Tales of the Tennis Court

Last week a woman from Sweden came through Tansen with a group to see the hospital.  It is not unusual to have people coming through – there are many who have served here who have written books, or have had books written about them, and people want to come and see the hospital where all this good work has taken place!  But, this lady had been here at the very beginning!  Her family came to Tansen in 1955 and helped to build the very first hospital buildings – all of which are still standing and in use today!  She showed us the very first building built (now the workshop) where her family lived while their house was being completed.  She was very excited to get to visit the house where they lived, which her mother had helped to design.  She also told us about the tennis court, which was built by only missionaries as they weren’t sure how the Nepali staff would feel about building a place for recreation at the same time they were working on the hospital!  So the missionaries would work in the evenings to level the land and make a tennis court.

The first building of the current United Mission Hospital, Tansen

Photo 1 - First building at Tansen Hospital.compressed

The Tennis court!

Photo 2 - original tennis court - Tansen. compressed

And it was on that very tennis court that Les was playing Sahalu (Finnish field hockey) last Wednesday afternoon.  There is a standing game every Wednesday at 4 for anyone brave and strong and fast!  (The hospital is closed on Wednesdays and Saturdays for outpatients, so the doctors are usually free after rounds and teaching sessions on Wednesdays which end around 1.)

Les was playing with his normal “all or nothing” attitude and was running full speed to get a goal when somehow he got ahead of his legs and went flying and landed on his hands.  (He said he was protecting his head).  So, I got a phone call about 5:30 pm from our friend, Ganesh, saying something like, “Didi (older sister), I am in the ER with Les – he fell down – but don’t worry it is only a small fracture…”

The current view of that original building (see photo 1)

Photo 3 - first building as seen today

The current Tennis court

Photo 4 - Tennis court - as seen today

The wall of the court which is still standing after Les ran into it.

Photo 5 - wall of court


Well, it turned out to be a bit more than that.  I will be technical for all the medical (and other interested parties) among you.  (I’m actually learning much more than I have ever wanted to this past year – whoever said it would be easier with just the two of us here?)

Les fractured his left first metacarpal and trapezium (bottom bones of the thumb).  The trapezium was in many pieces, so the orthopedic surgeon (for whom we are very thankful) did a closed reduction and put in 5 pins (k-wires) and put the hand in a plaster cast.  He was very pleased with how it all came together.  Once again we felt surrounded by prayers and God’s healing power.

Les’s friends discussing his x-rays….

Photo 6 -Discussing Les' broken thumb

Meanwhile, they did an x-ray of the swelling right hand and discovered a fracture of the radius, but it was not displaced, so he just put Les into a removable splint and said we would x-ray it again in a week.  It has turned out to be very fortunate that this splint is removable as he has managed to have a bad poison ivy pop up under the splint!  (He figures there was something on the court that he came in contact with…)

He is still smiling.

Photo 7 - still smiling

So – I am helping with a few things – like belt buckles, buttons and washing backs and under right arms!  This also means I am on dish duty (but only when Sarda isn’t here!)

Les is supposed to be helping run an ACLS course over the next few days – but he isn’t able to do much CPR demonstrating.  He is helping with translating and doing testing, etc.  Even though he can write slowly, it still doesn’t work very well.

So, please keep Les in your prayers in the coming weeks.  Especially as I (Debbie) will be leaving him alone for several weeks to come to the U.S.  This trip was planned and paid for already. I am going to fly on April 15 from KTM and hopefully get to Hannah’s last few concerts on April 18 and 22.  I will take the opportunity to visit with Luke and Laura in Holland, Michigan (Laura’s first visit by her mother-in-law!!!) and spend time with Rachel, my parents, see my brother, and hopefully other family and friends, as well.  Then on May 11, Hannah and I will fly together back to Nepal and she will be spending 2 months here with us.  We are very excited to have her come and renew her ties with the place she was born and lived for 10 years.

Thanks for your prayers for our travels – and for Les (who has people here who have promised to look out for him).  Thanks for your love and support for us, too.

We enjoyed a wonderful Easter sunrise service with all the churches in Tansen gathering for a 6 am service.  After we returned home around 10 am, we were happy to relax and enjoy the day together.  We pray God’s blessings on you as we remember how blessed we are to have Jesus as our Risen Lord and Savior!



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11 responses to “Tales of the Tennis Court

  1. Margaret Fain

    Dear Debbie & Les, You certainly have lots of material for good stories! Poor Les, he may have to come to the realization that he is no longer a young athlete! Hopefully he will heal quickly. The worst thing would be the poison ivy under the cast/splint!!!!! As always you are both in our prayers.
    I had a wonderful trip to Spain over spring break with a teacher friend and her group from Lake City, Fla. We went to Barcelona,Toledo, Montserrat, & Madrid. I am now trying to recover from the long plane trip and the full ears, head cold ,etc. Had to go off my gluten free, dairy free diet which didn’t help either. Took lots of photos,now to get them labelled & to share them.
    Debbie, have a safe trip back to the USA, and I hope we get to see you while you are home.
    Love, Aunt Maggie

  2. Bonnie

    Praying for miraculous healing for Les, safe journeys for Deb. And always for the Nepal community where Deb and Les are serving God. Blessings and as Aunt Leona says, “Best wishes=always!”

  3. Isabel Huber


  4. Isabel Huber

    Sorry you’re having such injuries, Les. Certainly you (and Deb, who has to put up with you) will be in my thoughts and prayers. You seem to forget that you’re not 20 anymore…


  5. Bev Barnett

    So sorry about Les’s arms, but so grateful it wasn’t his head! Love you guys! Bev

  6. Risto and Martje

    Dear Debbie and Les,

    I certainly agree with Aunt Maggie that racing around on the tennis court could be a problem if done as age advances………….!!! Here is a prayer for the next 6 weeks that it will all heal well and that excercises will restore all 100% function. Who was the lady in 1955? Fascinating!

    Lots LOVE, Risto and Martje

  7. Sarah Acland

    Never have liked these dangerous games! It really was a good and I suppose a split second decision for Les to protect his head! Hope it all heals together properly.
    We had a very special Easter at Saint Andrew’s, even though our beloved Rector had moved away only 2 months before. Our great friend Rev Suzanne took the services and it was so reassuring that the church can function so well without the charismatic leader. The search for the new rector will take time. I remember Easters in Nepal, and thought I would never reconcile myself to anything different. I guess the Holy Spirit isn’t only in Nepal!
    I love your blog and look forward to each instalment. Thank you!
    Sarah Acland

  8. Sarah Acland

    Great pics, wonderful letter. Thank you!

    Sarah Acland 2220 Talbott Avenue Louisville, KY,USA, 40205-2226 1-502 452 1124

  9. Chrisitne

    Sending our love and prayers your way! Hope to get to see you while you are here in the US! I am sure Hannah is excited to return to Nepal!!

  10. Jim & Pat Stewart

    Debbie & Les: Thank you for the newsletter and pictures. Les, you look very much a true “warrior” in victory. Debbie, happy you will have the time here with your family. Love you and be safe.
    Jim & Pat

  11. Cousin Elaine D.

    I think you need one of those harnesses they put on toddlers with a leash on it for Les. The question is, would you be able to hang on to it? 🙂

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