FOT’s Impact: From Fire Recovery to Fire Prevention

The immediate and overwhelming generosity of FOT donors in response to the February 2018 fire at Tenwek Hospital has accelerated the hospital’s recovery from the devastating event. FOT quickly raised funds to meet immediate needs in the aftermath of the fire, including the relocation of essential services and repairs to the damaged building and surrounding areas. Gift totaling more than $231,000, received from over 200 donors worldwide, continue to support Tenwek’s recovery and rebuilding efforts.

In addition to damage in the hospital’s kitchen, laundry, sterilization, Wound Care, and statistics areas, the fire revealed other vulnerabilities. These included the absence of a fire-fighting system on the hospital campus and lack of mobile transport to move patients safely across campus. If not for the quick and courageous work of volunteers, the fire could have spread rapidly.

With recovery efforts underway, additional FOT funds have helped rebuild the hospital kitchen, supported repairs and construction in other key areas, enabled the purchase of an ambulance, and aided with the installation of an on-site fire suppression system.  The new system includes a hose reel system and emergency pump designed to activate 18 high-pressure water hydrants located on the main hospital campus.

At left: The restored kitchen.

The damaged building was dedicated in 1997 to Sue Steury, who served at Tenwek for 38 years alongside her husband, Dr. Ernie Steury, the hospital’s first physician. The redesigned facility, which is being strategically reconstructed to house additional clinical and support services, will be called the Sue Steury Building.

According to Tenwek Hospital CEO Geoffrey Langat, the fire “could have been a disaster, but it was a blessing. “I see God’s blessing to Tenwek through FOT. They are true friends and true partners who are there in times of need.”


New Priority Projects for Funding

In collaboration with Tenwek Hospital leaders, the Board of Directors of FOT has identified three new priorities for funding. These projects address specific medical, spiritual, and academic aspects of Tenwek Hospital that will improve patient care, enhance the academic environment for students in the Hospital’s College of Health Sciences, and prepare future chaplains.

Renal & Oncology Unit

There is an increasing demand for oncology and dialysis care at Tenwek Hospital. The establishment of a dedicated unit, with more treatment rooms and new equipment, will allow Tenwek to retain its designation as a teaching and referral hospital at the highest level.  The expansion is strengthened by two other initiatives: Kenya’s National Insurance Fund covers the cost for twice-weekly dialysis treatment, and training for personnel to deliver these medical services is available within Kenya.

At Left: Plans for the Renal & Oncology Unit in the former chaplain students’ hostel.

Phase 1 projected total cost: $181,955
FOT Fundraising Goal: $91,000 (50% of cost in partnership with Tenwek Hospital)

International School of Chaplaincy

Tenwek has offered chaplaincy training since 1991, educating more than 200 students from 11 African countries. The curriculum was restructured in 2016-17 to include higher-level academic and practical training, consistent with the specialized chaplaincy requirements at an international level. Training equips graduates for ministry in healthcare, military, police, prison, education, refugee, disaster relief, corporate, and sports settings. Current classroom and housing facilities for students and staff are inadequate for an accredited program. New construction on land adjacent to the hospital campus will address administrative, classroom, and residence needs for 100 students and lay a strong foundation for future growth.
At Left: Campus concept drawing
Projected total cost: $2,800,000
FOT’s Director of Development will take the lead in soliciting and coordinating support for this project from various funding organizations, churches, and individual donors, including FOT members.

 College of Health Sciences Library

Tenwek’s College of Health Sciences (formerly the Nursing School) has grown dramatically since its founding in 1987. Forty new nurse trainees now enroll annually. In September 2018, 13 students began training as Clinical Officers (equivalent to Physician Assistant) and the College is increasing its capacity by 77%. The current library can accommodate only 36 students studying print materials and 15 students using computers.  The existing building that houses the library and classrooms will be renovated and expanded to incorporate a new, modern library, additional classroom space, a computer lab, and small group study rooms.
At Left: site for the library at the end of the building
Projected total cost: $182,666
FOT Fundraising Goal: $137,000 (75% of cost in partnership with Tenwek Hospital)

These are admittedly ambitious fundraising goals. But each need reflects Tenwek’s steadfast commitment to fulfill its unique healing, teaching, and spiritual mission. We see this as an opportunity to broaden and deepen FOT’s partnership with Tenwek by providing meaningful support for these essential initiatives. We are deeply grateful for your past gifts and prayers and hope we can count on your continuing support.

