Once again I am writing from high above ground as I start a journey to Mongolia. But, first allow me to thank all those who have been faithfully supporting this ministry through your prayers and generous giving. Next, I would like to apologize for the delay in “Updates”. Please know that the lack of updates is not because nothing is happening but rather that I spent the last 4 months in Iraq. (If interested in my writings about my time there, please go to www.brokenmasterpieces.com and click on “Thoughts from the Cradle.”) Please allow me to share with you what God has been doing while For Hearts and Souls has been in the neighborhood.
For Hearts and Souls Children’s Village, Kitwe, Zambia, a ministry to AIDS orphans
The orphanage in Zambia continues to bless and be blessed. Since opening in July 2003 we have seen the faithfulness of a loving God who cares for the fatherless. The new home we are building is almost finished. I am planning on traveling for the opening in January 2006, Lord willing. We currently have approximately (numbers can change daily) 14 orphans, including a 16 y/o orphan Cecelia and her two children. She was a street child until a year ago when she came to us. Shortly after arriving she was noted to be pregnant from before. She has since given birth to her second child and has become a real help around the house. Cecelia has opened our eyes widely to the problem of young girls living on the street. As the new home opens, I would like to keep the rental home and have it become a home for young girls who currently live on the street. We want to care for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. The new home will be primarily for young children. All of these children are AIDS orphans and about one-third have HIV/AIDS. I would also like to purchase a 20-acre farm for food for the orphans as well as an on-the-job training facility for our older orphans. I would like to share some of the financial blessings that God has poured down on the orphanage. I list these not to solicit, but to give glory to God for His faithfulness. The monthly budget to care for 14 orphans and employ 8 staff is $1640 a month. God has been faithful to provide. We continue to seek only our God for financial help and He has directed many to share with this ministry. The cost of the farm will be between 2000 and 4000 dollars. We trust that if it His will for us to buy the farm then the money will be available in His perfect timing. Please continue to pray for the work in Zambia as the need continues to grow larger. But our God is even larger.
Searching for the Broken Hearts, Playa Del Carmen, March 2005
In March, I had the pleasure of traveling to Mexico. I saw 48 patients and 16 of those children had significant heart disease that needed either surgery, cardiac catheterization, or medication. The other patients did not have any heart disease and were very relieved to know that their heart was OK. I am happy to report that, as of Oct 13 2005, eight of these children have traveled to the U.S and undergone care, either with catheterization or surgery or both. One nine-year-old child’s family, after she underwent further diagnostic evaluation in the catheterization laboratory, elected for her not to have surgery as the risk of surgery for her would have been very great. One 3-year-old boy with Down syndrome had been turned down for care multiple times in his life, both in the U.S. and Mexico. What a gift to see the tears of joy in his father’s eyes when he was told his son could have surgery. Another three of these children have undergone surgery in Mexico, performed by the
U.S. pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon who traveled there with me in March.
Searching for the Broken Hearts, Mongolia 2005
There are 18 team members who are currently traveling to Mongolia. This is our third large scale medical mission to Mongolia to search for children with heart problems. We plan to see 1500-2000 children in 4 ½ days. All children will receive toys and a gospel bracelet. Children who are thought to have a heart problem will receive an echocardiogram at no charge to the family. Children who are diagnosed with a lesion that requires surgery will either be treated by the Mongolian physicians, be treated by our team, be treated by a Japanese team, or become a part of the Children’s Heart Project, a Ministry of Samaritan’s Purse. Please pray that the children and their families are able to clearly see Jesus through our lives, actions, and words. We will be screening children from October 17-21.
Mending the Broken Hearts, Mongolia 2005
In 2001, I had asked God to show me children with heart disease that I may be able to help. Shortly after that prayer I was in Kenya and I saw many children who needed heart surgery but I had no way to help them. As I sent one child home to die, I walked to lunch with tears in my eyes, pleading with God that now that he has shown me all of the need that he would allow me to do something to directly help the children and teach the local physicians. Over four years later a door has been opened for us to bring pediatric cardiac surgery to Mongolia. The Mending the Broken Hearts team has 12 members: pediatric cardiac surgeon, pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist (my wife Kim!), 2 pediatric cardiologists (including myself), pediatric intensivist, pediatric cardiac perfusionist, and 5 nurses who specialize in caring for children with heart problems. We will be working with the local physicians and nurses in Mongolia to train them on the equipment that has been donated for the project. Our plan currently is to do two open heart surgeries a day for 5 days. We hope this is will start a collaboration where we can come and help them bring up the standard of pediatric cardiac care in Mongolia, so eventually no more children will need to leave to receive the life saving surgery they need. We are doing the project in conjunction with Samaritan’s Purse, who has been very generous with gathering the donated medical equipment as well as purchasing items that were not donated. They also have provided for the shipment of a 20-foot container. This is where we need your prayers. The container’s arrival is still in some question due to some unforeseen problems. Please pray that the container will arrive and be released from customs so we will have the equipment so desperately needed. We trust that God’s perfect will will be done. Please pray that God would be glorified by the works of our hands and that the children and the families would sense God’s love through His son Jesus Christ in a very real way.
Many of you know I was deployed as an Air Force Flight Surgeon to Iraq for four months over the summer. One of the highlights of my time there was when I was able to go to Baghdad and screen 57 children with significant heart disease for eligibility for surgery. 27 of the children need surgery and do not need any further evaluation. 20 children need further study with a catheterization prior to a decision being made on surgery. 7 children were not operable and 3 did not need surgery. There are 4 organizations that are interested in helping these children find places where they can receive surgical repair. One of the most interesting is Shevet.org. They are a Christian Jewish organization that has brought 50 children out of Iraq so far. Some of these children have been treated in Israel. What a testimony to the work of Christ: Christians bringing Muslims to Israel for healing. Please pray for this work.
Zambia: I plan to go to January 2006 for the opening of the new orphanage.
Mexico: We will continue to help children in Mexico at Playa Del Carmen. I already mentioned that the pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon that traveled with me in March has been back to perform surgery. Our next trip will be in early Spring.
What I ask of you is to pray. Pray that we are worthy to serve the people God puts in our path and that our service brings glory and honor to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria
Dr. Kirk Milhoan, Medical Director, For Hearts and Souls