Sunday, November 29, 2009

Over Cooked

So, last June (ish), when working with our CHW (Community Health Worker) students in Gasmala - doing the 'Under 5 clinic' (where we weigh babies to see if they are growing at a good rate or getting malnourished) and Antenatal (seeing and assessing pregnant mothers to see if every thing is going as it should using really basic skills) I encountered a lady named Mary for the first time.

She was laying on my bed (we were working out of my tent in Gasmala) with her belly in the air ready to be assessed, and as soon as the CHW touched her, she cried out in pain. So I tried - same thing. She was supposed to be about 5-6 months pregnant, but sure didn't look it, had a lot of pain all on her right side, no abnormal bleeding or anything like that (I'm gunna down play the nasty terms for you non medical folks), and had been seen by other people in our Doro clinic months previously. So, not being an expert (or really, knowledgeable at all, besides what we get in our nursing training)I went out in search of Barb, my coworker and the CHW's teacher, who was doing the same thing in another tukul.

When I told her about our lady she was SURE that she'd seen her before and told her to go to the clinic to be seen by Dr.Emily (who was with us at the time). So, together we went back over to see her - sure enough, same woman. So, after a 'conference' with Mary and her husband, we stressed that she needed to go to the clinic b/c her pain was NOT normal, and we didn't have the necessary ability to assess her further in the village (not that the clinic has much more mind you!). So, with faith that she would take our concern to heart, we let her go.

The next time, about a month or two later when doing follow up 'clinics' in the village, I had Mary again. Same story. This time she HAD been to the clinic and she reported to us that they found nothing abnormal. Huh. That's odd considering her intense abdominal pain... Again, she was guarding to the point where I was uncomfortable probing deeper then surface in order to assess her. According to my measurement, she wasn't hardly 6 months along (still), and she hadn't gained any weight at all in the past two months. By this time, in my head, I'm starting to doubt if she is even really pregnant but had some sort of tumor/growth or something going on that, to her, is presenting as a pregnancy. So by this time it's August - I was just about to go home to Canada for about a month, and she was "due" to deliver, according to LMP math, next month. After stressing AGAIN that she NOT deliver in the village - since we really didn't know what was up with that abdominal pain, we set her off again.

A whole month or more later, when I got back from home and we are in Gasmala again seeing kids and prego moms, Mary walks into my tent again! "Still no baby?" I say to her... "oh, Kata... no - when is it going to come!?" So, she lays down for us to assess her again, this time she is at least measuring at about 8 months, and has gained weight. So, on the with assessment (as much as we could do, she was STILL having that R sided abd pain)... the CHW pulls out or fetalscope (the wooden cone shaped thing you've seen in the movies) to assess for a fetal heartbeat and I'm thinking - yeah, the likelihood of that is like zero to none... and low and behold... "here is it" he says. "What!?" I say, and promptly get out of my chair convinced that I'm going to hear the placental rhythm... "Well, I'll be..." There is was - strong and fast... a Baby. Not only that, but the head was engaged - this baby was gettin' ready to meet the world! So, we tell her, it shouldn't be too long - maybe a few weeks, and out she went.

I continued to see Mary when I was out in Gasmala every week - she is actually James' (my Mabaan Dad) neice and lives close. And week after week, she'd walk by with that big belly and I'd say, "Mary - still!?" and she'd say "oh, Kata, when!?"

So, about two weeks ago now - mid november, I stopped to talk with her and had James there to help me with Mabaan. As I asked her questions I found out that she'd been having back pain for about 4 days, and the baby had stopped moving. So, even though James asked me to assess her right there (I had nothing with me!), I told her to get to the clinic as soon as she could (which was going to be the day after tomorrow).

Saturday evening (the day she was to come) rolled around and still no Mary. Where was she? Finally at about 5pm Masir, one of the clinic CHW's came to get me - she'd arrived. When I got up to the clinic with Scottie (who is working in the clinic for about 5 months), Mary tells me that she left Gasmala that morning and because she was having so much back pain, it took her all day to get here - the walk usually takes about 1 hour - 1 1/2 hours. She'd walked alone, and brought no food or belongings with her, even though I'd told her to prepare to stay in the Doro area for a few days when she came (just in case). So, Scottie and I started over - going through all the details with her and previous assessments. She told us that her water broke (but not fully, really only leaking) about 4 days ago, and at that time her body started contracting as if the baby was going to come. But, after a day or so it stopped and hadn't started again - and the baby had stopped moving. She had no other fluids or fever, or complications, other then the bad back pain. And, as I'd feared, when we pulled our Doppler out to find the baby's heartbeat, there was nothing. Scottie and I just looked at each other. We knew there was nothing we could do about it that night, we needed to talk to Dr.Rob, Sandy, and Sarah (who all knew lots more then we did), and we needed to tell her to stay in Doro and come to the clinic when it was open again on Monday - unless something started happening. How long until a body started to expel a dead baby? I didn't know. But, with no fever, we felt fine to leave her for the time being (we gave her meds to cover our bases for infections, and pain). "But Kata, I want to go home tomorrow" she said to me with pleading eyes... "Mary, you really can't - there is something wrong and we don't know what. If you go home, the problem will get bigger. You need to stay and come to the clinc on Monday." "OK."

Monday morning rolls around, and b/c Sandy said she was my patient, I was up there waiting for her - Sarah was going to assess her, and I wanted to learn AND wanted to be a familiar face for Mary. We waited - then I went out to search for her. I went to the place she was staying and asked after her. "We don't know where she is - she went back to Gasmala yesterday." What!? Seriously. After all our efforts and trying to help her, I felt like she'd thrown it back in our faces. How do you make people care about their own health... and why are we bending over backward when they don't!? For the love. I felt like she'd made a fool of me, b/c I asked the clinic to make exceptions for her. I got on the phone and called James. I was ticked, and he knew it. He assured me he'd send her back - he was rather frustrated as well. So, later that night, who walks into our compound? Mary was back - tired, but moving easier then the day before. I asked her why she went back, and her answer was "I was hungry". I'm still not sure what I think about that - I don't think that's the whole story, but anyway, nothing could be done right then. I told her to come to the clinic the next morning first thing, and we'd see her. So she left to stay the night with James' relatives in Doro (a different place then the time before). We weren't about to make more exceptions for her & see her right then, since it didn't seem like she was too concerned about herself. She'd have to wait until morning.

