This was a great day
as Mark finished his last final for his 1st year of Seminary!
Graduations Day at CBC
This year their were 16 graduating students.
Sharyn was in charge of registration and cooking 3 meals that day.
Mark and I helped her throughout the day.
Samaria Mission was excited to celebrate Kenneth Chauke's graduation.
Tuesday and Wednesday, December 7th and 8th
These two days were spent in our year end staff meetings.
We praise the Lord for the unity He has given our staff and ask that you continue to pray for unity for us as we continue to serve together.
Thursday, December 9th
We received a call from Dr. Oswald Jannasch, who attends church with us at Christ Baptist Church. He called to tell us that one of his patients is from the States. He informed us that they were here on holiday at a game reserve outside of Polokwane and that he had fallen and had internal bleeding and was now in ICU. He gave us the patients wife's cell number and asked if we would contact her. Mark called Nancy as soon as he got off the phone with Dr. Jannasch. He told her that she was welcome to stay here and that we would help her with anything she needed. She was already settled into a hotel for the night but she said she would come by on Friday morning.
Friday, December 10th
Nancy, along with Phineas her game ranger who drove to Polokwane with her, came by the house. She brought her suitcase and moved in. We visited for awhile and explained that we had a few things already booked for the day. She was fine with it as she wanted to be at the hospital as much as she could (ICU nurses allowed her to be with Ken the whole time). She left for the hospital and we headed out for the day.
That afternoon we had our end of year mission braai at the mission farm. We enjoyed just visiting with everyone, and of course Luke loved swimming ALL afternoon.
Saturday, December 11th
Nancy went to the hospital and Ken was in a stable condition so she called and told us that she needed to take Phineas back to Entabeni Game Lodge and collect her luggage from her room there. Mark and I drove with them so that she would not have to drive back to Polokwane alone. We enjoyed our drive there and our time getting to know Nancy better. Entabeni is the Game Reserve that both Mark's mom and my parents took us to when they were here visiting. So Mark and I were happy to drive back with her and help her gather her things. When we drove up the staff was so kind and concerned for her husband Ken. They visited for awhile and then we walked with Nancy to her room. They stayed in the last room and had an incredible view. While she was packing we noticed a hippo that was grazing 40 - 50 yards away from her room. After she finished packing we headed back up to the front so she could settle her account and say good-bye to everyone. While Nancy was outside visiting with the camp manager, Mark and I started to visit with two gentlemen who were enjoying their afternoon tea and coffee. Nancy called me over to see if we would mind waiting another 15 minutes or so before heading back to Polokwane. I told her that was not a problem we could leave whenever she was ready. She smiled and said that the camp manager told her that the helicopter was on the way to take the two gentlemen we were speaking with up for a quick ride. He told her that there were 3 empty seats and wanted to know if we wanted to go along. Mark and I couldn't believe it. We were so excited and in shock at the same time. We went out and go in the helicopter and headed up to the top of the mountain. We saw baboons, giraffes, zebras, rhinos & wildebeest. It was amazing! After our flight we headed back to Polokwane and Nancy went to the hospital to see Ken.
Tuesday, December 14th
JD and Lori drove in from the village they are living in. They come into town every 2 weeks or so and stay with us for a night and gather supplies to take back. We enjoyed visiting with them and Nancy and JD discovered that they had actually had a friend in common from a Game Reserve in Zambia. So they enjoyed talking and comparing stories about their stays they had several years ago. That evening I went to the hospital with Nancy. He had been moved from intensive care to high care. This was my first time to meet him. I could tell right away that was a great man. Even though he didn't feel well he joked around and visited with me. He said that he wasn't thrilled with his accident but he was happy to have new friends.
Wednesday, December 15th
JD and Lori packed up and headed out to take care of things in town before heading back to their village. Nancy headed to the hospital and later that day Mark, Brit and I went to see Ken. This was Mark and Brit's first time to meet Ken. Mark stayed and visited with Ken while Brit and I went with Nancy to get a cup of coffee. Later in the day Lori called and said they had to put their truck in the shop to get the fuel line fixed and it wouldn't be ready until the next day so they needed to stay another night. That was great and it gave us all more time to visit. Lori and I decided to make Mexican food for dinner. As the week went on Ken continued to improve.
