Monday, December 29, 2008

MSF Video

Just wanted to make you aware of a very good video put out by Doctors Without Boarders (MSF). If you want to know more and see what the current situation in Southern Sudan is, this is very much worth watching.

(copy and paste it... I can't seem to make it a link)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Roller Coasters

I've never been much of a theme-park girl. Well, perhaps Bush Gardens or Disneyland - somewhere with lots of cool animals (like Goofy!). But, I just don't get a thrill out of the rides... the adrenalin rush tends to make me more nauseous then exhilarated :) Somehow, though, the Lord must feel like it's time to get me used to the ups and downs of adrenalin rides...

This whole 2 year+ process has not been without it's bumps. Some bigger then others. It's been easy and hard, a blessing and a pain, all at the same time :) The most recent "downward drop" on this roller coaster came about a week ago, just after I'd sent out my last Newsletter with the exciting info that I had a ticket booked back to Africa! I told everyone that I had reached 95% of my monthly support and was praying for that remaining 5%, and then I'd be boarding a plane on January 6th! Well, the following day I got an email from SIM...

I was informed that someone in the financial dept discovered that we'd been using the exchange rates from the summer, and now, about 4 months later, the exchange rates look vastly different. Making the necessary change in my 'monthly support-need tally' dropped my percentage from 95%.... back to 82%.

You see... the good thing about this roller coaster I'm on right now is that, I know the dude controlling it. Yes, there are twists and turns on this ride that I didn't see before I took my seat and pulled the big, black, puffy shoulder guard down. But, it's quite possible that if I had known about all these twists and turns, I never would have had the courage to do anything but watch from ground level. What else is there to do but ride it out, and TRUST that when you arrive at the end of the ride, it will have been the most amazing and mind blowing experience you've been on yet!

After all, the dude controlling the ride actually made the ride...with His own two hands... I wouldn't want anyone else running it. And besides, with everything He's got invested, He wants me to arrive at the end safe, sound, and smiling, just as much as I do! Actually, I dare say, even more. I'm in good Hands.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'll fly away, Oh Glory, I'll fly away

It's been 4 and 1/2 years. Four and a half years since these feet of mine touched African soil, and these lungs breathed in African air. Pardon my nostalgia, I can't possibly express what I feel, as that is about to change...

I am very excited to tell you, that I have a one-way ticket to Africa. Not the jump-up-and-down-and-scream type of outward excitement... But the quiet, stirring anticipation of something I've long waited for. The kind of excitement that brings tears to my eyes as I type, because I know that what lays ahead of me, is the story I've been realizing in my heart for 25 years. A story that God has had written since the very beginning. The Prologue is almost over... On January 6th, get ready to turn the page.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Rebuild the Ancient Ruins

In effort to keep giving you an idea about what I'll be doing in Sudan, this entry will be about the "Rebuild" project itself.

If you've been following along, you've read about the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people returning to Sudan after having fled for their lives from the war that has torn the country apart. Since the start of their return, back in 2005, many NGO's (non-government organizations) have been doing relief and development work all over the southern part of the country, in effort to meet the, at times, insurmountable needs.

SIM has had an active ministry in Sudan for over 100 years, having to leave for periods of time during various wars, but has maintained a good relationship over all with the government, and with Sudan's people (Lord willing this will continue).

The repatriation of so many people is a challenge that I can only imagine at this point. In response to this huge challenge, SIM started a project called "Rebuild South Sudan: Church and Nation". The premise of this ministry is to partner with the already existing National churches to rebuild the infrastructure back into the South, by empowering, training & educating the local people, and sharing the Love and Hope of Jesus along the way. There are a few ways this project is going about doing this - allow me to give you a brief overview:

1) Water and Sanitation Initiatives - getting wells dug and latrines built so people have access to clean and safe water asap
2) Teaching Educators - depending on the resources available in the camps, kids may or may not have had any opportunity for learning up until now... SIM is teaching teachers so schools can re-open and education can start in villages again
3) Health Care - as you know and will hear more of in the years to come, we are rebuilding a previously existing hospital in D, as well as training local people in basic health care with the goal having the hospital and surrounding clinics operated and run by National people as soon as able.
4) Agriculture - believe it or not, many Sudanese youth or young people have little to no knowledge of how to work the land for their livelihood. Many of them grew up in the refugee camps and never got the opportunity to learn these skills from parents.
5) HIV/AIDS Education & Prevention - pretty self explanatory and a big need of course, all over Africa. These people have been through enough... Who better to bring this important information to Sudan people's then the people of Sudan.

