Oxford Dictionary: Teach (v.)
1. Impart knowledge to or instruct (someone) as to how to do something.
2. Cause (someone) to learn or understand something by example or experience.
Oxford Dictionary: Doctor (n.)
A person who is qualified to treat people who are ill.
We love teaching…doctors. Neither of us would do well spending hours a day in a classroom full of children (gasp!) or teenagers. There is a special place in heaven for those God made to be teachers of children. We both love kids, Jared is a pediatrician!
Teaching adults is another beast all together. There are no temper tantrums, fist fights or drama involved…generally. Adults come with the special challenge of pride and bad habits. Not all adult learners have these particular traits, but doctors are notorius for thinking and acting like they are the smartest person in the room.
So what happens when the “smartest person in the room” is no longer the actual smartest person the room? Its not pretty.
In general the ugly result is all internal, which is where pride and self preservation are helpful. None the less, every new doctor struggles with the new reality that they do not know ANYTHING. At least it feels like we do not know anything in the beginning.
We both have specific (painful) memories of being humbled by clinical errors, wrong diagnosis, and just being downright wrong. Then there are the times we did not explain something correctly to a family which resulted in confusion and emotional strain for everyone. We both have our own way of responding, coping and learning from those situations. In every situation we talked to one another and prayed…hard.
Its easy to have your spirit and all your self-confidence broken during medical school and residency. Praise God we had one another to help keep ourselves grounded in God’s plan for our life.
Learning to be a doctor and clinican in Kenya is a bit different than in the USA, but the fundamentals of human character are not. That is were we come in…the clinical instructor, supervisor, consultant (name outside USA), attending physician (name in USA)…teacher.
We moved all the way from America, our family, friends, good job secutiry and a comfortable life to work in a rural Kenyan mission hospital because we love to teach. Not just because we want to teach doctors how to provide good medical care, but also how to love their patients with the love of Christ.
We model how to examine patients properly and how to descide which medications to prescribe. Hours a day are spent at the bedside of dozens of patients, helping our interns navigate the complexities of disease. We want them to walk away from thier time at Chogoria with more than an understanding of diseases and likely patient outcomes.
We have been called to help them see each patient as one of God’s children. Each soul we care for has been created by God with intention and purpose. Each patient is another opportunity to model compassion and empathy.
Making a malnursihed child smile, holding the hand of frail woman dying of HIV, praying with the son of a man diagnosed with end stage prostate cancer, handing a tissue to the mother of a newborn that did not survive. These are painful, beautiful moments of opportunity to show our learners, nurses and patients why God called us to Africa.
Christ was constantly teaching everyone, everywhere he went. He taught through stories but mostly through example. He LIVED his teachings, modeled the way he wants us to be, how he wants our hearts to pray, love, and serve others.
There is an adorable book we bought for Sophia the last time we were in the USA. Its called, “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin and Pat Barrett. Its about a little bear to goes to see the King (a lion- Sophia’s favorite!) to get help for friends in his village.
Two specificly powerful pages come back to back. Tucker (the little bear) runs into owls in the forest on the way to the castle (where the King’s door is always open). They describe “the King” as being a good teacher who teaches from his wise book.
The next page has foxes in long white coats who ask him how he is feeling. They tell him to take bandages as a gift for the King beacuse he “is a good doctor.”
Everytime we read this book to her (at least a few times a week), it reminds us of these two important characteristics of God. He teaches and he heals…He is a teacher and a doctor.
Sophia turns 3 this week! It unbelievable that she was one a tiny baby, now she runs, talks, sings, dances and is learning like a little sponge. Our neighbors have two girls with birthdays in the last 2 weeks and let us join in on their birthday party.
Last year we just had a cake at home, only the three of us. So having a full on party was a bit crazy, especially since Jenny was on the inpatient medicine service the week before and rounding in the hospital that weekend. She still managed to make 40+ cupcakes for the party. Lauren (Mama Lucy & Olive) did most of the work though!
Unfortunately, Sophia woke up that morning with a fever. She even fell asleep on the couch for a few hours, and this girl NEVER naps! It’s how we know when she is actually sick.
So she spent most of the party sitting on a blanket in the grass. Except when Jack (her partner in crime) woke up from his afternoon nap and she rallied! They ended up on the swings with the dads. There was face painting, nail painting, popcorn and fruit! Despite the fever it was a great way to celebrate her birthday.
Jenny has been able to go running a lot more over the last 6 months. It is something we would love to do together, but our schedule just doesn’t accommodate it right now. Running is an essential part of her mental health plan and her introvert self loves the solitary time alone. She even had to have another pair of running shoes brought over by one of our teammates since the tread went bald on her old ones.
We have another couple from Christian Health Service Corps moving to Chogoria later this year. Haley is a family med doc and her husband is chemical engineer and project manager. We are excited to expand the Chogoria Hospital community to include another Jesus-loving family.
Fundraising Update: The lean season (July- October)
We are entering our lean season (July to October), the time each year that our donations hit their lowest. Please consider becoming a monthly donor or making a one-time donation to our ministry. We are praying everyday for new people to partner with us. Go to: Partner With Us to see how to support us as we serve in Chogoria.
We are thankful for everyone who supports us emotionally, spiritually, and financially. You are a blessing to our family and community here. Please, continue to keep our family in your prayers.
Jared, Jenny & Sophia.
Cartwheels & Cupcakes: Sophia’s Birthday party
Life in Chogoria