Posted on Dec 10, 2013 · Posted in Share Your Story

Tenwek Memories Last a Lifetime

Tenwek - We Treat, Jesus Heals - Rick and Brynne 1994I first visited Tenwek 19 years ago with my husband, Dr. Rick Standaert. Residents in pediatrics and general surgery at the time, we had the good fortune of meeting and working with then medical student David Hoover – now Dr. David Hoover, pediatric surgeon and chairman of Friends of Tenwek!

My, where has the time gone?  And isn’t it amazing how God brings us back together again?

Our few months at Tenwek back in 1994 had a deep impact on our lives. Rick and I always have wanted to return to Tenwek and share that experience with our children, Claire and Richard. This summer we made that dream a reality through the help of Samaritan’s Purse, World Medical Mission, and Friends of Tenwek’s David Hoover.
Left: Brynne and Rick Standaert at Tenwek in 1994.

Tenwek Sign with Standaert FamilyWhen we arrived, so much was the same, yet so much was different! We were so happy to see the iconic We Treat, Jesus Heals sign was still standing. It is the symbol of a truly amazing place and we pray it never comes down. The wards we spent endless hours in treating the sick so many years ago were still there, plus more buildings have sprung up all around them! The unique smells were just as I remembered. The scenery is still beautiful, as well as the hearts and smiles of the people.

Left: The Standaert Family, 2013

I was pleasantly surprised to not see a single case of malaria, for when we were there before, so many lives sadly were ended from that disease. I know education, bed nets, prayer, and determination made a huge difference in the community. What a blessing!

Seeing a surgery residency program at Tenwek – as well as Kenyan medical students and interns rotating through the many departments of Tenwek – is an amazing testimony of the great dedication of all the Tenwek long and short-term missionaries.

My children, Claire and Richard, really appreciated their time at Tenwek this summer. They experienced how others live and came away with a better understanding and appreciation for the gifts God gives them. Helping out on the wards and with the Tenwek community health program, they counted and packaged iron pills for pregnant Kenyan mothers, and went on numerous outings to far away communities  weighing babies for well-baby visits and enjoying the children. They also organized, collected, and transported three huge suitcases of shoes and backpacks from the states for orphans, many of whose parents had died of HIV infection. You should have seen the smiles on all the children’s faces when the gifts were delivered!

I am so thankful we were able to return to Tenwek this summer as a family. There is so much more I could relate, so many heart moving stories to tell. I just encourage you to take the leap of faith and serve at Tenwek, making your own memories to last a lifetime.

Dr. Brynne Standaert is a pediatrician from Las Vegas, Nevada

About the Author