Friday, December 31, 2010

farwell to another year

Well... I cheated and am posting this much beyond when the date claims! (my OCD wins again... I wanted one more post in 2010!!)

I realize how desperately far behind I am in my blogging... I`m so sorry. But, thank you for continuing to come here and check to see if I`ve posted anything new... your faithfulness blesses me :)

I will attempt to post today, the video I have played for churches and friends all across Canada. It is a great collage of pictures from my first two years of living and ministering in Sudan - from my time of Language learning, to working in the clinic - it`s all there... briefly :)

There are so many things I wish I`d written about over the past few months... some of which I will try to do during the next few weeks, as some stories and things just really need to be recorded on something permanent... until I write my book that is :P just kidding. Sitting here right now and looking back, I find it rather fascinating how much I just couldn`t bring myself to blog or post pictures on Facebook just after I left Sudan. Somehow posting about it would have forced me to re-live the pain of leaving, and I just couldn`t bring myself to do it. But, sitting back on this continent again, with my people just a little bit closer, geographically, and talk in the air of when we`ll be able to return to Sudan... my thoughts constantly travel back to my final days there... and there is so much for you to hear about.

I`ll do my best! But, in the mean time - enjoy these beautiful faces!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

By Faith

It's no accident that this morning's message in Gasmalla, was on Hebrews 11... the Hall of Faith chapter. Although I could follow along with the Scripture reading, and SOME of what Yohanna said, his point was this... "By Faith all these lived and served God... and this is the sort of Faith that God wants from us..." I have to say, I didn't think too much about this message after the service, but carried on to have a great time with my lovely friends out there...

Then this evening, during our Khawaja Sunday service at the compound - it was no accident - that Rob chose to take us on a 'path of remembrance' for those missionaries who served and died here in the 40's...

By Faith, two couples and one single nurse started out to this isolated land on donkey back, to bring the Gospel to the Mabaan people. By Faith they served here for 3 years (or less for a few), learning language and falling in love with the people. By Faith they stayed although danger was not far off. By Faith they looked danger in the face, and By Faith, the Lord chose to allow that danger to take their lives. By Faith the team of four remaining, buried one of their own on August 23rd, and then his wife the next morning. By Faith the rest stayed on, continuing to give of themselves and serve the Lord their God, by serving His people.

By Faith, all these served and pressed on, believing their labors were not in vain... And, it's with this cloud of witnesses who've gone before that there are those today, who By Faith, continue to serve the Lord by serving His people here in Mabaan. Because of the Faith of those who've gone before, we have the opportunity to have Faith and Vision for today - because of the seeds these Faithful planted, we continue to sow and reap today.

By Faith (some days more than others) we serve here now, choosing to believe that our labor is not in vain (some days this is easier to believe than others)... and By Faith we believe that the Lord, knowing the 'big picture' knows what this tilled ground will look like another 70 years from now. Will the memorial cemetery, where these Faithful lay, have more added? Will this country see yet another war and more destruction? Will the Mabaan church continue to struggle or will it flourish? Will one day... the cloud of witnesses be added too with Faithful from within the Mabaan who go out to serve By Faith, to bring the Gospel to another tribe who has yet to hear?

By Faith we believe. By Faith we walk forward. By Faith we serve. By Faith alone we bring Him Glory.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

According to Kev

Today I thought it would be good to give you a bit of an insight into my everyday life, so you can understand a little of what it is like for me living my life as a superhero nurse in deepest darkest Africa. So, here is a day in the life of Christiane Fox.

6:45am: We have to get up stinking early for team devotions. Well I say we, I never actually go unless I’m leading it. Instead, I sleep in until as late as possible, before going for a freezing cold shower to wake me up. After my shower I head to the dining room to find out what the banter is with my colleagues, and encourage them with a bit of dry sarcasm.

7:45am: Time to head to the clinic for work, so we all (me and my fellow superhero nurses) clamber on to our trusty steed, a Honda trx quad bike 350cc (I’ve got an eye for mechanical detail) and make the 3 minute 45 second journey to the clinic. Although I call it a clinic, the place we work is nothing at all like what you are probably imagining. It’s more of a bombed out shell of a building that smells really bad and doesn’t have proper doors or windows. Here is a picture of the scene that awaits us most mornings:

8:00am: Now it’s time for devotions with the clinic staff (a bunch of Sudanese guys of around my age). At the moment we’re reading through Joshua, I don’t know whose bright idea that was but it’s given us ample chance to discuss circumcision together...what better way to start the day.