So, now it's Tuesday morning - my flight for Nairobi is the next morning, and finally she is THERE at the clinic waiting for us when it opens. Sarah reviews the history, asks more questions, and the does her assessment. THIS time, through the doppler come the strong pulsating sound of the baby's heart. Praise the Lord! We have NO idea where that heart beat was 36 hour previous, but we could NOT find it! So, with that bit of good news, Sarah calls Dr.Rob to find out what he thinks since now, Mary is about 10-11 months along in her pregnancy... yep you read that right. She was supposed to deliver in September, and it was November 24th. The answer came, "Induce her!" So, Sarah pulled out the text books, and we readied an IV and the meds while reading up on how one goes about inducing someone in the bush - this was to be the first induced delivery in our Doro clinic. I went back in to tell her the good news. After MONTHS of making a good home for this baby, she was SO happy to find out that she would mostly likely be having it that day! Finally! :)

I stayed with her most of the day - again she'd come with no family, and Mabaan women always deliver with help from family and friends... I didn't want her to be alone with Kawaja's she didn't know. So, about 6 hours later, a rather hilarious, but I'm sure horrible, phase of transition labor started where she kept moving from the bed to the floor saying: "Kata... I need to go out side... let me go out side..." - "no Mary, you can't, you have to stay here where we can help you..." (2 minutes later) "Kata, I need to go outside." "Why Mary?" "Kata, please." "Mary, you really need to say." (a minute later), "Kata, take me outside, I need to go to the bathroom", "Mary you can't, if you go to the bathroom outside the baby will come, and then what will happen?" (2 minutes later) "Kata, I need to go outside", "Mary you need to stay here..." (I realize that this sounds rather cruel to those of you who haven't been around a woman in labor... but trust me, she was fine - she didn't have to poo like she thought, it was the baby's head, and if she went outside and started pushing that baby would have come out and we'd have been up the creek to help her if there was a complication). WE finally got her to lie down, and she complained that she was hot and wanted to go out side b/c there was wind out there - "I'll bring the wind in here!" I told her, and started fanning her with the curtain... that kept her calm for about 10 minutes... praise the Lord. Then she got up once more, slid to the floor, got in a squatting position, and made eye contact with me. I raised my eyebrows, and she responded with one nodd and click of her tongue... It was time. I communicated with the rest of our team (Sandy, Amy, and Scottie) as well as two of James' relatives (at least there were two Mabaan women there, even if they hardly knew Mary), and everyone got into place. Since Mary was squatting (the best position in my very inexperienced opinion), there was only room for Sandy's hands, the rest of us stood watching and ready with tools and towels. I watched Mary's face, as still, even with the two Mabaan ladies there, she looked to me as being her support person (can you imagine!).

Mary pushed maybe two or three times, and Sandy barely had enough warning to catch the beautiful and perfect baby girl that came out crying! :) Mary had tears streaming down her face - it was finally over, and my eyes were welling up with tears, with pride over my friend who'd been through so much in her life, and endured SUCH a long pregnancy. The baby was here, and Praise be to the Lord of Hosts who'd brought this strange pregnancy to such a beautiful end, and with no big complications (she bled more then she should have, but Sandy go that under control with some great prompting and directions from Dr.Rob via Satellite phone in Nairobi).

With Mary laying down in bed once more, and the baby at her side, we all breathed a sigh of relief that it was over, but none of us more happy than Mary. Eventually her family started to show up and meet the newest edition to the clan - they showed up with food and clean clothes and smiles - it was such a familiar routine but in a completely different context - the only thing missing was the bouquets of flowers.

Twelve hours later I went up to check on my new favorite mother/daughter duo... the baby's skin was darker (the pink from yesterday giving way to the beautiful dark color she will end up being), wrinkly, and dry - which is apparently common and indicative of babies who have been "Over cooked" such as this one! She is beautiful, and Mary looked much better after some rest :) I have to be honest with you and say that I do hope they name the baby Kata - that would be quite an honor. But, no matter what they name that gorgeous little one, she is SO precious in the eyes of Jesus, as is her mother... and I can hardly tell you what a privilege and honor it was to be alongside this woman as she brought her into this world. As I watched the Lord give this woman a gift - her daughter, I felt a similar overwhelming feeling as the reality of my own gift from the Lord sunk in... As much as I am a Kawaja, and will always be one :) these people have opened their lives and hearts to me, they have allowed me to walk with them through tough times, labor pains, hunger, joys, and blessings. I am, and will always be, I expect, utterly amazed at the gift that that is from the Lord. May He be glorified in these relationships, and May, by His Severe Grace and Mercy, He the Lord and Savior of this new little life.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

First Kill

So a few nights ago I got to kill my very first snake :) I've seen a few (not tons) of varying lengths, shapes, and sizes... but this is the first one that I killed. Now... don't judge me too harshly... I realize that it's small... but when was the last time YOU killed a snake!? hehe

According to Dr. Rob, who loves to research snakes... this is a poisonous one, but not a lethal one (he found two options of what it could be)... sorry to disappoint but it's not a Black Mamba :P

Friday, October 23, 2009

Overwhelmed yet?

Yesterday I was down by the river in Gasmala with my friend Deborah... just enjoying our time, smiling at the wet and dark little bodies playing and laughing in the water, admiring the green all around us and the amazing thunder heads forming across the way...

All the serenity came to an abrupt end as, along the path, we came across a lady, well into her 60’s I would guess, ‘laying’ in a very uncomfortable position, twitching, in the throes of a seizure. As I came around the rest of the bush that had her half hidden, I looked into the bewildered faces of a few children standing by watching the scene unfold. I approached her on the other side I walked up from, knelt beside her head to get a better look at her face... did I know this woman? Her face was so distorted from the seizure that I couldn’t tell, but I noticed the necklace she had on and knew... I’d definitely greeted her this morning while I was sitting with my women having coffee – she had come by to visit with my friends. I said to one of the kids I recognized, ‘Who is she?’... ‘I don’t know’ they said... ‘Go get someone’, I requested – trying to imagine how to help this women with my little Mabaan, knowing full well that there wasn’t an adult around for a good distance. (that kid never did go).

The lifeguard in me took over the situation as I was drawn back to her face... at this point she was struggling to breathe around the phlegm/spit that had accumulated in her mouth, so Deb and I turned her onto her side, into the recovery position, and I held her head while the seizure eventually came to an end. Just as her body started to lay still once again, three older teen-aged girls who’d been swimming on the other side of the river, came over to see what the commotion was about, since our crowd of observing-and-not-helping children was growing. Again I looked down at this beautiful lady but this time, her eyes were starting to see, and you could tell that the fog left over from such an expenditure of energy was starting to clear. “What’s your name” I asked her... She looked at me, but said nothing... “Awa” one of the new girls came to her rescue.