Through all of this SIM desires to make known the person of Jesus, and give Him Glory for the wonderful things He has, and will do in the beautiful country of Sudan.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Flood... Please Pray

I have received news from Sudan that requires our faithful and urgent prayer. There has been flooding in the Mabaan area that has destroyed crops and cut off access to food supply. The corn and pumpkin crops that usually sustain people until the sorghum (a grain) crops are ready in December, have been completely wiped out in areas. Also bridges between the Doro area and the nearest supply towns have been washed out, making it nearly impossible for food to come from other areas to sell in the markets, for those who might have had the money to purchase it. I have heard that people are surviving on just a handful of grain per day.

"The SIM team in D. is facing a situation where the local people who work in the clinic and people from the church are not getting enough to eat," wrote my co-worker. The people of Doro as well as our team working there need much, much prayer.

The Team had designated October 29th as a day of fasting and prayer for this situation. That day has come and gone, so perhaps you'd like to join me on November 4th (tomorrow - sorry for the short notice), or pick another day. This is an opportunity to "stand in the gap" on behalf of this ministry and these precious people.

  • for the SIM team to have wisdom in how to respond to this crisis and to their friends.
  • for an end to the flooding.
  • for the Lord to supply food to the people who are hungry and suffering.
  • for the many refugees who have returned recently and haven’t been able to farm or settle in completely yet.
  • and as the Lord leads you

Monday, September 15, 2008

About Doro

Once I leave this great Canadian soil, I'll be calling a little village named "Doro" home. Doro is located, of course, in South Sudan, about a 24 hour-ish walk to the Ethiopian border, just about 1/3'd of the way up the country.

Doro used to have a good sized town and SIM ministry there before the most recent war(s). In the '40's there was an SIM hospital serving the region, but it has been destroyed (along with everything else) in the last 25 years. This picture you see here, is of the hospital now.

Doro is one of the most under-served regions in all of South Sudan. The people here lack access to even basic education, health care, and many resources. I have been told that 25% of all children under the age of 5 years old, die. Malnutrition, Malaria, intestinal worms, and so many other diseases are often the culprits. A girl is also, more likely to die during childbirth, then to finish grade 8. This speaks to both the lack of health care and the lack of education.

Women and children are not the only ones effected. Our team Doctor was surprised to find that Leprosy was not uncommon to find among those returning to the Doro region from Refugee camps. Although I'll speak about the project I'll be involved with in a different blog post, I'll just say that the team over there is hoping to start a specific outreach to those affected by leprosy, like this man in the photograph.

Doro is pretty far "off the beaten path", and as far as I know, there are no roads coming to or from it that lead to a major town/city. (this picture is of "Downtown Doro" - click on any photo to see it enlarged). In order for us to get in and out of Doro, we will be flying. This picture is of our landingstrip. I can't even tell you how excited I am to fly over the villages and rivers of Africa in a little plane like this :)

The other thing I can tell you about Doro right now is about the people groups. I do believe there are a few tribes/groups of people in this region, however, the majority are "Mabaan". The Mabaan people speak, yes, you've got it...Mabaan (not Mabaanese) :) I have been taking Mabaan lessons from a friend here in Halifax who is from just outside Doro. He has been a great teacher, friend, and motivator in this time of waiting until the Lord says, "ok, Chris... let's GO."

Sunday, August 31, 2008

About Sudan

Country "Stats" :)
-Sudan is the largest country in all of Africa :)
-Capital & place of Goverment: Khartoum, found in the North
-There are 134 different Tribal Languages - the Trade Language is Arabic.
-They can experience temperatures up to 52'c (124'F) !!
-The estimated population is around 41.2 million (has to be general due to war and ongoing genocide)

The War: The most recent war in Sudan started around 1983 (the year I was born, incidentally) and lasted a devastating 21 years, and ended only in 2005 with the signing of a Peace Agreement between the North and South armies. Allow me to explain some of the tensions as I understand them...