8:20am: Time to go out and face the masses (see photo above). Now you might have thought that all these people would be super appreciative that we are here making every effort to attend to their various ailments. Well sometimes they aren’t. We routinely get more people than we can see in a day and have to turn the excess away. Generally, they aren’t happy about this, particularly if they’ve travelled from a long way away, but that’s life.

8:30-11ish: Having upset all the people we’ve turned away and handed out numbers to all those who we will see (kinda like when you’re waiting to pick up the stuff you’ve bought from Argos), it’s time to get down to the serious business of seeing patients with interesting, odorous and occasionally downright disgusting infirmities, and helping our CHW’s do likewise.

11ish time for tea and seriously tasty mandazis. Good times.
11:30-2pm: More clinic craziness. On a good day I’ll get the chance to drive back to the compound to pick up some item of questionable importance. Gives a break from the intensity of seeing patients all day. Sometimes, we get to see some outrageously disgusting stuff, the kind of thing that would make you throw up your dinner. Sometimes we see so many patients I think I might go crazy. Sometimes we see children who are almost certainly going to die. It’s a wonderful world.

2-3pm: Lunch time...

3-6ish??: More patient madness. Sometimes people turn up late afternoon expecting to be seen. Unless they are dying it’s not going to happen...
After clinic finishes it’s time for an evening of fun filled banter. Kicked off with the challenge of cooking over a charcoal fire. Sometimes some of my good friends on the compound will offer to cook for me, although this arrangement is not without it’s problems. They like to debrief about the day and share ‘highlights’, but what if your day didn’t have any highlights..?

After dinner it’s internet time for a while, and then off to bed. If I’m on call, I might get the chance to take a late night trip up to the clinic to save the day once more. On a really good day I’ll get to wake one of my colleagues to come and help me. That is one of my favourite late night activities...

And that’s it, a day in the life of me, and a marked change in tone and language from my previous posts...I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you interested.

(can you tell?? I've suddenly picked up a Scottish accent ;)

Saturday, June 26, 2010


One day every week, we nurses at the clinic are given a 'ministry day' - a day 'off' from the clinic, but with the intention of making the most of the day by getting involved in some other ministry outside the clinic walls. For the past few months, I haven't taken full advantage of this day. After eating some humble pie from a co-worker encouraging me to get my rear in gear, I am finally using this day to do something that I feel is totally valuable, and bringing much Joy to my heart :)

Please met my friend Rhoda :) Rhoda is a wonderful lady, mother of one little boy named Marcus and is currently expecting another (hopefully before I leave for home in August!!), and wife of a fabulous man, named Bulus who used to translate for us at the clinic, but is currently going to secondary school in Yabus.

Rhoda is a lady who is full of joy, always ready for a good joke or laugh, a hard worker (works at the clinic for a few hours 3 days a week keeping it clean - quite a task!), and is very generous... Just before I left for Nairobi two weeks ago, she gave me and Amy (clinic co-hort) a pair of earrings each, directly from her ears to ours :) Rhoda is a wonderful lady.

Rhoda, like most Mabaan women, cannot read. Bulus tells me that she did go to primary school in the refugee camp, but didn't complete her 3rd grade. So... a few weeks ago, Rhoda and I talked about it, and decided that every tuesday, I'd go over to her house, and we'd "do books" together... by the Grace of God Rhoda is learning to READ!!

It's rather amazing to sit with a grown woman, who, although she is younger than I, is so much farther ahead in life, and watch her eyes and lips struggle to identify the letter in front of her. I can hardly tell you how much joy we BOTH get when a letter that she finds particularly hard to remember just comes and clicks into place! We both laugh and grab each other's hands as if we're 5 years old, and then she'll flip the page, grow serious again, and try to remember the next one.

We're only a few weeks in, but she is already improving. In spite of my lack of Mabaan to explain things, and my inexperience at teaching anyone to read English, let alone Mabaan, she is a great student and dearly wants to know how to "do books" :) Please pray for me, as I teach and for Rhoda as she tries to 'study' and run a house as a single mom, with Bulus 3 hours away. It so tugs at my heart that so many women with SO much potential for SO many things, are, day in and day out, doing many things of importance for their families, but with a quiet & deep desire to learn and know, and READ... but have no opportunities to do so. I also pray that this is just the start of something... I pray for more opportunities in the future to give time and energy to wonderful women like Rhoda, with the vision that one day, they can pick up a Bible for themselves, read Jesus words, and be transformed by His truth on their own.