At this point these girls seemed to think the best thing for her was to ‘get up and brush it off’, so they started to pull on her arms to get her up off the ground. “No. Leave her to rest” – the last thing we needed was her stumbling, half conscious, only to fall and injure herself. I was mulling over all my thoughts and observations: how she was acting, what questions I would ask if I could... and since I couldn’t, what could I attempt to ask her... and what in the world would have happened to her if no one was around... what would have happened if she had seized while IN the river that I was sure she had been planning to cross. By God’s Grace we don’t have to know the answer to that question.

I concluded that this was not the first time this woman had experienced a seizure since, as she was ‘coming too’ she never once said anything, looked confused, or asked what happened... she seemed all too aware of what had occurred.

Once she started to look around (even though I tried my best to make the onlookers leave, only two did) at all the faces peering down at her, I asked, “Do you want to drink water?” She nodded, so we helped her sit up for a long drink from my Nalgeene bottle. Deb and I were still discussing what in the world to do for her when she decided to stand up. Eventually, it was decided that the girls, who apparently knew of her would help her get across the river with her bag of grain (which had been dropped a few feet away) without it getting ruined (the river is above neck level now that the rainy season is coming to an end). So, we helped her find her shoes that had somehow been strewn in two different directions long before we came upon her, and then they headed a little further upstream to cross.

Deb and I sad on the edge of the river bank to watch the process – there was no way I was going anywhere until I saw those feet on terra firma on the other side. If anything happened to her between our bank and the other, I was goin’ in! No need – she crossed just fine, and was the strongest swimmer out of the younger entourage escorting her. Eventually she was across, dressed again, and on her way with her grain perched on her head, as it had been originally.

I walked away from the whole thing, quite frankly, really troubled and dissatisfied. Not so much with my inability to communicate with her, as my realization that it wouldn’t have mattered. What can be done for people in a land with no resources? For people with infections, ‘simple’ illnesses, or injures enough can be done to restore them, if not prevent it from occurring again. But for someone who had struggled with something like epilepsy for years, if not their whole lives, pretty much, next to nothing can be done. The meds she would need would require so much monitoring and adjusting, the resources are lacking and rather non-existent, and it would be a logistical impossibility. The answer?... to let her walk away... and pray that she felt even a little cared for in the process.

Overwhelmed yet?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

"Well done, My good and faithful servant"

My Pappy is gone. Not far, in one sense – he’s with Jesus. But, so far that I’ll not see him on this earth ever again. It’s a hard one to wrap your head around at times, seeing as I’m so far away from the whole situation.

I’m filled with a mixture of sadness & grief, and joy & relief. You see, it’s been a long journey for my Pappy. His health has been a challenge for a good 12 or so years... I (in my head) have thought of him as a cat with 9 lives... no matter what has been thrown at this man, he has always seemed to land on his feet – literally even! The doctors told him after his first stroke that he’d most likely never walk again. But, my Pappy, the stubborn and determined farmer/fisherman, didn’t let them have the last say. Within a year he was on his feet and walking! These last 6-8 months have been a pretty steady decline for him, physically, and the more time that went by and the weaker he got, the more I found myself wishing that the Lord would just come and take him Home.

He was ready for it you know, in many ways. Most importantly he had everything right with his Savior – he was confident in his salvation through Faith in Jesus, and would tell anyone who asked him about his Faithful Lord who got him through many a though circumstance. Pappy has loved and served the Lord faithfully all my life, and way before that even. He has always given testimony of him with his life and with his words. Especially his stories. He has many of those – stories of angles who the Lord sent to help in difficult times, another one who he actually spoke with once, and other times when the Lord pressed him to pray for people and he later found out that it was a great time of need for them. All these and more I’ve grown up listening to my whole life. All of these I wish we’d taped – even though we talked about it numerous times, we never did do it.

Pappy had this certain way he’d move his head that I must say will always be one of the things that I’ll miss the most and remember the most. He would use it as if it was a wink – and perhaps he couldn’t wink, I’m not sure... but he’d catch your eye, do his little half smile and move his head from center to left and back again, in a little jerking fashion that I have grown to love and cherish over the years. For whatever reason it always made me feel special, and reflected the teasing nature we all loved so much about him. Even weak and in his hospital bed he managed to get one of these head-winks out to me as I sat at his bedside just a few weeks ago. I remember marking it in my memory, at the time, because it so struck me how much I’d miss that little trade mark of a man I’ve loved and respected for my whole life.

I remember thinking, for much of my life, actually, that I was Pappy’s favorite :) I’m not sure why, but I always thought we had a special bond – but, probably all of us grandkids felt that way, which speaks a lot about Pappy in and of itself. Anyway, I always thought I was special to him... I remember following him around the barn (this was back when I thought I had a ‘special way’ with animals too... man, the delusions of my childhood are all coming out!) wanting to help out with everything... milking the cows, fixing things, collecting the eggs... all of these chores were probably quickly forgotten as I inevitably drifted into the hay loft to play with the kittens and pretend to be a farmer myself. I also remember the smell of Pappy when he’d come in for lunch from being out in the barn. For a reason I’ll never know I have this very distinct memory of Pappy walking briskly across the yard, from the warehouse to the house, with that certain walk – not a limp, but a lilt perhaps, and whistling... he’d smell of hard work and hay and soil, most likely from the potatoes, and he was wearing those navy blue coveralls and those big boots...

“Heerrreee Kitty kitty kittyyyyyy!” He’d yell after our lunch time meal, giving the cats the plate scraps of whatever fabulous meal Nanny had just slaved over.

For as long as I can remember, Pappy has had his own name for me – maybe this was one of the reasons I thought I was extra special.... Pappy has always called me Christy. Yes of course there were times when he called me my full name, but never ‘Chris’ that I can recall – almost always Christy. This was so special to me that I never allowed anyone to call me Christy... even if I had just met them and they seemed to think that “Christiane” was too difficult to say or remember, and they asked if they could just call me ‘Christy’, I would say “no, actually, you can’t – only my Pappy calls me Christy.” It will remain this way until the day I die.

