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Babies. Lots of babies!

Balao (hello) from the Central African Republic!

For many months, the staff at our medical clinic in the Central African Clinic has expressed a desire to begin offering childbirth services. As has become our custom, we try to respond to the needs around us when we feel that we can offer a substantial improvement to the current situation. Since I don’t have experience in the childbirth area, this request for childbirth services seemed a bit more challenging than the orphanage, school, or lunch program. All of those programs were critical needs that we have been able to meet, and the effect upon the lives of the people we serve have been dramatic. In many cases, lives have been saved. However, I remained more than a bit reluctant to wander into an area that I know so little about. Prior to my November 2018 visit, I sent a message to our staff that I would like to discuss the possibility of childbirths at the medical clinic after we reviewed the equipment and expertise that we have available for this work, but that they should not expect that I would make a decision

immediately. During my visit to the medical clinic, I talked with our staff midwife and doctor and saw the medical supplies that we have available. I saw the passion that our staff has for the patients that we serve. The clinic was clean. The staff has training and experience. The management is professional and the patients are very appreciative of the services that we provide. Lives are being saved and testimonies are being shared.

I left without making a decision. I thought about it a lot on the long flight home, because I knew there was a critical need but this was way out of my comfort zone. I’m not sure why leaving my comfort zone is an issue for me anymore. After all, we’re operating a school, orphanage, and school lunch program in the middle of Africa. To be more precise, we are doing all of this in one of the most corrupt countries on earth, in the hungriest country on earth, and in a country that has been torn apart by rebel violence since 2013. So why did I need to be in my comfort zone on the childbirth question? I returned home in the middle of November, back to my comfort zone, and didn’t make a decision.

About two weeks later, our staff informed me that the first child had been born in our clinic. I’m not sure how or why that happened. Miscommunication? Defiance? Emergency? I don’t know, but the decision was made. Since then, eleven babies have been delivered at the clinic. In February, we have provided examinations and prenatal vitamins to twenty women. Our staff expects to deliver five babies per month.

Apparently, the Lord doesn’t need for me to be in my comfort zone for His work to be done. We can all be thankful for that.

Carter Strand

International Director

Jonathan’s House for Orphans

Central African Republic

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