Saturday, December 18th
Mark and I, along with the Vaughans, headed to Malamulele to celebrate Kenneth's graduation. We were so blessed to be apart of his special day and watch as he was ordained as the Pastor of Mchipsi Baptist Church. We were invited to eat before we left to head back the food was delicious! This was our first time to be apart of a local village celebration here in South Africa.
Later that night we went to a soccer game at the new Stadium here. We were able to get 4 tickets for less than $20!
Sunday, December 19th
Ken was released from the hospital to come to our house and recuperate for a few weeks. Nancy has been with us for over a week and we are looking forward to spending time with Ken as well. They have just fit right in with our family.
Nancy went with us to Carols by Candlelight at CBC tonight. What an incredible gift we have been given through our Savior Jesus Christ.
Brit was running the computer today.
I know that this has been a long post but I want to also include Ken and Nancy’s story from their side.
The following are copies of the emails that Nancy sent out to keep their friends and family updated.
Sunday, December 12th
inese New Year and off to Manila, Philippines to stay at the hotel where we met for our 36th wedding anniversary.
Avis kindly gave me an upgrade. When we got to the car we found it was a Toyota Hilux standard shift. What a beast!
The first few days were magical- lions, cheetahs, jackals, impalas, wildebeests in abundance. We saw the lions and cheetahs feeding sitting only 20 feet away or less at times. They totally ignored us while they do what they do in the wild. The safari vehicle with some moving parts (us, cameras, binoculars etc) inside was perfectly natural to them and of no consequence.
We hit a bump in the road on Dec 8. On that night, 8th, Ken fell in the bathroom. He hit his head and called out to me that he was in a lot of blood. I think he was unconscious for a while.
We went the next morning for sutures since we could not leave the room because of the lions outside the door - the male roaring!
Long story short for now, Ken was fine that day but on the next his neck became swollen past his ears. He lost his airway and I had to force air by mouth. The medic-flight came in and he was choppered out to Polokwane MediClinic where his life was saved once more by two wonderful doctors in the operating theatre who by the grace of God managed to intubate him.
He has been in the critical care unit till now with the endotracheal tube until he pulled it 1 1/2 days ago. Yesterday, he was able to swallow liquids for the first time in small amounts.
I will leave shortly to stay at his bedside as has been the norm. The docs introduced me to a wonderful missionary family who were originally from Texas. They do work training pastors here and go monthly to Mozambique where they live in tents sleeping on the ground to teach the Word to more pastors and local people in their own language. I am staying with them and am fine. Thanks to all who knew about Ken's ordeal and your prayers.
I just came back to the house to get some $ to exchange. The hospital accepts insurance but docs must be paid in cash. That's okay- they saved his life! Ken is in High Care now and is doing well. He is eating solid foods but still has a lot ...of trouble breathing.
Dec 16 Update
Ken is doing much better. We had a bit of a scare yesterday when he was sure he could not breathe sufficiently. His oxygen levels were low and his blood pressure looked high to me. The nurse said it was not so bad however. I called Mark & Brian at 4:30 AM their time and raised some alarm. The cavalry was called but in the end was not necessary.
Today he was a bit disoriented in the am again and thought he was going back to ICU when I got there. I think a lot it was the meds again and thankfully he got better during the day. Mark, Alicia & their daughter, Britnee visited and he really perked up. He also had a visit from Dave & Carol Beakley who are missionaries with Christ Baptist Church as well.
The doctor reported that he thought he was doing well and could possibly come out in a few days to recuperate at the Raley’s here for a bit before he can safely travel. While it would be nice to be home for Christmas, I am really happy and pleased to take it easy and spend it here with our new friends. I bought Ken a cute hippo pillow that he was sleeping with when I left this evening. Now let’s all pray that he continues to improve and starts tomorrow on a good note. Good Night from a balmy 60-70 degrees Polokwane, South Africa
Hello Everyone, Here is the latest on Ken. In addition to the update I wrote last night, the nurse this morning just told me that although he had a bad night, it was better than the previous one.
