Ethan and Melissa Molsee
ABWE - Togo, West Africa

May 4, 2018

Are we there yet? We heard that a lot this year and some of you may be wondering that too. We left Seattle yesterday morning for our return to Togo but due to airline delays and a missed flight we ended up spending the night in Newark, NJ and will be leaving this evening for a direct flight to Lomé, Togo. The past couple of weeks have included lots of packing, selling our travel trailer (home) and saying goodbyes.

We have had an incredible year despite a busy schedule. Over the past 12 months we have had the privilege of sharing with close to 40 individual churches (some several times) and multiple conferences. We have driven over 30,000 miles and enjoyed dozens of audiobooks to help pass the time. We have renewed relationships with our faithful supporters and made many new friends. As we face the next four years in Togo, we are thankful to have so many people praying for our family, our team, and the ministry of the Hospital of Hope.

Despite the busyness, we have fit in special times with family. The boys have loved the time spent with cousins and grandparents and have made so many great memories with them. Our leaving is bittersweet with difficult goodbyes but with the joy of rejoining our team in Mango. We recently talked as a family about what an incredible blessing it is to love and be loved in two places!

Our team in Mango is still in need of nurses and medical providers to help with our staffing needs. Also, we are asked often how this Lassa fever season is going. Thankfully, there has not been any confirmed cases of Lassa fever so far this season (approximately February – May). Unfortunately, Nigeria has had quite a few cases and with the trade routes and travel between countries, we are still at risk of receiving infected patients.

Once we arrive in Mango, we will spend the first week unpacking, setting up our house (it is currently totally empty) and greeting friends. The following week we will dive back in to our responsibilities.

Back to Work

Melissa’s role will remain the same as our first term. She would like to work 3-4 days/week in the clinic and hospital allowing her time with the boys.

The boys will technically be out of school for just over four months between our arrival and the start of school this fall, so she will be arranging educational opportunities to maintain their math, reading and writing skills. They are looking forward to seeing their friends, wearing shorts and going barefoot.

Ethan will be diving back into hospital administration duties and anticipates a busy year between his hospital and team leadership tasks, his heart to stay involved in church planting efforts, and continuing studies for a strategic leadership MBA.

According to the Boys...

What's your favorite audio book from our travels?

  • Amos Fortune, Freeman
  • The Grandma Dowdel series
  • Iron Thunder: The Battle Between the Monitor and the Merrimack
  • Adam of the Road

What's a fun memory from this past year?

  • Christmas spent with Ethan’s family in the snowy mountains of Idaho
  • Camping and huckleberry picking near Mt. St. Helens
  • Two weeks spent at Camp Pinewood in McCall, Idaho
  • Dollywood

What's a food you enjoyed this year?

  • Hamburgers
  • Huckleberries
  • Elk sausage (thanks to PA and ID friends)
  • Ice cream

What's a memorable battlefield?

  • Appomattox
  • Gettysburg
  • Yorktown
  • (Ethan proposed "The backseat of the Excursion" but that doesn't seem fitting for a missionary letter)

Thank You

Thank you seems so small after all the acts of kindness we've experienced this past year. There were so many of you who encouraged us, prayed for us, and opened your homes sharing meals, laughter, and sometimes tears. Our boys were loved and cared for and encouraged too, and that means so much.

Praying and Praising...

Please pray:

  • For more people and opportunities to share God's hope both in the US and abroad.
  • That we find a healthy work-life balance as we return to Togo duties.
  • For unity as our team grows and changes.
  • That we would continue to see God use the ministry in Togo to bring Him glory.

Praise God:

  • Recent baptisms of new believers in Togo.
  • That we are almost back to 100% of our required support level
  • For our sending church’s generosity in allowing us to camp in the parking lot for the past six months saving us money and allowing opportunities to catch up with its members despite our busy schedule.

See Photos on the Photo Blog

 

January 2, 2018

January began in Togo, West Africa as we wrapped up our first term of service at the Hospital of Hope and delayed our return to the States until April due to needs on the field.

February 26th was the 2nd anniversary of the opening of the Hospital of Hope.

