mitch & char

mitch & char

Monday, April 30

The battle continues

Since this article was written we have a some good and bad days. Tomorrow we go for a contrast CT. The intestinal leak is still producing alot of fluid. Today is week 6 of no food or water, so as soon at the hole heals(orally we don't need another surgery) they will skin graft and I can start eating light foods.  Here is the article form the Dickinson press of ND:

When Beach native Mitch Hildebrant left to Africa nearly two years ago to fight for the lives of children, he never thought he would be battling for his own life.

About six weeks ago, he went with stomach pain to a hospital in Swaziland, where he and his wife, Charlotte, reside.

"It is not like an American hospital — most equipment is quite old, but there are doctors and nurses," Mitch stated in an email. "I would liken it to a hospital in the USA in the '70s."

He was diagnosed with appendicitis and what was supposed to be a routine procedure that would get him back to ministry within three days turned into a nightmare of complications.

"The next day I went in for the operation and while under sedation the doctor discovered a tumor in my intestine," he wrote. "He did a laparotomy and in addition to the 6-inch horizontal opening for the appendix, he made a 12-inch incision vertically up the center of my stomach."

Less than a week later, his health was declining and he was taken to MediClinic in Nelspruit, South Africa.

"The material in the intestines was leaking all over inside my body," Mitch wrote. "I had arrived malnourished, dehydrated, double lung pneumonia, double plural effusion (water between lung and diaphragm) and my right lower lung was collapsed."

His abdomen was full of bacteria and his kidneys were failing.

"The doctor explained that I was very sick, and had I come 24 hours later, I would most likely not be alive," he stated in the email. "Proper prep and time was not taken into account for the initial surgery (which I did not give consent for) back in Swaziland."

Several other complications have developed and he may be in the hospital for another six weeks.

"I was very scared," Mitch wrote. "There was a lot wrong with my body. But one by one, the medical staff is working at each problem."

He has lost about 25 pounds and he has a 9-by-12-inch open wound across his stomach.

"Due to the severity and number of surgeries, it is not a wound that can just be pulled back together and closed," he wrote.

Doctors will eventually graft skin over the wound until he is well enough for surgery to close it.

"I am so blessed to be able to be by his side throughout all of this," Charlotte stated in an email. "The power of prayer has sustained us through some pretty dark times. We know we are not alone and that God has kept Mitch in the palm of His hand through all of this. We are anxious for the healing of his wound, but understand that it will take time."

His mother, Bobbi Hildebrant, said she feels helpless at her home in Beach.

"If I didn't have my faith in the Lord, I wouldn't make it," she said. "You want to be there. You want to put your arms around him and pray with him, but you have to do all of that from a distance."

She has offered to fly to Mitch, but said he told her he would rather she use her money to help the children of Swaziland.

The missionary team the Hildebrants are working with has constructed several facilities to care for thousands of children since they arrived in Swaziland, Mitch said.

"These kids are seeing what hope is," he wrote. "When a child sits on your lap and tells you their dream, it is a beautiful thing. Most kids here would only think about the next meal."

Other missionaries and local staff have continued working since Mitch has fallen ill.

"It has been hard on them, and things have had to slow down a little, but they do a fantastic job and have risen to the challenge for as long as it takes to get me back," he wrote.

It could take another six weeks before he is able to leave the hospital and he will need to return several months afterward to have his wound closed.

Medical benefit to help Mitch

A spaghetti dinner and baked goods sale to help defray medical costs for Mitch Hildebrant will be held at Peace Lutheran Church in Dickinson on May 6 from 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mitch and his wife, Charlotte, have been doing missionary work in Swaziland, Africa. Mitch has been in a South African hospital for weeks battling several medical problems.

"They had an African medical policy in Swaziland, but they've exceeded the cap, the limit, of $75,000," said Mitch's mother, Bobbi Hildebrant.

In addition, a medical fund has been established at Wells Fargo in Dickinson and First State Bank in Beach. Those interested can send donations to either location.

Saturday, April 14

Update from Mitch n Char

Well, it has been an interesting month for sure.  The ministry continues to see the amazing hand of the Lord move through it.  Our interns at the Global Leadership Academy are amazing us each day-we truly believe that THIS is the key to completion of efforts with children/young adults.  Equipping tomorrow’s leaders with Character, Integrity, Leadership, Business, Finance, Serving and of course the Word!


The Carepoint’s have become incredibly healthy.  We have added on a new missionary whose focus in Education.  What perfect timing-as the education system here is on the brink of collapse.  This has already brought about Curriculum for preschoolers, and homework clubs for all of our kids…and the kids LOVE to come.. we do some homework help, chat and sometimes play a game…of course-they always get to hear a little more about Jesus.


Our orphan homes are full-there is so much need, but we are finding better ways to even meet those needs.  We have begun working within the community for a  new approach.  We could never build enough or finance enough orphanages-BUT we can do an “in community/By Community” support with food, medical checkups and more- a great enhancement to the CarePoints.


