Damde’ – Noma (fusospirochetal) Gangrene of the Face

A young girl was just brought in with Noma (fusospirochetal) gangrene of the face. Not to be confused with the NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Art).

To my knowledge, it is our first case here.

I saw several cases in South Sudan. It carries a 90% mortality rate and is usually found in malnourished children 2-6 y/o.

As many as eight different bacteria can be involved. The patient, if not already malnourished, quickly becomes so.

Immunosuppressed patients can also contract this disease.

Our little patient, Damde’, in the photo below, has noma.

We debrided the nonviable tissue under general anesthesia (ketamine). She will need extensive reconstructive surgery if she makes it.

Noma (fusospirochetal) gangrene of face

Please pray for Damde’!

A Major Change for the Better

You would almost have to have been here and witnessed how it was before to be able to appreciate what is portrayed in these photos.

Major change for the better: Empty hallway to outpatient consultation exam rooms!
Major change for the better: Empty hallway to outpatient consultation exam rooms!

The hallway may be empty but that doesn’t mean there are no patients. That means they are waiting, as they should be, on the other side of the solid door with the little window in our new large waiting room.

Before this project controlled the chaos, the patients were sitting on their carpets occupying the sidewalks and crowding in this hallway banging on the doors of the consultants and generally being a major distraction.

It has been one of my most frustrating experiences in my mission career.

We tolerated that frustration for almost one year but now it has been dealt with — PTL! — Thanks to contributions from BMS and Exxon-Mobil.

Our staff can now get their work done more peacefully and efficiently.

The patients have a comfortable wait area that can seat 200.

We are truly grateful!
Bert and Debbie

This locked gate controls entry to the inner court of the hospital and allows only patients being admitted to the hospital to enter. Thus, this project improves overall security. Funds well spent!
This locked gate controls entry to the inner court of the hospital and allows only patients being admitted to the hospital to enter. Thus, this project improves overall security. Funds well spent!

Oubre Update & Prayer Requests

 

Back in Chad

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Camels & Dust in Chad
This tells much of the story here this time of year.

We have been back in Chad for nine days. We are struggling with the extreme heat (93-96F in our bedroom) but are “getting by.”

Three days ago, God sent a refreshing shower which cooled it down a few degrees for a few hours.  We know that He will send more rain, cooler weather, and other blessings.

Despite our whining, we know this small sacrifice of living in a hot and dusty land is really nothing compared to that of many of God’s servants who have gone before us. They endured much worse conditions than this without electricity and fans. The intended message here is God is enabling us to continue to serve here.

I am grateful that I am even healthy enough to serve here at my age!
Post heart-post ablation procedure, my heart is beating normally and I only require small doses of B/P medicine. Thanks, Dr. Will and Stephen and team at LMC. I will be able to discontinue the blood thinner in three weeks.

We arrived here from Chad at night and started having meetings with staff the next day.

Setting and casting a missionary child’s fractured arm.

We started our usual work routine last Monday and gave Kalbassou, our Cameroonian advanced surgical nurse friend who has worked very hard during our absence, a week off.

We are proud of the hospital staff and missionaries here on station, Joan McKenzie (from Scotland) and Claire Bedford (from England) , who helped “hold it together” during our absence as well as doctors from the US who pitched in (Drs Dean and Dianna Kubasz and Drs Jason Oliphant and Sarah Schultz from the USA).

Thanks also to their missions (TEAM and Christ Mission International in Memphis) that allowed them to help us.  They already serve in Chad full time.

The hospital is rather busy considering it is Ramadan.

A Small Step in the Right Direction

A Small Step in the Right Direction -- CEF Hospital Mission
A Small Step in the right direction. Storage container is being converted into a building for worship services and staff meetings.

“A small step in the right direction” should be explained.

We have accomplished another long desired goal and that has been to move all our containers from the clinical part of our campus to a different location on the mission property.

Much thanks to our friends with Lutheran Brethren Seattle area for helping with that project.

We also have long desired to put the containers to better use. That is also being done as you see in the photo.

This building is not completed but by putting a roof over the containers and walls up, we can use it to for our 6:45 daily worship service as well as for staff meetings (while it is cooler in the early morning). We will start using this space for these meetings Monday.

New Surgical Center

The new surgical center foundation. Much of the heavy lifting is over. The slab and walls will go up rapidly. Finish date estimate is mid July. Believe when I see it. 😉😉

The space being vacated by the containers will be renovated and then used as our new surgical outpatient clinic. Not such a big deal perhaps for most of the readers but an encouragement for our staff here and for us.

We desire desperately to raise our standard of care for patients and also for our Chadian staff and missionaries. Improving the infrastructure is a real encouragement to everyone.

Please Pray!

Please pray that the Lord will bless this Muslim man through us. He is scheduled for surgery this next week. Pray that he will become a disciple of Jesus.

However, the only reason we can serve here is by the enabling of Christ’s Spirit. He has given us a love for the people. They need to know Him.

1 Thessalonians 5:19. “Do not quench the Holy Spirit.”

Thank you for your support and prayers!

Love,
Bert and Debbie Oubre

If you would like to join us in the work for the Kingdom here but cannot physically come, your gifts can be sent to:

CEF
PO Box 2652
Lexington, SC
29071

If you have a preference of how you want the funds to be used, please make a note on the subject line or include a note.

Worshiping & Serving in Chad While the Window is Open

We start our “normal” work schedule tomorrow at the hospital so we were glad we were off-call this weekend so that we were able to attend the English speaking service on the SIL campus at N’Djamena. This service is held twice monthly.