Additional details and updates will be provided as the projects unfold next year. To make a year-end gift to one of these projects, please  use this secure online form where you can direct your donation. Thank You!


Don Hoover Named FOT’s Director of Development

Don Hoover, a founding FOT Board member and current treasurer, has been appointed as FOT’s first Director of Development.  In his new volunteer role, Don will personally connect with donors, work to expand the FOT community of supporters, and deepen philanthropic support for FOT’s funding priorities.

Don’s career specialty included sales and sales management roles with IBM. He also served as CEO of Sunrise Software, a company he co-managed with his wife Pat to provide job cost accounting solutions to construction companies. He is an active member of Carmel Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC, where he has served as an elder, deacon, and Bible study teacher.

Don and Pat have been married for 56 years. They have three children and 13 grandchildren and have been true “friends” of Tenwek Hospital for many years. Don’s passion for Tenwek’s mission and his expertise will guide FOT to a new stage of growth and impact.

Bomet Annex

Bomet Annex Will Transform Medical Care in County Capital

Tenwek Hospital leaders are poised to open the Bomet Annex early this summer, expanding outpatient care and compassion to the city’s more than 110,000 residents. Tenwek CEO Mr. Geoffrey Langat is excited by this new opportunity to transform how people receive urgent and routine care in a new setting. “We are bringing health care closer to the people who need it,” he explains. “And we are expanding the ministry of Tenwek Hospital.”

The Bomet Annex property was purchased by Tenwek Hospital in late 2014 with assistance from Friends of Tenwek. It is the ideal location for an outpatient clinic, close to government and private industry offices, a teacher’s college, and several banks. The main goal of the new service is to attract and serve area business and professional workers who want to benefit from Tenwek’s expertise in patient care but are unable to utilize the hospital’s existing clinic because of the lengthy wait times.

The hospital’s current outpatient clinic treats an average of 430 patients each day, with treatment times from registration to discharge often spanning five to six hours or more. This makes it difficult for people who cannot leave work, school, and business activities to be seen by a doctor.

The new clinic will help relieve congestion and improve efficiency at the hospital clinic. It also will attract new patients who will receive both excellent medical care and the opportunity to hear the Gospel message. In much the same way that Tenwek’s regional network of dispensaries has brought medical care and spiritual hope to people where they live, the Bomet Annex will embody Tenwek’s mission and work in the city in an exciting new way.

“Excellent workmanship” evident in renovations

The former nursing home facility has been completely restored to meet the requirements of a hospital-managed outpatient clinic. Building renovations have included the installation of a new roof, floors, walls, plumbing, and windows. The interior was redesigned to provide a spacious waiting area, private exam and treatment rooms, and areas for diagnostic x-ray and laboratory services. Exterior improvements include the widening of the access ramp, a new parking area, stone paths, entrance portico, and landscaping.

“It has been a lot of work to renovate an old building and do the work necessary to get it to this new condition,” observes Mr. Langat. “The workmanship has been excellent.” Medical Superintendent Dr. Steve Burgert agrees, adding, “The Bomet Annex is a very beautiful and inviting facility for our patients and their families.”

The Bomet Annex will open with a staff of 10-11 medical professionals, including physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, and receptionists. As the service expands in numbers and scope, the hospital expects staffing to grow as well. At the time of this writing, there are several more administrative steps with the local government that need to be taken prior to opening. This includes a tie-in to the city’s wastewater system and issuing a license for the facility. The hospital is awaiting delivery and installation of the x-ray equipment and also needs to integrate with the hospital’s electronic medical records system.

