I am so thrilled to say that after nearly three years of planning, the initial design for our hospital has finally been agreed by the Ministry of Health in Syria!
When we first had the vision for this hospital I could never have imagined it would take this long just to have a design, but it has taken a huge amount of fact finding, learning, planning, replanning, researching and perseverance. We have had in depth discussions with seven different architects during these years before finally finding one who has worked well with us and towards the vision we want for this hospital.
This design is larger than the initial 2,500m2 we were aiming for, but it allows us to have some extra beds which will be essential in providing all the necessary services. Our focus now is on continuing to raise funds for this first half, phase one of this hospital, and we really need your help. One of the significant challenges for us is the volatile exchange rate for Syrian pounds as these can double, treble or reduce by more than half or two thirds overnight. It is very unpredictable which makes it extremely difficult for us to maintain an accurate idea of how much we have of the overall amount we will need for this hospital. Although we watch the rates daily, sometimes we don’t have a choice about when we exchange, and as we can’t predict what will happen over the weeks that follow or six months down the line, and we don’t want to gamble with the system, we find ourselves at the mercy of a very challenging system.
It is likely to be at least another few years before we have a completed building for this first half, and I’m reluctant to quote any kind of timescale for this as I have learnt over these years that whatever timescale we are given or hope for in Syria, we then need to double or treble the quoted time, or more! There are always unexpected complications. But please pray with us that we will have a workable building really quickly. Sadly we don’t have the kind of budget or available resources that allow for the staggeringly quick construction of the new hospitals in China that are being built to cope with the Coronavirus outbreak.
In Syria, people die silently from the conditions that would be treated with such simplicity here. Whilst many figures have been quoted for the war related deaths in Syria, it is extraordinarily sad that these figures completely neglect the masses of people who have died because their main hospital has been destroyed or closed or the remaining system available to them simply can’t provide the diagnostic services or treatment needed for relatively simple conditions.
We are so blessed to have such a comprehensive health service here, I fear that we take it for granted. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine had a heart attack. Thankfully, he was in good hands. He was cared for in a specialist Cardiac Care Unit, where he was monitored and had a cardiac stent put in. This is an expensive procedure, and in the city where we are building our hospital, there are only a couple of private hospitals offering this service. For all the poorest people, the only option is simply to die, unnoticed by most. We want to change this unjust reality for as many people as we can in Syria. Our hospital includes a cardiac catheter lab and a CCU. This is something we can only do with your support.
As it is going to take at least a few years to build the first phase of this hospital, our team have bought a building and we are close to having the change of use permission from residential to a medical centre. Unfortunately when the paperwork was being processed some errors were found with the initial drawings of the building. These are now being resolved and the design adapted so that we can continue. We are hoping for the final sign off very soon. I have been hoping and praying that we will be able to get the interior building work and fit out completed this year so that we can start receiving patients. Please pray for this with us. It will allow us to be able to serve patients through the provision of some significant medical services, including renal dialysis and procedures that can be done under local anaesthetic in the interim, until we are able to have a full working hospital. We have set aside the funding for the opening of this centre, so are keen to ask those who can to continue to help us fundraise for the bigger hospital project.
Frustratingly the process has been slower than we hoped, for opening the orphans and widows outreach centre. The decorator noticed that there are some issues with damp, meaning we have been unable to start the decorating in the building that we hoped to do before officially starting. We are working to resolve this now. It has slowed us down, but we are hoping to start very soon and I will be in touch as soon as I have more news about this. The CCTV system is being installed this week, as monitoring and safeguarding when working with the most vulnerable is one of our very big priorities.
We still have lots of lovely new t shirts with inspiring quotes and bible verses on. If you are a donor or previously registered as a collector for us, and could sell some at the back of your church or at a fundraiser to help raise money to support our hospital project, we would be so grateful! Please reply to this email. We are suggesting a guide price of £5 per t shirt which is an absolute bargain for these beautiful new t shirts which are still in their packaging!
If you are in the Oxfordshire area, please do join us at the Filling Station next Wednesday 12th for an evening of worship and hearing more about my journey in starting this charity, how it has developed and the many challenges we have faced along the way.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have supported us so faithfully over the last few years. It really has been an incredible and life-changing journey that we have all been part of together. We each give our little part, and in doing so we make up a much bigger, brighter and colourful picture than we could if we each worked alone. Just as the Israelites who had returned from their exile rebuilt the destroyed temple in Jerusalem in the Old Testament, and so many individual families helped rebuild the protective wall around the city, each one of us can play a part in rebuilding the “temple”, the body of Christ. Whether we have just a little or a lot, we all have something to give. I believe that when we are willing to invest the little that we have in building God’s Kingdom here on earth, serving the poor, the broken-hearted and rebuilding the ruins, we are not investing in something short term which gives instant gratification, we are investing in a greater plan that is so much bigger than us or our lives, we are investing in God’s plan and in eternity. If you would like to be part of this vision, rebuilding hope in Syria, click HERE TO SUPPORT our work.
Thank you again.