About Support – A Letter Shared

This is an edited copy of an email I sent to a friend asking for details about our financial support. I thought it might be helpful to anyone who wonders about what we do and how we are paid.

I want you to know that I am thankful for you and your support. But I also understand that we all have our criteria for what we decide to give to in regards to charity, so I will not take any offense if you decide you need to move your money elsewhere. I am honored that you were willing to support us just out of caring for us, not dependent on what we were doing. That is very kind, and thank you.

We have several roles in Africa. The first thing we are doing is medical work. I am working at Kijabe Mission Hospital full time. My role there is two-fold. I have a major teaching responsibility which is probably the most important thing I do. All of us that are volunteers at the hospital are very involved in training Kenyan and other African doctors toward in good medical care as well as professionalism so that they can take those skills to other parts of the country and continent. In this task we are joined by the employed Kenyan physicians who work at the hospital. We have residencies in Family Medicine, Surgery, and Orthopedic Surgery currently. We also teach Medical Officers which are the most common type of physician you will find in Kenya. They come to our hospital for one year after finishing medical school to receive more training before going out to be physicians in many rural areas. All of that is within a Christian context that includes Christian mentoring and discipleship. My second responsibility is simply providing good medical care within the teaching context. We are a mission hospital, so we have poor people coming from all over eastern Africa to receive good and cheap care in our hospital. We provide many services that they would not be able to receive elsewhere. When it comes to patient care, I split my time between obstetrics, emergency medicine, and the clinic. Serving the poor has always been a big motivator for me.

The next area of focus is at Rift Valley Academy. RVA is a boarding school for missionary kids. We have youth from many African countries in the student body, and most of those kids are coming from areas in which education on the mission field is impossible. Allison teaches full-time at the school, this year in 9th grade English, and next year she will be an Spanish AP (maybe), Spanish 4, and Spanish3 teacher. So that mission is a supportive role for the work of evangelism that is going on in the hardest places of Africa. Those families trust their kids with us so that they can keep working in the areas that they feel God has called them to serve. I think it would be impossible for me to do the same, but I am glad we can support them in this way. Allison is really enjoying working there. And we consider these students as part of our ministry as well.

The third role we have is as East Africa Team Leaders for the Christian Health Service Corps. We have missionaries in several countries in East Africa, some of those countries are open, others are closed. My role with Allison is to do our best to be a support to them. Most recently we had a organizational meeting in Greece associated with a big medical education conference which we attended. That is a role we are still growing into, and it will probably become a bigger part of what I do in the future. It is challenging as we have already had to work through several issues that have been difficult. As I said, we are learning a lot as we go along.

Your financial support basically goes to pay our salary in those jobs. If I go to any conferences that are work related, I can draw upon our donations. If I have to make a purchase that is work related I can draw on those donations as well. Otherwise I receive a monthly stipend, and I budget my living expenses to include housing, groceries, gas, movies, bills, vacation, etc. out of that salary. I support myself some by doing online consultations, but that does not come close to paying for everything. I would have to do it as a full-time job to pay my salary. But it helps me feel OK about sometimes doing a little bit extra for the family when we go on trips. For example, when we came back from the conference in Greece, we stayed three days in Dubai. I used our vacation fund for that part of the trip which includes some of my consulting income. In that way I try and keep our accounts for personal and ministry use clean and separate.

Again, the organization we are under is called the Christian Health Service Corps. It is specifically focused on medical missions. They receive a 10 percent overhead for their services toward us. They are sending doctors and other types of medical workers all over the world. They also have medical training conferences in the United States, and they are involved in mission support to include building projects in different mission hospital.

So I hope that is not too much information. Thanks for asking. I may copy and post this email with some editing to our blog in case other people have some similar questions. Let me know if there is more I can tell you to be more clear.

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