International Ministries

Training for tomorrow...Zoal and his colleagues

February 20, 2012 Journal
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Many have written and have prayed for Zoal, one of the South Sudanese nurses we sent to Kenya to learn how to manage obstetrical emergencies who then tragically lost his wife and child when she went into early labor back in their village. Nurses like Zoal may be the only health care providers for pregnant women for hundreds of miles and are learning how to manage common complications of labor and eventually surgical procedures, including C-sections. Your concern for Zoal and willingness to partner in this challenging environment of South Sudan is an encouragement for all of us.

Bill and I took a rare weekend off from South Sudan last week and flew to Kenya on a Friday night to check in on the students. Bill called the trip a ‘vacation’ as we loaded down a borrowed car with books, supplies, and uniforms and headed out at six o’clock on Saturday morning for a 6-hour trip across the Rift Valley to the shores of Lake Victoria where Zoal and twelve other students from Sudan are in training at a medical training school. It may not have been my definition of ‘vacation’, but it was still a fun trip and a joyful occasion for the students!

They were overwhelmed by the gifts we brought: simple items like white lab coats and dried, pounded okra from their home. They spent the day talking about their new experiences on the hospital ward as all 13 have passed from the classroom to clinical phase of their one-year program. Those on duty the night before were animated. They talked about how this training would make a huge difference in the lives of those back in their villages; even Zoal, who had lost his wife and child, spoke of having something to offer his people.

This has proven to be an amazing program which will continue with a new group from another state once these thirteen return to Upper Nile state. Such a simple concept, training South Sudanese nurses and midwives to give quality care to pregnant women and to spread that training among their colleagues upon their return. We are so thankful for the many parties that have made this possible ….and the occasion to share in the joy and hope of young persons like Zoal who acknowledges God’s presence and plan in his life, even in the midst of tragedy.

Those who sow in tears will reap a harvest of joy; for though they may weep while going forth to plant their seed, if they persevere, they will undoubtedly return rejoicing—bringing their sheaves with them. (Psalms 126:5-6)