Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Story of Survival

Many of you have heard about a baby who presented to Kijabe Hospital before Christmas with a condition called gastroschisis.  This is a problem where the abdominal wall doesn’t form correctly and at birth the child has the intestines on the outside.   This is a difficult problem to treat, but in developed countries, the survival is ~95%.  Unfortunately in the less developed world, like Sub-Saharan Africa, the survival is far below this and likely less than 10%.  This particular child was at a hospital 100s of kilometers from Kijabe where there weren’t the necessary resources to care for him.  Amazingly, at 4 days old, he and his mother arrived at Kijabe hospital with his intestines wrapped in gauze.  I told his mother that his chance of survival was far less than 50% but that we would do all we could to care for him.  He had a very rocky hospital stay over the course of almost 2 months, but  through the power of prayer and the work of our Lord in his people, this baby boy left the hospital yesterday!  He’s got some recovering still to do, but Mom was all smiles as she was preparing to take him home.  

I am so grateful for all of you who have been praying for this child.  He is a testimony to God’s healing power and he is an answer to prayer.  

By His grace, we’ve now had 3 children with gastroschisis survive at Kijabe Hospital.  Just yesterday, another 4-day-old child with gastroschisis was transferred to us.  We continue to covet your prayers for this child and so many other children who come through our doors everyday with difficult and sometimes desperate problems.  Thanks for being part of not only the physical but also the spiritual work in the lives of these kids.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bethany Kids Children's Centre

We hope that everyone is having a blessed holiday season.  As we look back and consider what was a surprisingly busy year for us, we are immensely thankful for how we’ve seen God’s faithfulness in His provision and care especially through so many of you as the Body of Christ.  Thank you!

We know that at the year’s end, many of you look for opportunities to give something extra in ways that will be a blessing to others.  There are so many avenues to do that, but we just wanted to make you aware of something that is close to our hearts. 

BethanyKids in partnership with Kijabe Hospital is building a new pediatric wing to expand and enhance the work here in Kijabe.  Construction has been ongoing for a number of months and some impressive progress has been made.  It is through generous gifts from supporters around the world that this expansion is being completed.  While much of the funding has been realized, there is still a fairly sizable amount needed to complete the structure.  Through the expansion of the physical space for the clinical work here in Kijabe, we look forward to providing real hope and healing to more and more patients throughout the region.  To read more about the Children’s Centre, click here.

If you’re interested in giving toward this project, you can follow the link here.

God Bless.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Hansens

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  
Ecclesiastes 3:11

We’ve spent this past year dividing our time between two continents.  Between March and August, we were able to spend time with family and friends back in the United States, making new memories and sharing about some of what we’ve been able to see God doing in Kenya.  It’s been nice to be back home in Kenya and back to the work God has given us here.  We’ve celebrated the graduation of two pediatric surgery fellows.  Erik’s been grateful for the help of visiting surgeons who have invested in the training program and the care of so many children here.  Amanda has been providing reading support for the elementary school at Rift Valley Academy and investing in a number of children there.  

We are reminded during this Advent Season of the truth that God has set eternity in the human heart.  He became like us to provide all of us with a way to eternity with him.  We are so thankful for His eternal sacrifice and the chance to be His hands and feet as He brings His hope and His healing to children and families throughout East Africa.  

May you be immensely blessed as you rest in the hope of His Eternity.

Erik and Amanda Hansen
Kijabe, Kenya

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


In our last blog post we asked you to pray for Dr. Situma and Dr. Lebbie as they would be taking their oral exams in Zimbabwe.  Well, they took their exams today and they both passed.  As we say in Kenya, Bwana Asifiwe (Praise the Lord!)  Please continue to pray for them as they prepare to return to their home countries to begin practicing pediatric surgery.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


This past Wednesday we celebrated Dr. Aiah Lebbie and Dr. Martin Situma as they completed their formal training in pediatric surgery here at Kijabe Hospital in conjunction with BethanyKids of Kijabe Hospital.  These men and their families have undergone 7 or 8 years of surgical training after internship to reach this point.  It is a long journey that has required significant sacrifices not only on the part of the Martin and Aiah, but also their families who have supported and stood by them throughout the years.  I am exceedingly proud of these two surgeons who are both men of God with hearts for His children and His Kingdom.  Upon receiving their diplomas, they were quick to thank God for His guidance and sustenance along the way as well as to express their sincere gratitude to their wives and children.  