March was a month for wrapping things up in Togo and saying goodbyes as we prepared for our year-long stateside ministry assignment, visiting churches, supporters, and family.

April was the month we flew back to Washington state after being gone for almost 5 years. April held lots of firsts for the boys and fun reunions for us all with friends and family.

May was the month we moved into our tiny home for the year (a 32 foot travel trailer).

June found us speaking at churches, conferences, and Camp Pinewood where Aaron and Eli got to be campers. Melissa ran a half marathon in June and we attended family gatherings.

July included traveling through 14 States and seeing many teammates from Togo.

August brought more traveling, more church presentations, taking in the total solar eclipse, more nights in national parks and on the road, and dental appointments for all.

September held a couple of missions conferences, church presentations, and a trip to visit a supporting church in California via the Grand Canyon and Zion Park and stops with family.

October held the Insanity of God Encounter, church visits, missions conferences, and Aaron’s first orthodontist visit.

November was full of medical conferences, missions conferences, and more church visits.

December finds us visiting churches and heading to Idaho to have Christmas with Idaho family.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We started 2017 on the other side of the globe in Togo and since arriving back in the US we’ve traveled coast to coast. We have been reminded that we live in a broken world where people desperately need the hope that Christmas declares. Our brokenness is not a surprise to God. He knew we needed help. That’s the message of Christmas. The God of the universe made a way for us to have a relationship and hope through the person of Jesus who was born, lived a sinless life, and died so that we could have hope. Increasingly we find ourselves living beside people who have never heard this message, this hope, this love. Will you join us in declaring that for the sake of the world and with the help of His Spirit, we will live for God’s glory and declare his HOPE in 2018?

Our Life in Numbers...

Since opening its doors on March 2, 2015...

The Hospital of Hope has seen more than 33,000 people from Togo and ten surrounding countries.

More than a dozen small and large Bible studies and prayer groups are taking place each week in nearby villages because of the hospital’s impact.

Since arriving in the States in May...

We’ve driven more than 25,000 miles, most of them pulling our home on wheels (a 32 foot travel trailer).

We’ve been through 25 states and spent at least one night in 21 of them.

We’ve met with more than 75 people from all over the US who served as volunteers in Mango, Togo over these past couple of years.

We’ve visited 12 national parks or monuments including Zion, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mt. Rainer, Mammoth Cave, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Crater Lake, Badlands, Mt. St. Helens, and Devils Tower.

At the end of our year-long stateside assignment...

We will have presented the ministry of the Hospital of Hope in more than 35 churches.

We will have taken part in 8 missions conferences, 2 medical conferences, and countless retreats, camps, and seminars.

Thank You

We have been greatly encouraged as we’ve spoken in churches and at conferences and shared meals with old and new friends. Thank you for your prayers for our family and for the Hospital of Hope (HOH) ministry. Thank you for your encouraging words and acts of kindness and generosity. Thank you for your financial support both for our family and for the Hospital of Hope. Please let us know if you have questions or would like to know more about becoming involved in the HOH ministry. Please continue to pray as we look toward an important year of evaluating the vision and ministry of the Hospital of Hope so that even more people can be impacted with the message of hope.

See Photos on the Photo Blog

 

August 8, 2017

Hello from the United States! We will be stateside updating churches and supporters on the ministry of the Hospital of Hope and completing required training and assignments until May of 2018 when we will return to serve another four years in Togo. Since our arrival we have enjoyed a sweet time of fellowship with family including meeting many new nieces and nephews. Our boys have absolutely loved playing with their cousins and are enjoying the tastes of America. Ezra especially has had many firsts but is taking the changes in stride.

We have begun visiting supporting churches and individuals. Below you will find a partial schedule of our upcoming visits. Even though we are thankful to be here enjoying time with family and savoring the tastes and beauty of the Pacific Northwest, part of our hearts remains in Togo. We have heard several updates since our departure:

News from Togo

Hope Radio: Several months ago, a strong storm severely damaged several key radio buildings and knocked over the transmitting tower causing about $100,000 in damages. This was incredibly disheartening as the plan was to start broadcasting later this year. Please pray for our families in the radio ministry and for the finances to rebuild. If you would like to contribute financially, please go to http://myaccount.abwe.org/p-2436-hope-radio-rebuild.aspx.

