Monday, July 12, 2010

Update in Bere 07/07/10

For those of you who are following the happenings here I wanted to give an update.

The little Arab boy that was brought in by Naomi last week died in the afternoon the day after being brought in. I was looking for the mother when I was bringing the milk for the afternoon meal and I couldn't find her. Then other mothers tried to tell me in Arabic and other languages that the baby died. Someone finally said "mort" which means dead in French and I caught that word and instantly knew that she left here with her lifeless baby in her arms.

On Wednesday last week I went over to the hospital with Naomi to feed the babies. We had many things on the agenda for the day. We saw that the 12 year old boy sitting up outside enjoying the breeze. This is the boy that I said was a perfect example of an "Ethiopian poster child". Well he was up enjoying the day as though he had never been sick. My whole being was full of joy. I was so happy to see him up and smiling. Naomi spoke with him and he said, "a tall white man just came over to me and said that I should go home, there is nothing wrong with me". Naomi got tickled by the way he said it and just busted out laughing. I asked him if he could have anything to eat right now what would it be? He replied, boul! His family was making him boul which was a relief to me cause I don't know how to make it. We took some pictures with him and I sent him off with a few gifts I had at my house. They live in Bere' and I told him if he ever sees me in the market he should come say hi to me and maybe we could go shopping together. He gave a big smile and nodded his head ok.

We moved on looking for the woman that is pregnant due any day with the mal-nourished baby that is about 10 months old. We found her across the hospital compound by the bathrooms. She hasn't eaten for a day and has no energy to care for her other baby. Naomi asked a few personal questions and said she needed to be checked out by the doctor. I asked her if I could take her baby with me so she could take care of herself. She was perfectly happy with the thought. Naomi assisted her and I brought her little boy home with me. Naomi came back to my house and announced to us that the woman is in labor. Now remember this woman has no one so I took it upon myself to care for the baby. As the night went on I kept checking on her to see if she delivered yet. My last check was 11:00 p.m. and no new baby yet. I came home and set things up to sleep with the little one. I got NO sleep! Wow! It's been a long time since I have cared for a baby all night long. The next morning I made my way over to the hospital to visit the woman and her new baby. She had another boy! She was in a lot of pain and all alone with blood all over her. All the hospital staff was in a staff meeting and that will last for 1-2 hours. I didn't know what to do to help and I can't speak her language. Today was Naomi's day off but I really needed her. I sent Tony to go get her on the motorcycle. Shortly after Naomi comes to the rescue. When she saw the young mother laying there like that she got angry and then tears came running down her checks. "Why has no one cleaned her up?" She talked with the mother and said she has been alone since midnight after delivery. All Naomi said to me is I will clean her up and take her home with me. And so it was, 10 hours after birthing a baby this woman is on a motorcycle with Jamie heading out to Naomi's house. Naomi is walking with both children one on the back and one in the front in the heat of the day. I gather all the ladies things and pack them up and get Cory, Brichelle and Tony to help me carry everything to Naomi's. After everything and everyone makes it to Naomi's house she gets busy. She makes a place for her guest and then builds a fire and gets water boiling. She baths both the mother and the new baby. I don't even know what to say about this woman that God put here to be with me. I want to thank those that have donated a little money directly for Naomi and her family. After the storm we got a couple donations that was specifically to help Naomi rebuild her roof. We helped her get the metal roof put on her new home. God has provided a way for her to get her own property about 4 months ago. She has worked really hard making all the bricks to make two new homes and so we used your money to put the roof on her new homes instead of the house that was for someone else that she has been staying in. So now she is using the second house to help others. I thanked her for all she is doing and told her that God will bless her. God is really using this woman. There is so much more to say about this woman that I have to write it all in my next story. Just please continue praying for all of us and our work here.

Thank you!


Sunday, July 4, 2010

What an amazing journey!

I want to first thank each and every one of you for your donations for the school. Some of you I know and some of the donations came from complete strangers. It is really amazing to see God work for and through His children.

When I first wrote my first story. "The cry for help" after the storm. I had no idea what kind of a response I would get. All I knew is that I at least had to try.

Everyone really gave freely and made a huge difference in Bere'. As the days went by I received different emails and phone calls from people letting me know what they have been impressed to do for the school for these kids.

