I began traveling to Africa in 2007 to medical mission after making a “deal” with God during prayer. I had always felt a pull toward mission but as a single parent and insufficient funds I had to keep putting it off. When I felt God told me to go, I replied I’d go if He’d fund it. Further I would continue to go until He told me I was done, That was 15 years ago. I haven’t heard Him tell me it’s time to stop yet and in fact, He continues to grow the fruits of the work limitlessly. When I set my feet on the ground in Uganda the first trip, I knew it was right and it was God’s work. Over the years since that time, I founded BTCAM (Bless the Children African Mission) and God took hold of it in a mighty way.
I am a lifelong critical care nurse and an educator of nursing students at a University in Dallas. I began taking nursing students with me in the early years and was struck by the value of this experiential learning opportunity that the students participated in. They learned about the art of nursing, that is how to love people and validate their self-worth and value. My own mission was to share my love of God with them and help them see in tangible ways the evidence of God in our daily lives and in our nursing care. My hope was that all of us who do these missions will be privileged to share our faith, our compassion, and learn much from our patients along the way! God’s goal was to touch the lives of many people along the way and clearly demonstrate His Grace.
This year I traveled with a team of 22 people in July/August 2018 to the village of Marera outside Kisumu, Kenya. Our team consisted of 22 Americans which included two social workers, two dentists, a three-man construction crew, 4 student nurses, and 11 RN's. We saw over 1000 patients (medical and dental), pulled 151 teeth, built 4 roofs on huts including some wall work. One elderly lady had managed to build her hut but ran out of money for the roof so we were able to help her with that.
One highlight of the trip was our first clinic for a Massai tribe. It was very rustic with no electricity or running water. The livestock are corralled into the middle of the village at night in a thorn corral and the elders guard them all night against predators. There is a second thorn corral around the outer perimeter to discourage large dangerous animals from entering. The elders are armed with spears only. We had lunch sitting on the side of an escarpment or large hill overlooking the Maasai Mara game reserve and surrounded by cattle and goats. It was amazing and an experience and I surely felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.
There have been many miracles over the years and too many to list here. I’ll share one with you. In 2017 as we were having our last dinner on mission, the subject of school for high school girls came up. We were told by our African team that girls were considered part of the workforce of the home and often couldn't go to school due to lack of funds or need for help in the fields. Often young girls were married off at the age of 14-15. We were told that $800 would pay for one year of high school in a Boarding school which is the best education to be had plus room and board, books, uniforms, and a bit of spending money. Out of that discussion the Girl Child Education Scholarship Program was born. I sent out an email four days before Thanksgiving that year. We anticipated having six girls that first year but within four days of sending the email we received seven donor pledges. We had to find another girl!!! In 2018 we added ten new sponsors and this year we have 10 more sponsors for 2019. That brings us up to 27 girls who are receiving four years of high school education. These girls are a model and an encouragement to other village girls who desire a way to improve their lives and in that way the entire community is affected. The girls were invited to come to clinic in 2018 and participate which they did. They had a blast, giggling, interacting, translating. It was really awesome to begin to build relationships with them. We prayed with them, we listened to their stories, and two of the girls had their sponsoring families there and got to meet them. It was very emotional.
I am struck with how God works. How marvelous are His works! Who would have thought that BTCAM would evolve into these things. He is faithful and steadfast and it is apparent to me that He has orchestrated this work to be a mission to share His love and hope. We went thinking we were the teachers and we became the students. We have seen praise and Christian community in new ways over the years. The Spirit of our friends there shout out to the strength of God’s Grace even in the midst of extreme poverty. It is an amazing thing to be able to watch God do tangible miracles consistently. His presence just shines!
Be at peace knowing His hand is on you!
The Board of BTCAM