It was late on Friday afternoon when I got a call from Mark in South Africa, his youngest son Jared was climbing a container and had fallen off breaking his arm at the mission station in South Sudan!
It was a bad break and the arm was really twisted. There was no medical help close at hand nor was there any pain killers…..
I looked at my watch trying to work out what the next steps might be, it was too late to get any help from Kenya, and the borders would shortly be closing, so there was no way they could make it over the border, nor would it be easy to get help in South Sudan...
I called a taxi and asked if they could pick them up first thing the next morning - No small thing as a return taxi would cost over $400.
Close to midnight I got another call to say they were getting an ambulance to the hospital….. This was going to be confusing with communication. Mark, the father was at a conference in South Africa, I was in Kenya and the mother was in South Sudan with no phone. I had no idea there was an ambulance available and I had no idea there was a health centre close enough that could deal with this situation....
Well, there wasn't and the ambulance never came.
Back to square one.
I still had not worked out what would happen when they crossed the border on Saturday. There was lots of ideas flying around, go to a hospital in Kapueta (100km away), Lokichigio (60km away), Lodwar (300km), Eldoret (900km) or even Nairobi?
MAF had no flights till Monday.
AIM air had a flight in the air but was not due to pass Loki, however were open to doing so, if needed. The hang up with that idea was they only had 1 seat available. We had a plane but not enough fuel to make it there and back. Lorne, Jared's mum had 4 kids with her.
Very soon we got news that Kapueta, and Lokichigio were not options, the "hospitals" had no way of treating the arm, that left Lodwar or Eldoret. Eldoret made the most sense and the quality of healthcare was much higher. Mark and Lorne also had a home and family there to help.
I was making calls to Nairobi, South Sudan, South Africa and I was wondering what my phone bill would look like at the end of the week.
Saturday morning came and we were having coffee under the acacia tree, Peter and Becki were just heading out to preach a few hours drive away, when Peter got a text.
If we could somehow fly up to the South Sudan border town of Lokichogio AIM air would be willing to give us the fuel we needed to get back. This was the missing piece of the puzzle.
Peter ran upstairs and got changed, I grabbed my camera and we jumped in our small Cessna plane sending apologies for missing the speaking engagement. We were off.
Two hours later we were descending into the sweltering heat of Turkana. We picked up the Lorne and Jerad, fueld up the plane (thanks AIM!) and were on our way back to Eldoret.
We landed and drove straight to the Hospital. Jared had broken his arm on Friday and we were now finally getting him looked at about 6pm on Saturday. After checking in we were told he would have to been seen the following day - Sunday. Poor boy nearly 3 days after the accident we would get seen and almost no painkillers.
There is always a struggle in "getting involved" and "helping out" and sure enough on Sunday morning we got a text with the medical bill. $1,500... Every day the bill wasn't payed another $100 would be added. If you add up the $400 taxi bill, the fuel for the 4 hour return fight and now the medical bill, the cost was staggering.
These are some of the challenges we face out here, to help or not to help, or how much to help?
What would you do in this circumstance? I wonder...
Well God is good, we thank AIM for their help, we thank a German couple who just happened to be on outreach and were able to take care of Lorne's kids for almost a week so that she could be released to fly home with Jared.
You just never know what each day will bring out here on the mission field and I just love it, its so challenging and so rewarding, and I just wouldn't have it any other way.
We have to lean into God so much and just trust that He will come through in so many different ways each and every day.
If you would like support this kind of work, helping people, getting the gospel out there and all the surprises that come along the way. You can do so here
God is good and we have so much to learn.