Institute of World Missions

We just spent three of the most incredible weeks of our lives. 56 strangers from 20 countries became dear sweet friends, bonded to us like family. We learned a whole new vocabulary with words such as syncretism, contexualization, and ethnographic (spell checker doesn’t even recognize them). So how to share that with you? Well pictures are worth a thousand words.

(Go to our “Definitions” page to find out what those terms mean.)

Our studious table, with representatives from Switzerland, Nigeria, Micronesia, Rwanda, and the token Americans

Our studious table, with representatives from Switzerland, Nigeria, Micronesia, Rwanda, and the token Americans


On our ethnographic field trip to Buchanan, getting to know the local culture, one ice cream at a time.

On our ethnographic field trip to Buchanan, getting to know the local culture, one ice cream at a time.


Prayer retreat Sabbath morning.

Prayer retreat Sabbath morning.


Impromptu sing-a-long Friday Night

Impromptu sing-a-long Friday Night


Lunch--no chairs, no utensils, lots of plastic on the carpet.  Need I say more?

Lunch–no chairs, no utensils, lots of plastic on the carpet. Need I say more?


Mason and Akin teaching us a Nigerian song.

Mason and Akin teaching us a Nigerian song.


Tailgate picnic in Battle Creek, a new experience for our African friends.

Tailgate picnic in Battle Creek, a new experience for our African friends.


The West African Division (WAD) physicians and families.

The West African Division (WAD) physicians and families.


Friday night foot washing in the garden at PMC.

Friday night foot washing in the garden at PMC.


The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

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A Cross Cultural Missionary

The statue of J N Andrews and family  in front of Pioneer Memorial Church at Andrews University

The statue of J N Andrews and family in front of Pioneer Memorial Church at Andrews University

When I was a little boy I wanted to be a missionary when I grew up. In Sabbath School (the Adventist version of Sunday School) I proudly wore the little head mirror they had for the little boys to denote a missionary doctor (the girls all had nurses caps, this was before the days of gender equality) and I sang about going to the mission lands with gusto. I read Singer on the Sand, and It Came in Handy and other mission stories.

When I was 12 my family moved to Bangkok, Thailand. And although my dad worked for the US government and not the GC we lived close to the mission compound. I went to school with the missionary kids and I hung out with the Student Missionaries. That further fueled my desire to be a missionary, especially a student missionary.

But life seemed to interfere with that dream. Until last Wednesday morning in class at Mission Institute. I felt a tap on my shoulder and was handed an envelope. Inside were two laminated cards—missionary credentials for Bekki and I, signed by Ted Wilson himself (the GC President). I have to confess that for me it was an emotional moment, I was an official Seventh-day Adventist missionary! To be honest, that card means more to me than my medical license does, which I know sounds strange, but it is true. I also know that I have not experienced the hardships that go along with full time mission work yet, but I hope and pray that I never lose that sense of privilege to be called to do this work for God.

Surrounding  Africa with love at Andrews University

Surrounding Africa with love at Andrews University


All that being said in the last year I have learned something that I think is even more important. And that is the fact that as Christians God has called each one of us to be missionaries for Him. Most He has called to be missionaries right where they live, in their home culture. Some are needed as missionaries in their home, not just in their town or city. Then there are those of us He has called to serve Him in faraway lands like Africa or Asia or South America.

And that is where the term “Cross Cultural Missionary” comes in. Those of us who minister in another culture are cross cultural missionaries. That is what we spent three weeks at Mission Institute learning about and preparing for. But there is something else I have come to realize. If I can’t be a missionary at home I won’t be a missionary in Africa either. Oh I may go, but I will be as effective as a leaky raft on a lake.

So I pray that along with the wonder and excitement of being a cross cultural missionary for the Seventh-day Adventist Church will be the willingness to share the knowledge of a real and relevant God to others wherever I am. To be a missionary.

For those of you new to our blog, read about us and our upcoming mission to Africa in the “About Us” page, then there is a “Timeline” page that tells you where we will be this year, a “Definitions” page that explains some terms that may be unfamiliar to some of you. And finally a “Video” page that has videos on it. Also check out the links to other Mission Hospitals to find other missionary blogs.

– Scott Gardner

Mike and Chris

Mike and Chris Kelly

Mike and Chris Kelly

At the end of our last posting “Moved” I promised to share how we planned to use the generous donation of $10,000.00. In order to explain it properly I must introduce you to Mike and Chris Kelly.