I have another really distinct memory of Pappy... first thing in the morning. I remember being really young – gosh, maybe 8 or younger even, asleep in the pink room, and hearing Pappy go down the stairs early in the morning... I’d wait for a while, maybe fall back to sleep even, but then I’d wake up, creep down the stairs – not go into the kitchen from the hall, but walk through the living room into the family room, see my Pappy kneeling at the couch with his head bowed Praying... He was always there when I woke up and I apparently loved it, because every morning I would ‘sneak’ into the room, crawl up on the ugly brown leather chair of his (which would always squeek and blow my cover) and sit and watch him until he’d finished. I don’t know what I’d think about or what I’d do... and the whole time I’d know Nanny was in the kitchen... but in there with Pappy was where I wanted to be. So, I’d wait for him to finish up with Jesus, then he’d sit back on his heels, turn to look at me and say, “Christy, let’s go have some eggs” :) That’s another thing... My Pappy makes the perfect soft boiled egg.

Pappy always loved to tell the story about me from when I was really little and he had me at the mall... Apparently I was about 2 maybe 3 and he, Janna and I were sitting out on one of the mall benches waiting for mom and nanny, and I had said or done something funny – I can’t remember – but whatever it was prompted a laugh out of Pappy... somehow it greatly offended the 2 year old in me because I walked over to him, reached up and slapped him across the face! My Pappy always laughed re-telling this (I always laugh too, but the really sorry, humiliated sort of laugh that brings tears to your eyes – not because it’s so funny but because you hate to hear it again), he’d do that “humph” laugh that would put his head back and say, “so I said to her, ‘M’lady, you’ll only ever do that to me once’...” and he was right.

One thing however, that touches me to this day, is a secret that Pappy and I share... so secret in fact, that I’m not sure even I remember it. I had been staying with Nanny and Pappy one summer – I was young – and sometime happened... I did something, something I shouldn’t have, and Pappy had to talk to me about it. Later on when Mom came back, pappy told her that something had happened, but he never told her what... He’d said, “It’s between Christy and me.” And after all these years, it’s remained that way. I can come up with something I think it might have been, but I’m not sure that even I know. But my Pappy would not break my confidence, he kept his word, and our secret remains until this day...

As I sit here writing this, tears streaming down my face, I realize that this is the only contribution, other than my prayers, that I can make to my Pappy’s Home-going. I was out in Gasmala when it all happened, and by the time I returned to Doro and my email, I’d missed it all, funeral too. I’m SO happy that my beloved Pappy is now with Jesus, I wouldn’t wish him back to this world for a moment. However, I would have loved to have joined my voice to the chorus of cousins who sang in his remembrance, or to have given some thoughts to my cousin Josh who spoke so well on behalf of the family and all us privileged grandchildren. But, for reasons I can only speculate, and possibly never understand, I do trust that my Lord knows what He’s doing, and I just wasn't meant, or needed, to be a part of it. So... this is my contribution; these insufficient words, in memory and gratitude of a man who loved the Lord faithfully and boldly his whole life, and who loved his family – all of us – so well.

I love you Pappy. I will cherish forever the things the Lord taught me through your life. It was certainly not in vain. You’ve fought the good fight, run the race, and now, received your prize, Jesus Himself, in full. I know for a fact, that on September 29th, the chorus of the cloud of witnesses got just a little fuller as this special man joined in the Praises of his Lord and Savior. Home at long last.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust’... ‘Because he loves me,’ says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation’.” Isaiah 91:1-2,14-16

All my love to you Pappy.

Your Christy

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Coming Soon...

Thanks for your patience! I leave for my two weeks at home in Nova Scotia in about 24 hours from now... I can hear the ocean already...

Coming Soon:

More on Yiiga

More on my life in Sudan

More on the people I love

Stay Tunned! :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Echoes of War

(an article I wrote for our "Medical Progress Notes" that goes out quarterly)

Sometimes I think I forget the context in which we live.

For 4 days every week I get to be a ‘fly on the wall’ in a village called Gasmala where I go to learn Mabaan, the local language of the people. I get to watch their routines, their conversations, the interactions between husband & wife, parents and children. I get to “participate” in jokes and stories that they tell. I learn from them, not only the language of Mabaan, but the culture of their people – the things that are important to them, the things they cherish.

There are days when I get caught up in the “now” - in what I am seeing at that very moment; the laughter, the sharing, the working, the playing children... I forget that under all the happy layers and appearance of normality there is a current of remembrance; a dull and ever-present awareness of everything that has transpired on this land, long before the laughter that I see today.

I have found myself ‘snapped back’ to a reality that I can’t grasp when the people there casually tell me, “oh, when we first came back we collected many bones in this spot” on our way to the river. Or “...and here was a big battle ground where many of our people died... and those holes in the ground are where the soldiers would stay and shoot from.” I have walked by bullet casings and not noticed. I sat reading one day while two little boys ran by playing with a real gun. Not a toy. It was not plastic. It was a real gun. Everything was disabled and safe mind you, but none the less it hit me like a ton of bricks. These children have grown up with war. These adults don’t just see a tree or a field, they see a land mark where someone they knew was killed, or a house was burned.

Every single night in Gasmala the church families gather for a time of worship, a short devotional, and prayer. Every night when they go over the things they need to pray for they pray for their country, that peace would stay, that God would give wisdom to those who are in positions of power, and for the many Mabaan people displaced in the West, in Khartoum, and in the Refugee Camps.

Even with all this I struggle to comprehend what they have seen and gone through for their whole lives. And I realize just how free I have been for the 26 years I have been on this Earth. I am convicted by their dedication to start over, start fresh. Many left more ‘affluent’, although not necessarily easier, places of living to go back to the basics of living the bush, cooking over a fire, and growing their own food. They came to this relatively opportunity-less land because it is their home, because they love it, because here they are free, even if only for a time.

“Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Have you ever had a day were everything just blesses your socks off? I had one of those the other day (a month ago now...) ...