Lassa Fever: It seems that the Lassa fever season has come to a close for this year. There were more cases than last year but none of our employees became ill. Our hospital was asked by the government to care for all of the patients with Lassa fever as none of the other hospitals were prepared. While most of the patients died, there was one survivor. Given the nature of Lassa fever with seasonal variations, it is likely that it will return again next year during the hot season (February – May).

Water/wells: Many of you have asked about the water situation in Mango. Over the past few weeks there were two more drilling attempts resulting in one dry well and one well that produced 1700 gallons/day. This is great news as this is really the first time that a well has produced on the hospital compound. Unfortunately, we need 8-10,000 gallons/day to meet our current usage. Please keep praying.

Family News

As many of you know, we bought a travel trailer with personal funds to live in during our year of furlough. We will be traveling mostly around the Northwest but we do have some required training and visits with supporters on the East coast (which we are currently in the process of completing). At this point, we anticipate sharing in around 30 churches and also will be involved in camps and conferences. In addition, Ethan is continuing some of his responsibilities from Togo and is also looking into more training to better equip him in his position at the hospital. Melissa is homeschooling the 3 older boys and will be doing some continuing education for her license.

Praise

We are thrilled that our MK teacher, Megan MacKenzie has reached 100% of her support requirements and will be heading to language school this fall. We so thankful that she will be joining the Togo North Team long term. Our other MK teacher, Amanda Bressler, (who just just finished her 2 year short-term trip has officially begun the process of returning long-term to teach at the MK school in Mango.

See Photos on the Photo Blog

Thank you again for your faithful prayers and support. We are looking forward to seeing you over the coming year.

Fall Travel Schedule

August 20th - New Life Bible Church (Long Creek, OR)
August 27th – Tabernacle Baptist Church (Seattle, WA)
September 3rd – The Vine Church (Kenmore, WA)
September 10th – Sleator Kinney Road Baptist Church (Olympia, WA)
September 11th-13th - BNN Ministry Workers Conference (Cannon Beach, OR)
October 1st – Sunrise Valley Baptist Church (San Jose, CA)
October 8th – Faith Baptist Church (Salem, OR)
October 13-14th – Mission Fest (Seattle, WA)
October 15th – The Vine Church (Shoreline, WA)
October 22nd – Temple Baptist Church (Tacoma, WA)
October 29th – Temple Baptist Church (Tacoma, WA)
November 5th – Bonney Lake Community Church (Bonney Lake, WA)
November 8-12th – Global Missions Health Conference (Louisvile, KY)

 

April 7, 2017

It’s hard to believe but in just a few weeks our first term will be coming to an end. It has been over four years since everyone (except Ethan who returned to the States for two weeks in 2014 to pack our container) has set foot on US soil and Ezra has never been to his passport country before.

Since leaving Seattle on January 1st 2013 we have lived on two continents, learned a new language, helped open a hospital, experienced riots, water shortages, the sudden death of two teammates on the field and the serious illnesses of several others, as well as two outbreaks of a deadly viral hemorrhagic fever. New house groups and Bible studies are reaching villages and people groups who have never heard of Jesus and lives are being changed. The highs have been high and the lows low. Our God has remained faithful and has sustained us through it all. We will be leaving part of our hearts here in Mango and eagerly look forward to our return in a year. Thank you for your faithful prayers and financial support and for standing with us over these past four years.

