Can you believe it? We’re near the end of our thirty month commitment with Samaritans Purse. How time flies! At the start, we were two doctors with one son and seven suitcases. Now we are still two doctors with seven suitcases, but also two sons and a world of experience. And we are better for it.
I started hiking recently. One of my recent trips was up the mountain behind our hospital. After an hour and fifteen minutes, another missionary and I arrived at the village at the top. We rested and walked around in the village a bit. Because of our skin color we naturally drew attention. There was, however, one lady who was persistent in saying hello. I was not sure of who she was, but thought maybe I had treated her and/or her family in the hospital during my time here. We took a picture of her and her granddaughter because of her persistence. Upon returning home, I showed the picture to Lydia. She smiled, and reminded me that this is the grandma whose daughter was 28 weeks pregnant with throat cancer. I had done a c-section on her during our first month here in August 2013, twelve hours before she died. We had bagged the baby for three hours not wanting her to die. When I had stopped, she started to breathe. We documented the story on a blog, “Three Days at Hospital Baptiste Biblique” (September 2013).
I was speechless. I have been a part of a lot here at HBB over the past two years. It is easy to get lost in the daily struggles, to forget the impact one is having, to shrug off a “Thank you” with “It was nothing.” But it is something. Here is a lady who lost her daughter but has her granddaughter because of what God is doing through HBB, ABWE, the mission hospital, missionaries, and Christians who continue to follow Christ’s example, supporting all those involved with finances and prayer.
That simple encounter has helped put these two years into perspective; we wish to return.
We are presently in the midst of considering/planning our future. Because we are uncertain of what God’s exact plans are for us, we are taking a two-prong approach. Hoping to return for another two years to Togo (but being unsure if and when those doors will open for us) we are planning to fund raise as if we are going to return to Togo; but we also plan to interview for jobs as well. We will be returning to the States in July. After a month of rest in Madison, Indiana, we will be flying to Vancouver, British Columbia to pick up our van. From there and during the months of August and September, we are planning to drive back to Indiana. During this trip we will be visiting supporters, to say thank you for the two and half years of support and yes, asking if they wish to support us for another two and a half years; also, we will also be interviewing for jobs. Then from October through December, we plan to complete some on-line Bible courses while continuing to raise funds for a possible return. In the new year, we will take stock of what is at hand. If the missionary door opens, we hope to return in the spring/summer of 2016; if it does not, we will take a job providing some roots/stability to our family.
We would really like to show you, in person, what God has been doing while we have been here in Togo. If you would like to see our presentation, please email us at email@example.com,and we will work you in as drive back to Indiana or thereafter. (We’ll be getting a cell phone once we’re back in the US.)
There is a clear need for doctors here in Togo. When we leave at the end of June and with the departure of another doctor at the same time, HBB will be down to two doctors; they will, thus, for the near future be scaling back hospital services, stopping OB care as well as limiting surgeries. In a year’s time, however, two full time surgeons will be returning to HBB along with three short term (2 years) doctors. This will allow the hospital to ramp up its operation once again. But they will still be missing OB and additional medical personnel.
We wish to fill this need! Will you help us?
In moving the process forward and thus putting it in God’s hands, we have two obstacles.
The first is finding and being accepted by a missionary sending organization. We are presently in the process of applying to ABWE (Association Baptist World Evangelism –the mission agency of HBB)for their short term 2-year program. We hope to extend the program by six months to finish out our French language training. Once we are accepted by a missionary-sending organization we will transfer the funds from Samaritans Purse to this organization.
Our second challenge is funding. Based on our last thirty months, and understanding that we will lose our Samaritan purse “salaries,” our funding requirements will rise from $1,500 a month to around $7,200 a month. Breaking down the fund raising, we are looking for 288 persons at 25.00 dollars a month or 144 persons at 50.00 dollars a month. This may seem like a daunting task, and if we left it in our hands it would be. But it is not in our hands, it is in God’s.
Please note: if you are a current financial supporter, we have not assumed that you will continue to support us for our second term. We will, however, be contacting you to find out if you will be willing to continue your support for another thirty months. If you would like to support us, please continue to send your support to Samaritan’s Purse at this time.