It was rather wonderful right from the start. I emerged from my tent in Gasmala (after a huge thunder and lightening storm from the night before) to find Tia (one of my favorite ladies) and her little grandson, Babylon, greeting me from not too far away :) Babylon said "Kawaja, I niini?" (which is, in english, 'White person, did you sleep?') and Tia corrected him, for the 20th time that weekend, "her name is Kata..." so then he just smiled and said, "Kata, i niini?" To which I replied that I did indeed sleep well :) Then he trotted over to share with me a plum which he pulled from a little pile he had tucked away in his grubby little hand :)

The morning continued with enjoyable interactions while I 'packed up camp' and prepared for the bike ride back to Doro... the morning entertainment for everyone was to discover that the ground was in fact DRY and the weird "On Kata" (Kata's house... my tent) DID keep the rain out... it was quite a marvel to everyone, especially Pastor Hurun's wife who was convinced that come morning I would have been afloat :)

So I said my goodbyes and headed off on my bike with a travel buddy named Peter, who was also heading into Bunj (the town just past Doro) on his bike. It was one of those rides that went by especially slowly - Peter's bike isn't exactly what you'd call 'bush worthy' - but was very enjoyable... because I was biking so slowly I got to just look around and SEE all the amazing things along the way and have my breath taken away yet again by a God who loves me so much as to grant me the desires of my heart... down to the very last detail. As I drove my little bike through the dirt and mud of this 'road' in the middle of the bush, on such a sunny-and-perfect-cloud-day, I just couldn't get the smile off my face :)

So I arrived back to Doro to find that the Congdon family and Justin (the rest of his family were to follow next week) had arrived safely the day before... it's always exciting to see friends and have new faces around...

Then, after a little visit with Nancy it was time to check email... my inbox was overflowing with love from home, in response to the news letter I had sent out just hours before leaving for Gasmala days ago. It was rather amazing how many people wrote back addressing the email to "Kata" :D Again... just couldn't stop smiling. Thanks for the emails you guys... I just can't tell you how GREAT is to hear from you. REALLY.

The next thing was probably the 'cherry on top' for my day... Pastor James (my 'dad' from Gasmala) was bringing the village 'crazy man' for Dr.Rob to assess. Some of you may know that I just have a heart for the psychological aspects of what these people have gone through, and it has been my prayer to somehow be used by the Lord in this area of people's lives... So, I asked Dr.Rob if I could sit in on his assessment (I wanted to learn and hear what questions he would ask, among other reasons). There was little I knew about this man prior to our meeting that day... I knew that he was feared in the village, really had no friends other then pastor James who would visit him, and that he talked to himself. When James arrived with him I was looking for an excuse to go out to where he was waiting to interact with him. "Would he like some water? - it's a long walk here..." "yes, kata, bring him water." Perfect :) So I approached this beautiful old man, who had seen so much in his life, and was a broken shell of someone he'd once been... his eyes looked uncertain, and his hands trembled slightly. He sat with his legs crossed, wearing a baby blue shirt (pants too of course, but his shirt just stuck out to me) and a crocheted barrett, holding a walking stick. I come over, stuck out my hand to greet him and said "I niini?" His eyebrows shot up as he realized the Kawaja had just spoken Mabaan and returned the greeting with a smile. I gave him the water, and we were friends. This 65 year old man had won my heart, and I was done for :) James asked him if he wanted more water and he said "no, but when I do, I will ask her for it." ... :)

This man, about 15 years ago, had burned his house to the ground in the middle of the night - I think all his family escaped alive, however, left him shortly after. This was the start of his mental illness from what we can tell... If you are doing the mental math, this started DURING the time of the war, when he was still living/hiding in the bush near Gasmala (I've been told that Gasmala was quite a battle zone). After this, he went to a Refugee camp in Ethiopia, called Sherkole, where he stayed until a year ago, returning on the back of a Lory (truck) like thousands of others. Since then he's been largely ignored my most villagers who are scared he will kill them, and, as he told us, sometimes goes for up to four days with no food. He told us about the voices he hears in his head, that sometimes he sees people others can't see, and other struggles he's had along the way. Dr.Rob did a thorough assessment with mental, spiritual, and physical aspects, coming to the conclusion that this man has a genuine mental illness (rather then a solely spiritual problem) or a physical problem/illness that is manifesting with these psychological symptoms.

I just sat and watched throughout the meeting, and couldn't keep myself from smiling at this beautiful man, desperately loved by God, who has seen more trauma then I can imagine, who had a slight smile on his face because he had no idea what Dr.Rob was doing... prodding and poking and listening and asking him to balance with his eyes closed and his arms outstretched :) And I just had this heart-conversation with Jesus that went something like this... "Lord, I just love people who are hurting like this... rejected castaways that have yet to discover just how much YOU love them..." "Chris, I'm reminding you of why I brought you here, remember... to tell people about MY FREEDOM... I make beauty from these ashes..." "Lord, would You just use me... can I be a part of it?" ...

I was thankful that Dr.Rob didn't ask me to pray when we were finishing up, because I wouldn't have managed through it... as it was I sat there with tears running down my face because I was breathing deeply of a Life Worth Living... THIS is what it is about... not medications and treatments, though those can be wonderful... but just loving on people who need to know that there is Water they can drink, and NEVER be thirsty again. Jesus has not abandoned them, Jesus is not afraid of them, Jesus has made them - down to every molecule... and loves them enough to have died, even if only for them.

Before we stood to part ways, this man looked over at me, put his fingers to his mouth and said in Mabaan, "Drink"... I said, "Do you want to drink water?" He smiled and nodded, looking shy yet pleased that we were communicating. I smiled and started off... Never before have I gone on such a joyful errand. When I presented him with a very full cup, he drank it all, then stood up with his walking stick and started off home...

You guys, can you pray for this man? His name is Yiiga. Pray that the church in Gasmala would really reach out to him - follow the example of their pastor and love on this man that the world has rejected. Pray that he will KNOW of the Love of Jesus and be forever changed by the Living Water. Pray with me, that if the Lord see's fit, this man would be spared from further struggles with mental illness, that the medications we gave him would make a difference, and that he would one day give testimony of our miraculous Lord. I hope and pray that I am within ear shot one day when this beautiful man says "yes" to the question, "Do you want to drink Living Water?"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Toola Kaata" ( "the Girl Kaata") - Part 1

Kaata came from a Kawaja village in the year 2009 to Mabaan. And she stays in Doro with her friend Vicki. And she goes to Koongaji, village of Gasmala to stay with Pastor James Haruun Ewo.

Her heart is very good. She came from a country called Kenada, which is a village of Kawaja's. She stays with us even though there are many pigs. And she eats our strong (fermented) Mabaan food. And goats are there sleeping near to her house.

(more to come...)
*translation by Kata

Long Overdue

HI Everyone! I'm so sorry for my long silence! :) Hard to believe a whole month (plus a bit) has gone by since I last posted, there is so much say yet I know I'll never get it all out! Let me be brief... Everything is Fine. (haha, just kidding - that was more so to give my parents a flash back to my high school days where my answer for everything was "fine" :P )

These past few months have been filled with trips to Gasmala and a growing Mabaan vocabulary - Praise the Lord. We had a few really big dumps of rain, and then nothing for like a week and a 1/2... Needless to say, we're dyin' for rain again! What had been turning an incredible shade of fluorescent green has now gone brown yet again. This past week we were "dumped on" by the Sahara to the north of us... Sand storms up there created really really bad visibility and air quality for us for over 48 hours. We coughed and prayed for it to pass! In the picture I'll post here it looks like fog, but I assure you, it's dust. It's nasty stuff.