Since the opening of the hospital we have seen over 26, 000 new patients from 10 different countries (and many of them have returned for numerous follow-up appointments). Over the past months we have had at any given moment one to two hundred patients waiting at our front gate for an appointment. Despite working at maximum capacity, we have been physically unable to accommodate all of the arriving patients with many waiting days to be seen. It has been difficult to live and work in the face of such desperate need and our ability to care for patients has now been complicated by another outbreak of Lassa fever. We are taking precautions to decrease the risk of exposure to our team and medical staff. Until further notice we are limiting our clinic services to follow-up and urgent cases. The Hospital of Hope has been the only hospital in Togo caring for Lassa patients and while this has been a way to love and serve the people of Togo, it is has also caused an extra burden of work and anxiety. Please pray with us for wisdom and safety as we provide compassionate care in Jesus’ name. If you would like to help cover the cost of treating patients that are facing prolonged illnesses like Lassa, please consider a donation to the Hospital of Hope Patient Care Fund. http://myaccount.abwe.org/p-2108-hope-patient-care-fund.aspx

On February 26, we celebrated the two year anniversary of the Hospital of Hope and remembered our friend and colleague, Todd DeKryger, who passed away a year ago from Lassa fever. There were several hundred people in attendance and we are praying that God will use the words spoken and the testimony of the DeKryger family to bring many to Himself. It was definitely a bittersweet time. God is sovereign and we trust that His perfect plan will be worked out.

The boys are doing well in school and love playing with their friends. It doesn’t matter if it is 110 degrees in the shade; they play soccer and football, ride bikes, climb trees and run all over the compound without a second thought. We are thankful for God’s protection last Sunday as Aaron discovered a 4+ foot green mamba on our porch which Ethan quickly dispatched. We have seen a recent uptick in the number of deadly snake bites at the hospital so it looks like snake season is starting. Check out pictures of the snake and other Mango happenings on our photo blog (www.365.themolsees.com).

Please pray for the boys as they transition to the States. A recent funny story emphasized to us the many changes and new experiences the boys will have as we head back…we were watching a movie in which a man was pushing a shopping cart down a sidewalk. The boys asked what he was pushing to which I replied that it was a shopping cart. The next question was “What is a shopping cart?”…They don’t bat an eye when a woman walks by with large container of mangos on her head and her purse balanced on top (in fact, they usually ask me to stop and buy some) or if there is a large bull with massive horns tied up on the back of a moto (yes, that can actually work) but they were confused about a shopping cart. It’s going to be a fun year!

** FURLOUGH DATES: May 2017 – May 2018! ** If you have any questions, please let us know. If you or your church would like a chance to hear first-hand a report from Mango, please let us know this too so we can add you to our schedule (molsee@abwe.cc).

Prayer Requests

Praises

Megan MacKenzie and Amanda Bressler: We are so thankful for God’s direction in Megan’s and Amanda’s lives. They are in the process of returning to be full-time teachers at the MK school. Our MK teachers play vital roles in the ministry here and are essential for the continued work of the hospital. Megan is currently support-raising and teaching in Boise, Idaho. Megan just hit the 85% support mark and hopes to leave for language school later this year. Amanda is finishing her 2 year short-term stay with us and will be returning to the States to start support-raising in June. Please contact us if you would like to hear more about how you can support these women and return them quickly to us!

See you soon!
Ethan, Melissa, Aaron, Eli, Aden and Ezra Molsee

 

January 24, 2017

You could almost smell him before you saw him. The odor of decaying flesh was overpowering. My first glance revealed a severe infection of his right lower leg with the foot blackened and cold. His young face was a contorted with pain and despair. I quickly started his orders, called for the surgeon and then turned to the family members accompanying him. What happened? The story slowly unraveled over the next few hours…he had been playing soccer a week ago and someone kicked him in the leg. Most of his family was away. He was carried home where his little sister brought him food and the remaining family members took him to a village healer. A week later his family returned and found him in this condition and quickly brought him to us…a journey over trails and a river that took several hours. My first reaction was anger…what a terrible waste of a young life affecting the possibility of marriage and finding a job! It was just plain senseless! Stupid! Preventable! A simple fracture with, at worst, a short OR procedure and recovery of just weeks, if treated in time. Now…amputation. Being handicapped in a world that does not accommodate the handicapped. My prayer that night as I explained the gravity of the situation and his need for amputation to his disbelieving family was that God would somehow bring good out of this terrible tragedy.

