17 month old Mohamed, admitted to Mercy Hospital with severe anemia caused by malaria, would die if he didn't receive a blood transfusion, but his O negative blood type is extremely rare and none of his family members could donate. Nurse Karen Hall, who was serving with the July UMVIM team, shares his blood type and gladly volunteered to donate. The family was so grateful to Karen, who truly saved their son's life. Read Karen's story:
"I was all set to go on our team's second medical outreach. I had some time on my hands, so I was visiting with (Medical Programs Field Director Specialist) Kim Sprout at the MTC. Gary, our team doctor walked in pointed at me and said, "what's your blood type?" I told him O negative and he looked like he had seen a ghost. He explained that there was a baby with severe malaria and needed a transfusion. It was virtually impossible to find O negative, and if they found it, it would not make it to Mercy in time to save the baby. Apparently only 7% of the world's population has 0 negative blood type. Gary was not expecting any of the team to be a match. Gary asked me if I was willing to donate, and of course I was. Anyone on our team would have been.
Gary said he would let Mercy know and let me know what they said. He must have run, because in no time he was back at the MTC. I went to the lab and George (the Mercy lab manager) did a type and screen on my blood and the next thing I knew the donation had begun. Before I knew it, the donation was complete. I went over to Mercy to let the CHO Deborah know I was finished. I started getting sick and she sent me upstairs to rest.
Over the next few hours, I found myself praying with all my heart that the baby would live, that the transfusion would be successful. Before I left the hospital I peeked in on the baby. The mom looked worried out of her mind. I know that look. The baby was receiving the transfusion at that time and was not looking so good. I prayed with all my heart that this would be a story of life. As we know HIs ways are not our ways and our hearts desires are not always the answer. The spirit continues to whisper the same familiar thing..."trust me."
That evening Gary had received a good report from Mercy and was very hopeful the transfusion was a success. Later that night there was a complete lunar eclipse, a blood moon. It was only visible in the Southern Hemisphere. I felt like I was in a living Bible story.
So often it is hard to see our purpose. To "know that we know that we know" that we are called to something or somewhere. This one time, God gave my heart a beautiful gift too. He gave me something that only I could do at that time. He used something that He gave me when He knit me together in my mother's womb. I think we all have times in our lives where we struggle with our purpose. I have been in that season for a while now. Not on that day or that night...and because of that beautiful gift, not today. I know my purpose, to follow HIS voice.
Sweet little Mohamed who was 17 months old went home the following Monday. His family was full of thanks. It was humbling to be thanked for something that had blessed our entire team. Mohamed's family is Muslim, and I love it that on that day we were all one. In it together. Saving each other."
Visitors to the Missionary Training Centre always rave about the delicious Sierra Leone cuisine dished up by MTC Manager Fudia Ernest and her amazing staff. It's mild enough for American palates, but with a deliciously piquant African flair, satisfying to body and soul. Many have wondered if they could learn how to make some of Fudia's spicy entrees when they return home.
Well, now you can, starting with "Fudia's Famous Groundnut Stew," a crowd pleaser for missioners and Sierra Leoneans alike (download the recipe below.) Groundnuts (as West Africans refer to peanuts) form the base for a rich chicken stew flavored with jalapenos and served over rice. The secret ingredient is Maggi seasoning, available on Amazon (your purchase supports Helping Children Worldwide) or at Lotte stores locally.
Coming soon, Helping Children Worldwide will be publishing Fudia's Cookbook, which will be available for purchase on our website, all proceeds to benefit the Missionary Training Centre and missions in Sierra Leone. Stay tuned!
Fudia Ernest (below) cooks her amazing culinary creations on an open fire in the kitchen hut behind the MTC.
Fudia's Famous Groundnut Stew
1. Clean and roughly chop the onions, tomatoes, and spring onions. Set aside.
2. In food processor, grind together garlic and desired amount of jalapeños.
3. Season chicken pieces to taste using Maggi seasoning or Season-All. Add garlic/jalapeño mix to
4. Place seasoned chicken pieces in large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook
for 5 – 10 minutes.
5. Remove the chicken from pot. Set stock aside for later use.
6. In another large stock pot, heat 1⁄2 inch of vegetable oil on medium to medium-high heat.
Carefully add chicken pieces to oil and fry until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan and
drain off excess oil. (TIP: to avoid overcrowding your pan, fry chicken in batches)
7. Using the same oil from frying the chicken, add onions and tomatoes and cook over medium heat
8. Add peanut butter to vegetables and cook until combined, stirring.
9. Add reserved stock to the peanut butter mixture. Simmer over medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes.
(If stew seems too thick, add water to mixture to increase volume)
10. Add chicken pieces and tomato paste to peanut butter mixture. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce
to a simmer over medium heat for 20 – 40 minutes, until thickened.
11. While stew is cooking, make rice of choice to pour stew over.
12. When the stew has thickened, remove from heat and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes. It will continue to
13. Serve over rice and enjoy!
*TIP: If you don’t want to butcher, feel free to buy chicken pieces at the grocery store.
Dr. Carol McIntosh has just returned from a medical mission trip to Bo. During her time there, Dr. Carol trained Mercy Hospital's maternity staff, many of whom are fairly new, to perform ultrasounds.
Fudia Ernest has been the caretaker of the Missionary Training Centre (MTC) since opening 10 years ago. Fudia attended school in Freetown, graduating from senior secondary school before going to vocational school to learn catering. Her Christianity and her family are her highest priorities. She is the proud mother of two beautiful girls, Augusta (23) and Mary (21). The MTC turns 10 on the 28th of December.
How long have you worked at the MTC: “I will soon be 10 years at the MTC."
How did you hear about the MTC: “I went through an interview after hearing an advertisement. I helped with the building of the MTC, organizing, and furnishing.”
What do you like most about working at the MTC?: “The most important part of working at MTC is serving God by helping people. That is my best pleasure for working here. It is for humanity, love, and serving another that I work here.”
What are you proud of?: “I helped fix the rooms, dining area, peace hut, and hire staff. So many things I have contributed to getting done.”
Anything else you want people to know?: “Just tell people I love everyone. Love is the key to every success.”