The girls that I work with in the clinic told me the other day, that Rhoda is the Mabaan equivalent of me... I'm not exactly sure that I agree, but I do take it as a great compliment... Rhoda is spunky and has attitude... perhaps therein lies the similarity :)
The day before I flew out I was over at Rhoda's for another lesson, and this time brought my camera. After I took the above picture of the two of us she said to me, "Katta, now take a picture of me with the book, and tell everyone at your home that I am learning to read!" :)

This is my friend Rhoda. And SHE is learning to R-E-A-D. :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A good day to be me :)

Today was wonderful. And honestly, there haven't been too many days lately that could be qualified as "wonderful". :)

Today, was a Thomaji day (and I realize that I haven't given you a lot of information about Thomaji - I'll post my original info about Thomaji when I get to Nairobi - it's a real interesting read :) Anyway, I went out with Peter and Kamal (two of my favorite CHW's to go out with) and Sandra, a new girl here, from Canada, who is teaching with Barb at the CHW school. The place in Thomaji we went to is called "Bunj Tolgen" and is the home of the chief (if you know the story) who used really strong words with me at the beginning of our outreaches out there, and pretty much told me he thought I was 'just speaking nice words about coming out to help them, but didn't believe that we would ever come...' So, every time we have gone to Bunj Tolgen over the past three months, I always make a point of letting this Chief know that we have arrived, and will be there to weigh their children for the day.

SO! When we arrived today I got a super warm greeting from that chief, he kept his hand on my shoulder for a good minute after we'd greeted (a warm gesture in Mabaan),
AND he stayed the whole time during our bible and health teaching and weighing process (usually he finds something else to do) AND came over with me to assess a sick lady at the end of all that AND laughed at a joke I made :) Then, when we were leaving, Peter was explaining to him that that was our last day there until after the rains, he was totally understanding and just made a little speach about how happy he was that we'd come to do anything at all, b/c everyone else has ignored the people of Thomaji. I left him with the assurance that even though we would not be able to go out during the rains, I would be thinking of them and praying for them. This man was a big blessing to me day, and I praise the Lord for the encouraging steps forward I see in him, and in 'our' relationship. May he one day know and trust the Lord for himself.

It was also a wonderful day because we were able to start giving out the 500 mosquito nets I purchased (with ministry funds - many thanks to the hundreds of people who have contributed to that). We made many people happy :) I also go to see Mohammed, one of our favorite patients at the Doro clinic - a burn patient we had living with us for almost two months. I had lots of encouraging Mabaan moments (and let me tell you, THOSE are hard to come by these days too!), and was given lots of (undeserved) credit for 'knowing all of Mabaan' by the village ladies who delighted in talking with me and Sandra over coffee. It was a productive day too, we assessed and weighed 73 children, and 10 pregnant ladies, and gave out almost 80 mosquito nets. Let's see... what else... I got to stop, all be it quickly, in Gasmala and see many of the faces that I love so much. We biked back racing the rain the whole way and WON... we got back, wet, but beat the utter DOWN POUR just in time... AGAIN :) I had a wonderful shower in the rain - cold air, and sun-warmed water, while the sunset, that I couldn't see, turned the whole sky the coolest hazy shade of orange... I'm currently drinking my favorite Twinings Strawberry Vanilla Roibos tea, wearing my long lined pants and a sweatshirt :)

It was just a wonderful day to be me :) Which you could have traded me for a few hours to enjoy the bliss and challenge of living in Sudan - until the day when you can visit, you'll just have to live vicariously through this blog :)

I hope that were ever you are reading this from, that it was a good day to be you :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Good News... Great News! The election results are finally in (after an almost 10 day delay) and, for the most part peace has remained in Sudan!! Praise the Lord :) This means that we are going home! I fly in less than 12 hours out to Loki (northern Kenya) where I'll stay tomorrow night, and then early on Friday morning I'll be Sudan bound yet again! :) After 5 weeks in Nairobi (that I thought was going to be 2)... I am VERY anxious to get back and see all those that I love. My Mabaan Mom and Dad are supposed to be coming to Doro to see me (I'm sure they also have business in town... I don't think I'm THAT special), and I'm excited to see our guys that we worth with everyday at the clinic... so many friends that I have missed!! Now I just need to be patient until I can get out to Gasmala and grab an armload full of my kids :)

