“We’re still doing this, right?”
In July 2017, after 8 years of what felt like waiting, lying low, and trying to be faithful to God, He gave us the freedom to look up and start pursuing our calling to medical missions work overseas. In May we take our next step in working out this calling by visiting a hospital in Kenya for a 2 week vision trip.
Wait, where are you going?
In the plains of rural western Kenya lies a mission hospital that has seen God’s blessings and has grown throughout the years into a premier mission hospital. Tenwek hospital treats the sick and spreads the Gospel to many people in the surrounding rural areas. On top of their ministry to the patients who visit, Tenwek also currently trains doctors in the disciplines of Surgery and Family Practice. They are about to begin a residency in Moselle’s specialty of OB/GYN, tentatively scheduled to start in January 2020.
Tenwek’s OB/GYN residency will be one of the first Christian mission residencies in the discipline of OB/GYN within the entire African continent. The prospect of pioneering a new residency program specific to training East African doctors in Obstetrics and Gynecology is an exciting one for Moselle (the doctor of the family) and me (the excitable layperson of the family). They currently staff only one full time OB/GYN, along with two part timers, and they are looking to recruit more doctors who will both instruct residents and practice in the hospital as OB/GYN doctors. Like Tenwek’s Family and Surgery programs, this will be a Christian residency that will not only focus on rigorous academic development of the doctors, but also their spiritual development through discipleship and mentorship with the faculty.
It is hard to explain how excited Moselle and I are about this opportunity. It feels like confirmation that God knows Moselle’s heart and has led us up to a point where she can serve him in the areas where she is most passionate to advance his kingdom. So now here we go to prayerfully check it out, meet the folks on-site, and see how it all might look if we were to go there.
Cool! How can we help?
Pray for us, please! I can honestly say that this is the most I have desired the prayers of my friends, family, and church family.
Pray that our hearts are in the right place throughout this process. This is no time or place for pride, savior complexes, or selfishness. We want to be obeying and glorifying God in this trip, and the decisions that follow this trip. As Solomon says in Psalm 127, “Unless the Lord builds this house, those who build it labor in vain.”
Also pray that we learn what we need to know about this program in the little time that we are there; that we would have fruitful conversations, ask insightful questions, and listen well to the people in Tenwek as well as to the Spirit’s guidance. Pray that Moselle’s hands would be skilled and her heart would be open as she works in the hospital for a few days. Pray that our children would handle the craziness of overseas travel, make connections with people and children at Tenwek, and also catch the vision of what we believe will be a full family ministry. Pray that we would be an encouragement to the missionaries and local people of the church and hospital in town.
Pray that God would use us here and now, as well as in the future over there. It is our prayer that we can not only testify God’s goodness and grace wherever we are ultimately called, but also to the people around us now.
When we look at all the ways God has guided us to this point, we are encouraged and our faith is strengthened. God’s gracious hand has brought us this far, through big and small decisions, tremendous difficulties and times of celebrating. It is our hope that this story can be an encouragement to you all as well. Please be reminded that God is faithful and good, and his mercies are constantly new and enduring!
We look forward to updating you of all that we learn when we get back and sharing this journey with you as we determine what might happen next!
Kevin and Moselle Stark
p.s. Please feel free to chat with us about all this before and after our trip. Our fancy new email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep your eyes peeled for a new facebook group too!