Putting the donations together, you all have raised enough to put a new beautiful, sturdy roof on. Then as we went on we received enough money to buy the cement to redo the inside of each of the four classrooms which will also include paint. And now we have just what we need to top it off and get all of the desks needed. I couldn't believe it. I will never limit God. This whole experience has really built up my own faith in Him. He must really have a plan for this school because by the time we are finished this will be the best school not only in Bere' but in the surrounding towns. I have a dream to be able to reach children spiritually that otherwise would never have been reached. It is a wonderful dream and I believe this is now possible.

The roofing materials and cement were delivered last weekend. This week we got the right guys to do the job and they started roofing Wednesday. They will have it all completed by Sunday and they have done a beautiful job. Next we are going to get the walls inside cemented. There are a few young guys that we have hired to knock and scrape off all the mud that is on the walls right now that have been being washed away by all the rain. They have only worked for two days and are coming right along. We already have some men lined up that work with cement everyday that have done several jobs for the hospital already. But the most interesting story is the desks.

First of all I knew the desks were going to be a pretty penny but wanted to shop around and pick out just the right desk. We wanted it to be sturdy first of all. These kids can really be rough on things. And second, affordable. We studied different desks that are available in the area. We came down to one. This desk is so heavy duty that it was hard even for me to move it with Jamie. So, now we know what desk but who will do it? Well, one guy from Kelo was called to come and talk to us. He gave us the information we needed and that was how much? He quoted us 65,000F per desk that seats four students. I thought it was high but I wasn't worried at the time cause we were just shopping. I knew we didn't have any money for them but I wanted to see what amount we were looking at. Well for 60 desks this came out to 3,900,000F which is almost $8,000 US dollars. Wow! I thought, that is a ton of money. But at least now I knew an amount. The men wanted me to sign a contract of course but I told them that we were just shopping and I had no money for this and I was not going to sign anything. There is a guy named Valery that works for the school and he has been helping me with all of the planning for the school and he was even encouraging me to sign. I told him that we need to raise some money first and we also need to pray about this. I told him, "what if someone comes to us in the next couple days and it was a better deal? We have to go slowly." None of them were happy but there is not much else I could do. So then the next morning a man named Benzaki, that works at the hospital, came to my house with an Arab man that he knew. He introduced this man to me and Jamie and Naomi was there to interpret for me. It was told to me that this man was in the Adventist hospital for 11 months and he is really wanting to do something to repay the hospital for everything they did for him while he was there with TB and other illnesses. You could just tell that the man was being sincere and he was really excited about helping. He said that if by helping the Adventist school is a way to show his appreciation than that is what he would like to do. After a few minutes Valery came in with the plans for the desk. The man looked at them and said that he could do all of it for 55,000F per desk and that comes to 3,300,000F which is a little over $6,000 US dollars. That to me was a lot better. Now he had my attention. He also said that he would guarantee the desks for many years to come. We all had the feeling that this would be the guy. Before he left our house, Jamie asked if we could all pray together and just ask God to bless this project. This guy had no problem and so we all stood in a circle and this Arab man prayed for us. Amazing! It was then decided that Valery would go to Moundou with the Arab man and see his shop and make sure they know what they are doing. When he returned everything was positive and they even delivered a desk to my house to show me the quality. It was perfect. Now we had to wait to see if we would get the money and if so then this would be our guy.

Within a day or two from this event with the Arab man, I received a phone call. This call was from Michelle a friend of mine that I met here in Chad. You have all heard me mention her name many times before when she served 9 months here as a missionary nurse at the hospital. I was so excited to hear her voice. As usual, Michelle was very upbeat but a little more than usual and she had some exciting news to tell me. Her church in Miami, Florida has been trying to raise some money for the school and she called to tell me the amount. The amount was a little over $6,000. I couldn't believe it! There it was, my answer about the desks. I was hoping that eventually we would get enough money together but within two days. "God is good all the time, all the time God is good." He knew the money was there. The timing just gave me faith that this project is fully being managed by "Him".

So thank you all so very much for every penny you have put toward this project. I am taking lots of pictures and hope to get them put on as soon as I can. I have plenty of before pictures and now I am waiting for the after pictures. But I promise I will get them out as soon as possible. Thank you all and may God shower His blessings upon you.


