Woohoo! Our time in America was punctuated with two major events. First, Arianna’s presentation for Grand Rounds at UAB on Pediatric Emergency Medicine in Kenya. Second, Friends of Kijabe board week in Charlotte, with our hospital leadership (also good friends) flying in from Kenya to tour hospitals, create a strategic plan, and host a “friendraiser” with friends, family, and teammates who are involved in the work of Kijabe Hospital.
I was nervous. The outcome of our board meeting really determines the direction of my life in the coming years – the projects I talk about, the stories I tell, the magnitude of the task before us and my role in it.
It was amazing and challenging.
My friends are not afraid to ask hard, penetrating questions. We had many conversations about purpose of Friends of Kijabe, purpose of Kijabe Hospital, and purpose as people. We drove NASCAR simulators, paddled kayaks on Lake James, walked the hanging bridge at Grandfather Mountain, and dreamed about what could be.
We processed some of the grief and expectation with Rich for the healing of his son (also one of my close friends) Adam. We had talked nearly every day on Skype since Adam was diagnosed, but face to face time is so much better. Being far away is hard, but a long
We watched John demonstrate financial projections for the hospital and it was both perfectly clear and seriously challenging. Kijabe provides a large amount of uncompensated care to poor patients. Staff salaries need to increase to reach national standards. Patient volumes and external contributions both must increase in order to cover the gap. The model plugs in different numbers and you watch the trajectory going up and down, ultimately measured by days cash on hand available – the number of days the hospital could operate if funding ceased (a common measuring in healthcare systems).
The reality is that Kijabe Hospital must both grow physically and become more efficient in processes, and Friends of Kijabe must contribute a substantial amount of money each year. All are ambitious goals and the choice is to reach them or neglect a focus on the poor, which is not an option.
We now have a vision that our board understands, our friends and family understand. . .that even I understand! This is amazing.
Next we must develop a working plan that incorporates individual giving, small-medium grant awards, continuous storytelling, endowments, and leveraging the networks of short-term and long term Kijabe missionaries.
Months ago, Serge wanted to try out a new leadership training tool. The idea was to create a project, execute it over time, and evaluate along the way using their program. My project idea was to share the stories of surgeons on a regular basis. Ginny gave me some feedback along the lines of “that’s nice, but how will you measure the effect/outcomes?” Now I have a definite target outcome.
But a challenge rises in my mind whenever I plan. . .where is God in this?
There is a famous proverb, “In his heart a man makes plans, but the Lord determines his steps.”
I must believe the Lord was planning long before us. . .he is still planning around us. . .as we catch a peek of the immediate vision, it is only a small part of the amazing things afoot. . .and He will still be at his beautiful work long after us.
So we work with all our hearts, precisely because we trust that it is not our own.