We have known Mike and Chris for close to 20 years. We lived in Tillamook, OR near them. In fact I would often have to dodge Chris’s ducks in the road on my way to work in the mornings. Our relationship changed, however in 2004 when they became part of the first and second Tillamook SDA Church India Mission Teams with us. We were so impressed with their hard work, dedication, and always positive cheery attitude, no matter what what thrown at them.

Fast forward now to August, 2012. Sabbath afternoon we were sitting on the porch swing reading the Advent Review, our churches world-wide magazine. There was an article about Riverside Farms in Africa.

“Hey, isn’t that where Mike and Chris worked?”

“Yes, I believe so, we should call them, let them know what is up in our lives.”

Now we start fantasizing…

“Wouldn’t it be great if they would…, no never mind, I heard they are headed to Mozambique, they are already committed.”

“Well, you never know, maybe they might…, let’s call them”

So call we did. After a few surprised pleasantries as they had not heard from us for a while, we were given the sad news, Mozambique had fallen through. And they were still trying to recover from it. They had put a lot of effort into it and the rug was quite rudely pulled out from under them.

Bekki and I looked at each other, and gently launched into a sales pitch.

“You know, when God closes a door, He often opens a window, or another door.”

“We know some people that could use a couple with your qualifications and skills in West Africa.”

And so we indirectly started them thinking about Africa again.

Over the course of the next few months we talked and e-mailed and pointed out this opportunity and that opportunity for ministry in Koza to them. You see, I haven’t told you yet, but Mike comes to the table with 40 years of nursing experience, he has a Masters degree in International Public Health. He has worked in just about every area of nursing, including administration and education. Chris is no less qualified with her masters in Early Childhood Development and wide experience in education and administration. Add to that a committed relationship with Jesus, and a burning love for Africa. Well, you can understand why we wanted them on our team.

Mike agreed to join us for two weeks on our trip to Tchad and Cameroon this last winter. He got to go to Koza and meet the staff and administrator. He got to look things over and he began to fall in love with the people of Koza and looked for ways he and Chris could contribute to the ministry of the hospital. By the time he left the administrator was literally begging him to come back.

And so in April Mike presented his plan to us of what he and Chris would like to accomplish in Koza. You see these rural hospitals serve a large population of very poor people spread over a large area. They often do not come to the hospital until it is too late. There is no such thing as pre-natal care or well child checks. The local Government clinics are poorly staffed and often not open. So Mike and Chris have a dream.

Take the care to the people. A mobile clinic can provide pre-natal care, do well child checks, do health education and share Bible and the love of Jesus. Local people can be educated to provide simple ongoing medical treatments to their villages. But all this costs money. Money the hospital does not have, money that we did not have, until now.

That is what that donation of $10,000 will be used for, to get Mike and Chris’ community health project started. It will take more than that to make it a sustainable program, but it is a huge jump start.

I have to be honest, we had not even gotten to the point of worrying about financing this project yet, but as Isaiah says in Isaiah 65:24-

“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” It is just another evidence to us of God’s leading as we prepare ourselves for His service in Cameroon.

Watch for a new page entitled “Mike and Chris” that will give brief bio of our two partners in Koza.

For those of you new to our blog, read about us and our upcoming mission to Africa in the “About Us” page, then there is a “Timeline” page that tells you where we will be this year, and finally a “Definitions” page that explains some terms that may be unfamiliar to some of you. Also check out the links to other Mission Hospitals to find other missionary blogs.

– Scott Gardner

Moved

Chris from Eagle Transport

Chris from Eagle Transport

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The two U-hauls

The two U-hauls

Unpacking in the Tennessee House

Unpacking in the Tennessee House

Nash from Eagle Transport

Nash from Eagle Transport

Wednesday, July 3 at 4:00 pm. That was when we put the last box in the storage room at the house in Tennessee and pulled Lindsay’s car into the garage. The move was over. There were two cars in the garage (Jon’s being the other one), the storage room was sealed and filled with a functioning dehydrator keeping it at a perfect 35% humidity, in the shed the tools were hung with care and the boxes neatly stacked. In the house pictures were hung, the computers and printer were working, the TV and surround sound system was functional, the dressers were full of clothes, the kitchen was stocked. Yes, after 2,314 miles, two U-hauls, too much rain, not enough sleep, and too short of tempers, the move was done. We were off to a much anticipated 3 days in the Smokies.

