Merry Christmas from the Kings! This is essentially the same version as our printed note, but with a few extra photos at the end. (Sorry it’s a little late-computer glitches never end.)We give thanks for this year of 2008—for our good health, for our children, for our ministry at Shyira Hospital and above all for the gift of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have been home for just over a month and are writing this newsletter from Darlington, South Carolina, before returning to Shyira in early January.
This year saw Sara, 13, continuing at Rift Valley Academy in Kenya; she has continued to thrive there, and was even elected president of her class. She is looking forward to returning in January. Hannah continues to combine going to the local school with homeschooling; she loves playing the flute, and has found flute teachers in very obscure places. Caleb Jr has been enjoying playing “Capture the Flag” with Rwandan boys. Although the game was new to them, the Rwandan boys could identify only too easily with the rules involving borders, boundaries, and enemy territory. Lydia is growing up quickly and is anxious to keep up with her siblings. Her knowledge of Kinyarwanda, the local language, surpasses ours to the extent that she once told me, “Mom, you speak Kinyarwanda like a muzungu [westerner].” The orphans continue to do well, too. Anicet, after helping Caleb with the hydropower project this past year, is on his way to the National University of Rwanda on full scholarship. Nkurunziza has just finished primary school and awaits the results of his national exam to find out where he can go to secondary school. Moses is still in kindergarten, but we hope that in a year or two he’ll be ready for the Sonrise School in nearby Ruhengeri.
Caleb’s year was dominated by his involvement in hydroelectricity. The German turbine for the first project is now on its way to the site. Plans to develop a second site are in progress. Our hope is for electricity not just for the hospital, but for the whole area, as well as a profitable project for the hospital that will make it more sustainable. At the moment, we await further financing from the U.S. government Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
I (Louise) continue to work at the hospital in the morning and home school (with frequent interruptions) in the afternoon. The local doctor who was doing a lot of the HIV related work left for a residency position, so that left me to take up the slack, including hiking to a distant health center, to help administer HIV meds. There wasn’t a mirror up there, but I could tell by the looks that people gave me, that I was pretty red faced and sweaty on arrival. I enjoyed the outings, and seeing all the unmet needs that were being addressed.
The hospital continues to grow, with 150 staff on site and another 250 in 17 associated health centers. We have three new Rwandan and two new Congolese doctors serving with us and a Rwandan dentist who can do fillings and other restorative work rather than just pull teeth. We look forward to being able to offer more Christian counseling services to our patients and to the community in a new center under construction. This past year we were able to hire some big school-size buses and take 120 of our hospital staff to the genocide memorial in Kigali, and to have some follow up discussions. In the same period, the hospital staff all studied together Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life. All the Anglican churches in our region also encouraged small groups to go through the book, which has been translated into Kinyarwanda, the national language, and saw over 5000 baptisms in the following months as a result. We continue to work actively with our local church in spiritual outreach to the community.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Co 9:8)
For the upcoming year, we ask prayers for:
Continued health and safety for our whole family
For our ministry at Shyira, that it will glorify God in all ways
For a good transition when we return to Shyira
For progress with the hydropower projects, especially receiving OPIC financing
For surgical help at the hospital, especially when Dr. Kohls and his family leave in May
For the schooling of our children—Sara in Kenya and Hannah, Caleb & Lydia in Shyira
For continued development of the counseling center and mental health program
If you want to find out more details, check out our blog at thekingsatshyira.wordpress.com.
Merry Christmas from all of us,
Caleb & Louise
Photsos: On the Spanish steps at night (Ethiopian Air stop-over in Rome);
in Sicily at Caleb’s sister’s whom we were visiting on the way home;
in Darlington, SC.