by Steve Swanson

(Steve and Jodie Swanson, along with their children Hannah, Caedmon, and Indya, are COTC  sponsored missionaries, serving in Arusha, Tanzania.  Steve is a doctor who serves and teaches at the Selian Lutheran Hospital there.  All proceeds from this year’s Good Friday offering will be used to help support that hospital.)

Lord in your mercy…

Some days, there might be 20-25 hospitalized children with only one or two nurses. I know, at such times, the children are not fully getting their medications.  Very few laboratory tests are available.  Essential medications are “out-of-stock” or not available.  As a physician, I am daily put in a place of treating children for diseases where considerable uncertainty of diagnosis exists.  And I struggle to watch children die of disease, lack of treatments, and hospital errors.  In my hardest weeks, I have watched a hospitalized child die every day.

God has given me some very committed younger doctors and nurses, who are eager to learn.  Options exist to provide medications through outside sources.  Equipment can be obtained, and shipped to Tanzania.  Protocols and training guidelines can be developed.  And, by His great mercy, many, many children get well and recover.

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Together, we pray for wisdom to understand how to improve healthcare here.  Our goal is not to re-create an American hospital in Africa, but to develop an African hospital that works for Tanzania.

We pray for relationships with Tanzanian healthcare workers that grow in mutual learning and love.  For finding medications that work, low-technology equipment, and skilled nurses and medical interns.

We are grateful for the support of COTC.  Your Good Friday offering will go towards providing basic materials and medications for the hospital and hospitalized children—medications that cannot be found on the hospital formulary: Vitamin D for rickets, antibiotics, anti-parasitics; food and feeding cups for the severely malnourished children; thermometers and stethoscopes for the newborn nursery, and learning materials for the nurses and young Tanzanian doctors.

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We are so thankful that God has given us this opportunity to work in Tanzania on a long-term basis. Though we grieve at times, we are given glimpses of His great love for all people, and merciful moments of Christ are found in work and family.  I would choose no other path then this one.

Risen Christ, walk with us.  Teach us.  May we recognize you, in this journey.

(Look for another update on the Swansons next week, when Jodi describes more about their family and life in Africa.)