One More Important Stop, Kenya 2020

Kenya 2020 Day 5

We finished the week again with home visits and a trip to the school for special needs children. The teams saw several older patients that had heart issues and will need medication and follow up.

Pray for James

We were also able to follow up with James from a few years ago who has a brain tumor of some sort. He recently had a brain biopsy and is waiting for results. It has been hard waiting for the results and not knowing if he will be able to work and support his family in the future. Please continue to pray for him for peace and provision.

Pray for this lively woman

I was able to go to the home with a 98 year old woman who has rheumatoid arthritis. She was lively. Spunky and funny she was telling us how to clean he wounds and wrap her joints. I hope I have half her energy at her age.

Pray for all the youth

The cheerful special home once again welcomed us with open arms. We saw several of the youth and were able to spend time playing. It was gratifying to see the water project that several of you donated to in full function.


Again it was a day to recount God’s faithfulness. Thanks for following along during the week.


Read about Day 4 here.

Last Day of Clinic, Kenya 2020

We had a very productive day. Saw a lot of adults today and had a woman that we think was septic and went to the hospital and a baby with bronchiolitis who also went to the hospital.

Caring for others

Today I was struck by how much care a group of people can give when you let them have time to do what they love to do. We saw over 200 people and I think they all felt listened to and cared for.

God has been gracious

The goal was to do what we could for the patient and it worked wonderfully. God has been gracious this trip allowing us to have a wealth of knowledge that we could all share. It never ceases to amaze me how being present in the moment can change our care interactions.
Thanks to everyone who prayed for us. God truly multiplied our time and energy.

We Are Seeing Gods Work – Day 1 Eswatini


We are here in Swazi and doing well.

First Day

First day of clinic was busy with most of the team being new to our clinic system. The day went smoothly except for me misreading the time and being an hour ahead all day?!

What Stands Out

The story the struck me was from pharmacy. I was walking by Ana heard Teresa our host say “the 11 year old is taking care of all of them?” Upon further investigation there were 4 children 11 years old and younger that were there alone because their mother is reportedly paralyzed. Needless to say we were all moved.

Looking Forward

We have set up a home visit for Tues to assess the situation. I will update the story later in the week. We are seeing God work. Please keep praying for His will and protection.


– Dr. Lara Yoblonski

Are you being present with others?

“Who are you?”

He’s not sure. Shy, protected, uncertain. He looks at us wondering who we are and what we are doing. What is he here for I wonder? A cough, congestion, malnutrition, or fever? I can only guess until he is seen by one of the examiners. His look never changes, his eyes asking, searching for answers. The answers will come. But will they be the answers he’s looking for?

The first day

We walked into our very first day of clinic with everyone ready to go to work, yet anxious of what the day was going to bring. Set up took a while, but once the kinks were worked out, the clinic ran smoothly. It worked. And there is that word: “works”. We came to do “works” and there is no denying that. We came to be present. There is no denying that either. Does being present trump “works”? Yes.

Being present

And it was evident when that little boy was seen and had a physical exam, a diagnosis was made, medications were ordered, and his hand was held. His hand was held. Being present when present. How many of us are present when present with our own family? Do we take the time we have together for granted? Do we hold the hands of our family just to be present when present? Or do we rush off to the next chore, the next event, the next thing on our hourly to do list?

This little boy came asking the question “who are you” with his eyes. He found out that we are simply humble folk, looking to be present when present with those who come to us for help.

Try doing this with your family. I found that I needed to do this. My life had become too much of “me” and too little of “them”. Find a moment to stop what you are doing, take the hand of one of your family members and just hold it. Hold it for a long time. Say nothing. Squeeze a little. Entwine fingers together. Look into their eyes. You’ll find that they know who you are and you them. Being present when present. It’s not what we bring but what we leave behind. A memory of caring.

In all things give thanks,



Being Present when Present

He looks at us wondering who we are and what we are doing.


Read more about the trip and our preparation

“Good works?” Not so fast.

Something happened.

