Karen Alford, CBF medical field person, learned last October that when her current work visa expired in July 2016, she would no longer be able to continue legally working in the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia. The Indonesian government changed the rules allowing work permits for foreigners as well as the criteria non-profits had to meet in order to sponsor them.
After months if trying to find a solution, Karen began the long process of coming to terms with leaving a place of ministry she dearly loved. Though the process was devastating, Karen is convinced that God is preparing her to serve in a new location. As she says, "In the sneaky way God works, some doors are closed just so new doors can open."
In January, Karen will be moving to Uganda in East Africa. Uganda is one of the few countries that has completely opened its borders to refugees from six surrounding countries. Last year 450,000 refugees entered Uganda with more expected this year.
In Uganda, Karen will be partnering with Medical Teams International (MTI). MTI has partnered with Ugandan government to help meet the healthcare needs of the incoming refuges. The arrangement requires that all services offered to the refugees are also offered to the local people, allowing the establishment of new roads, schools and medical clinics to benefit all.
Karen will be working in several clinics in or near refugees settlements, delivering health education through care groups which she will help manage. In addition to training and teaching, Karen will be treating patients at some of the clinics that are currently seeing 500 patients a day. In one newly built clinic, she will be working with women and girls who have been traumatized or ostracized from their families.
Karen's work in Uganda will be similar to what she did in Mentawai. The people of Uganda will be in excellent hands. Thanks be to God for giving her this new opportunity!