The cost to purchase, renovate, and equip the Bomet Annex has been approximately $300,000.  FOT donors have provided more than half of the funds needed for the project. “We are so grateful to all of the Friends of Tenwek,” says Mr. Langat as he reflects on the partnership that made the project possible. “They have stood with us both in times of expansion and progress and in times of need. God is using them to bless Tenwek.”

Thank you for partnering with Tenwek Hospital to make this vital extension of outpatient services possible!

Tenwek Fire

FOT Donors Lead Fire Recovery Efforts

On the evening of February 9, 2018, a fast-spreading fire destroyed a multi-purpose building at Tenwek Hospital. By God’s grace, the patients sleeping in the building’s Wound Ward were safely evacuated while Tenwek staff and community members heroically fought and contained the blaze. There were no serious injuries but the building was destroyed and all of the ancillary services housed in the building were displaced.

FOT quickly sprang into action, raising $65,000 to support immediate needs within days of sending an email appeal. That support has since grown to more than $231,000, representing gifts from 214 donors worldwide. Included in these gifts was some $26,000 donated by 29 South Korean medical students and professors from Yonsei University Health System, many of whom had served at Tenwek Hospital. As one student who is now a doctor reported, “My experience at Tenwek was precious and taught me what kind of doctor I should be. The role of doctors is to treat physical problems, of course. I learned that doctors should be able to not only treat physical illnesses but also comfort and help with spiritual illnesses. And I have been thinking intensively about how to become such a doctor since my time at Tenwek. I have decided to pray with my patients when I enter my hospital clerkship in Korea.”

“True friends” of Tenwek in a time of need

Following the fire, Tenwek Hospital leaders developed a plan to maintain essential services that were displaced by the fire and promptly begin recovery efforts. The infusion of FOT’s “first responder” funds have helped administrators immediately and efficiently manage the crisis and thoughtfully assess and address both temporary and long-term needs.

FOT funds have enabled the hospital to maintain key services that were disrupted by the fire, including operations for patient food services, sterilization, and laundry. Other operations related to statistics, cancer registry, research coordination, social work, and visiting staff have been relocated and restored. (See “Before and After” photos at the end of this post.)

Specifically, FOT funds are being used to rebuild the roof of the burned building and repair those on adjacent structures that sustained damage, relocate displaced offices, repair steam pipes, rewire sterile supply rooms, clear rubble, screed and waterproof facilities, and establish a temporary kitchen to serve patients. The only service that has not been restored yet is the canteen/restaurant that was used by staff and visitors.

The rebuilding effort will focus on locating support services in areas that are separate from patient care wards. The fire prompted a thorough review of the hospital’s emergency plans and administrators are evaluating how to install a fire loop hydrant system that would improve safety throughout the hospital campus.

Even in the midst of the fire and its continuing impact, Tenwek CEO Mr. Geoffrey Langat has seen God’s hand at work. “I saw some people kneeling and praying while others did everything they could to keep the fire from spreading,” he recalls. “It was a sign of great community. People see this place as a gift God has given us and that we must protect. I learned that there are friends of this place that respond. It could have been a disaster, but it was a blessing.”

Mr. Langat continues, “I see God’s blessing to Tenwek through FOT. We have walked a long way together and have accomplished a lot. And in this moment they came through. They are true friends and true partners who are there in times of need. I thank God for them from my heart.”

Thank you to everyone who made a donation to the fire recovery fund for Tenwek Hospital!
Your generosity is making a difference!

The following “Before and After” photos were provided by Dr. Stephen Burgert, Medical Superintendent, Tenwek Hospital

Staff Entrance

Roofing By Sterilization




Update on Fire at Tenwek Hospital

A message from FOT President J. David Hoover:

Dear Friend of Tenwek,

Since the evening of February 9 – when a fire at Tenwek Hospital disrupted operations and threatened lives – your support has been a source of encouragement and joy for everyone engaged with FOT and ministering at Tenwek.

The fire, which began around 8 p.m., engulfed the building at Tenwek that housed the Wound Ward, kitchen and canteen, laundry and sterilization facilities, and several critical support offices. While some witness reports suggested the fire started in the hospital kitchen area, the exact cause remains under investigation.

