November 28, 2007

Loss

Chris McConnachie, the co-founder of African Medical Mission and an Episcopal missionary for nearly 20 years, died yesterday morning at home with his wife and children around him. I work closely with his wife, Jenny, but I had come to know Chris these last few months and admire the tremendous impact he had had on orthopedic medical care in this region. Not many people leave successful careers in the United States and move to one of the poorest parts of South Africa and then stay there for the rest of their lives. He set an amazing model for many people, including me.

The mood has been somber and dreary lately but Itipini remains open and we are still tending to patients, while we support Jenny and prepare for Chris’s funeral next week. Right now I am figuring out how to get the Itipini choir, which will sing at the funeral, and a dozen Itipini employees, who want to attend, to a funeral that is sure to be huge, all in my little VW.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The loss of dear Chris has come as a tremendous blow to those of us at the Church Center who knew him. Please give Jenny our love and let her know that she and the children are in our thoughts and prayers.
- Mary Brennan

Anonymous said...

Praying for your community of Itipini - And praying everyone who needs to be at the funeral will be there - including you, your guitar, and your voice.
-- Jane G

Randall Giles said...

I didn't know Chris, but as a fellow missionary serving in India, you are all in my thoughts and prayers at this time. Today, the mother of a friend here near Madras died, and I am reminded that there are universal things which bind us together, both in joy and in sorrow. Today happened to be my friend's birthday, as well as the day of her mother's death. What came to my mind was the fact that when we commemorate saints, we use not their birthdays, but the day of their death as the day on which we remember them. So, November 27th wil be for those dear to him a sacred sort of day in memory of Chris. Cherish that.
With prayers and all good thoughts,
Randy Giles
Sincerely, Randall Giles