Dr. Lebbie is a native of Sierra Leone and a general surgery graduate of the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons program in Mbingo, Cameroon.  He and his family will shortly be returning to their home country for the first time in 7 years!  Dr. Lebbie will be the first formally trained pediatric surgeon in his country!

Dr. Situma, a native Ugandan, did his general surgery training in Kampala, Uganda, prior to beginning his pediatric surgical training.  After spending two years in South Africa, he joined the program in Kijabe to complete the requisite three years of training under the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA).  In January, Dr. Situma will return to Uganda to begin work in Mbara as the second practicing pediatric surgeon in a country of over 36 million people.  
In attendance at the ceremony were Dr. John Odondi (Director of Clinical Services for the Ministry of Health in Kenya), Mrs. Mary Muchendu, Executive Director of AIC Kijabe Hospital, Mr. Justus Marete (Head of BethanyKids – Africa), Dr. Samuel Mwenda, Secretary General of the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), Dr. Stewart Kabaka (Head of the Division of Child and Adolescent Health with the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation in Kenya), Dr. Fred Kambuni (Head of the Department of Pediatric Surgery at Kenyatta National Hospital), Dr. Ivan Stewart (Executive Director of BethanyKids), and Mr. Gary Oliver (BethanyKids-USA board member). Other staff members from Kijabe Hospital and BethanyKids also attended to honor the graduates.

The need for physicians, and especially surgeons, in sub-Saharan Africa is immense.  The pediatric surgeon workforce is even smaller.  The Pediatric Surgery Training program at Kijabe Hospital is run in partnership with BethanyKids of Kijabe Hospital under the auspices of the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons and accredited by the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa.  Unlike in the United States, physicians in training are not paid during their specialty training.  They either have to have personal or family resources to cover their own living expenses, apply for grants, or be bonded to a hospital for a defined period of time after completion of training to repay what the hospital or organization has provided.  It is because of generous donations and the support of many people in North America and Europe that BethanyKids can afford to pay these trainees during their fellowship years.  It is also through the generous giving of many of our supporters that we were able to give both Aiah and Martin a set of pediatric surgical instruments as well as pediatric surgical and pediatric urologic textbooks to take back with them to their home countries.  I want to thank so many of you for your investment in this training program and in these men and their families in particular.  Your prayers and financial support to us, PAACS, and BethanyKids allow us to do this work for the Kingdom.

Martin & Lebbie with the honored guests

Erik with the graduates
Please pray for Martin & Lebbie as they are preparing for their oral exams in Zimbabwe in December.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Music for My Soul Today

This morning I was up at the kids' school and heard singing from one of the rooms.  I realized that it was the elementary school's weekly chapel time so I walked over to listen from outside the door.  The sounds I heard ministered to me in such a powerful way as the children sang out praises that their God is faithful in all things.

These children have all lost something in the attacks at Westgate.  Many of them knew someone who was in the mall when it was attacked.  Many of them know someone who lost a family member in the attacks.  Almost all of them have been to Westgate to watch a movie, to eat a nice lunch out and to tag along while their parents do their grocery shopping.  Westgate Mall was a safe place for them.  For these young children, this attack is all too real.  It is an attack on their innocence and on their security. That is why we are trying to help them stand on the truth of the gospel which is their true safe place and their strong foundation.  We are so blessed that as we struggle as parents with how much to say to our kids and how to help them process this tragedy, the school comes alongside us and supports them by reminding them of the truth of the gospel.

As I listened to the words of the songs they were singing, I was especially touched to pick out the sweet sound of one of my own children's very enthusiastic voice.  I pulled out my phone because I knew I wanted to hear this sound again and this song has been on repeat for me this morning.  I have always liked this song by Matt Redman, but it has never held so much meaning as it did this morning.  I hope that it will minister to you as well.

Just click the play button!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Westgate Mall Seige is Over

After 4 long days, the siege on Westgate Mall is finally over.  It has been a tense few days as we waited for resolution.

61 civilians died
7 security forces were killed
5 hostages were killed
11 suspects are in custody
175 people were hospitalized for injuries
65 people are still missing

Tonight 3 floors of the 4 story mall collapsed, likely leaving many bodies in the rubble.

Tomorrow begins 3 days of mourning for the nation.

Please keep praying for Kenya.

Here is a blog post that helps guide Christians in a proper response to such attacks.  I pray that this nation will respond well to this tragedy.

Thank you for your prayers and for your many expressions of concern.