• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya
Sermons, friends, reports, and podcasts. . .

Sermons, friends, reports, and podcasts. . .


Coming back from 6 weeks in the US, my perspective on Kijabe and my role has shifted – not in massive ways, but in subtle ones that I’m really excited about.  Following is a stream of thoughts on work and activities I’ve gotten into since returning to Kijabe.


Time. . .

I’ve been listening to a sermon series by Greg Thompson.  I missed meeting Greg at a recent Serge conference, but these messages have really struck me, most profoundly not because of what he says, but what he doesn’t.  He is speaking to the church where he retired after a decade as pastor, but he doesn’t talk about the great things that happened in the church in the past or what he hopes will happen going forward.  He just talks about the profound and mundane aspects of living life in union with Christ.

Christ the Giver

Christ the Teacher

Christ the Lover

Christ the Laborer

Christ the Sojourner

A powerful takeaway for me is the need to tear down the delineation in my mind between spiritual and ordinary life. . .that part of my God-given call is to wash dishes or clean my room or make dinner for the girls.  These ordinary things count.  They are ministry.

I ran myself ragged for three years in Kijabe, working eight-ten-twelve hours during the day, then cooking dinner and hosting guests from 5 to 10 most evenings, because in my mind, work and relationships were separate.

But if cooking dinner, hosting guests, hallway conversations at the hospital, FaceTime chats – being a faithful friend, neighbor, husband, father – if all these are indeed aspects of ministry, then they should count in my mind as in God’s eyes.

It is becoming strangely enjoyable to wash dishes or put away clothes.  This is not a distraction from work, it is real work.

Somehow, in some strange way, washing my car or walking Buddy is an act of rightly ordering life.


Things to do. . .

Even if I only have a few hours a day to devote to it, leading Friends of Kijabe is becoming a bigger and bigger role.

Backstory if you’re not familiar – a little over two years ago, Arianna’s uncle John Richter helped us launch a U.S. based non-profit to raise money for education, infrastructure, and needy patients at Kijabe Hospital.  Even though Kijabe Hospital is a hundred years old, there has never been a deliberate effort to prioritize needs and to work as one team on major fundraising priorities.

I consistently questioned my skill-set as director of Friends of Kijabe until this summer when my board (also all good friends and mentors) sat down together and ranked priorities for the organization.  Unanimously, everyone agreed that the most important work is storytelling – more important than fundraising, building operating theatres, helping needy children.  Sharing through words and pictures what God is doing in and through Kijabe hospital.  This was a huge vote of confidence.  Despite the thousands of things I still need to learn – finance, board-management, IRS compliance – the most important aspect of the role aligns with my gifts.

Several people have stepped up in huge ways to help in the areas where I am not strong.

Arianna has always been very involved with pediatric needy patients, and has recently put in place a plan for each mum to write a thank you note to donors.  So simple, but really profound.

“God bless you for clearing my bill, because I had nothing.  You have heard my cry.  Thank you again and God our Father guide and be with you forever as you help those in need.”


People. . .

Ken, our hospital director general, has become a wise friend and mentor.  He’s also a tremendous athlete and is one of a handful of remaining mountain bikers in Kijabe.


Ree’l, a new member of our Kijabe Serge team, has sorted out my finance issues in several weeks. . .it takes someone with her tenacity, experience and love of spreadsheets to make a thing of beauty out of data.  Business accounting is a challenge as numbers need to be arranged differently for all the different people and still all make sense and add up at the end.


My good friend Rich (Gabi & Adam’s dad), is joining our Friends of Kijabe board from California and is going to help reach out to the Kijabe diaspora of people around the states and world who have loved and cared about Kijabe Hospital but may not be part of the current work.



Paperwork and promise. . .

This is the culmination of what happened last year with Friends of Kijabe.  Amazing, and God-willing, just the beginning.



Technology and something to listen to. . .

If you know me, I have likely bothered you with a story from a podcast (Arianna has been the victim of thousands of these stories over the year).

So, its about time that I create podcast of my own.  Planning a series of talks with our medical community to dig into faith, family, and life as physicians.  You can find the first episode here with Chege Macharia, head and neck surgeon at Kijabe.

Here’s a little bit text from our conversation: “One thing is apparent, Kijabe must have been set up with God’s mission at the purpose at the center of it.  All the rest of us are, we can choose to be used for this mission and purpose or get out of the way.  Somehow, every day, there are patients whose lives are permanently changed because of what we do, and somehow, it seems, this happens in spite of us! (laughter). We look at the big picture and see that God is still at work, his work will still go on.  People are coming, needy patients are coming, people in distress from physical or spiritual conditions.  Our job as physicians is to look at this and choose to be a part of this.”









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