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Glenn and Kim

Kim and Glenn

Togo, Africa!

We Made it to Togo!
Dear Friends, Family and all who support this work,

So many things have happened since we last wrote. In December, right after Christmas, we said goodbye to Glenn's father when the Lord called him home.  We were very thankful that the Lord had us in the states at that time.  In January, Glenn went to the Gaza Strip to help evaluate their eye program in their medical school. He was also privileged to tour part of the Holy Land while waiting permission to enter the Gaza area. In February, we went to Kenya where he was invited to be a speaker at the Christian Medical and Dental Assoc. meetings for missionaries (mostly from Africa).  It was held at a Baptist camp which was also an arboretum in the mountains near the tea plantations.  It was absolutely beautiful! (and smelled heavenly to an avid tea drinker like me!)  Glenn's talks went so well that they want him to be a permanent fixture on their faculty!  Their conference next year is in Thailand!!  We are praying about whether God would have this as part of His mission for us. It was amazing being among so many long term missionaries.  Hearing their stories of how God has led them is fascinating. But, also while in Kenya, we were privileged to go on a Safari to the Masai Mara.  What a treat!  We decided that God's purpose for this trip must be to provide the rest and refreshment that we needed before beginning our year. He is so gracious!

We then headed off to South Africa for the overwhelming task of evaluating the entire Eastern Cape's eye care system.  There are more than 30,000 waiting for cataract surgery!  South Africa is what I would describe as a 1st world - 3rd world situation. There are 1st world highways, banking systems, hospitals, with hundreds of thousands living along side these same highways in shanty towns.  The people that live in the rural areas and the shanty towns are the ones not receiving eye care.  Glenn gave a mini-conference and surgical demonstration to the 11 ophthalmologists from the hospitals in the Eastern Cape.  They were interested, but felt their biggest problem was with their system and could we please help them fix it!!  We went to their teaching hospital, the NelsonMandelaHospital, to see what they were talking about.  It's huge, but they only did 1,000 cataracts for the whole year. Our "Mission Impossible" (if we chose to accept it) was to evaluate and devise a plan that might help them fix their system!  Mercy Ships seems like an unlikely choice to solve this, but God often uses the unlikely! They would like us to start this September after the ship arrives for overhaul of the generators.

With a stop over in Ethiopia, and our minds full of what we had just seen, we flew to Togo exactly one week before the first eye surgery was to begin.  We were greeted with "it's been chaos here!" and "Finally, the Strausses are here to sort everything out!" (We left the land of 'overwhelmed' and entered the land of 'chaos'.) We soon discovered we had a new scheduling system (which was not working so well), a country about to go to elections (and riots), 1,000+ people showing up at our eye clinics, translators who could barely speak English, 2 operating rooms shut down due to the generator problems and several on our teams that were not believers.  Hmmm... felt like chaos to me! So, while it was snowing at home, we sweated, sorted, trained, and prayed until we began to see unity.  Now after two weeks, we have done about 160 cataracts, saw the blind receive their sight, started our first week of training with our wonderful new trainee, Dr. Wodome from Togo, and began training another Togolese eye surgeon who is head of Ophthalmology in the medical school here. It's been an amazing 19 days watching God's hand guide.

            We thank everyone who sent condolences at our time of grief and encouragement in the way of gifts, letters, prayers and support of various kinds as we worked to leave once more. One gift that we received from Grace's LindaleChurch was the camera we used to take these pictures for you all!  Everything was GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks again,

In His love, as we continue to serve Him,

Glenn and Kim
Here are some pictures!

flowering bush

Gaza Hospital Surgeons
hospital surgeons

hippo walking

Lion with her cubs
lion with cubs

Mandela Hospital
mandela hospital

Minister of Health (taken in Gaza)
minister of health

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
city of mt of olives

Olkiombo Airstrip!

Woman after cataract surgery
postop cataract

The screening masses!

flag and ship