephrotic syndrome, psoriasis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, insulin-dependent diabetes, and lupus. Most medications for these illnesses have to be brought in from the U.S. Without the care of the Koutiala Hospital, these children would suffer greatly and many would not have a chance to live. One such case is this 16 year-old girl named Fatoumata. She arrived unable to walk due to extreme joint pain and swelling as well as blindness in her right eye due to eye inflammation and kidney problems. We diagnosed her as most likely having lupus and treated her with numerous medications. Her sight returned and her pain and swelling disappeared. Thank you for your support that enables us to help people like Fatoumata!
Be sure to view Sheri's Children's Hospital Blog for more untold stories including "Before and After" pictures:
Phase 1 of the hospital solar project with the installation of 207 panels is complete! Thank you! Here is our "Power of Solar" video:
We continue to raise funds for the hospital as we need solar batteries for stable night-time power, but for now our main focus is fundraising for our hospital-associated 8 rural health centers. Most of these don't have any power, and none have the power to run even one oxygen machine. For $10,000 we can set up one health center with 24 hour solar + battery power as well as a solar water pump which will provide enough power to run life-saving medical equipment such as 1 oxygen machine or a nebulizer for asthma. Trying to improve health conditions in Mali is so difficult without power, but thankfully God has given Mali a surplus of sun. Now all we need are the funds to catch that power. Thank you for all your giving and prayers for our solar program! Whenever the sun feels bright and hot, be reminded of how your support makes a lasting difference here in Mali!
GREAT COMMISSION FUND
Thank you for your investment in us and our ministry! The primary investment vehicle to support our work is the Great Commission Fund. Contributions can be made through a local Alliance church, on line at http://www.cmalliance.org/give or by sending a check to the C&MA, PO Box 35000, Colorado Springs, CO 80935-3500. You may designate your gift to support us by writing "for the support of Brett,Sheri MacLean" on the memo line. This personalizes your gift and helps us be here and carry out our ministry. For those of you able to support our work fund, here is the link to the secure site for tax-deductible donations: http://tinyurl.com/macleanworkfund Thank you for partnering with us!
Brett, Sheri, Dawson, Kenan, and Silas
Prayer Requests/Answers to Prayer
ANSWERS TO PRAYER
Good readjustment to Mali despite the often sad situations that we are surrounded by
That our children see Mali as their one and only home
For the completion of the 1st Phase of the Hospital Solar Power plan
Anna Boyer has agreed to return next year to continue teaching our boys! If you would like to help fund her, please contact us.
Teammate John Gililland who received treatment for brain cancer has returned to Mali!
For our increasing numbers of Malian children with chronic, relatively expensive, health conditions. That we would be able to financially care for them as well as demonstrate the love and power of Christ to them.
Wisdom and protection for us to avoid overworking during this time when our 2nd pediatrician Jason will be in the US for 3 months and 2 of our 4 top pediatric nurses are busy in advanced nursing school.
That we would seek God's will and follow Him in everything that we do.
Updated: December 13, 2012
- Children's Names
- Field Assignment
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