Monday, July 30
First of all, even with Medivac-we were not able to travel. My condition until very recently, was too compromised. 2nd; the health care here in South Africa is compatible and incredibly advanced just like the USA(as our US consulting physicians and surgeons from the states have advised us)
3rd; there is a spiritual component here that we have never seen. Nurses that sing praise songs at shift changes and offer spiritu encouragement, countless brothers and sisters in the Lord(mostly strangers, and now friends) that have taken time to encourage and pray with us.
4th; for the same care, the cost is nearly 1/4 of that in the USA(they don't seem to have many of the issues we see in the states and finally
5th; we have insurance here in africa and not in the USA. This insurance covered the first $65,000 in full of our expenses, and we have had an additional $80,000 paid thanks to friends, family and churches. We are blessed and in awe and could never say thank you enough. What a mighty God to orchestrate all of this.
We are seeing that the Lord has used our infirmary to touch others, bringing some back to the Lord, and in a few incidents; introducing Christ and the eternal hope found in a relationship with Him to some. We have heard from people praying literally around the globe, and are seeing a spirit of unity of believers regardless of denomination(sounds a bit like the original new testament church eh?-oh what a beautiful thing...and to God be all the honor, praise and Glory)
We may never fully understand the "whys", but we take comfort in knowing that He does-and this earthly challenge is as much about what the Lord wants to do in our lives, as it may be in YOUR life. How exciting! We are happy to be used in this way, and hope that we are able to rise to the challenge of making Him known to more.
Get out of the hospital
Take some downtime to recover(still week and skinny and learning how to live with tubes and pipes and skin grafts and the home care that goes with it)
Have tests done on ureter to determine extent of damage...this will happen in October and will be the determining factor in where we have the 4 reversal surgeries performed(USA or South Africa).
Set time for reversals-could BR as early as November or as late as January.
Through it all we have seen the Lord present leadership opportunities to our swaziland staff-and we are so proud of them stepping up and "owning" their piece of the swaziland cup ministry. And THAT is the goal of every missionary-raise someone up to take over and duplicate efforts. We are seeing the system working in that fashion an are so pleased!
Still alot of decisions to make, we really miss our USA friends and family and will be returning for a short while -we just don't know when exactly, or what will happen at that time. There is a debriefing class for trauma for missionaries that we will look into to help is grow and make us more effect in doing His work, and of course try to connect with You. Your prayers and support have sustained us an given us strength. I pray that our circumstances have challenged you to go deeper in building your relationship with your best friend Jesus! I know it has us, and chat and I have never loved each other or Jesus more-so in a strange way-we say "thank you for this problem Lord"
Now you know our heart, hope it makes sense and you see it with the passion we intend. Again so grateful for You and those that have amazing heart and intention for us to be back in the USA immediately. Please know-we love you!
If you would like daily updates please look us up at www.Facebook.com/mitchchar for a monthly newsletter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, July 21
by Mary Garrigan Rapid City Journal Saturday July 21
For the first time in a decade, Mitch Hildebrant will miss Hills Alive.
The annual Christian music festival — which runs today and Sunday at Memorial Park— and the missionary to Africa have been closely linked ever since Hildebrant went to work for the broadcast company that produces the festival about 10 years ago.
Hildebrant has been a patient in a South African hospital for more than four months, battling surgical complications after an emergency appendectomy performed in a Swaziland hospital in March.
"I know he's heartbroken to miss Hills Alive," said his sister, Brenda Messer. The Dickinson, N.D., woman will attend Hills Alive and she knows her brother wishes he could, too. "We know that's a heart spot for him. But he'll be back. He's got a story to tell, and I know he'll be up on a Hills Alive stage again."
Hildebrant left a job as president of Bethesda Broadcasting in 2010 to become a missionary, along with his wife, Charlotte, with Children's Cup International, an AIDS orphan ministry in Swaziland. Last summer, they returned to Rapid City, where Mitch spoke at the 2011 Hills Alive event.
This year, his absence will be felt, said Tom Schoenstedt, general manager for Bethesda Christian Broadcasting stations here. "This is the first one he's missed in many years," Schoenstedt said.
Daily crowds of 20,000 to 25,000 people are expected to attend the 2012 festival, which Hildebrant helped to grow over the years. His friend and former co-worker's charisma and organizational skills will be missed, Schoenstedt said. "He led by example," he said.
This year's festival is billed as "Two Days, Two Stages and Two Dozen Bands." Performers include TobyMac, Mercy Me, Todd Agnew, Sidewalk Prophets, Shane and Shane, Big Daddy Weave, The City Harmonic and others.
In addition to its musical ministry, Hills Alive will be the site for the invitation-only Day of Hope event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today. Local churches and about 200 volunteers will give away 400 boxes of groceries, free haircuts, 500 pairs of shoes donated through Samaritan's Feet and a free lunch to an estimated 1,000 people who were identified by local nonprofit agencies. They got special invitations to Day of Hope. Local social services agencies also will be available to troubleshoot the needs of people who attend, Schoenstedt said.
On Wednesday, Mitch Hildebrant marked his 17th week in the hospital with new medical complications related to his kidney, said his brother, Meilon. Doctors had to install a catheter directly into a kidney in hopes of repairing a damaged ureter. That setback was the latest in a series of medical obstacles that left his brother with an 11-by-13-inch abdominal wound that required skin grafts and is still not healing properly.
"Recovery time is going to be extremely lengthy, and a return to active missionary duty will be determined by that," Meilon Hildebrant said. "His heart still lies in Swaziland with the needs of the children his priority."
Charlotte Hildebrant said by email that the couple is praying that Mitch's kidney will be saved. They were excited about a July 18 benefit concert in Rapid City on their behalf that was sponsored by Piedmont's Hills View Evangelical Free Church. Christian singer and missionary Elva Frye performed at the fundraising event at South Canyon Baptist Church that drew about 230 people, including several members of Hildebrant's family. Duane and Bobbi Hildebrant, Mitch's parents who live in Beach, N.D., also attended.
"Mitch and Char and our families are so grateful for all the prayers, emotional and financial support," said Meilon. "We ask for continued prayers of healing as we trust in God's plan.
Wednesday's concert raised more than $11,500 for Hildebrant's medical expenses. The couple has medical insurance but long ago surpassed the policy's lifetime cap.
The Hildebrants have connections to both churches, having helped plant Hills View several years ago. Hills View supports their missionary work in Swaziland with a monthly stipend.
"The two churches wanted to do something for Mitch. There's definitely a lot of people at both churches that love them a lot," said Roseann Mapa, who helped organized the fundraising concert.
Anyone interested in donating to the Hildebrants' medical expenses can make a donation to the Mitch Hildebrant Medical Fund at any Wells Fargo branch bank.