I just spoke to him and he was alert and awake according to him since 430 this morning. Since he went to sleep last night when I left around 7, that is pretty good. I too have been awake early early. Between the sun and the local animals, it is pretty well a given. I am a morning person so it's great for me.
The Raley's have been super. I have included a photo of Mark visiting Ken yesterday. Another photo was taken at dinner 2 nights ago. Alicia made a homemade Mexican dinner from scratch since there are no Tex-Mex (their home state + Mex) packages here. It was really delicious. We told Ken about it and he is looking forward to maybe eating solids again one day. He is still on liquids and soft foods like Ensure & yogurt.
Lori and JD came in from a local village where they live as missionaries. They arrived just this past October and are just getting settled. Still living from what they carried over since their container is not even shipped from the US until all of their paperwork is approved in Africa. The rules say they must come and live to present their passports before any visas can be issued. A bit of a round about but they'll make it.This is their blog:http://dailydoseofthompson.blogspot.com/
Here are the sites for Mark & Alicia. www.samariamission.net
If anyone has not made their charitable contributions for the year, I can truly vouch for this mission. I have been to the church and spoken to people intimately involved. These people are making a difference! If anyone has any questions about the mission please contact me. They are walking the walk!
I have included a photo with Mark & Tex. Tex is a one year Jack Russell Terrier with a bundle of attitude. He was sleeping on his pillow when Mark started to play with him. He "talks" like crazy and is a bundle of fun. Tex & Heidi (a mix lab/weim), each a year of age, were just neutered on Monday. It gives me a bit of joy to look after them.
So it looks like we will join the Raley's for Christmas. It was 60 degrees yesterday although
this weekend it is expected to go the 80's. Summer has started and everyone is thrilled for the unusual cool weather - me included.
Thank you all for your support and prayers. Feel free to share this email with those who may be interested. I do not have emails for everyone.
looks OK, release him back to the Raley's house for recuperation. He is very weak.
After the doc left, he tried to get up on his own and his legs just buckled without assistance. Over a week, flat on his back with all of the trauma associated with his injury really took some of the starch out of Ken. But I am confident that in 2 weeks we should be able do to a bit of "Nancy's PT" to get him fit for travel. He may not be talking to me but .... all in the name of love!
Needles to say I am thrilled! I woke up again early at 445 am thinking about having him here. We are hardly ever apart and certainly not for this length of time. This adventure has truly been a miracle. Last night the doctor was saying even he and his wife discussed it. Normally a brain base fracture is very critical and associated with all very serious complications. Ken had one and also was bleeding a lot more because of his coumadin use. A normal person has a value for bleeding (INR) of around 1. Ken was up to 5.7 when he was admitted. There were a lot of factors in a bad cascade that caused that to happen and it could have been a catastrophe.
I am a true believer in prayer and give the credit miracle of Ken's recovery to God. He was there guiding the Entabeni Hanglip staff, chopper pilot & crew, ER staff, Limpopo MediClinic staff & the ICU & High Care staff. He certainly guided the hands of Dr. Smith and his partner when they almost could not insert the endotracheal tube to allow Ken to breathe. Special credit goes to Dr. Oswald Jannasch who has been with Ken since the beginning to manage his care. He introduced me to the missionary family here from his Christ Baptist Church, Mark & Alica Raley, who have graciously taken me in as one of their own.
On the day of the incident, I prayed not only for Ken but for everyone who might come in contact with him. I know all of you have been praying as well and asking your groups to do the same. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Last night when Dr.Jannasch came in he told us that there are 3 rules about getting up at night.
1. Do not walk in the dark.
2. Do not walk in the dark.
3. If you forget #2, refer back to #1!
Noon on the 19th
Ken came "home" this morning and is now resting comfortably.Evening on the 19th - That is all of the updates from Nancy so far. Ken was heading to bed and he sat up and told us that he has had a very relaxing day and that he feels right at home. Please continue to pray for Ken and his recovery.