My Grown Up Christmas List (2019)

Well folks, here it is…My Grown Up Christmas List for 2019!  This year, our biggest wish is focused on those individuals with whom we spend our everyday lives… the Tenwek surgical residents.  Could you help train a surgeon for East Africa?  If that’s not the ultimate “gift that keeps on giving,” then I don’t know what is!

If you have followed our family’s story at all, then you know that training surgeons for Africa is the “WHY” of why we moved to Kenya in 2014.  The need is shocking.  So many African people do not have access to basic surgical care. Global health experts are increasingly realizing the great burden of disability and death that this lack brings to a community.  Many places in Africa have only one surgeon to serve a population of 250,000.  In other even lower resourced areas, there may be only one surgeon for up to 2.5 million people.  To put this in perspective, the WHO recommends a minimum of one surgeon for 20,000 people.  Our home area, Knox County TN, probably has about 40 general surgeons for 450,000.  Imagine if we had only two surgeons in our whole county… that’s the situation in much of Africa (or worse!).

At Tenwek Hospital, we have the additional benefit of being able to mentor and disciple our surgical residents toward spiritual maturity and leadership abilities so that they can address the needs of the whole person and minister to their patients spiritually, offering hope and healing through Jesus to those who are suffering.  These young doctors are committed to staying in Africa to help meet the needs of their communities.  We see this happening, and we are so excited to see what the future brings with them leading the way.


Heath with last year’s surgical graduates

But…it is expensive to train doctors.  It costs about 20K USD per resident per year for training costs.  This compares to 120-145K USD per resident per year in the U.S.  This provides a living stipend, educational supplies, support staff, exam fees, conference costs, and more.  The costs for our program are completely supported by donors, and we need more partners to help support these residents into 2020. Would you consider supporting a surgical trainee?  One hundred percent of your donations here go toward our residency training costs.

Meet our new first year residents to begin in January…


We have known Mercy since 2015 when she rotated at Tenwek Hospital as a medical student.  She returned to Tenwek for internship, then was hired by the OB/GYN department where she has worked for the past 1.5 years.  She has proven herself to be highly competent and caring.  Mercy sees surgery as an effective way to use her abilities to share Christ with others and wants to serve in a needy area of Kenya.  


Violet also came to Tenwek as a medical student in 2015, returned for internship, and then was hired by the cardiothoracic surgery department where she has worked for 1.5 years.  Violet has also been in our mentor group for the past year.  She is tenacious and bright, with a tender heart for her patients. Violet has a special passion for cardiac patients and hopes to eventually pursue training in that specialty area.

Yves with patient_661f45c07934a880b05563e61c7bde7f

Yves is from Burundi, where the surgical need is among the highest in this region of the world.  Yves came to Tenwek in January 2018 was hired as a general practitioner on the cardiothoracic surgery service with hopes of joining surgery residency.  Compelled by the great need in his home country, Yves hopes to return to Burundi after residency as a fully trained surgeon to serve his community.

These three doctors will begin the five-year residency program at Tenwek in January.  We are so excited for them and have such hope and confidence in how God will use them.  Help us train these bright and motivated young surgeons to meet the needs of Sub-saharan Africa.  Your gifts really make a difference here!  

There are 2 ways to give. You can give directly to the Tenwek Surgical Residency Fund by clicking here.  Alternatively you can give to our family’s ministry fund and we will direct all funds raised during this Christmas season to the surgical training program.





3 Comments on “My Grown Up Christmas List (2019)”

  1. Andrea! I didn’t realize you had a monthly essay/blog. I plan to read them each month. I truly am happy for you and what you are doing. God is good…all the time. Peace and Love.

  2. Andrea, I’m not sure if you got my previous “comment,” but I didn’t realize you write a monthly article/essay/blog on for your ministry, and I plan to follow and read each month. Wonderful what you are doing. Truly. God has his hand upon your life…always did; always does 🙂

    • Hi Scott, this is Angela… Andrea is a friend, neighbor, and colleague here in Kenya. This is our blog, which Andrea shared due to our common work and service together. Thanks for taking the time to read and to share your encouraging words!

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