There are 3 reasons that tension exists between the North and the South in Sudan. First of all - if you divide the country in thirds, the top 2/3's are considered "the North" and the bottom 1/3'd "the South" (just to give you some geographical understanding!). So. The 3 reasons...
a) Ethnicity: North - Arab, South - African
b) Religion: North - Muslim, South - tribal beliefs & 'Christianity'
c) Economic: North - Sahara desert, South - good farm land & oil fields

As you can see, there are enough reasons there for this great divide to make a war "justifiable"... In the process of gaining access to the vast oil fields in the south, the northern army "slashed & burned" their way through village after village. The people of the south raised up a "rebel army" to oppose the gov. army (called the Sudan People's Liberation Army - SPLA), and the 2 sides of this war were created. In the end, approximately 2,000,000 people were killed, and 4,000,000 had to flee for their lives and seek safety in neighboring African countries or abroad.

The Refugees: With the war's end in 2005, these Refugees (remaining on the African continent) started to return to their homeland... Trucks of people were brought home to villages long gone and replaced with grassy fields... Old war equipment, ammunition, land minds, and grenades strewn about were there to greet them. "Home" was not how any of them remembered. After these 21 years, as you can well imagine - there was nothing there for them to return too. Schools, hospitals, villages, water wells - all, either gone or destroyed. No infrastructure, no health care, no education system, no roads, no clean water... Welcome Home.

A New Direction

So... it's time to stop chronicling the general happenings of life, and start the information flow about Sudan!! :)

If you haven't heard yet, I'm on my way to Sudan - yep, moving... long term relocation :) I'll be Nursing in a very rural hospital in a village called Doro, on the east side of South Sudan. I am hoping to be updating my blog on a 2 month basis as well as sending out newsletters and prayer guides for all those interested... if you haven't been receiving either of those so far and would like to, please just send me an email and I'll get you on my "send too" list right away! Make sure, over the years to come, that you leave me a little note/comment to let me know you were here and if you have any questions or responses to any of the thoughts, stories, or pictures I'll be posting!

I hope you are up for the adventure along with me - this should be interesting!

Stay tuned for some pictures and information about Sudan and the work I'll be doing there in the next few weeks :) Lord willing I'll be on a plane in 4-5 weeks, so I've got lots I can tell you about between now and then!

Thanks for all your love, prayers, and support.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Meagan Monday

Yeah, I know... I'm still months behind on my blog updates... but here is the last one from my time out West in May :)

This was "Meagan Monday"... the date we took out to Elk Island - the first time either of us had ever been there.
Meagan and I were in the same tutorial group at the start of our 3rd year of Nursing... I'd just gotten back from Africa and had shared a few applicable stories with our group and, as she tells it, she decided that she'd "get the rest outta' me"! I was sort of a shy, unfriendly type... I'm thankful she got curious enough to try and crack my shell :) As little as we have in common (seriously, major opposites, from taste in shoes to our definitions of a good time! haha) I absolutely love this girl to death :) Enjoy our photos.

This was our picnic... in the rain I might add... meag lent me her mittens :)

Solo shots (looks like Africa in the background, don't you think?)

Meag trying to see if the Fairy Tale really does come true... (we're still waiting...)

Double-chin-sky-shots... my favorite :D

Thanks for your friendship Meagan...You'd better move in to the hut down the path from me in Sudan... we've gotta keep up tradition!
I love you, I really do :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

People I love...

Ohhh, after almost a whole year I was back in Alberta for 3 weeks in April/May... it was SO good for my heart! So many people I've missing being with, talking with, praying with... *sigh* So good.
Here are a bunch of Pictures of me with some of the people I love!

Sure didn't get to see enough of this one... this is my Amy :D

Kelly (a friend from U of A Nursing) and her boyfriend Jeff came to visit me at the Navs conference... they live in Medicine Hat - I was great to connect with them.

Our Girls Small Group from the conference... Wonderful group of women - we learned a lot together.

