May-Jun 2012 African Newsletter

The African Report Newsletter: Jerry V. Hogg, 462 Amanda Circle, Knoxville, TN 37922 Email: May-Jun 2012 Sponsored by: Sunset Church of Christ, Sunset International Bible Institute, 3723 34th Street, Lubbock, TX 79410 CATCHING UP! Time has a way of passing us by, if we don’t grab hold of opportunities and do things in a timely fashion. With all that occurred in the States with Joey’s surgeries and traveling to raise funds every weekend, reports got lost in the shuffle trying to take care of everything. Consequently, it was somewhat surprising to see that our newsletters had been overlooked since we came out to South Africa in February. Now, we must play catch-up. As I have written a monthly letter telling folks about Joey and his tumors, I honestly thought the newsletters were done, also. They weren’t. Monthly letters are sent to regular supporters, and to anyone who gives funds during that period of time, whereas newsletters are sent to everybody on our mailing list, over 1300 to folks from about every state in the Union and emailed to many in the States as well as in South Africa. Let me first give you an outline (by date) of things that have occurred since January: January 23 - Hoggs received custody of Joey. February 27-28 - Trip to South Africa. March 12 - Joey’s dental appt. W/ Dr. Groenewald. March 23 - Moved from the flat to the BIG house. March 29 - Joey’s Oral Surgeon appt. W/Dr. Chris. April 17 - Took Joey to USA for surgery/treatment. April 18 - First appt. With Oral Surgeon in USA. April 24 - Joey’s first Surgery (extract for Biopsy). May 1 - Surgery follow-up. May 22 - Second surgery to insert drainage tubes. June 26 - Return to South Africa. FEBRUARY TRAVELS The flight from Knoxville to South Africa on the 27th & 28th was long and tiring (17 hours from Wash DC to Joburg, SA) plus the day-long wait in DC (10 hours), but we made it okay. However, after arriving we all had to adjust our sleeping patterns. Joey was really keen that first day to see everything and stayed awake most of that day. However, later in the week, he went to sleep in the middle of the day to "catch up" a couple of times. Ann had swollen legs and feet that necessitated staying off her feet a lot. Mine were also swollen, but not as much as hers. She is a diabetic and that also accounts for this condition and a weakness she has at times. Getting her medication regiment adjusted was part of the way she feels. GETTING SETTLED IN Though we had not met the new students who started in January, they all came out to welcome us home and seemed happy to see us. The students carried all NINE of our suitcases up those 16 steps to the flat. It was only later that week that I got Ann’s computer set-up to catch-up on emails, and so she can do her part of the work, like the finances, reports, and my class outlines. When some of the students were again helping to carry various pieces of her computer from the library-office building, where it had been stored, up to the flat, the monitor was dropped! Oops! It took another day or so to get a replacement. Mishaps happen. We attended chapel services on Wed. The 29th. It was a singing day and of course they sang my favourite song, "Higher Ground" the way only SABC can sing it. That really made my day! Evening services at Benoni that night was a time of songs and prayers to remember all those who had lost loved ones recently. Another funeral for a long-time member, Alex Fella, was to be on Friday morning. No one remembers a previous time when we've had so many deaths in this congregation. One family has lost 4 in the last year, a son, his father and 2 cousins in the family. LIFE IN THE SABC FLAT At each end of the boys’ and girls’ dorms are 4 flats (or apartments) built for dorm supervisors and visitors. When we first got here years ago, we stayed in one of the upstairs flats on the boy’s side at the Bible College. It had become a very familiar and comfortable place for us to live while in South Africa a few months each year. It was great being close to the students and mingling with them. It has always been delightful becoming acquainted with the students from so many different places, knowing them, and being close enough to visit and talk with them about whatever might concern them. We have great students who are dedicated to the preaching and teaching of the gospel, and they are always helpful about carrying things up to our apartment when we need them. LIFE UNDER THE CHESTNUT TREE During the last few years, though, Ann and I have developed health-related problems that made it difficult to go up and down the steps to our flat. We have no plans to leave South Africa, and want to continue with our work here at