Saturday, January 21, 2012

Moving Mountains!

I want to give a bigger picture of some of my trials here. I didn't
want to go into it in my last letter because it was late Friday night
and sabbath already and didn't want to get into a matter like this on
sabbath. It is something very upsetting to me and very political. Some
thing that boils my blood to talk of it. But, I feel it to be an
important enough subject that even affects the Americans and the money
they are giving. I just want to be honest. So here it is.

Last week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday my family all gathered
together for family worship like we do every morning. During our
worship I leaned back and looked out our back window and could see
something so disturbing to my American eye. My heart literally started
to throb faster as I witnessed the beatings that the children were
getting outside the school. These are children that are coming late to
school. This is their discipline, beatings. We have been here for 2 1/2
years now and never witnessed anything like this before. I told Jamie
and told him that I am going to have to do something about that and we
talked about how awful it was. I have heard that they do discipline
with hitting sometimes but I never saw it. Then again, Tuesday not
looking for it I got another view of the beatings. Wednesday it was
Jamie sitting on a totally different couch, at a totally different angle
and he saw it for the first time himself. He got so upset that he got
up from our worship and ran over there. I sent Cory behind him to help
translate. Jamie told them to stop! We do not want you hitting these
kids, its wrong. He said many things to them to tell them quickly why
we don't want this going on. The main Principal came over and got in on
the conversation. Many teachers laughed and one female teacher saw
another student coming late and demanded that he come over to her so she
could hit him, right in front of Jamie! He couldn't believe it and the
Principal stopped her. He said that it is true that even the government
does not want them hitting the children. He also said, and this is
important, if Tammy does not want us to hit these kids we had better
stop. She is over all of you and even over me. When Jamie told me that
I could not believe it. I didn't go over at the same time because I
wanted to handle it the way I know they respond and that is with a
meeting. But I guess Jamie's way introduced the problem and gave them
something to think about. He prepared my way. I began to study and get
quotes together on why we should not be doing this. I talked to Kim
Thompson the principle at Oaks school in Tennessee to find out what kind
of discipline system they are on. I wrote out the problem, why I don't
think we should be disciplining like this and what can be a solution.
Thursday night I had set up a time for one of the pastors from around
here, because Bere does not have a pastor, he came over and presented it
all to him. I did this first of all because he speaks English and I
needed him to be my voice. Second I wanted to see what his response
would be. Third I needed advice.

The meeting with Pastor David went really good but the next day I found
out he left already and would not be back for a couple weeks. Oh, no!
We can't have the school over there with no discipline and I didn't want
them to go back to hitting. I thought he was going to set up the school
board meeting for this next Sunday.

Friday morning I was on a hunt for the other pastor. Honestly I clash
with this guy. He is a politician and is always looking out for number
one and I don't mean God! The beginning of the conversation went ok but
then things started to steam up for me. I was patiently waiting my turn
to speak. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. What? It is a
cultural difference? He said that thing are just different in America
and Europe. Things are run different here and that is just how it is.
Nothing we can do about it as he is laughing in my face telling me how
he and a couple other board members talked about it. I couldn't believe
that he thought I was going to walk away with my tail between my legs.
No way! I have been praying about this and this will change! I firmly
told him that I needed him to take this seriously because if I take a
video of this happening to our Adventist children and sent it to America
all money will stop supporting this school. I promise! We are helping
with over 50% at this school and I will stop paying right now. I can
take this money and go start another school in Kalme (which I am going
to soon anyways) and run it the way the Lord instructs. I hated to play
the money card but sometimes that is the only way to get people to
listen here.