 By the grace of God, all patients were safely evacuated and the fire was contained to that building. There were no injuries as staff members and area residents bravely battled the blaze using buckets of water from on-site fountains.

However, as dawn broke, it was apparent the fire would have both immediate and long-term impacts.

The building is uninhabitable; an engineering assessment will determine if and how the building can be restored for optimal use.

FOT immediately established an emergency fund for fire-related needs and sent an email alert about the fire to the 763 supporters on our electronic mailing list.

Within days, we received $65,000 to the designated fund. We are overwhelmed and deeply grateful for the generosity and faithfulness of these “first responders!”  This support, coming so soon after reaching our fundraising goal for the Bomet Annex Outpatient Clinic, is a truly inspiring expression of the place Tenwek holds in the hearts of our FOT community.

In consultation with Tenwek Hospital leaders, the FOT Board of Directors has decided to make these emergency funds available for immediate needs the hospital is facing in order to maintain operations and continue its ministry to the people of Kenya. This includes funding solutions for the services that have been displaced from the damaged building.

In the Spring issue of Tenwek Today, we will include an update about how the damaged building and services are being restored. Tenwek’s CEO, Geoffrey Langat, and Medical Superintendent Dr. Stephen Burgert, have advised us that the hospital also is assessing its fire protection system and will incorporate changes designed to significantly improve the safety of the entire hospital campus.

While other partners with Tenwek Hospital (i.e. World Gospel Mission and Samaritan’s Purse, government officials, insurance coverage, etc.) will provide support for the rebuilding efforts, we believe FOT is fulfilling a unique role with these immediate gifts from our community of medical professionals who have served at Tenwek and are personally committed to its mission of teaching and healing in the name of Jesus Christ.

Given the time and expense involved in any rebuilding project, we believe the FOT emergency funds are critically needed and will be wisely disbursed to meet vital immediate needs.

Sincere thanks again, to each of you who have contributed to FOT’s Emergency Fire Fund. Your gifts are already being put to excellent use!

You can still make a gift to the Emergency Fire Fund using the secure, online form at:

To send a check by mail, please designate Emergency Fire Fund in the memo line and send it to:
Friends of Tenwek, Inc.
6277-600 Carolina Common
Box 191
Indian Land, SC 29707

Tenwek Fire

Fire at Tenwek Hospital!

A fire on February 9 at Tenwek Hospital destroyed the building that housed Wound Ward patients, as well as the hospital’s food service, laundry, and equipment sterilization facilities.

Thankfully, with God’s provision and the quick action of Tenwek staff, no lives were lost. However, the building is unusable. Wound patients have been relocated to the former Eye Ward, but services critical to hospital operations have been destroyed. These early photos show the fire and its impact.

Please pray for Tenwek’s leadership and staff as they seek short and long-term solutions to effectively manage this challenge and bring glory to God through the hardship. FOT has established an emergency fund to support Tenwek’s recovery from the fire’s impact. Make a secure donation here.

We will continue to provide updates on the reconstruction decisions and process. Thank you for your support of Tenwek Hospital! Please share this news and opportunity with family and friends who may want to support Tenwek’s mission – We Treat-Jesus Heals – during this challenging time.


A Video Thank You from FOT President Dr. David Hoover

During a recent visit to Tenwek Hospital, Dr. David Hoover, president of Friends of Tenwek, reflected on all that has been accomplished since FOT’s founding. Over the last five years, FOT supporters have helped Tenwek Hospital meet numerous mission-critical needs, including medical priorities, chaplaincy and nursing school programs, community health initiatives, and missionary needs.


Dr. Russell White Receives $500,000 Award in Recognition of His Work at Tenwek

Russell E. White, MD, FACS, MPH, chief of surgery and surgery residency director at Tenwek Hospital, has been named the recipient of The L’Chaim Prize for Outstanding Christian Medical Missionary Service. The $500,000 award funds will be used at Tenwek to train cardiac surgeons in heart valve repairs and for the treatment of esophageal cancer, tuberculosis, and other chronic diseases. It  also will pay for ultrasound screenings and antibiotics for local students to prevent strep infections from causing heart damage. Read the NY Times story here.