As you can see by that picture the construction of the hospital continues by the Grace of God! We have been encouraged by many things in this process and are getting excited as each stage comes and goes :) I'll have more pictures as things keep progressing! Keep this in your prayers during the summer (our rainy season). WE currently have a team from the US with us for 2 weeks, then a team from Scotland will be coming a week later for another 3 weeks - these people are great provisions and will keep things moving at a nice pace :)

So, that is my brief update :) The only other thing I wanted to tell you, is that I am having a book written about me :) Now, don't get too excited, I dont' think it will be ready for publication for quite some time...

Pastor James, my Mabaan Dad, came over to me a few weeks ago and said "Kata" (my name here...) "I am writing about you, and want you to read it"... He, quite literally, has started a book (he's about 2 paragraphs in at the moment) about me and my life in Gasmala :) How amazingly sweet is that... I just couldn't stop smiling. He was so proud of himself, yet excited to show me he cared enough about me to put pen to paper and chronicle my life with them. My cup Runneth Over. He says "Maybe, as I write it, little by little it will become a book... one day it will be published, I dunno. Then the children will always remember Kata who lived with us... is it not good?" :D How can you not love people like this?? I feel honored indeed.

I will start translating them, and little by little post what he writes :) Even if it's only ever published on my Blog, I'll feel like a million bucks. The Lord gives Blessings abundant, and don't ever forget it :)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Rain Drops Keep Fallin' On My Head

So today something terribly exciting happened. After 6 LONG months of dust and dry, cracked ground, the heavens opened and Lord Poured forth RAIN :)

The clouds started to form in the late afternoon... dark and grey-blue, very promising... And so the observations started :) We stood out side for hours, watching the clouds form... watching them pour out rain in regions far away... the winds kicked up bringing dust and cooler air from the North - which I'm told is always the direction the first rain comes from... We stood around, did a little jig to encourage the clouds, laughed and told stories... and waited...

And then it happened... the first drop :) Then another, then another... then, an absolute downpour... you could almost hear the trees crying with joy :) - oh wait... perhaps that was the crazy Kawaja's running around dancing!

It's rather amazing what a little rain will do for your soul... the promise of Green, higher river waters, growth of crops, cooler temperatures... *sigh, our cups runneth over.

Remember the Mabaan in prayer - some of who have yet to get their roofs up and ready/repaired for the rainy season, that the crops (that weren't destroyed by last year's flood) would flourish, that Malaria would not run rampant but that this would be a year of decreased infections, that wells would put forth clean and abundant water for villages all over the province, and that above all these people would KNOW of the SOURCE of the LIVING WATER that NEVER RUNS DRY.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Flying By

How in the world did two weeks in Nairobi go by without me blogging ANYTHING! Heavenly days! May apologies people... I will try to do better! It certainly isn't because there is nothing to say!

I leave in the morning to fly to Lokichoggio, in Northern Kenya, where I'll stay the night and then leave from there to fly back into Doro the next morning (April 7th).

My time in Nairobi has been sooo nice. I think the most giddy I've ever been in my whole life was the 24 hours leading up to coming, and then the next 2 days after getting here! I know two months isn't really very long to be in the bush, but I felt like I was re-discovering a life I once knew... light switches that would stay on as long as you wanted, water coming out of taps that I didn't have to pump or scoop, SITTING to go to the bathroom... man! It was sure exciting :) I also was VERY happy to discover that my feet can indeed return to their natural pink color... the black dirt stains weren't totally permanent... it just took 3 baths and much scrubbing to find the pink again!

I enjoyed eating some foods that are absent in Doro, such as fresh milk (well, technically that exists, we just don't drink's REAL fresh :), yoghurt, beef, cheese, broccoli (man, I was craving broccoli!)- lots of great treats!

My first morning in Nairobi I was standing in the kitchen by the sink (yay for sinks!) filling up the kettle (yay for kettles!!) with water for my tea, when I just got this big wave of joy, contentment and "homey" feelings... I pondered it for a few minutes to try and figure out what was feeling so wonderfully familiar as to make me this elated inside... I realized that it was the way the sun was coming in the window! Now I know that sounds rather crazy, but it's true. I hadn't noticed until that very moment that we have no "windows" in Doro - no glass... everything is screen or just open. And that familiar sort of "heat" created by sun beams traveling through glass was just an amazing feeling... I was over joyed :) Isn't that ridiculous!? I felt like I was on some sort of "upper" for the first few days back (I can assure you I wasn't)... but it was really fun.

Anyway, I'm really just posting a quick one to thank you for your patience and to promise more posts in the near future! I have spent so much time uploading pictures onto facebook (b/c it takes too much bandwidth to do it in Doro) that I've totally neglected my blog! But - I will rectify that as soon as possible!

Please pray for our flights and that my supplies that I'm trying to get back into Doro (on various different flights over the next month or less, hopefully) would find their way in quickly and easily and not take any detours to that "place" in Loki where things get lost (like my first broom attempt and Sandy's table!) :) Thanks everyone and I'll post again soon! Love ya's :)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Thank You for your Patience

HI everyone! This is just a quick blog post to let you know that I am alive and well in spite of my blog-silence :D These past few weeks have felt very full as I've traveled back and forth to Gasmala for Lanugage Learning, done laundry and email catchup on days "off" while continuing to review Mabaan, and head to the market again to gather more supplies for the next few days out there! I really have been enjoying my time, but I find it emotionally draining as my need to communicate and express myself is certainly squelched by being surrounded by a language that is complicated and very different. The women are wonderful and are so good to me - patient and really wanting to be helpful in my learning process. I am amazed, really at this opportunity and get really overwhelmed by what I gift from the Lord this is when I stop and think about it. I must say though, that I am looking forward to my 2 weeks in Nairobi that are coming up on the 24th of March. I find my moods changing more frequently and things are annoying me that weren't 2 weeks ago... like flies landing on my arm and tickling me when I'm already hot and cranky and don't want anything in my personal space!!! Didn't they get that memo!? For the love ;)

Anyway, I SOOO appreciate all your prayers and reminders of love that you are sending me via email, blog comments, or Facebook :) I'm anxious to get to Nairobi in hopes of being able to talk by phone with more of you and do some extended emailing (we've been on restrictions out here, and only get to use our internet for certain times of day and can't do downloading or other things that take up band width - another reason for the length of time since I've posted). Please please don't stop praying - if anything increase it as these next 2 weeks go by... I don't want to start spacing out or lacking motivation... I'd like to finish off this segment well.

