Mbingo Baptist Hospital: view from Mbingo Hill

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Vitamins changing lives!

We are so thankful to the University of Nebraska's SIPA for collecting calcium and vitamin D supplements to share with the children of Cameroon. Cameroon, like many other developing countries, is plagued with Rickets, a softening or weakening of bones leading to severe skeletal deformities.  Children who do not get enough calcium and/or vitamin D develop bowing of the legs which can progress to such severe deformity that many lose the ability to walk. This happens all too frequently as children receive breast milk until 6-12 months of age and then no further calcium sources since milk, yogurt, and cheese are too expensive. Here are a couple of pictures of children who have come to our clinic in Mbingo, Cameroon.

If identified early enough, calcium and vitamin D supplementation can correct these devestating abnormalities and change the future for a child. Unfortunately, in Cameroon appropriate calcium and vitamin D supplements are almost impossible to find, and often cost prohibitive if found. Rory Ruma, a pharmacy student from UNMC, spread the word of our need and partnered with SIPA (Southwest Iowa Pharmacists Association) to donate these much needed vitamins. She was able to bring > 25 lbs of donated calcium and vitamin D. Greater than ten patients have already benefitted from this generous donation, and we look forward to treating many more. We will keep you updated on the improvements that are made with the appropriate treatment.

Thank you, SIPA, for giving these children a new future!

Lindsay and JR Young

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


August 26: we left Mbingo in the mid morning after rounding on the wards to travel with Valentine and two of Christabelle's uncles to her home village, Abuh, located about 2 hours away by car over rough dirt roads, through tiny faming communities, up and down valleys and mountains, and back and forth through winding switchbacks. It was a beautiful sunny day when we left, but as the ceremony started, the heavens opened, and the earth wept for the loss one of God's beloved children.

Hiking with the coffin up to the family's compound
Walking along the ridge line and down into the compound

Christabelle's funeral was a community affair. People throughout her farming village - situated on a lush, green mountainside with a strong river running below in the valley floor, and groves of coffee plants and banana trees on the hillside - as well as nearby villages attended. Lindsay and I and the three dialysis nurses from MBH (Ivor, Genevieve, and Mercy) were able to attend as well. She was a well-loved young lady as demonstrated by the throngs of people who came to give their last respects.

View of the village landscape
A local group of women sang, one of the village elders spoke, and I was asked to give the eulogy for the girl who touched our lives in such a dramatic fashion in such a short amount of time. We wept for Christabelle, but we rejoice in her final rest with her Father in heaven. Although a time of grieving, her funeral was a celebration of a life well lived, a reflection on her vibrant faith, and a challenge to us all to live in the present and to be appreciative for God's daily blessings.

JR giving the eulogy in the rain
September 5: I spoke with Valentine again this morning. He called to let me know he has found work in the Southwest of Cameroon, and will make the journey to his new work site in the next couple days (many families here in Cameroon live separated. Work is very difficult to find, and so husbands and wives and families are often separated by 6 or more hours of travel). He said that he and Christabelle's mother are still struggling with the loss and heartache, but that they are coping. They remain steadfast in trusting God's provision, but the loss is still fresh on their hearts and minds.

Christabelle is home. She is safe, and her journey is complete. We have been privileged to know her, to work with her, and to see her trust and steadfast faith. There is resolution.

We love you all. Thank you for partnering with us to fight for this young girl's life. God always has the better plan, so we trust in His providential will. Please pray for Christabelle's family, for healing and for strength.


JR & Lindsay

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 
2 Timothy 4:7

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." 
Psalm 116:15