Tuesday, February 19, 2013

One Day Hospital Project….


 Dear Friends and Family, 

The new "one day hospital" project is here!  For the last five months we have been under fire to get things done around here to be ready for the four containers that had all the new buildings in them.  Ground needing clearing, extra dirt brought in for leveling the area that we would put cement slabs.  A compactor machine was needed for preparing the ground for all the slabs that needed to be poured.  Metal brought in for putting in the slabs.  Then one of the most challenging was the cement itself.  Where to find hundreds of bags in a country like this was difficult.  Then the challenge did not stop there because to get the cement here was another challenge in itself.  If you can remember our flooding and water problems, well this created a problem with the roads.  Then to bring in load after load after load of gravel and sand.   Managing the workers that numbered from 10-75 on certain given days.  Preparations needed to be made for Maranatha to come in to help put up the structures.  Lots of emails and phone calls from the states to get this project to be a success and right in the middle of it all is Jamie.  

This project of the "one day hospital" started back when we were in the states on our furlough during the months of April - July.  Dr. Olen had met Garwin McNeilus when Garwin brought his granddaughter Athens to Bere to work in the Nutrition center.  During his short visit to Bere he noticed many of our great needs.  He instantly began to talk with Olen and then Jamie while we were in the states.  Then when he got back to the states we made a quick trip to Minnesota so Jamie could help design the "one day hospital" and they could talk about our needs.   And ever since it has been a non stop focus on what needs to be done next to get the project done. 

As soon as we got back to Africa the preparations for the slabs where being done.  Mr. McNeilus sent 11 men over here from Uganda and from Zambia.  These guys have worked with Mr. McNeilus before pouring slabs so the training needed was very limited and they have been such a blessing to the project and Jamie.  They just jumped right in there and got one job after another done.  

It took a long time to complete the cement slabs because each one had to be done by pushing one wheel barrel full of mixed cement and then another.   It also took some time to get the containers here.  There was an incident of a man taking some money that was to be used to get the containers here.  That wasted some time and added a lot of frustration.  But another man was found to get the containers here and extra money was sent.  And it was such a happy day when we heard the big trucks outside the gate with all the containers, all but one.  But that one finally showed up too a little while later.  

Garwin McNeilus flew in to help with the final touches before the containers arrived and then he helped organize the process of getting everything off the containers and how things should be laid out to be most efficient.  It was crazy to see how much stuff could be put into those containers.  Garwin's crew has all of the packing down to a science.  All the guys that helped load the containers in the states where here to help unload them and start the process of building the structures.  

We now have all the structures up for a 4 room hotel, many duplexes, some smaller volunteer housing and 3 bigger houses.  But that is not all!  A new maternity ward, operating room, private ward, dentist building and aids health building.  Five pavilions have been put up.  One pavilion is for the school and church to use.  Another pavilion is  for the volunteer housing.   Then the other three are for the new part of the hospital.  So exciting!  It is looking so great! 

It is such a blessing to have these buildings sent here.  I know that many people have been a part of getting these things here like Maranatha and Adventist Health International and many other individuals.  But, I want to give a special thank you to Garwin McNeilus for all the time, energy and money that he himself has put into this project.  I just know that God will bless him for what he has done here in Bere.  I know right now we only have structures but what can be done inside those buildings is what is going to save souls for the kingdom.  To be a part of this has been a blessing to our family.  An enormous amount of work, but a blessing.    
Jamie and I have worked as a team to help this project to be a success.  But the man that really deserves kudos is Jamie.  I am so proud of the work he has done here.  His heart has been poured into this project.  He has had to work all hours at different times to get everything here to get the job done.   He didn't do it alone, and he had lots of helpers, but to be over a project like this was a big job.  But he tells me that when you have an employer like God, He gives you the strength and the knowledge you need.  He has told me that many times he had to pray for an answer on how to get a job done that may look impossible in a country like this one but God always helps Jamie work it all out.  

