Dear friends, family and prayer supporters,
Glenn and I have been back in Texas for a little while now and we have been looking back on some of what God did in Togo. Our thoughts turned to Dr. Abram Wodome, the Fellow that Glenn trained on the ship for 3 months. Dr. Wodome is an Ophthalmologist, one of only 5 or 6 in Togo (several eye surgeons have only a certificate in cataract surgery). None of these surgeons were proficient in any of the modern surgical techniques. Potential trainees for the fellowship position compete for it based on recommendations on their surgical skills, their desire to be trained with biblical principles, and their plans to serve in Africa. Dr. Wodome was accepted over three others and became our 3rd Fellow in two years. It was amazing to see God confirm Abram over and over again as the right choice.
I remember Abram's first week. He was like all the previous Fellows in that he was so discouraged and felt like a beginner. We tried to encourage him. He WAS doing very well and WE could see that he would get there. He really liked how patient Glenn was with him and how joyful the eye team was. Although his English was very good, his first language was French. It made for some difficulties in relating but as his confidence and trust grew, our relationship with him did too. Glenn even had his surgery lessons translated into French and this really helped Abram who watched and re-watched the training videos!
Dr. Wodome progressed quickly. We all warmed to his contagious laugh and smile! He attended Glenn's bible studies and listened intently as Glenn spent time discipling him using Biblical principles for his surgery, for team building, and in his life. It usually requires 9 weeks of training before a fellow is ready to learn to be a trainer but after only 6 weeks, we could not wait any longer! Two other surgeons in Togo were waiting to be trained and Abram was going to have to do it since they spoke very little English. We were shocked to hear that one of them was his own surgical professor! The doctor HE trained under!! But, they were both very humble and respectful and did well. Dr. Wodome turned out to be an excellent teacher and trained one of his peers as well as the professor. The result is that Togo now has the whole country covered with eye surgeons who are steadily improving in their technique, thanks to Dr Abram! He even presented his results to eye surgeons from surrounding countries at a conference held on the ship
As his time on board came to a close, Dr. Wodome brought his wife to the ship to meet us. She is a wonderful Christian woman and they have 2 darling children as you can see. They sat in Glenn's office and thanked us for all we did for them. He told us that he had watched our relationship while living on the ship and he wanted their relationship to be like ours! Abram came from a Muslim family and his father had two wives, but they wanted to have a Christian marriage. Then, here was the kicker: They were now planning a Christian wedding for the end of this year! They had been together for 5 years, but now knew that God wanted them to make it official! He told us he considers us his spiritual parents. God's ways are not our ways. God's plans were much bigger then ours! He wanted to transform a family and provide for a country. Amazing grace!
As our thoughts turn from what God has done in Togo, we begin our routine of packing for our next destination, South Africa's Eastern Cape. We leave September 1st to meet our Mercy Ships eye team to help 3 government hospitals improve their service to the huge number of poor waiting for cataract surgery. It will be an overwhelming job for our team. Much bigger than us....but NOT too big for God. Please pray we will be able to quickly assess ways to move forward with each hospital.
May the Lord bless each of you as you serve others.
Glenn and Kim