Now is the day to say good bye to all the staff and children at LIA. I was able to visit with the 3 students that my son Chad and his family are providing educational scholarships to them in honor of his late wife, Kari. My grandchildren bought them Christmas presents that were presented to them. They were so excited and I received many big hugs. I was presented their grades from their last year in school and they are doing very well. Thanks to Chad and his family for providing these children with an education and a chance for a future. Also they loved the presents. God bless you for helping these kids and I know that Kari is smiling down from heaven.

I then presented Mama Lynn with donations that were given to Hope Ministries by a school from Halie Larsen’s hometown school. This included dresses, leggings, sandals, school supplies, candy and many more things. They were beyond excited to receive these things. God bless everyone who donated these items.

Then came the goodbyes and it is always hard for me to say good-bye to the children and the staff. They have become my Tanzanian family. Of course they know that Mama Gayle will be back. It was especially hard to say good-bye to the young man that we did surgery on. He gave me a big hug and told me that God was going to bless me for helping him. He also wanted me to give thanks to Dr. Block and Dr. Rizk for doing the surgery. He was so appreciative and his prayers and kind words brought tears to my eyes.

With our bags packed, Mark, Freeman and I headed to our last day at St. Joseph’s. We first went to the see the ward to see the patients that we had done surgery on to check on their progress. Again they shook our hands and thanked us for helping them. These people are so appreciative for what we do for them. I then dropped Mark off at OR and I then met with the head of the hospital. I presented here with the donated medical supplies and suture. Suture in this country is like gold. They were more than happy for the donation. Mark had 3 orthopedic surgeries and saw patients in between the surgical cases.

I met with the head of the hospital and thanked her for the wonderful time we had at St. Joseph’s. The staff is always so nice and fun to work with. I then paid for the surgeries of the patients that we did. These patients are very poor and could not afford to pay for their surgeries. If we had not come, they would have not received this care. Praise God to all the donors who donated funds to help pay for these surgeries.

Then Freeman and I headed too see this little 4-year old child who was in another hospital. We went to the pediatric ward and found her with her mother resting in bed. This child was brought to Mama Lynn from a distant Maasai village because she was poor and wanted help for her child. Her child’s abdomen had been getting larger for about 2 years. What a beautiful little girl. My heart broke when I saw how large her abdomen was. I have never seen anything like this. We then talked to the nurse and reviewed all the lab and X-ray reports. I then talked to the resident about her case. The tests have been inconclusive and they want to do an exploratory surgery to release the fluid in the abdomen then do some biopsies. But for now her blood counts are low and they need to give her some transfusions. I took pictures of all the X-rays and reports to show Bill and Craig when then return from safari. Please pray for this child and that we can make make some decisions on what would be the best for this child. I gave the mother some money that she could use to feed her daughter and herself. She was so appreciative. I then called Rumisha at LIA to give him an update on what we found out about this child. I am continually amazed on what God always puts before me when I am in TZ.

We headed to Arusha and arrived safely and got settled in at Ahadi Lodge. Then then called Nai because she had a lady she wanted us to see. This was a lady in her 40’s who had previously had headaches, back pain and then all of a sudden had some memory issues and could not walk. She was already seen by some Tanzania physicians and they had performed some tests. Well we set up a clinic in the office at Ahadi and we assessed this patient. She can no longer walk and the family carried her. God bless my African sister Nai, she has such a loving and caring heart and reaches out to help anyone that she can. After examining her, Mark was very concerned about something going on in her spine and we had to refer her to Dar to get an MRI and she needed to see a neurologist. Thanks to my dear friend Dr. Isidor, who is in Arusha now to come to our NGO meeting tomorrow, he provided me with the name and number of a good neurologist in Dar. Mark will talk to Isidor in the am and then we will call this physician and refer the patient to him. I thank God for my many years of coming to TZ and all the connections I have in the medical world. Also thanks to Mark for his kind and sensitive manner to this patient and family and provided them with the knowledge to what they should do next. Praise the Lord.

I talked to Julius and the team had an awesome day on safari. They were up early and hunting with the bushmen. The bushman shot a baboon and skinned it right in front of them and then roasted the meat and some of the team tasted the meat. They also visited 2 other local tribes and then went on a hike to visit the elephant cave and water fall. I talked to some of the team members and it sounds like they were having so much fun! I am so happy for them. I know Julius is always concerned about the team having a good safari, and goes out of his way to make it the best.

Sending a lot of hugs and love to all my family and friends at home. The team thanks everyone for your continual prayers.