Sunday, July 25, 2021

We arrived safely!

Thank the Lord we have arrived at Tenwek.  The 14 hour flight was easy and all our luggage arrived. We were checked at customs but allowed to pass through without taxes.  We collected supplies and drove up to the hospital yesterday afternoon and evening.  Below are a few sights from the road


Human donkeys

Roasted corn or Hepatitis on a stick!



Today we will set up the clinic and prepare for clinic tomorrow.  Praying for a good rest tonight!  Thank you for all your continued prayers.

Blessings,

Chase

Friday, July 23, 2021

On our way

 We are on our way again!  Jimmy, Isaiah and I are at JFK about to board Kenya Airways for a 14 hour journey to Nairobi, Kenya.  We will pick up supplies in the store and head west to Bomet.  This is another 5 hours depending on check points.  We hope to be at Tenwek Hospital by Dusk Saturday- a 30 hour journey excluding the 7 hour time change!  All our luggage was accepted and without a change in Europe we should receive everything on the other end.

Thank you for your prayers for travel mercies.  It has been smooth sailing already.  Please continue to pray that the Lord fills us up with his Holy Spirit to be poured out on His people in Kenya.  I am praying that His love would flow in the form of healing, life, and provision.

Below is my letter sent to you all-

God Blessing you,  Chase


We are heading back to Tenwek Hospital this month.  Despite many obstacles, including a surge of COVID in the region, the door remains open to serve the Kipsigis and Maasai people.  We are hearing that the western part of the country is seeing high rates of COVID.  Specifically, Bomet county where Tenwek Hospital is located, has restricted movement in and out as well as curfews in place.  Vaccination rates in Kenya remain less than 1%.  We will be moving back in time as we travel to serve.  It feels like there will be many barriers preventing patients from getting care.  We have been praying that like Jericho the Lord will tear down the walls.

 

When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in. Joshua 6: 20

 

Jimmy, Isaiah and I will be traveling together.  Our plan is for Isaiah and I to work in the hospital together.  I will be working with a general surgery resident as usual and operating 3 days and clinic 2 days a week. Isaiah will be performing audiograms and helping dispense hearing aids.  Jimmy may be restricted from traveling in the regions around Tenwek so he is hoping to rent a Duka in town to dispense water filters. 

 

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.  Proverbs 16:9

 

Kitoben Children’s Home will be a frequent weekend visit.  The plague has driven up the cost of food and they struggle monthly to feed the children.  We are receiving frequent pleas for assistance.  .  School is in session and teachers need to be paid and fed.  We look forward to seeing them and assessing the situation.  We are praying for a multiplication!

 

He told the crowd to sit down on the ground.  Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied.  Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.  The number who ate was four thousand, besides women and children.  Matthew 15:35-38

 

As often happens before we leave, I am overwhelmed by my insufficiencies.  I feel I am empty handed and do not have what the people need.  Their sickness is advanced and their poverty is great.  

 

His grace is sufficient for His power is made perfect in weakness.  2 Corinthians 12:9.  Lord manifest your power!

 

I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven.  As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy.  Psalm 123  Lord have mercy on your people!

 

Thank you for your support and prayers.  You stand beside me and lift my arms in the battle as Aaron and Hur did for Moses.

 

Chase, Jimmy and Isaiah

 

 

 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Fourth Week

 This is a 2 year old boy with what was described as noisy breathing. he was not walking and developmentally behind.  over the last 3 weeks his breathing has worsened to the point where he was weak and eating poorly.  below is a photo of us in the operating theater urgently treating his upper airway blockage.  


This is a difficult surgery in a US setting but in a resource poor hospital we were hoping for a miracle.  The patient had papillomas on his vocal cords and just below the cords.  these were large and blocking his ability to breath.  With the tools that we had we were able to remove enough to stabilize his airway.  We were able to avoid performing a tracheostomy which was the likely outcome I told his teenage mother. All glory goes to the lord.  Below is the patient post operatively, breathing easily and ready for discharge to home.

He will need further follow up as these can return.  But this was a great witness of the power of God to his young mother.

We did many other surgeries this week.  Below is a vascular malformation in a 12 year old that was removed.  Unfortunately he had to return a second time to the OR today for bleeding. 


God was so present this week as we worked steadily to try to accommodate all the patients needing surgery.  The surgery resident worked tirelessly and I am so grateful for his help.  Despite the long hours in the OR and clinic there were many that will have to wait.  It breaks my heart to leave them but I know that is God calling me back again soon.  We are on our way home now.  We have arrived at Nairobi airport after our 5 hour drive.  We have 5 hours waiting and then off to Germany, Newark, and hopefully Rochester by late Sunday night.  Thank you for prayers for safe travels.


Sunday, November 8, 2020

Third Week

 

Kenyan scenery at the top of Motigo


I continue to see as many patients as possible in clinic.  It seems it is never enough and many leave disappointed that they can not be seen.  The theme remains the same, advanced disease in young patients.  they have traveled from hospital to hospital trying to get care.



This 28 year old man had surgery previously with return of disease several years later.  He has noted an increase in size in his neck mass and has been seeking local healers.  You can see the multiple small slashes which are superficial cuts being made near the disease to treat the mass.  The patient does not know his previous diagnosis and has no medical records to help us.  CT scan is done and there is a large unresectable mass running from the base of skull the his chest.  Biopsies were performed to try to get a diagnosis to help him.  Tragically, it takes 3 weeks to get pathology results and I will be gone by then.  This story has repeated itself multiple times this week.

There have been other surgical cases that have been treatable and for this I am very grateful.  I have repaired facial fractures from a motorbike accident, performed sinus surgery for extensive nasal polyps, removed a salivary gland mass, and several tonsillectomies.