For the most part it was your typical move, with all the pleasure of a triple-H enema. (For those of you medical you will know what a triple-H enema is, for those not medical, just the word enema should be descriptive enough.) A typical move, except for a phone call we received from Clint Heagy, the Clarkston SDA church office manager, about a phone call he had received, followed by a letter.

That story begins in late May, Friday May 31 to be exact. To set the stage, Monday, June 3 was the day set for the movers to come load up our stuff that was going to Africa. We were already on our second moving company, the first had bailed on us. So with that in mind…

The peace of Friday afternoon was shattered by the ringing of Bekki’s cell phone, the caller, one Mike Krall, who was our international shipper. The conversation went something like this:

“Bekki, this is Mike Krall, how is your Friday going?”

“Fine Mike, how is your Friday?”

“Well, it’s a Friday.”

“Mike, are you about to tell me that my Friday is going to get real bad, real quick?”

“Now Bekki, it’s like this, the moving company forgot to put you on their schedule for Monday, and they are now booked up, so they can’t do it.”

“OK, what does this mean?” (Spoken with a drawn out “OK”, and trepidation in the voice.)

“Well, I’ve been looking, and the good news is that there is a local company, Eagle Transport, out of Lewiston, that can come on Monday and Tuesday. I don’t know why I didn’t see them before when I looked.”

(Just a note here, first company was out of Moscow, second out of Spokane, and finally we settled on the one 10 miles away, a prophet has no honor in his country type thing, I guess.)

“Mike, that is just fine, I don’t care who packs us out as long as they actually show up and do a good job.”

And on Monday Nash and Chris showed up and did a great job. Got everything packed and loaded and hauled off by early Tuesday afternoon.

Now it is not everyday that these two strong young men moved people who were headed to Africa, so of course they were curious about the move and what we were going to be doing. And Bekki was more than happy to share our story with them. On Tuesday Nash came over to Bekki and told her that he had told his girlfriend about us. Turns out Sophie is a reporter for KLEW TV, our local TV station, and she wanted to do a short piece on us for the news. Would we be willing to do an interview? Bekki said, “Sure.” And Nash said she would get in touch with us.

That was the last we heard until 10 days later when Sophie called to set up an interview time. Sunday morning at 9:30 she showed up with her equipment and did the interview, and told us it would air Monday evening.

I have to be honest, we didn’t watch it, too nervous I guess, besides I really can’t stand to see myself on video or hear my voice on tape. (I really feel sorry for all of you who have to hear me and look at me all the time.) But on Tuesday and Wednesday we got some positive feedback from some of our friends and co-workers who happened to catch the piece. I suppose no one was likely to come up to us and say, “Caught you on the news last night, man that was the dumbest thing I ever heard, and by the way the camera added about 30 pounds.” But if you want to see it, go to klewtv.com and type Koza in the search box for the video. Bekki and Lindsay, however, watched it and liked it.

Then came the phone call from Clint.

Turns out that a local gentleman caught the piece on the news and called the church office to verify that this was for real, and to get more information on our work and the mission hospital. Clint directed him to our website and the youtube video Bekki had made about the hospital (search for Koza Adventist Hospital on youtube for that video). Clint was calling to tell us that a few days later he had received a check for $10,000.00. That is not a typo. Do you have any idea how far 10 grand will go in Africa? We are still in shock. We did send a thank you letter, but that does not seem like it is enough. So sir, if you are reading this, Thank you again, and we will keep you updated on how your money is used.

Speaking of that, how is the money going to be used? I will detail that in my next posting, hopefully this weekend. We have a very exciting project it will be funding.

God is amazing in how He works. He had to fire 2 moving companies to get us to the right one, the one with Nash, who has the reporter/girlfriend, who did the interview, (did a great job by the way), aired it and impressed this man to give so generously. I could never have written the script for that one.

For those of you new to our blog, read about us and our upcoming mission to Africa in the “About Us” page, then there is a “Timeline” page that tells you where we will be this year, and finally a “Definitions” page that explains some terms that may be unfamiliar to some of you. Also check out the links to other Mission Hospitals to find other missionary blogs.

– Scott Gardner