At this very moment Olen and Danae passed by since this conversation was
taking place at the hospital. I asked the pastor to excuse me and I ran
up to the two of them and asked them to pray right now for me for I was
getting ready to I think I said, "explode all over this pastor."
"Please pray!" Then I turned around and walked back the pastor. I
don't know if it was their prayer or the ten second rule but the pastor
changed his tune completely. He changed the conversation and said that
he thought that I was talking about another problem that I brought to
Pastor David. Which I knew he was back paddling because there is no way
this other problem would have anything to do with culture. I told him
that we are all children of God whether we are from Europe, America or
Chad and He does not want us to treat His children like this. Wouldn't
it be great to have a reputation as being a discipline school without
hitting and stand out more as a school that shows love for the

The result was that he gave me permission to go straight to the staff
and change the way things are done. Many members of the school board
was getting ready to leave and go out of town for two weeks and so he
said just do it. I told him he was giving me a very big gift and I will
get a meeting together with them on Sunday. I called Valery, the vice
principle, and told him to set it up. I need prayers again that we can
come up with a different way of discipline that works and that everyone
will be receptive.

Pray for me too that the language will come faster. I feel so limited
to what I can do here. I really want to teach the teachers daily or
weekly what Mrs. White says in the Education book. I just want to put
the love for children in their hearts. Right now I have to rely on
other people.

The reason I thought that it was important what the principle said
about me being over everyone was not out of pride. I want to explain.
I believe that God held us back from seeing this abuse until the people
running the school would be receptive of what God wanted to change. I
already know that to change this problem in the school is like trying to
move a mountain. Everyone I have talked to says that this is how it was
for them in school. This is just how it is. But when I hear even from
the little boy Tony, that is staying with us, that he too has been hit
by the principle 50 times for not coming to school one day, that is
abuse! Fifty times made me cry for him and any other child that had to
be hit fifty times with a fan belt off a car. I think that over these
last 2 1/2 years I have been able to build up some trust. They see that
I am here to help the school and to make it better. Things have been
changing for the better and so now I believe I have a little more pull
with them. I do know this is going to be a very long process and will
take a lot of work but I am willing to be involved and get my hands
dirty if need be.

So this was something else that was causing me stress. I want to help
this next generation. If we can teach these kids that there is a better
way of life then hitting maybe they will grow up and change the way the
will respond to their own children or their wife. Abuse is really big
here. It is acceptable here to beat your wife. We need to be teaching
something else.

So please pray for our school, the teachers, the board and me as we all
will be making decisions that can change lives. God willing!

We are 100% volunteers and your donations are deeply appreciated, as are
your prayers, both of which will contribute greatly to our mission.


Harrison Seventh-Day Adventist Church

PO BOX 969 Harrison, Tn. 37341

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dear Friends and Family

" Usually "official missionary letters" are full of stories of success,
conversions, lives saved, and exciting experiences. While those things
happen, real life is mostly like you have written about in your last
couple of letters, hard, boring, hot and discouraging."

This was a quote that I took from something someone wrote to me back in
July. I have not been writing the last couple of weeks because the work
has gotten harder and longer. Sometimes I think that maybe my blog
letters are all about the bad stuff. I don't want to discourage anyone
but at the same time this is "real life here". We are all being
bombarded with all the suffering of so many in incredible extremes and
the challenges that we, as missionaries, are being confronted with, due
to the culture difference, have heightened. I can feel and see Satan
working. We need prayers.

My work finally came to a stop tonight. I went and joined everyone out
at our fire pit out behind Olen and Danae's house. Everyone was joining
together in beautiful song for worship. Like I have said before we have
some really talented student missionaries. I drifted off into thought,
thought from all the happenings of the week. I felt like I needed to be
alone with God. I got up and went out to the basketball court and laid
down. Looking up toward the heavens, I felt closer to God. I gave Him
my burdens from the week. I shared with Him my crushed heart for some
of the people that I can't seem to get out of my head. How does He do
it? "How Lord how can you see everything?" I see just a little in this
distant world and I almost have to become numb to it in order to get
through a day. I spent some time praising Him as my tears could not
hold on any longer. The stars got fuzzy and so did my thoughts of "my
strength". I want to surrender my burdens to my Father who is the only
One who can make things straight for me again and again.