Jamie will be working on these buildings for the next year putting in electric, plumbing, walls and who knows what else but, it is amazing to see how far they have come already. 

Well, we just wanted to share what Jamie's life has been all about since we have been back.  Here are a few pictures of the new addition.  

Love and blessings, 
Tammy Parker 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Justice System in Chad

The Justice System in Chad

It was a beautiful sabbath day. All the volunteers came over for a potluck lunch after church. It is the only day of the week that we don't have a guard on the premisses. So this day one of the volunteers from Bendalay brought the new motorcycle she has been using here. She left it outside the gate because there was no one around to unlock the front gate. No one thought anything of it because they do it all the time. After lunch a few of us went down the road about five miles to do what we call a branch sabbath school. It is mainly children that gather under a mango tree to listen to a short bible story and sing a few songs but our hope is that the attendance will continue to grow and maybe one day we can put up another one day church.

It wasn't until everyone got back that this volunteer went to get her motorcycle but it wasn't there. She came to our house to ask if one of us moved it but there was no one. Everyone goes out looking for it. I get on the phone with our normal guard to tell him to keep his eyes open for it and to tell his friends too and we will give a reward. After about an hour of looking and walking down the road asking people we have nothing. We all gather together in our living room and we decide that we need to pray about it and give it to Him. All of this is all God's stuff anyways.

Someone called Fredrick, this is one of the locals that do a lot of our translating. The guy that called Fredrick told him that he knew where the motorcycle was. He saw it out in the bush somewhere and he also saw who took it. Jamie and some of the other guys go out to look for it and sure enough there it was. Someone was stashing it until they could come back and get it. The guy had cut a lot of the wires already so it was not drivable but they pushed it all the way back. We were so amazed that we got it back. God is good! We had a short prayer to thank God for His never ending love and His concern even about the little things. We knew who took it and decided to wait until morning to talk to the police. Oh and by the way, we figured out that this was taken between 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm in broad day light. Unbelievable!

When Jamie went with Fredrick to report the stolen motorcycle they were told that there was nothing they could do because they know that kid and he steals all the time but he does not have any money so there wasn't much they could do. And that was that! Finished! Later Jamie was told that the best thing we can do is get a bunch of big guys together and go to the guys house and beat him up. That is the justice system here. Crazy!!!

The very next day Jamie was called into the justice office because there was a guy that wanted money from Jamie for bringing gravel to the job sight. Now I'm sure you are thinking that Jamie should pay someone if they brought gravel and we think so too if Jamie had asked for it. This guy brought three loads without being asked. Jamie told him to come and get it because he was not going to pay for it. We don't need it and didn't order it. This guy just wanted money. He had been asking Jamie for the money for the past two weeks and even brought a big guy overt to talk to Jamie to intimidate him but Jamie never did budge so then they went to the police. Jamie ended up having to pay for it he was given no choice. What is wrong here? It is things like this that makes you crazy. And to make us even more crazy this same guy asked Jamie if he could bring him a truck load of sand. Jamie just looked at him like are you crazy? No!


Friday, February 8, 2013

A Christmas Program Ends in Disaster

I wrote this blog back in December.  When I got my computer fixed that month I lost 3 letters I wrote.  So I will be sending out two that I found in cyberspace.  So if you read it and see that it is outdated like this one, you will understand why.  

Dear Friends and Family 

I can't believe it is the holidays already.  It is definitely different here during the holidays.  You almost have to remind yourself because you don't have the constant holiday reminders in all the stores or on the television like you do in the states.  There is nothing like that here.  The weather is still just as hot as ever during the day but it is cooling down in the evenings.  We do what we can to keep the kids and the volunteers in the holiday spirit.  

