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.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi

Most of you have probably seen the news about the violent attack at Westgate Mall in Nairobi.  The attack is ongoing as there are currently 30 hostages still in the mall with 10-15 gunmen.  59 people have died and there are 175 hospitalized with injuries.  This has been going on for more than 25 hours as it began mid-day Saturday.

Our family is fine.  Westgate Mall is a mall that we frequent when we shop for groceries, but we didn't venture to Nairobi this weekend as we had activities at the kids' school on Saturday morning.

Please pray for this ongoing situation, for the families of those who have died and for healing for those injured.  We pray also for healing and protection for Kenya.

We are so thankful for your prayers.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

We Made It!

Thank you for your prayers.  Our trip went well and we are now home in Kijabe.  The Nairobi airport's temporary international terminal was running very smoothly and we got through it without any trouble.  The only setback was that 13 of our bags didn't make the connection in London, but they are now in Nairobi and should be delivered to us later today.  Thank you for praying!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Our Return to Kenya

We have had a wonderful several months in the US, but are eager to get back to our Kenyan home. Our flight leaves on Monday so we are busily packing and getting a few last minute items.  We are so thankful for you.  We know that we cannot do what we do without your support and prayers. 

I wanted to share with you a link to the BethanyKids blog because we think Moses' story serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of the medical work and training going on in Kijabe and we hope that you will take the time to read it.  Even though it is written as one child's story, it is a story we see repeated over and over again in Kenya.  


Erik and Amanda

Monday, August 12, 2013

Leaving on a Jet Plane

We have had a very full and busy 5 months.  We have enjoyed seeing family and friends, traveling and eating out. But now that our kids are starting to complain about having to eat McDonalds again, it is time to head back to Kenya!  The countdown has reached single digits and we are getting suitcases packed in anticipation of our journey!

You may have seen in the news that the Nairobi airport international terminal was on fire last week.  They have resumed flights at another part of the airport, but things are still a bit chaotic so we are hoping things will settle down a bit before we get there.

We are most excited that Erik's brother and his family will be joining us in Kijabe.  They will be serving at Rift Valley Academy and will be living just a few houses away from us.  We are so excited to have family close by.

Please pray for us as we prepare to leave and for safe travel for us.  We are eager to jump back into our life in Kijabe and are so thankful for our many supporters that make it possible for us to serve there.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Back in the US

We made it back to the US a little more than a month ago and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to see family and many friends.  After a few short weeks in Texas, we are currently staying in Nashville for about 3 months.  Erik is working a couple of months at Vanderbilt while Amanda home-schools the kids.  The kids are missing Kijabe but are happy to be able to spend time with grandparents and even eat at McDonald’s.   

The support from so many that we’ve received over these last two and a half years, both in prayer and financially, has been humbling and much appreciated.  It is being one small part of His multi-faceted Body that has allowed us to see God work in the lives of children and families through the mundane but also the miraculous.  We have been used of God to reach out to hurting people of different cultures and different faiths and to show them the love of Christ. 

We are transitioning from support through World Medical Mission to SIM as we are now “active” SIM appointees.  This has various implications, but perhaps the most notable one is the need for our financial support base to have almost doubled by the time we hope to return to Kijabe in August.  (WMM provided a stipend for Erik, as the physician, for the duration of the two-year program Post Residency Program, and God provided the additional requisite funds through so many gracious and faithful supporters).   We continue to trust God for His provision and are “prayerfully confident” that He will provide all that we need to continue in His work in East Africa.  What that looks like for us is monthly commitments from churches and supporters that will cover the on-going expenses of life in Kenya. 