I love you all, and am SO very thankful for you. Thanks for caring and following along. Much Much love across the ocean! :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

No Small Thing...

I can hardly describe to you the extent to which one wakes up with excitement-to-overflowing on a day that we are to receive a plane in Doro. When you live day in and day out with the same group of faces, doing much the same (all be it rewarding) tasks, with little awareness of the outside world, knowing that a plane is on it's way and will arrive around lunchtime makes me giddy enough that it feels like Christmas. I'm sure this isn't something you'll be able to understand from where you sit reading this entry, but, I do declare it to be true :)

Over a week ago, we were expecting a plane that was coming to pick up a two short term guys who'd been here for a few weeks. Now, by this time I'd learned not to "hope" that my missing box or order of eggs or other goods from Loki would arrive... the disappointment can feel devastating, so best to try and forget about the possibility... However, this particular day all my things did arrive! My last box that I'd waited 2 weeks for - containing laundry soap, my cell phone chord for charging, toothpaste (which I was quickly running low on), a quick-dry bath towel, and a bunch of goodies that I'd been given for my birthday (dried fruit, and a package of Peanutbutter/Choc Oreos - woah nelly!). When I opened my box I could hardly contain myself as I found in it more items I'd forgotten that I had packed in there, last minute... like 5 shiny green granny smith apples... :D Heavenly days! And not only that, Leah (our logistics gal in Loki) had sent me 2 FLATS of eggs (when I'd ordered 2 doz.), AND Leah had also sent our Doro team POTATOES and CARROTS. We were all fit to be tied :) !!

As much as life here in Doro is good, it isn't always easy. But, I have been blessed by the realization that I am feeling, possibly for the very first time, true and genuine appreciation for the little things in life... well, here they are big things. May God give us the Grace and Gratitude to truly appreciate these things no matter what our circumstances.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Update on Rahil

Hi Everyone, thanks so much for your prayers for this little girl, Rahil, and her family. I wish this update was going to contain wonderful news of a miracle... it's not. The short version of her story is this... After 36 hours of IV malaria treatment, our dear little Rahil started to improve, for which we praise the Lord. On about day 3 our clinic people went up there in the morning to find her IV had come out. Even with the IV treatment she'd been receiving, she was still dehydrated, and they were not able to get another IV in. That left oral treatments as the only option. From this point on, her condition started to deteriorate once more. On Day 4 she was looking quite bad, and Sarah, our Physician's Assistant said, "there's just no life behind those eyes..." The next morning, at about 5 am the parents took Rahil home to die. Here in Sudan, our team is noticing that it is really important for people to die (at least the children) at their home. I can't say I'm sad to report that Rahil is now in the loving arms of Jesus :) But, I wish, for the parents benefit, a miracle had occurred. Our God He is Mighty and His Will prevails, even when we don't understand, or get our way. I do know, that in all things He get's the Glory, one way or another. The story of this family isn't over... He is still at work in them. Perhaps, as I move to Gasmala (where they are from) you'll hear more of this family and what the Lord is up too in their lives... let's keep praying for them. (again, this picture is not the child I'm referring too)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Prayer Needed

It's hard to sit here before my computer and figure out what to say about this situation. There is so much I wish I could relay to you, but the English language and this computer separating us makes that difficult. We have a child at the clinic, this every moment, who needs a major miracle to survive. Yesterday, when I was out in Gasmala (the village I will move to, to learn Mabaan), Vicky and I were asked to see a child who was very lethargic and ill. Vicky, with better eyes for this sort of thing, saw the severity of the situation and told the mother to get to our clinic in Doro first thing the next morning (it was all ready well into the afternoon and would have taken her 1-2 hours in the hottest part of the day to get to the clinic that day). Today, this mom did come (along with the Gramma and another woman) to bring the child. However, by the time they arrived, the child was comatose and seizing. Diagnosis? Cerebral Malaria. All day the child has been receiving treatments for this, as well as fluid for rehydration. I wasn't at the clinic today (technically I'm not supposed to be until I'm well on my way with Mabaan, so I don't get side tracked into the needs there), but I did go up in the evening just to see that child and the family, since I'd met them yesterday. What was intended as a quick trip to the clinic turned into a 2+ hour visit involving big discussions with the father who wanted to take the child home. Oh man. Through the translator, myself and a visiting short term doctor tried to answer the family's concerns and encourage the father to NOT take the child back to Gasmala, where she could surely die. The dad was concerned that the child wasn't breastfeeding, and all we were giving her was water (the IV fluid). How to you explain to someone that even though this liquid is clear, it still contains nutrients and is helping to keep the baby alive - even it if doesn't 'look like' milk. We tried a few different approaches, it would help for a few minutes, and then he could circle back and insist on taking the child home. The women on the other hand all wanted the child (who is raging with fever and gasping for breath) to stay and get the full treatment. So much prayer required. I was asking for wisdom from on High continually, and eventually, was able to pray for the family, that sweet little girl who is only 7 months old, and for the dad... I prayed that the Lord would give him wisdom to make the best choice for his child. Eventually, with the help of Dr. Angelina who came to our rescue (she is Sudanese, not Mabaan, but could speak in Arabic with the father) and convinced him she needed to say with us so we could do our work. Our prayers are answered... for now, they will stay. But, I am not so naive to think that he won't put up the same fight again tomorrow. Please be praying along with us, that the Lord would use this situation to make HIMSELF known to this man. I believe (only through observation of the 'traditional medicine talisman' around his neck) that this man is not a Believer in Jesus. I do pray that he would see the Lord's Healing Power in the life of his child...Pray with me that we could have opportunity to really share Christ with him, and with the women who brought this litte one. Please also pray for this baby. She really is SO sick, and is, at this point, showing many of the signs of "poor prognosis"... especially for one so little. It really, really will take a miracle of the Lord to bring her though this. BUT OUR GOD... HE IS ABLE. But even if He chooses to not heal, though He is able, May He receive the Glory - no matter the outcome. Let's be praying :) (picture is not this child)