Over the next few days and weeks, he remained quiet and discouraged. Our chaplains made daily visits, praying for him and his family. Little by little his demeanor changed. He began reading the Bible he was given and joy and hope replaced the discouragement and despair. His change was not lost on his roommates and he started sharing with anyone who would listen about his new-found faith. Before returning home to start the long rehabilitation program, he told our chaplains that he was actually thankful that he had lost his leg as it had resulted in eternal hope. Pray for “M” that he would continue to grow in his faith. One of our staff members mentioned that she could see him as a pastor someday and he was challenged by these words. Pray that he would be a faithful witness to his family and friends and that God would use him to draw those in his tribe to Christ.

Stories like these continue to unfold. Check out our photo blog for pictures and more details about this story and others like it (www.365.themolsees.com) and the following link for a recent slideshow/video (https://vimeo.com/200565412).

Thank you for your prayers for the DeKryger family. Jennifer has been working with our chaplain department, discipling new believers and praying with patients. The boys continue to work in their respective departments (Will in surgery, Grant in the lab and Luke in the pharmacy) when they are not busy with their studies. Drew and our older boys are inseparable. They love their classes and teachers (Drew/Aaron are in 4th grade and Eli is in 2nd grade) and spend their extra-curricular time climbing trees, practicing with their sling-shots and exploring the compound. Aden attends a “pre-school/kindergarten” class (along with 4 other children) held in our spare room. Ezra’s (age 2 ½) vocabulary expands on a daily basis and he loves to try to keep up with the “big kids.”

We recently said “goodbye” to Andres and Katie Morales who finished their time with us after Andres was evacuated with Lassa fever in April to the CDC headquarters. After being quarantined and treated they returned to their nursing roles. Their story of God’s faithfulness, joyful spirits and contagious enthusiasm has greatly encouraged us.

We are also thankful for safety which we don’t take for granted in this area where we see on a daily basis the fragility of life. Aaron was playing with the other boys on the DeKryger’s porch and picked up a large leaf to look at the lizard inside. When the “lizard” started uncoiling, he quickly dropped it and ran for an adult. He was able to give enough identifying information to know that it was one of the most deadly snakes around but despite the efforts of multiple adults, it wasn’t found. Melissa made the children play elsewhere and prayed the rest of the afternoon knowing that this snake was still in our general vicinity. When the night-time guard arrived, he was able to find it and kill it much to our relief.

Prayer Requests

  • Nurses: We are desperately in need of nurses especially for 2-24 months (https://hohmango.org/2017/01/registered-nurses-urgently-needed-2017-2019/).
  • Roles: We need a replacement for Ethan for one year when we are on furlough.
  • MK school: Our team needs MK teachers for the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 school years.
  • Anniversary celebration: We are rapidly approaching the 2 year anniversary of the Hospital and the 1 year anniversary of Todd's home-going. Please pray for extra strength and grace for the DeKryger family and our staff as we rejoice through our tears.

Praises

  • Megan MacKenzie and Amanda Bressler: We are so thankful for God’s direction in Megan’s and Amanda’s lives. They are in the process of returning to be full-time teachers at the MK school. Our MK teachers play vital roles in the ministry here and are essential for the continued work of the hospital. Megan is currently support-raising and teaching in Boise, Idaho. Amanda is finishing her 2 year short-term stay with us and will be returning to the States to start support-raising in June. Please contact us if you would like to hear more about how you can support these women and return them quickly to us!
  • Sherri Lethers: One of our radio teammates was evacuated to Germany in August to have a very large cyst removed from her brain. We are thankful that it is benign and that she is back in Mango recovering from her craniotomy. Please pray for continued healing.
  • Andy Justison: Another radio teammate returned to the States where he underwent medical evaluations for some concerning symptoms. The current thought is that he had a bad case of viral encephalitis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain). Please pray for his continued recovery.

We are thrilled to be here on the front-lines as your hands and feet. Weekly we see people hear the Good News for the very first time. The. Very. First. Time! It still blows our minds that there are areas remote enough that people have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel story. And yet, we are surrounded by villages where this is the case. They are drawn here for good medical care and return home having heard the good news. Lives are being changed. Hope is alive. Thank you for your part in the ministry here. We couldn’t do it without you!