It’s encouraging to see how many middle aged and young families with children are now serving in Chad. There were about 90 in attendance including children. I am by far the oldest.

Many told us they had been praying for us while we were away. There are many more missionaries serving elsewhere in Chad.

There is an open window of opportunity in this Arab and French speaking country. It could close in the future, so we must take advantage of this opportunity to tell the Chadians of all races the Truth.

Blessings,
Bert

Ministry Needs & Update

Ministry Needs

We have only two functional fridges.

We need three.

We’re trying to improve the function of this small one in in the guest house by placing a wet towel on it.

We need two more fridges for the other homes and one for the new homes.

Because there are no propane fridges available here, we must buy electric ones and a solar power system for each home.


A New Friend

Another Nomad (our newest un reached people group to have heard of Jesus here at the hospital.) He came for surgery.
Another Nomad (our newest unreached people group to have heard of Jesus here at the hospital.) He came for surgery.

Thanks for your support and prayers.
Blessings,
Bert and Debbie

Praise – Another Precious Young Life Saved

Our patients here at Hopital de Guinebor ll (“G2”) in Chad come from all over Chad and Cameroon. They come from many different ethnic groups and cultures. Most are Muslims from North Chad.

Praise God that He saved another precious young life through the G2 Hospital in Chad.

Achta, this little three-year-old emaciated girl, presented with this huge intra-abdominal mass. Her parents said they noticed it five months ago. It is more likely that is was there at birth as I’m almost certain that it’s a neuroblastoma.

It took almost three hours of hard work in the OR to remove this awful tumor that has been growing all her life and robbing her of normal health and life.

I’m still trying to understand why so many of our patients are brought in only when they’re at death’s door.

This family obviously loves Achta and came up with the surgical fee right away.  This family doesn’t seem poor. In respect to our surgical team, not a bad investment of time and effort, wouldn’t you say?  The family will hear of Jesus, His love for them and His plan to save them. No charge.

Blessings to you in Christ’s name,

Bert and Debbie Continue reading “Praise – Another Precious Young Life Saved”

Remember to Rejoice – Remember Psalms 118:24

“This is the day that the Lord has made.  
We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
~ Psalms 118:24

Sunday morning– sitting on our back veranda, enjoying the cool breeze, listening to the birds singing their songs, trees rustling in the breeze, trying not to think how much dust will be coming through the open windows 😳 because of the wind, hearing the kids at the Koranic school reciting their lessons loudly, hearing motorcycles booking it up and down the dirt roads, trucks revving their engines as they are trying to get them going, cars honking, thanking God that our “OK official papers” are finally in hand so that we can drive our car to town after almost 2 weeks of waiting for them and being “compound bound,” but also reflecting on this past week and thinking what will be in store for the upcoming week!

Remembering the challenges and joys of the past week, these two immediately come to mind:

First was accompanying a grieving mother who had lost her baby son during labor because she didn’t come to the hospital and instead labored for 2 days at home. She endured a very difficult delivery without a sound and smilingly thanked us for helping her after the birth!

Not even twenty-four hours later, rejoicing with another family at the birth of their healthy son.

What a contrast just 24 hours apart! It can be such an emotional roller coaster that can’t be fully described!

Questions that often come to mind are: Why did they wait so long to come in with the sick person? Why do they think that cutting a little baby on the belly will take care of a tumor? Why would they refuse blood when the hemoglobin level is 5 (normal 12-16)? How can you watch your child losing weight, looking like a skeleton and still waiting to bring the child in? How can they smile through the pain that they are enduring? The losses? The death all around?

Why…? Why…?

But, more importantly, I have to ask myself how have I impacted their lives — both staff and patients — the people we have come to live among and serve?Remember to rejoice. Remember Psalm 118:24

Have they been able to see the love of Christ through me, through my words, through a gesture like holding a hand, through tears or a smile?

Or are they just seeing frustration or anger?

My prayer is that each day I remember Psalms 118:24: “This is the day that the Lord has made. We WILL rejoice and be glad in it.”

Once again, we want to thank each of you for accompanying us in prayer and your financial contribution. As we are fast approaching Thanksgiving we want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

In His Grip,

Debbie and Bert

Praise God We Can Help Children Like Khadidja

Praise God for this little girlThis little girl, Khadidja, an Arab, has been in and out of hospitals since birth.

She’s cried a lot, undergone many tests and treatments, but has never improved. Over the years, she’s continued to cry in pain.

Finally, she got old enough to tell her parents that she had pain in her lower abdomen when she urinated and at other times as well.

When I (Bert) examined her, she was in pain and crying.

I was pleased not to see terrible scars of the skin over her bladder area because that indicated they had likely not been to a traditional healer. These healers often burn the skin or make many cuts over the area that hurts. Obviously, this causes even more suffering for these children.

I ordered an ultrasound of the bladder and found a large stone.

In mid-September, we removed the stones–one large stone–in an operation that took less than an hour.

img_0706img_0705Hopefully, Khadidja’s suffering is finally over.

I’ve removed many such stones in children as well as adults over the years. In fact, since Khadidja’s surgery, I performed the same surgery on another child. 

The cause has been attributed to calcium filled water, chronic dehydration, a genetic disorder, or a combination of all of these.

This condition can lead to kidney failure and death.

I thank God that He has put us here and equipped us with the knowledge and skills and infrastructure to help these little children.

Please pray for us and for the international team at Guinebor ll  as we seek to advance the Lord’s work here among five unreached people groups.

Thanks and blessings,

Bert and Debbie Continue reading “Praise God We Can Help Children Like Khadidja”