Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Miracle at TenWek by Gregg Lewis

Miracle at TenWek

Miracle at TenWek:
The Life of Dr. Ernie Steury
by Gregg Lewis

Trade Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Discovery House Publishers
First Released: 2007

Buy from Amazon

Source: review copy from publisher

Back Cover Description:
"Lord, I don't know what you want me to do. But whatever you can do with my life, here it is!" When Indiana farm boy Ernie Steury uttered this prayer at the close of a church service in 1948, he could never have imagined how God would use him to build one of the most successful medical mission facilities in the world. This compelling biography recounts Ernie's remarkable life and ministry as a medical missionary in Tenwek, Kenya.

Raised in America's heartland, Ernie studied to be a medical missionary at Asbury College and Indiana University School of Medicine and then answered the call to Tenwek in 1959, where he founded Tenwek Hospital and built it into what is widely recognized as one of the premier mission hospitals in the world.

Ernie's adventures in Kenya include pincher ants, an angry baboon, and witch doctors. Cultural superstitions about surgery and other common medical treatments such as blood transfusions; limited human and medical resources; and facilities that, for many years, were inadequate to meet the needs of the thousands who came for help--all were obstacles Ernie overcame as he healed bodies and sought to change lives through the ministry of the gospel.

This book is an interesting, engaging biography of Ernie Steury. The author is an excellent storyteller, vividly portraying Ernie Steury's life and personality through dramatic, amazing, and funny stories. The book does cover some of his childhood and early adulthood, but mainly focuses on how God used him in Kenya.

Much information is included about the local culture and the problems local customs created during medical treatment, like the superstitions about death, blood, and spirits and the practices of female circumcision and infanticide. However, the living conditions at the hospital weren't as primitive as in some missionary books.

Most of the surgery scenes are not highly graphic, but the few that are might make people queasy if they get queasy watching TV surgery scenes.

The book quotes letters and articles written by Dr. Steury to show the emotional stresses and ups and downs of missionary work. It also includes quotes from family, friends, and staff. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone interested in medical missions or in rural Kenya.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Chapter One
Daktari! Daktari!

Dr. Ernie Steury smiled as he handed the day-old infant back to her mother before he looked up to see the messenger rushing across the maternity ward. The young Kenyan woman, one of the hospital's nursing assistants, kept calling as she came: "Daktari! Daktari!"

"What is it?" Ernie wanted to know.

"Come quickly!" She was breathing hard. "They need you...in out-patient...A boy...with an arrow wound...He is hurt....very bad, Mosonik (MOH'-SOH-NIK)."

"Then let's go!" Ernine responded, hurrying out of the maternity ward and across the Tenwek Hospital compound. Rushing into the outpatient clinic thirty seconds later, he found a missionary nurse checking the vital signs on a fifteen-year-old Kipsigis (KIP-SUH-GEEZ) boy. The patient was obviously in pain and going into shock. In the Kipsigis language, Ernie asked the boy's name.


Then Ernie asked what had happened.

The young man's father, who had hitched a ride to the hospital for his son on the back of an old pickup truck, told a familiar story. Early that morning, his boy and some others in their village were taking the family cows out to graze for the day when they'd been ambushed by a band of Maasai warriors intent on stealing the cattle. The herders resisted, but futilely. The Maasai, who were better armed, also had the advantage of surprise and greater numbers. During the fight, Kiprotich was wounded.

Ernie had heard similar stories many times before. There were frequent raids and skirmishes over livestock all along the border of the Kipsigis and Maasai territories. The Maasai believed that the creator gave their tribe dominion over all cattle; thus, they considered every cow on earth to be rightfully Maasai property--a worldview neither accepted nor appreciated by neighboring tribes.

Even as he listened to the account of the early morning attack, Ernie began examining a deceptively small abdominal wound. He'd seen enough of those to know it was far worse than it looked on the outside.

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