I want to share one of the most disturbing things I witnessed this week.
A desperate mother came to see me to see if there was anything I could
do for her suffering daughter. Her daughter is 9 years old and
paralyzed. She was sitting far away from the mother off in the dirt. I
walked over and she was just a torso. She was so little. Her legs were
folded around her small body where I almost could not even see them with
her feet were behind her. Her arms were as skinny as her legs. I asked
her if she was sitting in the sun because she was cold? She told me
that was right. I asked her mother a series of questions about her
daughter. I was told to touch her back. I reached down and she had a
huge lump that covered half her back but that was not all. Her mother
told me to reach in front of her, I did and the lump was in front of her
as well. She said she was in pain. Thinking of her now as I write this
just tugs at my heart strings. This poor girl! I of course sent her to
the hospital to see if we can help her with any of this but
unfortunately there just isn't much for us to do. It was really sad.

I don't know, maybe I am just a softy. Maybe I'm not cut out for this
work. I just feel so helpless sometimes. What can I do to make her
life any better or happier?

I had an old lady today that was just hungry. All ten of her children
died and left her with no grandchildren to even help her. She can't see
good and does not know how to get enough food for herself.

The little boy Jonah came to me today like he does every Friday. His
brother Thomas is the one that fell in the well that we thought was
going to loose his eye but everything worked out. His father is in
prison and mother is dead. They live with their blind grandmother. She
came to me with him on Wednesday and is very sick. We helped her to go
to the hospital for an exam and medication. But Jonah today is very
concerned about her. I told him to give the medicine time to work. If
she is not better by Sunday bring her again.

I went to another old woman's house today to visit her for the first
time. As I walked in she was sitting on a mat reading her bible. She
wanted to get up and greet me but she fell about 4 months ago and her
knee is still swollen. Her husband died 11 years ago and all her
children have died. She has one grandson, at the age of 10, that takes
care of her. He puts water on the fire for her and helps her how he
can. I brought her a bag of food and I didn't give it to her until I
finished praying with her. When she looked in the bags she was so
surprised and said that she is now a princes. She thanked God over and
over and told me that God will pay me back for she had nothing to offer.

We had many other visitors today but this gives you an idea of what kind
of work I am confronted with in a day. I enjoy the people and for sure
my heart is with them but it can just bring a person down sometimes.

I guess I just need to give it all to God. Our family prays every
morning to bring those that He wants us to help. Sometimes I don't know
exactly what it is that He wants me to do for some of these people. I
am glad to be someone for them. If there is something I can do, I

So if I write depressing and discouraging things, I think I am in need
of encouragement. We are all working together to glorify God. Someone
recently told me that we need each other to hold each others arms up
during a fight like they did for Moses. We are out here fighting on the
front lines for the Lord and sometimes need that helping hand. If I
don't tell you there is no way for you to know.

Please send up for a prayer for our mission.

Love and prayers,

We are 100% volunteers and your donations are deeply appreciated, as are
your prayers, both of which will contribute greatly to our mission.


