Work, Blessings, & Challenges – We’ve Got it All

SURGERY

Another all morning case and another giant tumor of the kidney. Probably renal cell cancer. Sadly, this one is almost certain to be malignant.

We have prolonged his life but very likely there is already metastatic spread that will take his life within one or two years or less. He will have the opportunity, fortunately, several more times here to accept or reject Jesus.

His total hospital bill will be $500. If he could even find any other surgeon in this area willing to tackle such a case, his bill would be much more. The French hospital would charge at least $6000. The latter fee is only affordable by the rich here.

He says he was shot in the face by a roadside robber in Libya. We’ll try to help him.

 

NOMAD MINISTRY

Debbie and friends have made great inroads into sharing the Gospel with the Muslim Arab Nomads.

With an American missionary friend who knows Arabic well, she recently shared directly with a group of Nomads, some who have undergone surgery here.

The matriarch said, “Why didn’t you share this news with us earlier!?”

Debbie would have liked to have done that but her Arabic is too primitive.

She and her Arabic speaking friend will have one more opportunity before the Nomads move their camels elsewhere for about six months. But we expect to interact with them again next dry season.

PRAISE ITEM

A 16-year-old girl who lived with other adolescents on the street was stabbed in the abdomen. She underwent surgery here and three days later accepted Christ! One of our Chadian female nurses led her to the Lord. PTL!

RAMADAN

Ramadan ended the evening of June 24th. Because of Ramadan, the last two weeks have been especially slower in outpatient as well as inpatient services. 

RAINY SEASON & CHALLENGES

It seems the rainy season is here. More cool days and nights, high humidity, and more insects and malaria.

And no more hot showers. Plus I have a strained knee that slows me down.

There seems to be no end to the challenges here. It’s clear we’ve still attracted the enemy’s attention. But lives and souls are being saved, so it is all worth it!!

Thanks for providing prayers and financial support for this vital ministry for the Kingdom. Both are needed more than ever!

Bert and Debbie

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them, for the Lord your God will go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
~ Deuteronomy 31:6

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