I have also continued to fit hearing aids for those in need. below is a young man thrilled with his new hearing aid.  He has had multiple ear infections since he was young and has lost both tympanic membranes and his ear bones.  This has left him with a significant hearing loss.  The aid will significantly improve his quality of life.


This coming week will be another busy one as we select those patients in most need of surgery.  Please pray that God be Lord over the schedule and we can operate on those He choses.

Chase and Jimmy Miller

Friday, November 6, 2020

A Different Kind Of Mission This Year

 I've been out and about visiting schools, but not going out as far due to COVID.  It is here and actually on the increase and I believe many Kenyans are tired of the mask wearing and distancing because we rarely see it.  Anyone coming into the hospital needs to wear a mask but not everyone is compliant!  Tenwek Hospital is very busy and full at the moment and the COVID ward is full as well.

The below information is from a weekly update from the acting CEO of Tenwek Hospital on COVID-19:

The Republic of Kenya has seen its highest daily numbers of COVID-19 positive test results. The COVID-19 pandemic is still very significant, and this has been very evident also for us here at Tenwek Hospital. Since the end of September our total number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed has more than doubled and our number of staff diagnosed with COVID19 has increased from 1 person to 17 people. This brings our current totals to: 
88 Total diagnosed 
14 Deceased 
36 Discharged for home care 
21 Still receiving care in CHACU (COVID Unit) and Lower Holding Area (14 awaiting test results) 
17 Staff members (also on home-based isolation) 

We do feel safe here and we are some of the first short-term missionaries back at Tenwek in 7 months.  I find that this trip, for me, Jimmy, has been one of listening, learning and fellowship.  Listening to my Kenyan friends and how they have suffered during this pandemic.  I hear and see their anguish having little food, their children out of school and so many businesses closed.  It takes a toll on this country and its people.  Suddenly, we have much in common because of this pandemic and we share ideas and come together in prayer for each other and our families.

Learning that a day's wage is between $4.50 - $6.00 per day or @ $136.00/month!  When school was out because of the COVID, the teachers did not receive any pay.  There have been more robberies and break-ins to homes in this area than ever before.

Being asked to sit and have chai and to be asked to pray over the time together means so much more to me now than ever before.  I'll sit with the Kenyan staff from the guesthouse and we will have some serious conversations and we will also laugh and have some fun.  It's been a different trip for me, a bit slower but still giving out and setting up the water filters and also spending a little more time talking and getting to know the people.

I still get a kick out of some of the ingenious ways to transport things:



Large water filter project for next week at the Bomet Annex Medical Center

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers,
Jimmy and Chase


Sunday, November 1, 2020

Sunday, a day off

 


The waterfall and hydroelectric plant are roaring during the rainy season.  We took a long walk today past the waterfalls and up to Motigo Tea Factory.  The views are spectacular and the appearance so different than anything you would see in the states.  The land is extensively farmed by individual family plots.  The roads are dirt and the traffic is all motor bikes.  We see all sort of transport on the back of the motor bikes. The only thing I have not seen on a bike is a cow but I am watching and am sure that has been tried!  I am enjoying a day off full of rest and thankfulness for all God is doing in this place.

Have a blessed Sunday,

Chase Miller

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Second Week

 I have been working steadily. It is hard to know where to start.  I spent Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the operating theater and Tuesday, Thursday in clinic.  I definitely need to remain flexible as things change moment by moment here.  Wednesday was a big day in theater.  We had a large Carotid Body Tumor which is a benign mass that originates from the largest artery in the neck that runs up to the brain.  These tumors are found at high altitudes so they are not uncommon here.  What was unusual is the large size of this mass.  It ran from the lower neck up to the base of skull.   There was much preparation for this case.  The patient was at risk for stroke and multiple nerve injuries.  I consulted another visiting surgeon for his help during the case.  We prayed a lot with the patient but eventually felt resection was her best option.  Our first objective was to make sure she did not have a stroke as we were going to have to tie off the main artery supply to the tumor and the brain.  While the patient was still awake we began surgery and identified the carotid artery. We clamped this for 5-10 minutes and made sure she had no signs of stroke.  She did well so we placed her under anesthesia and proceeded with surgery. Below is a video of the mass for those interested.  No it is not the heart in the neck, that is a pulsating mass!



God was amazingly faithful and we were able to resect the entire mass.  She is recovering well. Swallowing is often an issue after these surgeries but she is swallowing well.  The day after surgery the first thing the patient wanted to do when we rounded on her was pray to thank God for what he did.

There have been many other stories to tell.  2 patients arrived in casualty this week with airway blockage from tumors.  These were advanced tumors and both patients needed to be taken immediately to the operating room for urgent tracheostomy.  Fortunately I brought some tracheostomy tubes as supplies are very low.  Both patients survived and are in the hospital recovering.  

Clinic has been very busy.  We have put a limit on the number of daily patients to try to prevent congestion.  But even with this limit we are working well into the night.  My favorite clinic story of the week was a 56 year old male with tremendously enlarged neck masses on each side.  Examination revealed a tumor behind the nose.  I reviewed the findings with patient and his son.  I explained the seriousness of this as this was unresectable disease.  He did not know the Lord and after discussion and prayer he gave his life to the Lord.  We were able to give him a bible in his tribal language and he left clinic with gratefulness and knowledge that he would live forever in the Kingdom of God.  Although I desire for each of my patients to be healed in body as spiritual healing is so much greater.  We celebrated that day as the kingdom of heaven enlarged!

Thank you for your faithful prayers. We remain healthy and protected.  COVID continues to spread amongst the staff.  3 staff members in the Dental area have now tested positive.  Praise God we are well.

Chase and Jimmy Miller