We’ll be in various parts of the country during our time back in the US and would be happy to catch up with folks either in person or by phone.  If there is a church, small group, or even a business group that would like to hear more about what God is doing in East Africa, please email us as we’d welcome the opportunity to meet with them and share about the work.  Additionally, if anyone wants to partner with us in this, especially on a monthly basis, but hasn’t yet signed up to do so, he/she can click here or on the “Thank you for your support!” link on the right-hand banner of this blog.  If you would drop us a line of your intent using the "Email Me' link, that would be helpful as well.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I just wanted to share with you a blog post from some of our Kijabe missionary friends that shows you the damage from mudslides in the area.  Apparently, Kijabe had over 5 inches of rain in a period of 2 hours on Friday night leaving roads impassable and damaging the water supply to the hospital.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013


It is with a sad heart that I share with you that Hannah Kelley died this morning. You can read her Daddy's words on their blog
We see many deaths here, but when it is a coworker from a nearby hospital who loses their baby, it hits a little too close to home. A good reminder for us to celebrate each day.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Prayer Request

Would you please pray for Aaron and Stephanie Kelley and for their 1 year old daughter?  They are fellow post-residents in Samaritan's Purse Post-Residency Program and have been serving at Tenwek hospital in Kenya.  Last night they learned that Hannah has a very aggressive brain tumor.  They've come here to Kijabe where we have Leland Albright, a wonderful pediatric neurosurgeon.  Hannah is having surgery today and we are asking for God's miraculous healing in her life and for peace and strength for her family.  You can read the Kelley's blog at  Thank you so much for your prayers.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Back to Normal

After a week of nervous anticipation, life is returning to normal in Kenya.  The schools opened today and people are returning to work.  We have been given the all-clear and are permitted to leave the Kijabe area as needed.  A peaceful election is a triumph for Kenya and we are so thankful that the many Kenyans' prayers were answered!  We are also thankful for the role you played in praying for us and for this nation.

We are now looking ahead with anticipation to our return to the US on March 25th.  We will be in the US for five months and hope that we can connect with many of you while we are there.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Some Twitter Humor

The official election results were supposed to be presented at 11:00 am today, but they were delayed until 2:45pm.  We all know that things don't run on time when you are in Africa, but after 5 days of waiting, everyone was eager to hear the official results.  While I waited, I got online and looked at the Twitter feeds and enjoyed many of the clever posts about the delays.  I thought you might enjoy some of them as well.

Please, Kenya journalists: Stop saying 'any minute now' . You're confusing foreigners . #KenyaDecides

RT @WillisRaburu: If you've been wondering why this has taken so long... #Kenya isn't known for short races. We do marathons.#Kenyadecides

Kenya tried to decide but..... RT@ndinda_ Headline: "Election results delayed. Nation put to sleep by dirgely choirs" #Kenyadecides

Starting to think if dinosaurs existed they might have gone extinct waiting for the IEBC to declare the winner. #KenyaDecides

This is the longest introduction to announcing election results ever. Do you really have to thank the soft drink providers?!
At this rate, we shall have a new Pope before we have a new President in Kenya,

All joking aside, Uhuru Kenyatta received the requisite 50% of the votes by very slim margins.  His main opponent, Raila Odinga, is contesting the results and will be appealing to the courts.  There have been a few outbreaks of violence, but they appear to be isolated incidents that were handled quickly by local police officers.  We are so thankful for your prayers and ask that you pray for continued peace here in Kenya.

Election Results

So the unofficial vote count indicates that Uhuru Kenyatta got 50% by a very slim margin. An official announcement is expected later this morning, but based on the sound of the drums and vuvuzelas at 4:45am, I think that many have started celebrating. The vote count could likely be contested. Please keep Kenya in your prayers over these next few days as tensions are high.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Another Election Update

Things are still (for the most part) peaceful in Kenya.  We do not yet have official election results because the electronic reporting system crashed, so all of the monitors for the various polling places across the country are required to travel to Nairobi to submit their vote tabulations.  This process is taking quite some time and is leaving citizens a little frustrated.  

Many people are not going back to work as they are waiting for results.  Schools were supposed to start back on Thursday, but they are now delaying the students' return until after this weekend.  I've heard that many businesses in Nairobi are remaining closed as well.  

We are thankful for peace, but are well aware that the potential for violence increases as people grow weary of the unexplained delays.  People, in general, are feeling frustrated, but are trying to remain calm and allow the process to work.

We really appreciate your prayers and ask that you continue to lift up Kenya during this time of anxious waiting.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Kenyan Election Update

Overall, the Kenyan elections have gone well today. There has been some violence in parts of the country but nothing widespread. Votes are being tallied and we should have certified results in 48 hours. Please continue praying for Kenya over the next few days as results are released.

It has been such an encouragement to hear from so many of you that have been praying for us and for this country.  We really appreciate you and your prayers.