Harrison Seventh-Day Adventist Church

PO BOX 969 Harrison, Tn. 37341

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dear Friends and Family,

 I am so numb with sorrow.  I am so tired.  Now I am feeling why missionaries need to take a break.  I feel like so many are suffering here.  So many are dying.  I have no idea how Olen and Danae or James and Sarah can come face to face with death everyday at the hospital.    Yesterday I had a lady come to my door with a little baby girl about 8 months old.  But for some reason I became quickly attached I don't know if it was the remainder feelings from what happened to baby Adam or what.  She needed help with paying for the hospital to help her baby. She walked 8 miles to get here.  I had a couple people help me educate her about things that I just go nuts over that they are fooled into believing.  First of all the problem for her baby could have easily been treated if she came earlier but they always wait till it is almost too late to help them.  I'm not a doctor but was pretty sure her baby had parasites in her stomach, it was extended and she had blood in her stool, a lot.  She took her to a traditional healer and he took a razor and cut her stomach maybe 8-10 places to, what they say, get the bad blood out.  I explained to her that it does nothing and if she can help her friends to know this and don't let those they love go to people like this because now not only does she have blood in her stool but now her body has to fight to keep these cuts from becoming infected.  Then I taught her about the water and how to boil it to make it clean for the babies for they are so little sometimes their bodies can not fight against the stuff that is in it.  The baby's tongue was white and so was inside her eyes.  I figured that she probably had malaria too and would need blood right away.  After all this I sent her to the hospital with one of my papers that says that anything she needs for this child we will pay for.    This is the stomach of the child.    Hours passed and I couldn't stop thinking about this baby.  So it was getting dark and I made my way over to the hospital to see what was going on with her.  I knew too that she had nothing with her and would need help with things and food if they were admitted.  I found her outside the pediatrics ward waiting for a nurse to start an IV of quinine and glucose.  I was concerned though that no one tested her for her blood.  I had her follow me over to the lab where we were lucky to find someone in there after hours.  I also got a nurse to fill out the paper to test her blood count.  It was 3.3 which is super low.  The mother was the same blood type but I insisted that we give her other blood because the mother walked all morning to get here and has not had any food or water and there could be a possibility she would pass out. She already looked exhausted.  We got one bag from the blood bank and the mother would come back the next morning and give another.  So I ran home and got her some food and a water bottle and a piece of material to lay down on.  I got her all settled for the night and prayed for the baby.  I also went over to Danae and Olen's house to ask them if everything we are doing is all that we can do.    The next morning I got a text from Olen that said "the baby will die in the next hour."  I asked Cory to go and pick up Naomi with the motorcycle cause she was walking here to work but I wanted her to talk to the mother for me since she only spoke Nangjere.  I felt terrible and just didn't want this mother to be alone at a time like this.    When Naomi and I got over to the hospital the baby was breathing very slow, maybe a deep breath in every 6-8 seconds.  She was gasping for air.  The mother had lost two other babies and knew her baby was dying. It was so sad.  Naomi and I went and got a basin of warm water and brought it over to the hospital and washed the baby and put a pretty little dress on that a lady made from a church in the states.  We gave the mother some time to clean herself up and just walk away for a few minutes and get some fresh air.  I brought her some more food and we stayed over at the pediatrics for most of the day.  In between our time with this lady and her child we went around and visited each child in the hospital.  We handed out stuffed animals and little cars and stickers.  We tried to do what we could to cheer some of them up.  There was one child in there though that cried I think the entire day.  This little kid was maybe four or five years old and has a really bad burn on most of his body.  It was hard to see this child suffer too as you could see him trying to breath threw a constant pain.    We came back to the house for a while to get a few other things done and as 5 pm came around Naomi decided to leave.  She doesn't normally stay that late but she didn't want the lady to be alone either.  After walking Naomi to the gate and saying our goodbyes I started to walk back to our house.  Many people from the hospital were calling my name.  The baby died!  I ran back toward the gate and told our guard Mahamat to stop Naomi and she of course came running right back.    We ran to the hospital and cried with the mother.  I took the lifeless body into my arms.  Tears just flowed down my cheeks.  So sad!  I walked her to my house and Naomi turned in the extra medication.  When I got to my house the mother asked me to change her baby's clothes.  This was awful.  I had the worst time ever trying to change the clothes on this lifeless baby.  I hated it.  But I did it for her.  I just wished I had a good ending to the story.  I guess the good ending will have to be in heaven when we get there.  I am so glad we have that hope.    Naomi being the giving of herself woman that she is said that she would ride on the taxi motorcycle with her to her village so she would not have to be alone.  When they left I went into the bathroom and took off my dirty clothes from the day.  I took a long shower as I tried to wash the tears from my eyes.  Wash the death from my body.  I feel like I have had enough.   I am sorry that I don't have good and great things to write about from this place.  But, really, the bottom line is that there is suffering in this world.  Sometimes we sit in our comfortable homes and have an illusion that this world is not so bad, but in many places it is.  I am confronted with the suffering of someone everyday.  Life is so fragile here.  It is scary loving people here.  I have not been sleeping very well lately.  I am feeling like a break is what I need.  I guess God knows what we need and He can help provide it.  I just have to stay focused on what He wants from us right now.  Just continue to pray for us.  I think we are in a few dark days right now.  I feel selfish even feeling bad when I know the Appels are going through things I can't even imagine.  Thank you to everyone and their emails to us or to the Appels. It has been wonderful to feel God's love from all over the world.  Have a happy sabbath!        