A Long Day In Africa

This morning started like every other day with knocks at the door before I am dressed and ready for my day. I am needed at the door to give our laundry to two women. We have not had laundry done for several days because my girl that does my laundry is in the hospital with three of her children, all sick with malaria and other parasite issues in their stomachs which is very common. I was also pulled to the door for purchases of various food items from different young ladies as they try to make a big sale before they even make their way to the market.

Every morning and every evening I am making peanut milk for the babies at the hospital that are mal-nourished. Wendy Roberts is putting together a nutrition center but for now she is treating the children in the hospital and helping them there. As of a few days ago she has gone to the states for a while. Wendy wants me to put together a food program to teach the mothers at the hospital how to prepare nutritious food for their children. Naomi comes to the door and I am always relieved when she comes. She helps me so much! I don't know what I would do without this women here in my life. I love her more everyday.

I can clearly see that God put us together without a doubt. The two of us together are suppose to figure out what to do in getting the women at the hospital started on making all the baby milk themselves and we provide the food. But in order to do this we have to have a plan. We both have prayed separately and together that God will give us knowledge on how to do this the best way for the babies. Wendy was hoping to have this plan in action before she left but there just wasn't time. We ask for prayer that all goes well for the sake of the children. Nothing is easy here. Nothing! We have to prepare all the different food for the women to use at the hospital so things are done properly. And everything will be needed to be done in bulk. We spent our morning making a practice "bwee" which is like a portage for the children with a lot of nutrition. We also had to wash beans and put them in a moirter and grind the shells off then wash them again and dry them out in the sun. We are in the process of working with "Moringa" which is a really rich with vitamin leaf from one of the local trees. We wash it and leave it out to dry and then grind it into almost a powder. Also we have peanuts that need to be cooked over fire and then put through some kind of grinder in the market that Naomi is going to show me. All this and many more things have to be done to each item before we can teach the mothers and give them the food. Until then I am making milk here.

But this particular morning Naomi and I went together to give the milk to the children. This is a good thing because then she can talk to all the women in their language. Today it was Nangjere and Arabic. This is a gift that God has given her. I can then ask how things are going and find out their needs. We walk in and give milk to the first woman who has been there the longest, weeks. She is pregnant with her fourth child due any day and has her third child in the hospital cause he is mal-nourished, her other two children died. My heart goes out to her because her husband told her if she was going to the hospital with their child that she better never come back unless she wants to get beaten. I take her a plate of food to help her out every evening. Today I found out that what I give her is all she eats all day. I am going to change that tomorrow and take her a few things that she can prepare herself while she is staying here. It breaks my heart. She just has nothing and no one to help her. Our next child is another one that breaks my heart. I guess I am too sensitive for this business. This kid is 12 years old and is the exact image of what the "Ethiopian Poster Child" looks like. The first day I met him I felt a connection with him and I promised myself from day on I was not going to let this child die. I walked home quickly with tears flowing down my face. I just couldn't help but think that this kid is around the same age as Tony and Brichelle and it was so sad. How can anyone let this happen. This kid has no mother and no father which I'm sure contributes to his current situation. The other relatives do not want to take the responsibility. Today Naomi and I walked in as the family was discussing the fact that they want to take him home. His history is that he has been there for 6 days and the last two he had stopped vomiting and his diarrhea stopped. He was getting better and so I had asked him what he wanted to eat and all he wanted was eggs so everyday for the last three days two times a day I was taking him 2-3 eggs along with other food I had already prepared and bananas. But this morning he is in the worst pain in the back of his neck and his lower back and even in his legs and he is back to vomiting. The hospital wants to treat him for malaria but the family wants to take him home. I insisted that they stay. I told them I would do anything they needed to get them to stay. I told them if you go he will die. We cannot help him if you leave. Naomi did all she could to beg them to stay. Luckily the family's pastor was there and he was able to talk them into reconsidering. Thank God they decided to stay. I went and got their medicine for them which took way too long.