Speaking of one of the volunteers we have three new student missionaries that I have not really introduced you to yet and they have already been here for over 3 months.  One is Ross a pre-med student from Andrews University.  He has been helping out in the lab at the hospital and learning about the tropical illnesses here.  He has also been going on rounds with the doctors and also has had many hours in the operating room  He is such a joy to have around here.  He has a very inquisitive mind.  I love to hear what he has to say because he is always teaching me something new or making me think about things that I never really spent time thinking about.  He also has a great sense of humor and I can always be guaranteed to be laughing any time we are together.   

Another volunteer that is blessing here is Kristin Chung.  She too is a pre-med student from Andrews.  She has jumped right into doing everything and anything she can to serve the hospital even leading out the janitor crew.  This seems like such a small roll but it really isn't.  I think that cleanliness is what the hospital struggles with the most in this third world country.  She is also working on project 21 a couple of days a week.  For those of you who do not know what this is, well it is a project where you go out into the villages around Bere giving medical education.  She also recently organized a very successful, two week, evangelistic series at the hospital.  I am telling you these volunteers are very self driven which are great characteristics to have here.  They are a real blessing to have around. 

The one volunteer that our family has worked the most with is Jordan.  She is an English major that chose to work at the primary school here in Bere teaching English.  It has been no easy task but she has stuck in there.  She loves to work with kids and read and teach.  She has a real energy that lights up a room and our family has been blessed to have her tutoring Brichelle everyday.  She comes to the house everyday at 8:30 and works with Brichelle on her school work no matter how crazy things get at our house they are staying very focused.  I can't say enough good about her and what she means to our family.  I will be forever in her debt.  Recently she came to me with the idea of doing a Christmas program at the school with the students.  When she mentioned it I jumped on it.  I have always wanted to do a program or some kind of outreach with the students but knew that it was too big of a task alone.  So we agreed to do this together and go for it.  So now we are having a Christmas program on the evening of December 20th.  I am so excited about this.  This will be a big outreach to the community and this is exactly the kind of thing I have been looking toward to do with the kids but just needed the help.  We are working everyday with the kids on their memory verses about the birth of Christ and songs and even a little play that Jordan wrote.  She did such a great job.  II will keep you inform on how it goes.  This is the first time ever that this has ever been done here in this area.  I have asked some kids about the story of the birth of Jesus and some tell me they just don't remember how it goes.  The bible is just not as available to them.  I am very excited to see how it goes.  A thousand invitations have gone out.  It may be more than we can handle but if it works out what a great outreach.  Keep us in prayer!  

Thanks for being a great support to us in all of this.  We can't do any of this without you.  We couldn't even be here without your help.  Thank you for untying my hands financially where we can just move forward like this when an idea comes up.  May God bless you all during this season as we think about the great gift that God gave to us.

After the christmas grogram:

The Christmas program was a success.  The kids did a great job with their songs and memory verses.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy the program.  Something funny that happened was as soon as our Mary was going to get on the donkey it was having a baby.  Everyone laughed and so she had to just walk onto the stage with Joseph.  We were told later that it is good luck because most people do not even get to see a donkey being born here.  Then I had the idea to give them free juice and cookies afterwards.  Boy was that stupid.  I will never ever do something like that again.  A big group of people like we had just can't control themselves.  Long story short is that we got mobbed.  Naomi was there with us helping us and she literally got run over and stomped on.  I couldn't believe it!  It was overwhelming to be right in the middle of it.  It was so out of control that Jamie was worried for my safety because he saw everyone pushing and screaming and out of control and I was right in front int he middle of it all.  Our thoughts were to just get everything inside the compound.  As we were running for safety the crowd started to steal everything.  We had mats set out for them and they stole some of those things and other things that we had on the stage.   I was really sad that it ended like that but I guess I will know that it is a lesson learned that we can't give away free stuff to a crowd of people like that.  I think it is really sad that a spiritual program had to end like that.  But I guess Satan always tries to get the last word in.  I am ashamed to say that once we had everything inside I was shouting telling everyone to go home.  I was sad that at the end my heart was hardened toward the people.  So I thought it was a success but ended in a disaster.