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The rest of the day

First of all I want to apologize for all of the typos and spelling errors I made in my letters to all of you.  I also said that this was the second child in almost a year but of course I meant 2 years.  I was in a hurry and my mind was not clear.  It was a crazy day!

Thank all of you who have written words of encouragement, not only to us but also for the Appel family.  I will be sure to pass those words on.

All of this is soaking in now and everyone just feels like they have been hit by a truck. It was hard to celebrate the new year and it was also hard to sleep very well.  I just can't believe how many lives I have known here that have been lost to Satan's hurtful plans.  I know that we have hope.  We have a hope to see all these babies and children in heaven running together with their families.  I just can not wait for God to come and take us home.  My love for Him continues to grow and my desire is really burning to move to a better place where there is no tears and sorrow.  I am looking forward to seeing each one of you there but when I think of being there with some of the people from a place like this, well I just can't wait to see their faces and talk to them without an interpreter.  And run with some of these old ladies that come to me. 

As an example one lady came to me on Friday.  Naomi was with me and able to help me talk with her.  When she shook my hand she didn't want to let go.  She shook it like she knew me and I had already done a great service to her even though this was the first time to meet her.  She told me her story about how she is alone.  She does have two grandchildren with her but all ten of her children have died.  All were boys but one was a girl and the girl is the one that gave her the grandchildren.  She told us how she tries to get rice in the dirt from the fields.  This thought reminded me of the things I have read in the book of Ruth.  About how some people leave the wheat at the ends of the fields for the poor.  She had wrinkles all over her face that told me of her hard life.  Her hair was white and her clothes were worn and her shoes were broke.  Sometimes, after the fact, I wonder if I have just met an angel.  I think with this lady it was how she greeted me.  It is sometimes fun to think about and also the thought helps me to be patient with people when I want to be selfish with my time.  Anyways, I was able to help her with a bag of rice and things for her to make sauce with and even gave her candy.  She acted as though I gave her a thousand dollars, she was so grateful. 

These are the things that keep me going here.  It is all the people that I meet.  It is hard to never have time for yourself but it is so rewarding to be apart of mission work.  This is stuff I can tell my grandchildren one day.  I have a real love/hate relationship with this place.

I just want to report that the rest of the day yesterday was spent in prayer, song and scripture.  The service was really nice.  We have a lot of very talented missionaries here right now that really sang some beautiful songs that filled our souls in the time of need.  It was nice to listen to the English, American songs.  The Chadians chimed in any moment that was open though to sing some of their chants.  It was ok with everyone because we knew it was their way to give to James and Sarah but the music is so much more like you are at a party.  I guess even in a time of sorrow we still have to give.   Gary and Wendy Roberts  quickly made their way here from Zakouma Park to be with their friends in their time of need.  It was hard to see them altogether.  For those who do not know Gary and Wendy lost their little boy, Caleb, to malaria June 10th 2009, two weeks before we were to move here.  That was a test of my faith as a mother.    But the fact remains that we are all in the hands of God.  Anything can happen to any of us anywhere.   We all need to live like this is our last day.  I thought yesterday about all the pettiness that we get wrapped up in.  The frustrations we have with people the little fights, the hurtful gossip, none of this is worth anything when we look at the big picture. 

I challenge you this year to live life everyday as though it is your last.  Share a smile more.  Give a helping hand where you see needed.  Let someone go in front of you in line.  Send someone a thank you card.  Give someone a call that you think may be lonely.  Visit those that are sick from your church.  Provide a need for someone, anonymously.  Give of yourself this year.  You don't have to be in a third world country.  Not everyone is able to do this.  God needs people everywhere.  Give of yourselves this year, grab those opportunities that will fill your life with meaning.  It will change your life.  You will be happier.  It is addicting and if I ever come back to the states I will continue to serve for now I see that any other way is just meaningless for me.  The greatest of these is LOVE...

Here is a picture of sweet Adam's grave.