Now Naomi and I need to go to the market to get all the things to get this nutrition center department started. While we are in the market Naomi meets many of her friends and we stop and say hello. One of the young girls we say hello to was concerned for her baby who she thinks may have AIDS. She and her husband both have AIDS and her baby is really sick right now. I told her I would help her with her medical bill if she wanted to get her baby tested, so she will be coming by first thing in the morning. Everywhere we go people are needing help. It is strange to me that there is so much hardship and pain andsuffering in such a small town like Bere'. Why?

As Naomi and I laugh as we try to get everything on the scooter that we have bought in the market many around us are laughing too. But we just don't care and laugh even more. We take the heavy load home and get right to work squeezing limes, sifting bugs out of flour and getting rocks out of the rice. We find a couple moments to take a break at 3:00 p.m. and get a small bite to eat for lunch. We try to find the humor in things as we keep on being disturbed by the constant knocking at the door. We finally put an end to things for the day and I have Jamie drive Naomi home on the scooter with five pieces of used rolled up roofing metal left over from the school that she puts on her head as they drive away. I should have taken a picture, somethings are priceless. Next time. After Naomi leaves I walk back to my house. But when I walk back to the house there is an old blind lady and a little girl with her sitting in the dirt in front of my house. They are hungry and need any clothes or shoes that I may have. I just cleaned my give away closet Friday so I knew just what I had to give. I get a bag together that Michelle one of the volunteers left behind and fill it with clothes and shoes from the American people and fill bags up with beans and others things that Wendy left behind. This lady really looked in need. After this I get back in my house and I clean the kitchen and make bread and more "bwee" for it is time again to feed the children. I have made an appointment at 6:00 p.m. to go and visit someone who is needing seeds for their garden which Wendy left for anyone who wants them. After this I come home thinking I am going to get a shower and relax and eat something but then there is another knock at the door. Naomi has come to me with an Arab baby that is just about to die. I look inside the bottom eyelid of the child and as I let go of the top of the baby's cheek the child was so dehydrated that the skin just stayed like that. The baby is only one year old. As we walk over to the hospital together Naomi asks me what I think? I told her that we will just have to get the baby the help that the hospital can give and then the rest is up to God. The baby is in really bad condition and I am afraid this mother has waited too long to come for help. After getting the lifeless baby checked in I insist that someone in my family take Naomi home. It is probably 3 miles to her house and she hasn't been able to eat either and now it is about 7:30 p.m. Tony volunteers to take my scooter and take Naomi home. I walk them both to the front gate to let them out and walk back to my house to find an old widow lady in my house waiting for me that needs money for grain for her field. I thought how in the world did she get in here so fast and why so late I am so tired. I meet with her and listen to her need and ask her to come back tomorrow. As soon as she leaves I jump into the shower fast before I can be disturbed again. As the cold water beats on the top of my head I just want to cry from exhaustion and from all the heartache I have witnessed today. But I also feel like I made a difference in many lives I think about how full the pediatric ward is today. I am sure that there are many sad stories in there if I just took the time with Naomi and listened. God sees it all and God hears it all. I can't even imagine how He must feel. This world can not last much longer. If you have the desire to work for God in a place like this, don't even hesitate. There are so many really good people in really bad situations that need your help. I know that there is work to be done right there in the states but if you have the slightest desire to go please do. There are not many people that are willing to go out of their comfort zone. The work is hard and sometimes long days but the rewards are so great. There is nothing that you can posses in the states that is worth hanging on to. I was reading the other day in Early Writings page 56 and 57. "If they have their property on the altar and earnestly inquire of God for duty, He will teach them when to dispose of these things. Then they will be free in the time of trouble and have no clogs to weigh them down.

I saw that if any held on to their property and did not inquire of the Lord as to their duty, He would not make duty known, and they would be permitted to keep their property, and in the time of trouble it would come up before them like a mountain to crush them, and they would try to dispose of it, but would not be able. I heard some mourn like this: "The cause was languishing, God's people were starving for the truth, and we made no effort to supply the lack; now our property is useless. Oh, that we had let it go and laid up treasure in heaven!"

I am not suggesting that everyone sell their property and move to serve but I do think that each person needs to set their possessions on the alter and ask God what He wants them to do. I know that there are a few people that have written me about moving out in faith and doing missionary work. I recommend it to any one. Giving up things for the Lords work is worth every penny. To be apart of something bigger is worth every "Long Day In Africa!"