In returning to Togo we wish to do more than just be doctors. We also desire to have a ministry both in our professional and our personal lives. Fund raising for these additional ministries would start once we ourselves are funded to return. But we would like to share with you now a few ideas.
Professionally, we would like to bring cervical cancer screening to HBB. Cervical cancer is preventable as well as treatable, if detected early enough. In the US it is followed by PAP smears which are not readily available in Togo; thus, by the time we see the patients, the cancer is too far advanced, and there is nothing we can do medically to help them. There is a company that has made a test specifically with third-world countries in mind. We would need to raise money for the lab equipment and the test. With using this test as a screening tool, we could catch the cancer early enough to perform a simple out-patient surgical treatment.
Spiritually, we would like to be involved and helping a local Togolese church. There continues to be a Muslim and animistic influence on the spiritual beliefs and thoughts of the Togolese people. Beyond the initial exposure to the Gospel, through the hospital, it is the churches that reach out to continue to minister to the patients and their families. There are multiple churches in the area surrounding the hospital. We would like to become actively involved in one of these small churches to establish relationships with those in the church. We desire to encourage them and grow together spiritually so that we can partner with them in better reaching the Togolese community around us.
Personally, we would like to continue to aid in “mobility” to disabled Togolese with the PET carts (Personal Energized Transportation). As you know, with your help, we were able to bring five PET carts to Togo. They have been distributed and are presently being used. Over the last two months, we have followed up on the carts and the people using them. Overall, they have been well received and are regarded as sturdy and able to tolerate the environment. If improvements were to be made, they would include increased padding on the chair (which is currently being done) and an upgrade package that would include a motorized option for the steep hills (which is not presently being considered as these are not motorized cars but Personal Energized Transportation). Here are there updates.
Nathanael Yawo, the newest member of our family, was born March 19th weighing 5.7 pounds (2.6 kg). There were three US docs who came out here for two weeks each to help deliver the baby and cover the hospital (while Lydia was on “mommy duty”). (Thank you so much Dr. Haak, Dr. Brown, and Dr. Stocks!) Although there was some initial concern with Nathanael’s heart, all of his testing came back normal (thank you God!). He is doing very well, growing and getting chunkier by the day. (For those of you wondering, his middle name is following Togolese tradition of naming for the day of the week on which one is born. “Yawo” is the boy name in the Ewe language for “Thursday.”)
Noah, now 3 years old, has also been doing very well and likes his new brother. We know he will grow to enjoy Nathanael even more as he starts to move –the first day we brought him home, Noah wanted him to “get up and come play.” We had to explain that it would be a little while before he could walk. In the meantime, Noah has been blessed with some new missionary families that have come to the compound; he has had fun playing and forming friendships with these families and going to a preschool two half days a week. (Thank you Donna Thompson and Lairds and Stoner family!) You can pray for Noah as mom has had to cut his hair twice now! 🙂
- God’s clear direction and guidance–that if He would have us return “to the field” that He would clearly open those doors; but that if not, He would guide us to the place where we will flourish with the gifts He’s given us, where we can build a strong marriage and family, and where we can spiritually grow.
- Transition and Travel–that God would give us safe travel back to the States in early July and then help us as we readjust back to life in the US.
- Finishing at HBB and beyond–that God would help us to “finish the race well”, honoring him in all we do and say, with our relationships with the people here; and also pray for the hospital, itself, as it will be facing a major medical staff shortage for the next several months.
Thank you again so much for all your love, prayers and encouragement for us!
Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael PfennigerAnd he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us . . . . Acts 17:26-27
Check out our blogs www.fredandlydia.com (now at 143 subscribers . . . go figure)
- It’s Back and He’s Here!!
- 2014 Belated Christmas Newsletter
- The Tale of Two Ladies
- . . . here a little while, then its gone
- Three Monkeys Just Hangin’ Around
- Confusion . . .
- Some cases and random thoughts . . .
Financial Support ($7200.00 a month) 9.2% of support received 2. Donations: account #003916 http://www.samaritanspurse.org/medical/wmm-doctors/ or send to: Samaritan’s Purse, Attn: Post-residency program, P.O Box 3000, Boone, NC2860 3. Please note: US donor will get a tax receipt; Canadian donors are not eligible for a tax receipt (sorry)