Me and Nabeel (Jabbour) - he spoke at the conference... wonderful man

Kristen and I - new friend from Ontario :D (excited for you to come visit Kristen!)

Me and my Gen :) Love you girl - praying for you this summer...

...And this is Craig :)
This was actually a hilarious day, cause we can just never get a picture of us that looks natural or good of both of us at the same time... we must have tried this about at least a dozen times... good grief :D Excited to have you home again soon!

This is Me and Erika - my favorite and terrifying Nursing Instructor who thinks I'm Amish :D

Me and Emily Rudd, my hilarious friend who always gets Earl Grey tea, even at Steeps where there are like 100 flavors... tisk, tisk :D

Me and my Taul Pan (real name? Paul Tan) ... (oooo, and my Mazda 3 rental in the background - yay!)

Simon and Renee (finally, a picture without me in it!). These are 2 of my favorite people. Thanks you guys for the talks, times of prayer, and encouragement. You are both such a Blessing.

Phil and Marcia Leskawich (Marica is also known to me as my Gandolf* coming to save the day on a white horse... long story, let's just say these 2 have been an advocate for me in times where I really needed one!) Love you both.

Whew... you've made it to the end... last picture... me & Paul, and Langano Skies Ethiopian food :D Mmmmm... best way to end the trip... seriously, we were on our way to the airport!... Priorities!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Feeling Loved...

Well, this post is dedicated to all the crazy people who helped plan and were a part of my dramatic 'welcome home' day in Edmonton! Our car drove right from the airport to Langano Skies, my favorite Ethiopian restaurant... this I thought might happen :) But, there were like 13 people there... that I wasn't expecting. After eating yummy food that I've been craving for like, a year, we started the drive back to "the Happy Place"... only, on the way I got blind folded and kidnapped! Again, not expecting that! Then I proceeded to try not to barf as I was driven around the city, after 7-8 hours of air travel already that day, with my eyes covered :P Then I was lead by the hand into a building that I couldn't figure out (back at the airport maybe?), up an elevator, down a dark hallway... (what the heck?), entered another room (more light in this one), and was instructed to "sit" while my blind fold was whisked off to reveal that I was in... "The Africa Room" of the Fantasy Land Hotel, in West Ed Mall! Hilarious... the girls had talked about renting the room for a night last year before I moved home, and now, there they'd gone and done it... I have hilarious and wonderful friends :D

Everyone who had been at Langano soon "re-arrived" and the rest of the evening we spent laughing, hanging out, playing Bolderdash (thanks to Pam... she ALWAYS wants to play Bolderdash), and then, Camile (who apparently organized most of it) started handing me little love notes that people had mailed or email her, from home or across Canada. This was a prayer shower for me before I went to Sudan! I felt loved :) They'd organized for Janna to phone from Ecuador, and I got to talk to Julia, Pedro, Luigi, and Coco :) My Cup Ranneth Over!

A while later the boys all left, leaving the girls to hang out in the hot tub and stay up late talking into the night :) - I died earliest though...that time change is a killer :P We had a great time, lots of laughs and I really felt loved and very blessed - which, I'm pretty sure was their goal :D

Friday, May 30, 2008

Springtime Happenings

At Peggy's Cove with My Daddy :) We saw Pilot whales that day!

Joanna's 'Bachelorette Party'!? Just kidding, restaurant error... it was just her 25th Birthday instead!

It's that time of year again... mmm, fruit :)

Next blog update... My trip out West... stay tunned!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Paul Brandt Concert!!

I got tickets to the Paul Brandt Concert for my 25th Birthday from Mom and Dad! It was here in Halifax early February - Julia and I went and reminisced about our by-gone Alberta days and singin' along with Paul while drivin' through the Rockies :)

The Concert was Great (and I'm not even a big concert kinda girl!) and I just super enjoyed how much he interweaves his Faith in the music... probably most of the people had no clue he was quoting Scripture in almost all the songs. Good fella'.

Here's us with our brand new CD's... cracked 'em open for the drive home :)
One Song on my CD is really good... I think I'll blog it sometime cause it just really resonates with me... anyway... stay tunned :D

Miss you Jules!! Love ya ;)