So after months of prayer, lots of internet and blog research and a many family discussions we finally have a location that we will call home this year! It is Kijabe, Kenya!!!! We are so excited and can't wait to see what God is going to do through us there. Here's a little introduction:
Kenya is located in East Africa and is bordered by Somalia, Ethiopia, The Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Kijabe is located about an hour NW from the capitol city of Nairobi. (I've actually visited Kenya once in 2001 for about 3 weeks. I was part of a mobile clinic short term mission trip and we traveled basically right past our new home during our journey!). Here is a little blurb I found about Kenya and Kijabe to fill in a few details for you.
Kijabe is a large mission station that is home to Kijabe Hospital, a CURE International Hospital, Moffat Bible College and Rift Valley Academy (a boarding school for expats and children of missionaries from all over Africa). There is a lot going on at Kijabe! Here are the signs that welcome you to Kijabe (notice "mortuary" is clearly marked on the KH sign. "Casualty" refers to the ER).
Here is a picture of the outside of the hospital where Rhett will be working. He is very excited about his professional opportunites there. Some of the hospitals we were looking at were very small and Rhett would have played the role of the "The Doctor" meaning that whatever walked in the door (woman in labor, sick kid, some one needing minor surgery) Rhett would have been the most qualified person around meaning he would have to step up and deliver (no pun intended). Needless to say, besides being a little intimidating, we felt like he has spent a lot of years training in care of sick adults and God clearly lead him into training specifically in infectious diseases and tropical medicine so it would be a good use of those skills to put them to the best use as possible. Besides, Rhett is an expert in treatment of HIV/AIDS (he would never say that but I can :) and in case you haven't heard there is a big problem with those diseases in Africa. So at Kijabe Rhett will have the opportunity practice Infectious Disease medicine and devote time to HIV ministry as well as have a lot of teaching opportunities. They apparently have fantastic lab capabilities here (including a viral load machine - Rhett was really excited about that) and are a PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Africa) site which is exciting for him too. There are medical students and Residents - both African and visiting from Europe and North America so there will still be a rich academic environment. Rhett is most excited about a real flexibility in how he divides up his time and will hopefully allow him to really seek God's direction in ministry there.
We were looking for a place that had access to "unreached" people which means people who have never heard or had access to the gospel. We knew Kijabe was the place for us when we found out that about 30% of the patient population is from an nearby unreached country. So it seemed as though we had found a place where the unreached people were actually coming to us! There are apparently a lot of opportunities to reach people in refugee camps along the borders (in case you didn't notice most of Kenya's neighbors are having some serious issues like civil war, famine and cholera epidemics) and go into some neighboring countries as well. Kijabe sits on the edge of the Great Rift Valley and although most people think of Africa as being quite hot the high elevation here (about 7,000 feet) and winds can make it quite cool (cold enough that we will need a fireplace to heat our house!). Here's a peek at the ole view . . .
So that is Kijabe 101. I'm collecting lots of information and pictures by stalking a lot of blogs from people that live there so I'll have more info and pictures forth coming. Please pray for us as we start this journey. There are a lot of details between here and there but we look forward to the day we settle into our new home in Kenya!