Here are some photographs taken around Kenya at various polling stations today.  

Kenyan Election in Pictures

Friday, March 1, 2013

Kenyan Election

This Monday is a holiday here as Kenyans will be going to the polls to vote for their next president as well as for all other government offices.  This will be the first major election since the 2007 post-election violence that resulted in the deaths of over 1000 people and the displacement of about 600,000 people. You can read more about that here and here.

Since the 2007 elections, Kenya has made great strides to insure peaceful elections in the future.  They've established a new constitution that creates a better balance of power, the judicial system has the authority to solve election disputes and the media as well as churches are promoting peace and are praying for a smooth election process.

We ask that you would join us in praying for peace in Kenya and for good, strong leaders for this nation.  We are hoping that the election results will be clear and decisive and that candidates will graciously and peacefully accept these results.

We have taken necessary precautions to buy food and provisions in advance so that we won't need to travel on election day or the days immediately following.  We do not believe that we are in any danger and are not concerned for our own personal safety.  We receive reliable information about the political climate from the US Embassy and from various mission organizations here who are able to provide us with current information about the on-going political stability and need for added security measures.

We are grateful for our prayer supporters and appreciate your lifting up Kenya during this time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Intruder

I have been sick these past couple of days and this afternoon I was resting.  I had given the 4 year old strict instructions not to bother Mommy unless it was an emergency.  So a few minutes later he came running into my room and shouting that there was a monkey in the house.  That is indeed an emergency!  I hadn't been downstairs in a couple of days because I haven't felt strong enough, but I decided I had to get this monkey out before he destroyed our house.

I went down the stairs and found that he had gotten into some English muffins that were on the counter and was climbing on the kitchen window.  I wasn't sure how to get a monkey out of my house, so I did what seemed natural.  I screamed, "Out monkey, Out!" over and over again.  Instead of running out of the house, he starting pooping everywhere and ran into our dining room and climbed up into the rafters.  I then got a broom and started hitting him with it, but monkeys are pretty good at hanging onto things way up high and I couldn't get him to budge.  He just started hissing and showing me his sharp teeth.  At this point, I sat down and put my head between my legs to keep from fainting and began to send several text messages to people I thought could help rescue me.

Enter James.  You've met James before as he has rescued me in the past.  I knew James was working at a house that is about 10 minutes away so I didn't even send a frantic text message to him, but apparently someone else did and within 4 minutes James was at my door with a big stick and a smile.  He was able to knock the monkey down to the ground and while the monkey clung to a dining room chair, James dragged it out by its tail.

Here's a picture of James dragging the monkey, who was dragging the chair out of our house.  I know it's a terrible picture and Erik has scolded me for not taking one of him on our rafters hissing at me.  At the time, I wasn't thinking about getting a great photo of the monkey, but was just trying to get him out of the house without fainting first.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

An Update

I wanted to give our neglected, but loyal blog followers an update on our lives! 

We had a wonderful holiday break.  The kids' school breaks from Thanksgiving until the beginning of January so they had lots of time to sleep in and play.  Erik worked during that time, but he did take one week off so we could get away and have a relaxing vacation.

I am not teaching at Moffat this term and instead am working part-time at Rift Valley Academy where our kids attend school.  I'm dusting off my Reading Specialist certification and am working with some students as well as supporting teachers with the language arts curriculum.  It is fun to be back in the school doing what I love.

We are also counting down the days until we are back in the US (59 days).  We are excited to see family, friends and 3 nephews that have been born since we left.  We are also excited about McDonalds, Buffalo Wild Wings and Cheerios!  

Our two year term with Samaritan's Purse/World Medical Mission has ended so we will be transitioning to SIM.  We will primarily be in the Nashville area but will be traveling to various parts of the US during this time and we would enjoy catching up with you either in person or by phone.  Also, if your church, small group, or even a business group would like to hear more about what God is doing in East Africa, please email us as we would welcome the opportunity to meet with them and share about the work.

It is our hope that we will have all of our financial support in place so that we can return to Kenya at the end of August.  Please pray for us during this time as we try to work out all the logistics for our time in the US.  

We are so grateful for the many of you who support us financially and through prayer.  We could not do what we do without you!