Dr White was previously honored by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) with the 2012 Surgical Humanitarian Award.

Dr. White, a member of the Tenwek staff since 1997, specializes in esophageal cancer, the most common malignancy in Kenya. His expertise – which includes a caseload of approximately 2,000 patients and extensive research on the etiology, screening, and treatment of the disease – has helped Tenwek become the busiest center in Kenya for the palliative and curative treatment of esophageal cancer.

Photo Credit: John Jumbi/AMHF
Tenwek Outpatient Clinic

Excitement Building as Opening of Tenwek’s New Outpatient Clinic Nears

With construction sounds filling the air, the excitement is building in Bomet as residents look forward to the opening of Tenwek Hospital’s new outpatient clinic, the Bomet Annex. Conveniently located at the site of a former nursing home, the facility has been completely renovated to meet the area’s immediate, emerging, and future outpatient medical needs.

The need for a city-based clinic is urgent. The hospital’s outpatient clinic treats, on average, 430 patients each day. It often takes the entire day for patients to be registered and evaluated, undergo tests, receive care, and be discharged. As one nurse explained, “Our work is never done. No matter how many people we see today, tomorrow we will be full again.”

A physician at Tenwek concurs, “We continue to be extremely crowded with long queues and long waiting times here in Tenwek Hospital Outpatient. It will be a great blessing for the Bomet Annex to open as soon as possible to serve many of these patients.”

When working people in Bomet experience illness or injury, they would like to receive the quality care Tenwek Hospital is known for. But they cannot afford to sacrifice a day’s work and pay to visit the main hospital clinic. As a result, they are missing the great opportunity for physical and spiritual healing that Tenwek offers.

The Bomet Annex will provide a full range of outpatient services in a convenient venue, attracting new patients while helping relieve congestion and improve efficiency at the hospital. Just as Tenwek’s regional network of dispensaries delivers compassionate care in Christ’s name to people where they live, the Bomet Annex will embody Tenwek’s mission and work in that city.

Funds Needed to Reach the Finish Line

Since 2014, Friends of Tenwek has already raised and invested $150,433 to help Tenwek Hospital purchase, renovate, and begin to equip the Bomet Annex clinic. This support has included acquisition of the land and facility, extensive renovations, and purchase of x-ray equipment. With the end of the project in sight, FOT is dedicated to raising $56,000 before the close of the 2017 calendar year.

After acquiring the property, Tenwek administrators made the strategic decision to conduct extensive repairs and renovations that would allow the facility to expand as needed. Rather than simply occupy the existing space, they developed a construction plan that created numerous examination and treatment rooms for patient privacy, diagnostic and laboratory service spaces, and administrative offices for medical professionals and chaplains. Future phases of the 1.2 acre site will accommodate additional services currently not available in Bomet, including counseling, mortuary, chapel, and community health.

In addition to creating all-new clinical spaces, renovation challenges have included the need to level the structure, which had an eight-inch difference in floor height from end to end, and the removal and replacement of the facility’s roof. While the work has caused some unanticipated delays, the finish line is in sight. The construction supervisor reports, “Every day, people are asking, ‘when will it be finished? Why is it taking so long? We want it open now!’”

Tenwek CEO Geoffrey Langat is just as eager to open the facility. “The Tenwek Hospital Bomet Annex will provide an opportunity to expand our services closer to where people are living and working,” he explains. “They will be able even to walk to get care, which will be comparable to that delivered at the Tenwek Hospital main campus. This meets our mission goal of quality service through healthcare as ministry in Christ’s name.”

FOT Board Secretary-Treasurer Don Hoover (center) visits the Bomet Annex in July 2017 with Geoffrey Langat, Tenwek Hospital CEO (left) and Dr. Stephen Burgert, Tenwek Hospital’s Medical Superintendent (right).

You can make a gift in support of the Bomet Annex here.
See photos of the renovation here.
Read the fundraising update here.
View an online video taken by FOT Field Director Dean Cowles here.