A slap of the hand, cold water thrown in my face, a shot across the bow and the realization that all that I have been doing needs a refocus. These things called “good works”, the things we do when we go on medical mission trips, are all “good”, and we are “blessed” to be able to do them. We share the stories, we talk about the successes of treating a disease that had never been diagnosed, of giving nutrition to the malnourished child, of bringing health back to those who have never known health and we bask in the glory of it all. We are blessed. But not so fast.

What is enough?

A pastor from Scottsdale Bible Church were we attend, gave me a book to read called “The Pressure’s Off” by Larry Crabb. People come into our lives for a variety of reasons, bringing with them insight to an issue, an awareness of oneself and more. He did just that. I had become quite the self-centered person and needed a dressing down. All the “good works” had become the focus of my life under the pretense of being God directed. A hiccup in my life changed that focus. In the book, I learned that God’s blessings are things that we ask for, and when we get them, we say “see how God answers my prayers”, and when we don’t, we say “what am I doing wrong.” That is a life of asking and expecting God to give us when He may not get anything in return. So how about another way to look at “good works”? What if we simply search for God’s presence, bask in Him, live for Him and give Him our attention and love unconditionally, and never expect any blessings in return and that the only thing that we would get out of this “relationship” is a love that is beyond comprehension? Would that be enough for us? I am learning that it is indeed so.


As we prepare for our trip in a few days, we look to the “good works” that we will be doing for those who come to us for help. But here is the charge I give you: it is not going to be about the “good works” that we will do. It will be about the relationship that we will have with God, each of us in our own way that will set the foundation for our presence with those who come to us. It will be about how we commit ourselves to Him, to bask in His presence, and to feel the Holy Spirit in our hearts. I leave you with the very first line of a prayer that I learned when I went on a retreat called a Walk to Emmaus: “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love.”

Let your hearts be filled as we prepare for this medical mission.

In all things give thanks,


man reading bible, praying


In All Things, Give Thanks

In all things, give thanks.  She swept the dirt floor, moving dirt from dirt, the dust following. The one room house, no bigger than a normal sized bedroom, had two large bamboo mats laid side by side on the floor, bedding piled neatly on each. A small charcoal open pit was in the corner with a few pots and pans stacked on each other. Two small windows were open, allowing a little of the African breeze to drift through the room and out the door that had no door. Four children, ages uncertain, but all less than five years old, gathered outside with smiles on their faces as they motioned me in. I was being invited into their “home”.

Their “Home”

Ethiopia has their populated and modern cities and their dismal, underprivileged, underserved, and wanting little villages. It was in one of those villages that I was visiting, doing an assessment of the healthcare that the children were receiving before I brought a medical team. The village was remote, no electricity or sewers, holes in an open shack for a latrine for those villagers who chose to use it rather than going on the side of their “homes”. No running water, no well, no water tanks, just a small dirty river that ran on the outskirts of the village. They drank it, washed in it, cooked with it and played in it. An underprivileged village for sure. And yet, the people were smiling, gracious, welcoming and inviting. I entered the “home”.

Proud of what she had

The mother stood in the center of her “house”, with her children around her.  She extended her arms out to show me her “house”, her smile big, her teeth missing, and her eyes brimming with pride. This was her “house”. Dirt floor, charcoal pit, bamboo mats, two windows and a door. She offered me some tea and asked me to sit on one of the bamboo mats. I did and the children followed. A small cup of very hot tea was served, sweetened with a lot of sugar, and handed to me, her two hands holding it and placing it in mine. And always smiling. She was proud of what she had. She had everything she needed and nothing that she didn’t.

My confession

I could not say the same for me. I had more than I materialistically needed and much that I didn’t need materialistically. And yet, my smiles were often absent. I always wanted more. A fair confession on my part to be sure. I wonder if you feel the same. We have a lot don’t we.  It’s only when we see others who do not have what we believe they should have, do we realize our blessings. There for the grace of God, go I.