Monday, February 02, 2009

For Julia

My dear Jules requested a post on the drama of my hand injury... So here it is! :) I'm afraid that the picture doesn't look like much, but anyway, it was! The story goes like this: I had borrowed a broom from Sarah, one of the girls here, so that I could kill a spider on the wall of my Tukul - this is no surprise to anyone - I have spider issues... So, in the vim and vigor I was using to kill the sucker, I didn't notice that the end of the broom handle was exposed metal, and not a plastic covering... Needless to say, the metal gouged into the palm of my hand giving me quite a deep cut that went beyond the skin layers into the subcut tissue and really, was worthy of a stitch. Amazing enough it hardly hurt, but bled like a bugger. Sarah (our Physician Assistant) didn't think putting a stitch would be worth it, as it was smack in the middle of my right palm and, with me using it so much, she didn't think it would stay. So! A long story short, I've been doing my best to keep in clean by covering it with a tensor (*important to note that it's the R hand that is used for all greetings and so you can imagine how quickly germies could enter if it wasn't cared for!). It's looking pretty good, a good 1/2 of it is all closed off, and the other 1/2 is giving a bit of trouble - not infected, but not exactly closing up completely.... wish I had some skin glue :) So my love, Jules - that's the story :) Hope you enjoy the picture!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Here and Loving it :)

Greetings from Sudan everyone! Praise the Lord we arrived safely on Wednesday afternoon, about 2:30, Sudan time. The flight here was long and in a small plane! We were about 3 hours from Nairobi to Loki (north Kenya) on an MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) plane, then after a short break in Loki for customs and potty break, we flew for another 3 hours to arrive in Doro! The flight was... interesting! I must admit that I find flying in such planes hard on my head... by that I mean that I think too much about just how small the plane is, and just how high we are flying... the mathematics of it in my heads seems to equal out with us plummeting to the earth below! Thank the Lord that His mathematics come out to a different end sum! :) I did however, take that 6 hours as a BIG opportunity for the Lord to teach me about my fear and HIS PEACE... We had come very good conversations, and I spend lots of time worshiping, along with my MP3 player, among clouds that would make ANYONE sing!!

Upon arrival in Doro, these were our Greeters - a lovely sight is it not?? :) I got busy moving my self into my tukul (my hut), and getting the tour of the hospital and nutrition village and everything. More photos of all this to follow eventually - I'm in no rush to snap shots, as I'll be here for a good long time :) Hope you are patient! :) I am growing a great fondness for showering outdoors at sunset, and for the sounds the lizards make at night in my roof!

I'm really just posting to let you know that I'm here safe and sound, and that I really am just loving it :) I am right where the Lord would have me be, and the contentment in my heart reaffirms that for me daily. Thank you for caring and following along, and even more so for your prayers that got me here - and your prayers that will keep me here :).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sudan Here I Come!

So, I officially leave for Sudan in less then 12 hours! I have a bit more packing and rearranging left to do, and a few emails, then I'm off to bed for a very early morning! :)

To be honest, I've had some mixed feelings about all this - not that I'm not totally convinced of the Lord's Will in me going to Sudan, but just experiencing a lot of little fears or questions and feelings of inadequacy! :) But, I had a really good time with the Lord today, while sitting on my room porch looking up at wonderful clouds...

I was reading Jeremiah 17:7-8... it says at the beginning, "blessed is he who puts his trust in the Lord, and who's trust IS the Lord." Humm... Then it goes on to say that, "he will be like a tree planted by streams of water, not fearing the drought, and always bearing fruit" (well, that's my paraphrase). But I was just thinking about how, for a tree, life is water - with out it, it will die. And then the Lord brought an image into my mind of what my 'trust' in Him looks like... the picture was of me, eyes squeezed tight and me holding my breath! Ha! - what sort of trust is that!? :) Sure I was willing to "jump" - I trusted that much... but, I was un-trusting enough to feel the need to shut my eyes, hold my breath and wait, or at least be prepared, for the crash! I have not been a tree planted by streams of water, experiencing life...

Wow. Clearly I am having trust issues. I spent sometime praying, and chucking at that accurate image of myself, as the Lord spoke to my heart and pretty much told me to take a "chill pill" :) He reminded me that He has CALLED me here... He has prepared me in ways I don't even know yet... I am more prepared then I think I am, or He wouldn't be putting me on that plane tomorrow morning. I need to TRUST my Father. He KNOWS me. He knows His plans and hopes and dreams, not only for me, but for the people of Sudan. If I'm going to trust in anything - it sure won't be myself... it sure won't be the pilot or the plane... Why not trust in the ONE who holds the WHOLE world in His hands... created it all, and loves me beyond measure. I want to put my trust in the one who produces that fruit in me because the roots go deep into the soil, getting life from the stream.

Who am I not to trust a God like that? :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Hello Everyone! Thank you for your patience as you've waited for me to update this blog! It's been 2 weeks (ish) now that I've been back in Africa, and it's been wonderful :) It feels very normal to be here, yet "new" because I've never before been to Kenya, and Nairobi is very urban!

As you will hear in my newsletter (if you receive those) I arrived with no glitches, all my luggage, and no problems with getting my visa or going through customs! Thank you for praying! I went almost directly to our SIM South Sudan Spiritual Life Conference, where I finally got to meet the WHOLE South Sudan Team, and start getting to know people! Those of you who know me well, know that big group settings like this are out of my 'zone of comfort', which made for some moments of feeling overwhelmed - but overall it was such a blessing! The Lord really started to make it a reality that I will be heading to Sudan shortly... :) The photo here is of the whole Doro Team - both with short term and long term people.

The last few weeks I've been going through orientation, getting my feet under me, gathering supplies for Sudan, and trying to organize my stuff and get an understanding of how things work within the SIM Sudan office, here in Kenya.

I will be flying into Sudan on January 28th ** so please keep that in your prayers!! I am hoping to get another newsletter out this week before I go so stay tuned! Thanks for your interest and faithful checking of this blog, I will do my best to keep it "up to date" with some pictures (although, the internet isn't exactly "fast" here :P So if I can't upload pictures, or at least, very many, be patient with me - and keep reading, even if it isn't as interesting as it is with photos! :)

I love you all and love hearing from you!
More to come... :)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I Go Before...

"My Promise"

Child of my love, fear not the unknown morrow,
Dread not the new demand life makes of thee,
Thy ignorance doth hold no cause for sorrow,
Since what thou knowest not is known to me.

Wherefore go gladly to the task assigned thee,
Having my promise, needing nothing more,
Than just to know, where'er the future finds thee,
In all thy journeying I go before."