Elbows, Fingers, Knees and Toes…

We hope you are waking well this morning in this uncertain pandemic season, consciously aware of our Father’s pleasure in you, and well spent caring for those our Father cherishes.

I am writing today to ask you, our friends and family in Jesus, to put a personal monetary value on the people we serve. We are overwhelmed and serving more people than ever in Cavango, and we are writing to encourage you to reconsider sacrificing your lives to Jesus for “the least” in coming to participate in one of our Father’s most crazy beautiful works anywhere, and/or serving these people with more financial support.

We would ask you to prayerfully reconsider your role in helping these beautiful and, largely helpless, children, moms and dads. It’s a rubber and road time for our service here and our financial support has remained solid but largely unchanged over 15 years.

Would you consider sacrificially prioritizing these rural people to more personally adopt these crazy-wonderful people as the naked, hungry, captive and sick that Jesus called us to serve?  As His elbows, fingers, knees and toes, would you seek your Father about more tangibly helping the work here, by visiting or moving here, and/or by sacrificially give financially to tangibly participate directly in the spiritual and physical care of those we serve?

We are challenging our Jesus and people-loving family and friends to further and more tangibly support this work, and encourage others in your circles of relationship to do the same. Those who give can intimately follow our work and see those who their contributions benefit, as this website and FB regularly highlight our work and can be followed by all who support us.  You can also be put on our email list to receive more updates.

Our work represents a fantastic kingdom opportunity for you, as a “go-er” and/or sender and I can’t begin to recount the thousands of stories of people healed in Jesus’ name and introduced to Him through our work. It is all our Father’s work and it’s such a joy to be a participantAnd you can participate!  I know I am presenting a challenge that may require you to decide between various avenues of “charity” support, but my challenge, I guess, to our Jesus family is to further prioritize and follow the consistent and multifaceted work of someone you know, and someone who’s integrity has been demonstrated for 15+ years. And you are invited to visit any time (once travel reopens) to see our work and meet those we serve.

We introduce Jesus and teach health practices to over 100 adults every morning, and often over 200. It’s a new group every day (patients and their families) – people coming to us for illness and learning of the kingdom!  So much like the One we follow!  Over 150,000 people have heard of the Good News of our Father’s love for them in these small groups over the past seven years!  I have also been discipling about 12-15 men over the past seven years, emphasizing 3-5, with multiple group and individual meetings weekly, and seeing blossom in them some beautiful devotion to Jesus. We see 20-30 new patients/day and treat 30-50 inpatients daily, in addition to treating an average of 30 TB inpatients daily. It’s exhausting and beautiful, as so many people are meeting Jesus and learning of His radical and personal love for the first time in an almost completely unchurched, rural culture.

We charge for almost all services, the consultation fees paying salaries for our servant-workers (about $2/day) and pharmacy costs replacing meds. It is almost a self-sustaining work, which is unheard of in cross-cultural missionary work.

The one part of our work for which we don’t charge is the care of those we transport via MAF by air to our mother hospital in Lubango (2hr flight vs 10-12hr drive) for urgent and life-saving surgery. MAF and their supporters graciously cover the (expensive) cost of the transport, so the average cost, per patient, for their surgery and care, is about $500US. We ask each family for a commitment to repay us after their treatment and we recoup about 10%.

Our beautiful surgical hospital, CEML, is behind in its billing and notified us this week of a debt to them of about $60,000 (about 150 patients), accumulated over three years, beyond what we regularly pay them, for surgeries performed on the patients we have sent over these same three years, most of whom are alive today because of the surgical care they received.  We continue to send several monthly.  We cannot continue here and watch people die who need urgent care.  We have been at this for 15+ years and are at a place of decision.

Our only financial support is from individuals who have embraced caring for these people and regularly send contributions to SIM.  Our current monthly support, from many of you, is about $13,000, our wage is about $3000 and we live simply, on about $2000 monthly, because of the need to save for travel. Our monthly support must increase significantly (though our wage will not) if we are to continue to save so many, in Jesus’ name, of all the people who arrive in Cavango, seeking our help.

I think if we could raise an additional $40,000 – $50,000 annually, we could continue to offer life-saving surgery to all who need it and not be in a position of choosing who will live and who will die. This figure might be conservative, but it would be a good beginning.

Whether the lives of the people we serve have value, is up to you and me – Jesus’ family.  They don’t place monetary value on their own lives, because they have no money in this largely cashless culture.  Only you can put a tangible value on their care and, without tangible support from you, these surgical patients will die in our hospital. We would ask each of you who follow our work to place an actual value on the lives of the people we serve, an actual percent of your monthly/annual income.  As Jesus’ body, the decision is ours as to the monetary value these lives hold.  Betsy and I have decided, and will continue to serve these beautiful people, whatever it takes.  Will you decide with us and sacrifice your life and/or income to give life to these beautiful, naked, hungry and ill people through health care and the message of Life in Jesus?  Each and every one here is introduced to Jesus and is loved and embraced through our care in every interaction.

We are adding another crazy beautiful couple, a doctor and nurse practitioner, in February and, with our new facilities (the money for the construction has been raised and no additionally raised funds will go to construction), the volume of people we serve and the number of lives saved and those introduced to Jesus will continue to grow.

Please understand that we write you as not just another charity or church asking for donations.  If you are reading this, you likely know us and know of our work, and that is no coincidence.  You can give to people/charities you don’t know or you can give to this work and know exactly how your money is spent as, again, every two weeks I write a brevity-challenged blog post on this website, specifically to those who support our work, highlighting our heart and passion and stories about the people here who benefit from our work. Please feel free to peruse some of the posts of the past 15 years under “Archives”.

Three percent is the average income of church-goers given to church or charity, and we want to offer to you a solid and “known” work where you can sacrificially place the lives of these rural people in priority to yours, and give more…  You will know where your donation is spent and will always be able to follow the fruit of your hard-earned contributions…

Please let me know if you have questions and how Betsy and I might help you in this endeavor. It’s a heavy time but we’re looking forward to our Jesus family and all of our supporters stepping up to prioritize the “least”, the sick, the naked and the hungry in rural Angola.

Thank you for processing and considering with your Father our request on behalf of these beautiful people!

“Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?”

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