I reflect

At this time of thanksgiving, I reflect on that mother’s smile, her genuine pride in having a “home” and her children. I reflect on how she was never embarrassed to invite me into her “home”. I watched as she swept dirt from dirt, and made me feel comfortable in her “home”. I was humbled by her unpretentious character. And I left smiling to myself, and giving thanks for all that I have. Sometimes it takes a humble mother, four small children, one room, two small windows, a door without a door, two bamboo mats, a charcoal pit, a broom and a dirt floor, to see myself.


In all things give thanks,


In All Things, Give Thanks

God’s Grace

Far outside our comfort zone

Dust billowing behind the LandRover, obscured the two other LandRovers behind it. We have been driving for over an hour through the bush, not on a road, and by dead reckoning. The pastor who was hosting us, had been living in this area for over ten years, building small churches in the remote villages that were far from each other, but open for some semblance of a God. We were going to one of these small villages, bringing with us medical supplies and God’s grace. Pastor was excited. We were nervous.

Sometimes we are put in positions that are far outside our comfort zone. We shy away from the challenge and retreat back into our circle of protection from the outside world. It’s safer there. No need to worry about the unexpected, the intrusion, nor the fact that we may not be able to handle what is given us. I find myself there often as well. Safe, protected and sure of what is. However, this time, on this dusty road to who knows where, I didn’t feel safe, protected, and I did not know what “is” was. So, I gave it all up and asked for protection from the One who has the greatest security force in the world: trust in Him. I felt better, but ashamed just a little bit, that I had some doubt as to His protection. Shame on me.

A familiar place

We arrived to a small gathering of villagers, mostly women and children, all singing welcome songs, dancing and greeting us with outstretched arms and hugs. We were dirty from the drive, sweaty and dusty, and when partnered with the hygiene of the villagers, even a HAZMAT cleansing would not have been enough. We set up the clinic and began. Hot, dirty and happy now that we knew what we needed to do and where. Fear of the unknown is often that which paralyzes us. We were good now. We were in our comfort zone, practicing medicine, praying with patients and doing His work. Until it happened.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the child fall to the ground. Her mother quickly picked her up and began running towards us. We have contingency plans for emergencies and went into an emergency mode, the identified emergency team members quickly surrounding the child, emergency medications brought and we began the resuscitation. The child had had a very complex seizure, wasn’t breathing all that well and was quickly fading. We breathed for her, gave her medication to stop her seizure, placed an IV and gave her fluids. After a few minutes she stopped seizing, began breathing on her own and was stable.

But she didn’t wake up. Her mother was continually crying, pleading, villagers also, and the scene was getting tense. Our interpreter said that the villagers believed that we brought a curse into their village and that that the child was evidence. Not a good thing to hear and a place to be in. The pastor who spoke their language tried to reassure them, but to no avail. I stood and asked the pastor to translate for me.

Seeking trust

“This little girl has had a convulsion. She is stable now and it will be awhile before she wakes. I don’t know what caused her convulsion, but I will do my best to find out. It is not a curse. If it was, why did it only affect her? I ask you to trust us, to help us and to give us time.”

The villagers were skeptical, some afraid of the “curse”, others afraid of us. The medical team gathered around the little girl, placed our hands on her, and we prayed. And, in a few minutes, she opened her eyes and looked around. The villagers were silent. They did not understand what had happened. But we did.

God’s Hands, God’s Grace

We are simply God’s hands and serve those who come to us for help. It is He who decides the outcome. We are expected as medical professionals to do our very best, to use our experience, our training our gifts and talents to diagnosis and treat illnesses that are presented to us. Above all we are asked to be present when present. To be there for our patients, assured of our intent to serve and comforted by God’s hand.

The little girl over the day, recovered, and we found that she had malaria and her fever is what caused the seizure. We treated her malaria and fever and gave her mother additional medication for seizures if more occurred and instructed her on how to use it. As we were leaving, there was again singing and dancing, embraces and promises. Promises of prayer for each other. We gathered around the little girl one more time, the medical team and the villagers, hands raised high above her, and we prayed, each in their own way and ours. It was not what we brought, but what we left behind. God’s grace was all around us.

In all things give thanks,


Fear of the unknown is often that which paralyzes us.

Fear of the unknown is often that which paralyzes us.