Thank you... TRULY, THANK YOU for praying for this country during this past month. I am thoroughly impressed with the whole election process (in spite of many allegations of fraud and mismanagement that have plastered media - African media, that is - I sorta doubt that the west has covered this much) I am thrilled and flabbergasted that the people in the little corner that I live in even got to vote... Until you've seen the enormity and remoteness of Sudan (particularly the South) I don't think one should say too much about how badly the process was... I am impressed, and stating it for the record :)

May the Peace of the Lord continue to spread throughout this country and beyond.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Elections - Prayer Needed

(this photo is of an SPLM party member who came to Gasmala one day promoting their local candidate and the party as a whole. They sat with the men for a while, then this man came over to the ladies group and sat to give them his speech about the candidate. Then he promptly turned the poster over and had each of the ladies - all of whom are illiterate and have never held a pen in their hands, really - practice making the check mark inside the circle so that they would know what to do on election day, and so that their vote would count. I was impressed with this effort and SO proud that even in a country who has gone through the turbulence that Sudan has... the Women are voting... Praise the Lord :)... oh, and that's my Mabaan Mom, Ama, practicing her vote :)

April 11th - 13th is election time all over South Sudan. Please people, on behalf of millions of people, and thousands of Believers, I ask you to be praying for Sudan during the next few weeks. As you can imagine there is great potential for insecurity and really, the future is unknown to all of us, but the Lord. We certainly hope for the best for this country, the people undoubtedly deserve a fair election with an outcome that will benefit everyone - from bush hut to city street.

My friends and family in Sudan have been praying diligently for their country for years... and I am ashamed to say that they assume the world wide Church is doing the same - but you and I both know that's not the case. The confusing politics of this country has made people lose interest long ago, I'm afraid. Even I myself have not been devoted to prayer as I should have been.

If you are willing, please join with me in praying and fasting for the country of Sudan and for her Believers - those who follow after Jesus Christ and claim Him as their Lord and Savior. These people have seen heart ache that I cannot understand, yet their Faith in the Lord and His Goodness remains.

I can't help but feel that we are standing on the edge of the ocean, watching the tide pull back off the shore, and are left wondering if it will return in a regular sized wave, or if one of gigantic tidal proportions is coming our way... even though we can't yet see it...

Please join us in praying for the Beloved people of Sudan.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Still Twitching

Ok, so I JUST killed THE MOST disgusting and BIGGEST spider that I’ve seen since I’ve been in SUDAN... and it was IN my HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhh... now I’m all twitchy and creepy and feel like there are more lingering around every bottle or book in my hut! :P Seriously it was BIG... and not one of those flat black ones.. it was HUGE and stood OFF the ground like a full inch – the body was ROUND (not flat like all the others) and was so big it actually had a PATTERN on it!! Black, white and brown... and it had eyes... RED ones that reflected in my head lamp light!!! SOO Creepy!

Anyway, he was on my table, casually chilling out on the side of one of my big clear containers that holds all my spice containers... so I prayed (out loud, b/c that’s the only way I can cope with these crazy things), grabbed my “fly” swatter, and swung as hard and fast as I could... I hit it, but as I suspected, couldn’t kill it b/c it was TOO big for the swatter’s force – I worked up my nerve and peered underneath my table cloth were, again as I suspected, it was clinging to the underside (creeeeepy). So I took a deep breath and unleashed the wrath of my “doom” can on it, where it ran (even now I’m getting the shivers) to the far under-side of my table... I could see it’s grotesque legs twitching from where I was squatted, so again – with the doom pointed at this horrid creature, I sprayed until I was certain he would not be long for this world. :) Within 10 seconds the dizzy eight legged monster dropped to the floor, trying to flee for its life, but it was no use... for I was NOT going to let it get away (lest it be a very sleep-less night for me!)... I hit it two more times with my “fly” swatter before I was satisfied enough that it was dead. So I scooped it up onto my swatter and, with MUCH adrenaline pumping through me, gingerly maneuvered through the mosquito net at my door (keeps the bats off my porch), and out of my hut to go and get some well deserved praise from whoever was still awake in the dining hall! It was show-and-tell of the most disgusting kind :)

Needless to say I am just a little proud of myself :) (but still looking over my shoulder!)
(Photos taken by Kevin... the spider I killed was the same kind, just a titch smaller... look at the size of that thing compared to his boot!!! augh!)