Along with this, we have just finished one major building project at Njojane(en-jo-jah-knee).  A very remote area that when asked, many children had never heard of “GOD”.  we are so excited as this large building will double as a new church plant on the weekends, and a CarePoint every other day of the week (CarePoint-point of care where kiddos can come to be safe, receive education support, medical care, nutritious meals, social/emotional counseling and more)


One more major project is nearing completion- the “Dream Center”  We are praying that God would give us the right people to help lead the charge for this.  It will be a place to bring our youth/young adults for trainings, seminars, exposure to opportunities, work clinics, teaching and so much more.  We hope to launch programs as early as August here.. and this big BIG building will also be a church plant on Sundays at they reach out to 2 of our communities and are on the Global Leadership Academy grounds in Mbekelweni(em-beg-el-we-knee)


We have been a bit “away” for nearly 4 weeks now .  As I type(and get in trouble by char for using the computer) I sit in a hospital bed in Nelspruit South Africa.  We are seeing God and each other in new and unique ways, so we praise HIM!.  If you were not aware, and would like to see/learn more about what has happened medically- please visit or .


We have been SO encouraged and SO blessed to have the emails and notes these past weeks.  They truly have helped us carry on in some very dark times.


Anxious to get back to our kids, I weep thinking about getting out there and hugging and kissin them all!


Bless you and thank you so very much!,


Mitch and Charlotte Hildebrant
Missionaries to Swaziland Africa with Children's Cup International Relief

John 13:34 “Love one another, as I have loved you, so you must love one another..." 



Wednesday, April 11

24 hours to meet Jesus

Yah, I had 24 hours more and I would have been face to face with the King of Kings...yet I didn't want to go. This is THE prize, THE goal, and THE target for us all...yet I wasn't ready.
Perhaps it was fear, uncertainty, the ever growing love I have for Charlotte, or just a lack of faith.

(I just needed to process-you don't need to read the saga)

3weeks ago today we checked in to Mbabane swaziland clinic with a soar stomach. 3 doctors and referrals later we meet with a surgeon that identifies appendicitis, and says we must operate the next day. We felt at peace and confident in his ability for a routine procedure, and were assured that 3 days later could return to work(upset about missing 3 days-but let's get it done).
I won't go into all of the detail of incidents and mistakes and oversites made at the hospital, I will say I met some wonderful people, and I hope the Lord allowed them to be impacted in some way.
During the operation...a complication-surgeon came out to talk to char and says he found the appendix oozing(so good we went in to get it out) but also found a tumor on and in the intestine. The removed a large portion of intestine and stitched it back together and stapled me up. 4 hours later I hear the news. Now we must for pathology to come back from Johannesburg if cancer...3 days later-NO cancer(thank you Lord). By that day I was up and walking, still in pain, but waiting for that first meal. It came day 5 in the way of an ensure protein drink. But I wasn't feeling well, still feverish, and getting weaker. Day 7 came and concerns of blood clot or leak of intestine were the possibilities. Doc says "we need a CT scan. There is one 20 miles away(the only in the country) and I might get results by late tonight...or we ambulance you to south africa". We elected SA and a dear friend(Beano VanRensburg-who was over to swazi visiting family) began the arduous process of securing a medical transport visa. 6 hours later that process was done, but they dispatched our ambulance elsewhere -so 2 more hours and we hit the road to Nelspruit SA

Into the hospital(which is as American as I have seen) and straight to CT. Scan results immediately show alot of leakage-and I was going septic. Rushed to surgery to redo the procedure and to flush everything with litre after litre.

I arrived in Nelspruit with dehydration(IV was way too small), malnurishment, and pneumonia. Later test results and scans showed plural effusion on both lungs and a collapsed lower left lobe, sceptic, and kidney failure.

Off to ICU to recover from surgery. Doctor came in and said "had this been 24 hours more-you would not be here"

In and out of consciousness for a few days and back into surgery for a re-rinse(this is normal procedure hence why he left the 12" stomach laceration open). Back in and out of consciousness for a few days and moved down to general ward. Recovery has begun? That is when the other issues surfaces(above) that were then treated individually.

Today(3weeks now) kidney issues resolved, pneumonia getting better with physio and treatments, lung tube in and plural effusion on the right side is better, central line inserted for 3000ml of "food?" pre made based on my deficiencies upon arriving in SA, still working on left side effusion(water between lung and diaphram), and trying to get protein and potassium back to a normal range.
Today I walked. Painful and tiring but so good to get out of a bed.
It has been 3 weeks since I have taken any food by mouth and 2 weeks since I have had a drink of even water. I may have found the easiest? way to lose weight!
The wound is still open and it is about the size of an American football. From the bottom of my rib cage down and across the belly. They have a vacuum treatment on it consistently-and it will take another week or two of treatments to bring the wound back together enough to staple.
Char has been my rock and by my side the entire time. Oh the burden she must be carrying. Again, so grateful to Beano and Sharon-they have put char up and cared for her like Christ Himself would.
Visits from so many amazing people. Krista supports char so much, as do the entire missions family. Princes, beth, sandra, brauds, the williams from Maputo Mozambique, Lasalette, brennans and today pastor Mel drove 7 hours from xaixai moz just to encourage. Calls, messages and info from the states and an odd connection; moms friends parents from tanzania knew a couple in brazil, who knew some friends in SA who had heard about us and came to see if there was anything we could do.

I remain humbled, in tears, and confused as I try to process this all. I see the hand of Christ in the middle of it all, and I pray that I will come out of this a more compassionate and understand man, but more importantly-closer to the God that called us to serve in Swaziland. I feel ashamed that I was not ready to meet Him, but was ready to give up. This is something that will take some time for me to understand.
I know this-God does all things well, He is intimately revealing more of His character to Char and I, and I have never loved Him or Char as much as I do this moment.

We may have a few more weeks in the hospital and then some recovery time after, and things will look different in our lives and work-and that will be ok.

Thank you for your prayers, for your love, for your thoughts and comments. Christ has used You to bring us strength.
We press on to the goal...