SABC as long as our health allows us to do this. Joint aches, especially with my knees and her back, began to hinder us somewhat and caused us to make a few life-style changes that we have taken for granted over the years. In order to make it easier on the "ol’ knees and back," SABC made one of the campus houses available to us. It is all one level without any steps. However, it is an old house needing many repairs to make it livable. This house, under the chestnut tree, has many memories for us in that it was the first classroom used for the Bible College in the late 60's and ‘70's, and lots of married students lived here over the years. Nowadays, we have more singles. Since the Bible College was not financially able to do the repairs, Ann and I agreed to raise funds for the renovations. It cost more than R20,000 to make the basic repairs with still more to be done. Many of our friends and family overseas assisted us, as well as some here in South Africa joined in to help fund the repairs. Folks here also pitched in with household items: furniture, curtains, and kitchen utensils. We are ever so grateful for all that has been donated to the college. I tell everyone it’s not for us alone, but these things will still be here to serve others in years to come. So, we made the big move from the flat to the house "Under the Chestnut Tree" on March 23rd, with the help of the students. Packing up and unpacking took several days. Joey esp. enjoyed the "tire-swing on a rope" that hung from the chestnut tree! A TRIP TO THE DENTIST Just before Joey came to live with us in January, I asked if he could be taken to the dentist he’d been seeing for cleaning and checkups. They said it wouldn’t be six months since his last cleaning and the insurance wouldn’t cover it. Then, we couldn’t get him an appointment before we left the States in February. So, in early March we took him to our "old" dentist here, the one we have been to since the ‘70's. He did an x-ray, then called me back and said, "You’ve got to see this!" Dr. Groenewald then pointed out 2 large cysts on his gum-line (one the size of a golf-ball, he said), and 4 smaller ones on the lower left side near the back of his mouth. He recommended that we take him to an Oral Surgeon for a more complete diagnoses. A couple of weeks later, we took Joey to a Maxillo-Facial/Oral Surgeon, Dr. Chris A... (a long greek name). He also made a larger x-ray of his mouth and told us to "get him to the States immediately" for surgery and treatment. This is what he wrote in his report: "My differential diagnosis is multiple keratocystic odontogenic tumours as in the Gorlin Syndrome." It is a very rare condition. Look it up online to learn more about what we’re dealing with. The very day we landed in Knoxville on April 18th, we went to see my dentist there, Dr. Gary Woodall, who recommended an Oral Surgeon in his building, Dr. Trondson. He did surgery on the 2 largest cysts, taking tissue out of the center of each one to do a biopsy, also pulled 2 baby teeth that had not been pushed out by the permanent eye-teeth because of the cysts (which he called "tumors"). The eye-teeth were below the gum-line, having been pushed way up in his jaw. There is also much bone-loss. Two weeks later, he installed drainage tubes and showed us how to irrigate or flush them out. Joey does that 2 or 3 times a day. He is diligent about that and can do it easier than we can. Dr. Trondson then told us we could return to our work in Africa and see him again in six months, when he hopes the cysts will be reduced enough to be taken out. We booked tickets to return to Africa in late June. After the initial reports about Joey’s condition went out, we heard from numerous folks saying they’d never heard of this type of problem - this included most of the dentists we talked to. It is unusual, in a way, that we had to travel to Africa to learn about it. Dr. Groenewald said he’d had a patient about 30 years ago with this problem, or he would not have recognized it. But, he couldn’t do anything about it, except refer us to a surgeon who deals with it on occasion. We are grateful for our dear dentist-friend here! ****************** We appreciate everyone who has responded to our needs, and especially for those who sent money to help us with Joey’s expenses. The Oral Surgeon here told us we’d be dealing with this problem 20 years from now. Whew! That’s awesome. It really is wonderful to know so many who care. Thanks for your prayers and financial assistance. This is not an easy task! –Jerry & Ann Hogg & Joey Whited Jerry P.O. Box 11165 Rynfield, Benoni 1514 South Africa 076-978-3465 Training Able Spokesmen For God In Africa SOUTHERN AFRICA BIBLE COLLEGE SABC Information: