Sunday, December 15, 2013

Some pictures from Timothy Retreat

Timothy retreat is when the CLIDE staff bring all the kids that they support (most from Karamoja) away to a fun week of "camp". This time of year is the end of one school year and they will begin a new school year in Feb.  Most Timothy sponsored kids are identified as high needs kids who have the potential to do well if they are supported in school.  Last week we had around 120 kids in a church here in Soroti. Some things were very much as you'd expect.

Lots of singing and laughing.
Plenty of eating. 
Lots of games. 
Many, many games
Girls... doing whatever it is that girls do. 
But of course, this is Uganda so there were several things you wouldn't see at a camp in the States. 
Like the adults sleeping in tents, instead of the kids. 
Dinner of potatoes, eggplant and chicken piled in the sun waiting to be peeled, cut and slaughtered. 
Water filters lined up to clean gallons of drinking water. 

It was a wonderful week and I think fun was had by all.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Being a camp nurse again!

It has been a long time since a patient really got to my heart but I’m feeling a bit wrecked over some kids I took care of this week. Most of the kids I was with are kjung and were here in Soroti for the Timothy Retreat. Many of these kids are in the program because they vulnerable and neglected.
The Timothy Retreat is a lot like a week at camp and I was filling the role of camp nurse. One little girl, Sabina, was driving me nuts because she was coming to me over and over again with physical complaints (usually when I was in the middle of something else).  But one of the things all the kids got was a brief health exam because very few get their basic medical needs met and in my time with Sabina I realized she did possibly have something going on. She had some adventitious lung sounds and enough other symptoms to make me suspicious of TB.  Her exam also increased my sympathy for her quite a bit. She in 13 but doesn't even tip the scale at 40 kg (less than 90 pounds). She wasn't just seeking attention but possibly saw me as her only chance at getting some help before being send back to Karamoja. So she was put on my follow up list and I made plans to get her a chest x-ray.  I had characterized her as one of the slightly slower kids because for Primary 5 (roughly 5th grade) her English was pretty poor. But while we were at the clinic she started translating easily between Teso and Nakaramojung for the doctor and one of the other kids I had brought.  So, she was poor in English but fluent in two other languages. When I asked her about it, she explained that her father was Teso (a different tribe) and when she was little he had told her she wasn’t to speak Nakaramojung when she was with him.  Her mother is Karamojung but estranged from her father. She hasn’t seen her mother in years and her father sent her away to live with an “auntie” because “he was tired of caring for me.” So, now she lives with a distant cousin of her mother because she was the only family who would take her in. Sabina says frankly that her auntie abuses her but she only has to stay with her when she is not at boarding school.
Frustratingly, there was no power when we were at the clinic so I never did get her a chest x-ray but I’ll follow up with her in a few weeks and see how she is doing.
Then there is Abraham. He is the closest I’ve ever come to taking a child home with me. Abraham is bright but obviously quite insecure and unsure of himself.  He is new to the Timothy program and very neglected. At 14 years old he is also in less than the 25th percentile for weight and has a general look of undernourishment about him. I was told that he has no home, so for this Christmas break he will just stay in the empty dorm at school because he has nowhere to go. He came to the retreat with the one shirt he had that wasn't his school uniform and one pair of torn shorts. When he came in for his medical assessment he told me his teeth hurt and when I looked in his mouth I nearly gagged. His mouth is hands down the worse I’ve seen outside of people who have used methamphetamine. He told me he had been taken to the doctor for the pain in his mouth back in 2012 but he didn’t have any money for treatment so nothing was done.  I arranged with Daniel (as a vet, teeth seemed more his specialty than mine!) to take Abraham to the dentist who removed a rotten molar. I’m sure more needs to be done but we’ll let the poor kid recover from that first and I’ll try to follow up soon.
After the extraction he had come back to the church and I checked on his bleeding a few times and got him something to drink.  I gave him some pain meds and antibiotics a few times and was trying to keep him as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.  I had gone home for a few hours but went back to the retreat before the kids went to bed for the night to check on him again and make sure he had eaten something.  As I was sitting with him while he swallowed the fistful of meds I was making him take, he made the statement “You are taking care of me.” It was like he was processing why I was there. He was kind of just staring at me. “Thank you” he said. I almost cried. No child should have to say thank you for having their basic, human needs met.  The next morning as they were loading on the bus to head back to Karamoja again he just came up to me and quietly said thank you again. As it was day 5 of a very full week of camp (camp counselors you know the feeling right?) I was feeling dragged out and tired.  And here was this kid who was about to head back to an empty dorm, less than 24 hours after a rather painful procedure, with only some Tylenol, and what to look forward to?  And he was appreciating that I had spent a few extra minutes paying attention to him.

Father God, May your favor rest on this boy in a special way this Christmas. May your peace surround him in a supernatural way and will you show yourself to be the loving Dad he doesn’t have. I pray for all these children, that they will know you and trust you as their Father when their earthly fathers have failed them. Please meet their needs out of your glorious riches in Christ Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thinking deep

Some days I wrestle with stuff and struggle with listening to God and try to think deeply about the world  around me. Some days I just try to make it through without thinking.
Anyway, today is a day somewhere in the middle. There is an amazing blog post over at She Loves called Come to the margins. Can I challenge you to read it, and if it is a good day for thinking for you, will you ponder it and try to listen to God about who He is calling you to?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

On the day that my dad and brother are scheduled to arrive I found myself really resonating with this post over on Into Africa.
All of them are true for me!

12 things Expatriates are thankful for

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Read a great post over on Life Overseas. Click here.  Or I just copied and pasted below:

Over the years we have tried with patchy success to create a habit of frequently asking ourselves whether the things we are doing make sense and if it seems like ‘God is in it?
 We hope to avoid getting trapped into routines or habits without truly examining what we’re doing. We desire to be purposeful about the choices we make. It is helpful to examine ourselves to assure that our motivations and attitudes are pure.
 It is important to step back and look at what stress or fatigue is causing in us and in our reactions to things. If we are driving around and going about our days with an undercurrent of anger or an attitude of superiority toward people we’re here to love and work with then we don’t really belong here. Those of us living here can think of a few crotchety old missionaries that are mean and negative and angry toward this country and all of us can easily become that crotchety old missionary if we’re not careful.
 In the last several months we’ve had an epiphany of sorts. We’ve discovered that most of us that are here working with “the poor” can and do unwittingly find ourselves in a bit of a distressing position of superiority. It is not a position we knowingly choose nor is it what we want. It just kind of happens when we stop paying attention to our heart attitudes.
 We don’t know very much, but we do know that Jesus calls us to become incarnate. In order to live that way we need to see ourselves as we really are.
We are the poor and needy. We are the afflicted.
 When I see myself in the women Heartline is serving, when I see my own manipulation and excuses, my own poverty, my own pride  – I am suddenly able to serve and work together with the women with an attitude of humility and grace rather than superiority and judgment. It is the difference between serving from a position of eminence and authority in a top-down sort of way, to serving like Jesus served with a meek ‘power under’ approach.
 The only way to remain genuinely humble when doing this work is to be perpetually aware that we too are the afflicted ones. There is vulnerability in that, but it is a necessary thing.We are every bit as miserable; our passports and perceived wealth simply mean our misery is better disguised
 God is not made known in our ability to fix or heal “the poor people”. We are all weak and wounded,after-all.
 Jesus calls us to stop trusting in our own capacity to do good or make change. If we trust in His ability rather than our own we’ll avoid acting superior. God is made manifest in our ability to recognize that we have nothing to offer apart from Him and that we are every bit as much in need of love, healing, and restoration as the people with whom we work.
 …Pray for all of us to entirely give up believing in ourselves and our own abilities. Pray for healing, freedom, and restoration for every. single. afflicted. inhabitant of our little island and this big world.
 Tara Livesay  works in Maternal Healthcare in Port au Prince, Haiti

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Seems strange, I think I'm headed into two weeks of vacation. Sort of. I've had a few busy weeks and as I look back at my November schedule I think I spent a total of 8 days sleeping in my own bed.  A night in the back of my truck, a few in a tent, several in a hut... but now I'm in a nice guest house in Kampala because I have to pick up my dad and brother, Benj, in Entebbe on Thursday! So excited!! I had to come upcountry a day early because my truck needs some serious maintenance (four new brake pads, three new wheel bearings, two new CV joints and a partridge in a pear tree.) Turns out the Karamoja roads are hard on it.
Playing in the mud last week.
 But for the next two weeks I'm hanging out with Dad and Benj as they work on electrical wiring and a bunch of other handiman tasks for team mates.  We are also going to spent two days at the possible sites for the discipleship camp and retreat center.   Benj and his wife, Christina, are prayerfully considering being a part of that center so will you join me in praying that they will move to Uganda that they will be obedient to God's will.

I need to add an addendum: Woke up this morning feeling like I was hit by a truck. Body aches, chills, fever.  Also I was called by the mechanic and turns out I also need a new drive shaft. He isn't sure he can get a new one and get it installed before I need to head to the airport. Ugh. So I'm laying low today, praying I feel better fast and praying that the mechanic is super efficient. Can you pray with me?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Peace Celebration

I had the opportunity to help Dr. Val last weekend with their 5 year celebration of peace in the first peace village, Nabwal. As I wrote that last sentence this sounds normal and like something I could easily describe but I don’t even know how.
Picture me, with several ladies from around Karamoja, standing in a big open field in the midst of 5 giant cooking fires with huge sauce pans on them. Then add to that picture roughly 1,000 karamojung in their traditional wear singing and dancing around us while they wait for the food to be ready to eat. Two bulls have been slaughtered in the not so distant background and we are mixing food with huge sticks and carrying the meat for boiling in large basins. Can you picture it?  Don’t worry, I don’t think I could have either if I hadn't been there.
Some days....
We had lots of rain while in Nabwal and the day after the big celebration it was still raining but we were trying to get back to Kangole. I had both axles buried in mud and had three Karamojung men yelling in the windows at me to go three different directions. (Literally. Go forward, go back, turn hard right) But if you've ever been in 3 feet of mud you know that you are really not going anywhere.  You trying to picture it?  I’m in a skirt (because that is what women wear out here) with my favorite gum boots on. My land cruiser has mud coating it from the roof all the way down. There is so much mud tossed up on the back window that I can’t see through it at all. It is hot and humid and I would rather just be sitting with a book and a cup of tea on this rainy morning and instead I’m trying to ignore all of the people yelling at me while rocking the vehicle enough to get an inch or two of traction. I have it in 4wd low and finally manage to grab a bit of solid ground under the mud and am able to accelerate out (as much as you can call 2nd gear accelerating). Everyone splashed back over to me and climbed back in, congratulating for getting unstuck again (it was my 4th time that morning). 
Yet somehow this is becoming normal...

I was driving between the peace village and my home and had to stop on the side of the road because just a few feet from me was an adult pair of ostriches. The male at nearly 8 feet tall with his flame red neck and coal black feathers shook his giant wings at me while the slightly smaller (at only 7 feet tall) dusty gray female moved back away from the road into the bushes. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Well Update

So, things like this move really slowly in Uganda.  We are trying tp help the village of Loromoruchabi seek permission from the Uganda Wildlife Association to finish drilling their well so that they can have clean water in their village. We had to stop back in September because the drillers were threatened and accused of drilling in wildlife protected land. We have a map that says they were not and the village really needs water but we still had to stop and work this out before the well could be completed.
So, the local chairperson of the lower level had to seek permission from the district government then they had to seek permission higher up and we have just recently heard that it has actually reached the desk of the president of Uganda.

Please pray for him this week.  Pray of course of Lormoruchabi’s well but please also pray for all of the other issues President Musiveni (spelled wrong intentionally) has to deal with. He has been president of Uganda for 22 years and he has brought about good development of his country in that time. But he is still a dictator and another election year in coming in 2016.   

Monday, November 4, 2013

Random updates...

Hey faithful blog followers, once again I need to confess that I've not at all stayed on top of what it going on here. It isn't because I don't want to, it is mostly that I have not had a working computer for almost a month.  On top of that my camera was stolen out of my truck in Karamoja a few weeks back while I was stuck in the mud and I'm finding that without pictures I have even less motivation to post when I do borrow a teammates' computer for a few hours.So now that I finally am on the computer with some internet, what is there to tell you?  I've had nearly more animal patients than human ones lately. In Karamoja I was helping with an animal vaccination project where we spent 4 days in 6 villages immunizing and treating livestock. Back in Soroti, I delivered a litter of puppies and have been giving IV fluids to a sick cat.  I think I like animal patients better than human ones. The well drilling situation in Karamoja is still at a standstill while the local government figures out how to motivate the "federal" government to allow the drilling to continue. I visited the village last week and they were so excited when they saw my truck driving up but when they saw that the well drillers were not with me they were very letdown. They, obviously, really want the work to continue so that they can have water but they have so little power over getting the right documents to continue. But, we are praying that God uses this delay to get the village's attention. I'm spending a lot of time with an end-stage AIDS patient who is near to death. Her family's lack of care for her is sickening and they had pretty much abandoned her but at our  (not so gentle) encouragement they seem to be taking better care of her now. I'm trying to spend time just sitting with her and encouraging her family. Also, my Ugandan team is gearing up for their big "retreat" when they bring all of the students that they are sponsoring in Karamoja down to Soroti for a week of camp (nearly 150 kids). We will spend time playing games, telling stories, and doing crafts.  I'm going to be teaching a bit on health and hygiene and also purity. I intend to spend the next few days writing my lessons and trying to make them highly interactive in order to hold the attention of so many students. 
The solar eclipse through a welding helmet. 
Lets see, what else?  There was a solar eclipse this week which was really interesting. And, last but not least, my dad and brother Benj are coming to visit in two weeks!! They will be helping to install the solar power system to a teammate's house. I can't wait to see them!!

* I am getting so sick of technology issues here!  Why does this post change font midway though?! And why have all the formatting changes I made in the blog template reverted back to this?! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Giving, generosity and causing more harm than good.

Last time I was in Lormoruchabi a group of ladies asked repeatedly for skirts and clothes. I know these women by their shirts because they each only really own one thing to wear. Their clothes are tattered rags but they are all they’ve got. They live a hot, tough, 9 hour round trip walk to the nearest place to purchase clothes and even if they went, the need for medicine, food and soap is greater than the need for a new, used skirt. But I live in Soroti where I can get clothes easily and I am enormously wealthy (compared to these ladies).  So I understand why they ask me to bring them things. I could get a bunch of skirts and shirts ( I estimate I could get 20 “outfits” for about 30,000/=, or $15). But there are probably 60 women in the village. All would like new clothes. Honestly most NEED new clothes. On top of that there are roughly 200 kids who also need clothes. I’ve gotten to know Joseph. He is a 9 year old kid who owns an old, tattered, filthy red coat. That is all he has. No pants, no underwear, no shirt. He spends all day in the coat, then at night he zips it up and pulls his legs up in it because he doesn’t have a blanket either. (Or a sheet or a mattress but that isn’t any different from any other kid in this village.)

But back to the ladies. They had given me a nice necklace that they had made, clearly in hopes that I’d bring them some clothes. And I really want to be generous. I’d love to come in like some silly female Santa Claus and give everyone a gift from my giant bag. But I don’t really think that would be right. There is often in the back of my mind, the principles of “When Helping Hurts”. That we are only increasing dependency and in the long run we are harming people when we think we are helping. Over and over in Karamoja I’ve seen the damage done by well intentioned NGOs giving away free stuff. It was described to me this way: Great harm can come from the best of intentions when done without wisdom and discernment. It seems like a paradox but kindness and good intentions can be an insidious path to destruction. The following parable, though obvious and over simplified helped me understand the problem the k-jung are having.

“Say a person hurts their leg. You bring them food while they heal. After time they still don’t wish to get up because it hurts at first. So you continue to be kind and bring them food. Over time their injured leg develops contractures from lack of use and it is even more painful to get up so you continue to bring them food. In the end they are permanently bedridden, unable to walk again because of your kindness.  Goodness brought significant harm. 

The k-jung have become so dependent on others for food, goods and seeds, help, everything, yet their lack only fuels their anger at the outside world. Generosity and very good intentions have encouraged laziness and a feeling of lack of personal worth creating a whole tribe’s indolence. The more help they receive, the more help they expect and think they need, the more they hate. As long as the kindness is so open ended they don’t gain discipline, dignity or self-reliance. Our kindness actually impoverishes their humanity!!

Ugh, all of this struggle over 60 ladies who would like some second hand skirts….

What do it do?

I’m headed to Karamoja in an hour. I expect to be back at the end of the week.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

HIV support groups

In the last few months I've been placed over some groups of HIV positive people. They are groups that were created before I joined CLIDE but have been neglected due to lack of staff. The people have been requesting us to come back and still support them. So, that has fallen to me lately. So, I'm trying to figure out what it looks like to run HIV support groups here.
This is a group of about 35 people who are quite educated about their disease. About half are believers. Their biggest struggle is with discordant couples who still want to have children but obviously don't want to infect their partners or have positive children.
This is a group of about 75, 10 of whom are believers. This group is in an area where there is a lot more discrimination. Their kids get kicked out of school because their mom is positive. They have a hard time getting jobs (more than the average rural Ugandan). They are overall much sicker and more impoverished. Their bigger concerns were with end of life care and how to feed and care for their children.

I had two “trainings” last week with these groups to encourage them. Both times I tried to stress that this was NOT God's punishment for their sin (which is a strongly held belief that drives many away from the church after they get a positive diagnosis). We played games, laughed together and tried to discuss practical solutions to their problems.

The groups reported that it was helpful and overall I felt very positive about our time. There were some hard things though. The Awoja group has an expectation of receiving money from CLIDE. I can't meet this expectation and I know it isn't a long term solution to anything either. Also, while in Awoja a few of the older ladies did a drama to illustrate the importance of end of life care. Only, it wasn't so much a drama as real life. The lady who needed care was very sick. She has wounds all over her body and is so wasted away her bones jut out. She has such bad abdominal pain all the time she can't stand up straight. It was pretty hard to watch the ladies in her group “act” out their skit knowing that no one was acting. She has no pain meds and still has to try to work in order to eat and care for her children. She has only a few more months to live. She doesn't need a support group, she needs hospice.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

OK, I seem to have the blog moderately functional again without weird ghost pictures and strange formatting problems. I have a bunch of stories and stuff to write about but I've taught all day and even though I expected life to slow down I'm still waiting for that to happen....

Friday, October 11, 2013


Having lots of blog problems. I've been told it may be related to unconfessed sin, not sure. But meanwhile the blog is undergoing some work. Hopefully soon I'll have some new posts and a nice new look. But I need to go to town to purchase loads of supplies for the next trip to Karamoja right now so once again the computer work will have to wait.....

In the meantime my friend Rachel blogged about the training last week that I participated in. You can check out her blog at

Monday, October 7, 2013

CLIDE team

There are definite challenges to being part of two very different ministry teams but I appreciate what both of them contribute to my life!

This is my CLIDE team (the one I work with mostly in Karamoja but more and more also in Soroti.) We are from the US, UK and all parts of Uganda. I do believe that when we are together 7 languages are spoken fluently and all desire to serve Jesus.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Water well update

3 of the well drillers in the middle surrounded by community
Just back from Karamoja again.  Unfortunately, the purpose of this trip was to pack the guys up and get them out of there. The UWA (Uganda Wildlife Association) has accused the village of living in protected wildlife land so supposedly they are not allowed to put in boreholes there.  We have maps that show this isn't true but they have to go through the correct governmental channels and in this country that means a lot of time. Meanwhile, the guys have been threatened so we had to pack up. Late at night, in Soroti, as I was doing last minute packing I was really nervous about how the community would take it. They've been waiting and waiting for water. They've lived there a while now with promises that water was coming and over and over they've been disappointed. Now again a big setback. But the day was overall positive. There were negatives expressed (all in a language I don't speak but anger and frustration is pretty easy to interpret) but the village leaders gathered as we were leaving and we prayed together and promised we were coming back as we discussed what they needed to do for the land dispute.  Please keep praying!!

Rachel praying before we go.

Tom (well guy) and Kodet (CLIDE guy) explaining to the community the land dispute.
On the upside the ladies gave me another necklace. :-)

Thursday, October 3, 2013


My fellow missionaries over at Amecet are grieving the loss of a baby that they had really worked hard to save. Little baby William was born Aug 12th and went to be with Jesus only two short months later on October 2nd. He arrived at Amecet after his mother died and the Dutch nurses there worked very hard to give him a good chance at life but it wasn't to be. Will you be praying for them and their hearts as they continue to care for the remaining children?
William's first post here


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Well drilling update....

Just got home from Lormoruchabi (where we are trying to put a well Karamoja).  We just had a really nice day of worship and rest and let me tell you, these 6 guys have earned a rest. They have given up on the drilling technology and have taken to hand digging.  I honestly don't know how long they will keep trying. It is hard, hot, dirty work. (Possibly dangerous too. Don't tell OSHA.)
I had to got the privilege of preaching this morning and a few adults of the village came along with 110 children.

Scorpion....not sure how this picture got posted...

My little blue tent in the middle of the village. Also not sure how this picture was in the batch.
I have some more pictures but I'm just to tired to figure out why I keep getting random ones I haven't selected or why most keep posting sideways no matter how many times I rotate.
The essence of this post  is keep praying. I personally have another full week ahead of me and as long as these guys are still attempting their craziness when next weekend rolls around I'll head back up with more food and supplies for them.
Oh, and pictures of Friday or Saturday's teaching in Kabermido. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Well drilling

So much good stuff going on! I'm so busy I really don't have time for a good update but here are a few pictures to tide you over while I catch up.
We are digging wells in Karamoja!! The village where this crew is working (Lormoruchabi) is in desperate need of clean water so we can't wait for it to be functional. Please pray! They are doing it all by hand and it is HARD work. They are far from any access to their supplies, transportation, parts, equipment, etc...

Cold rainy mornings!

My next few days are very full teaching days (in Teso not Karamoja) and if I finish with enough hours of daylight left I can go back up tomorrow afternoon to bring them more supplies and see how the progress is going. Please pray for teaching today and tomorrow, that the community will be open and receptive. It is an area I don't have many relationships yet and a new language group (Kabermido) but they invited me and I am excited to see what God has in store.

Walked with the kids to get water from their current source.

The long walk home.

New drilling site. Hit an impenetrable rock layer in the first and second one.
 I also need lots of prayer at the moment. When I get so busy traveling, preparing lessons, packing and working I neglect my source. But it is when I'm so busy I need time with Him more.  Pray that I don't miss important interactions with people in my busyness and that I would be attuned to the Holy Spirit speaking to me.
Thanks for your support everyone!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lots of teaching lately...

This was a busy week with lots of teaching and I'm tired tonight but I have to give God glory as overall I think they were very productive days. I know that in the past few years I've really improved as a teacher (all credit going to the best teacher!) and I think can really make a lesson more relevant and applicable here than when I first started. Wednesday was a youth conference with kids aged 9 to about 19. I talked about making choices that honored God.  There were about 100 kids packed into the church and it was 100 degrees  But God helped me hold their attention (after a highly active game with lots of water and laughter) and the visual demonstration that really seemed to bring it home for the kids was an idea I got a midnight the night before.  They were still talking about it on Sunday so I hope it helps them as they mature into adults.
Then this weekend was a "conference" on family planning. Honestly, this one is the one I like to teach the least as I have absolutely no personal experience to pull from but it is the one that is requested the most. Also, I find it the hardest as I know the good biblical reasons and good biological reasons for child spacing and waiting to get pregnant until they are a little older (19 instead of 17) but I absolutely don't know how to help these ladies actually do it. Very few of the normal prevention methods seem effective here and for most of them, their husbands are not cooperative. 
Short skit
Anyway, I'm committed to continue to teach the biblical foundation of quality care of families and let God work out the rest. I added a drama this time to the teaching to help them discuss abortion.  It was a pretty serious drama and the actors did great but the audience laughed through the whole thing. I'm still trying to figure out culture here. 

Also the questions I get still never cease to amaze me like "Sometimes I feel like a male goat. Does that mean my wife is in heat?" And "At what age should the children stop sharing the parents house?" One of the things I teach is how there are specific times a month that a woman can get pregnant and they are shocked. They all say it is the first time they've learned that.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Just an amazing little not so little thing I'd like to share with you:
We are in the midst of the rainy season which means that mosquitos have become little heat seeking missiles that have the power to ruin a perfectly good nights sleep, even if you have a mosquito net.  If at any point in the night you come in contact with the net they will bite you through it. (I currently have 16 bites on the side of my arm)   I'm also not sure how they do it but a least a few make it into the net and hide until you are sound asleep. Then they will wake you up again and again and again with either the buzzing or bitting.  It was driving me crazy. I was trying to keep all windows and doors closed in the evening but was suffocating without the evening breeze. So I was dousing in repellant but it always wore off by morning. Then I tried to re-treat my net by am unable to get permethrin here in Soroti. Even sitting at my desk in the evening was enough to drive me nuts. (That is actually my excuse for the lack of post lately)
So God provided this praying mantis for me. His name is Butch. He has been living in my bedroom for about 4 days now. He sleeps all day and eats bugs all night. The first night I actually heard him chewing. I've slept soundly every night since. Wikipedia reports one this size will eat around 800 bugs in his short life. I'm good with that.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saving the world

There is a great blog post up at "A life overseas" about a missionary having a conversation with someone who hates missionaries. She says...

 I have never believed my job was to ‘save the world,‘ nor is it to convert others to a brand Christianity that looks just like mine. I’ll try to leave convicting and the converting for God to do. My job is to love with all my heart and obey the God I say I serve and worship. I try to love and serve the people He places in my life the very best way that I know how. If in that loving, God gives me opportunity to talk about Who He is, what He means to me, what He’s done for me, why I do what I do, what i read in the Bible about how to be in a right relationship with Him… I want to do so truthfully, graciously, gently and kindly.

May this also be true of my life and yours, no matter where you are serving. The story of the conversation is here.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Thats one sick little kid!

Last week I was up in Kangole with the intention of spending a few days working with the VHTs but had heard over and over about how bad the road was and how I would get stuck and not make it out to Nakayot. I had other things I could do in Kangole but really had the feeling I should go. Friday morning after praying,  I felt increasingly convicted that I had to at least try. I packed extra drinking water, a tent, tarps, tow straps, boots and shovels and headed out thinking at least if I got stuck and had to sleep out there it was what I was supposed to do.  After some significant off-roading (thinking the whole time “People pay money to do this as a hobby?!” ) We reached the village. They seemed genuinely happy to see me, or at least see the medications and supplies I was offloading. 
But we’d only been there 10 minutes when the question was translated for me “There was a sick child that the father was refusing to take to the hospital. Could I help?” I said I would try but I didn’t want to make the father angry. A very few minutes later a group came running up to me carrying what appeared to be a dead child. The 6 year old wasn’t conscious and barely breathing.   With sternal rub be stopped being flaccid and started exhibiting the most classic decerebrate posturing I’d ever seen. His skin was so hot it felt he could practically leave blisters on my hands.  When he was moving air (which wasn't as often as I would have liked) he had adventitious lung sounds that could be heard without a stethoscope.   HR was more than 200 and I didn't take time to get a BP.

Trying to find a dang 22g cath.
I laid him on the tailgate of my truck and, through one of many miracles that was going to happen in the next 24 hours, got an IV in on the first try. I had rocephin and fluid running as fast as I could and then told the family that I felt the hospital was the only thing that would save the child. Amazingly the father agreed right away and 20 minutes later we were back on the road. Several times on the way the child stopped breathing but each time he started again. The mud was thigh deep in several places but the way around, through the bush, was somewhat clear and we made it to the hospital in less than three hours.  I know, in the vehicle, both of my translators  were continuously praying for the life of the child (and my rather reckless driving) and somehow he was still alive when we arrived.

The treatment room later after everyone had cleared out.
It was after 4pm so triage was closed, we carried him straight into the treatment room where afternoon meds were being administered to 40 other children. We cut to the front of the line where valium, glucose, fluid and more antibiotics were given quickly by the nurses and he was admitted to wait for the evening doctors to come see him. All we could do was pray again and head back to my house in Kangole.
The following morning I had several responsibilities and couldn't get back to the hospital as soon as I liked. I realized that I didn't even know the child's name and if he had died in the night the father would be gone already.  However, I headed into "ICU" and found the patient right away. Still obtunded but breathing! I got an update from the nurses- they were treating for both meningitis and cerebral malaria. (I suspect they didn't have the equipment for an LP. ) One of the guys I like working with the best was free and I had asked him to come along to translate. We (meaning they  mostly because the conversation wasn't in English) sat and talked with the father for a while. He told us he had given up on the child and refused to let the mother walk the two day trip to the hospital. (Mostly because it would cost him 5,000/= , money he didn't have. ) But when we arrived and he saw me giving medicine and praying he thought maybe the child could survive. He wondered if God was telling him to have hope.

The ICU. (Sorry about my finger, I was trying to be discreet.)
Finally responsive!!

We encouraged him and Elupo  spent a long time talking with him about God's plan for us and salvation. I was really wondering if we were sent to Nakayot for this little boy and his family. On Sunday we didn't make the trek to the hospital but on Monday morning when we arrived he was awake and talking!! His dad said he is confused but able to eat so they had taken the NG tube out. Again we prayed with them and gave them money for discharge when the time comes.
I'm back in Soroti now so I don't know how they are doing but please pray that God continues to speak to this family through all of this. I made the father promise to come find me the next time that I'm in Nakayot to give me an update.

My team

Have I mentioned recently how much I love my team?
 I'm continually thankful to God for blessing me with them!!!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Update on some kids...

Lets start with a positive update first...
Abraham- This is a little kid that has G6PD deficiency and a complicated medical history that I've been involved with for a while. Back in December we finally got a diagnosis for him. (Story here).  Today, I've happy to report that he seems to really be thriving! He hasn't been sick since we got the diagnosis and has finally put on a few pounds and some inches.
He was happy to show me how big he is getting!

Sarah- I just discovered I haven't written about her since 2010. Oops! She is a determined young woman who has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (also called brittle bone disease).  She is bright and willing to work hard. She expressed desire, so two years ago we go her into the handicapped school where she attempted to finish 3rd grade.  But she had missed so much school because of her inability to get around and constant injuries, and at 18 years old she just didn't want to spend more time in primary school. So she transferred into the tailoring program. She is doing really well and says she is enjoying it.
They have modified a machine for her that sits on the floor and she can run it with her arms. It is a little funny to see her working at a sewing machine is almost taller than she is but she's quick and it is a skill she can do even with her handicaps. She has completed one year and has one year to go.

Today her boarding school let out so I took her the 20 kilometers back to her home in the village. She proudly showed off her work to her family and her brothers tried on the patterns that they stich in paper first as practice.
 This little guy still makes me so sad. He is Sarah's little brother and also has Osteogenesis Imperfecta. I wrote about him here and here. He is surviving but that seems to be about all. He is 5 years old, going on 6 and he still can hardly sit. He was able to feed himself this bit of banana but he didn't get any teeth (as a result of the disease) so anything else he could feed himself is too hard. His arms are too twisted to use a spoon. He doesn't talk and can't really hold his own head up without support. But he isn't sick at the moment which is actually huge. He usually has sores or a respiratory illness. No broken bones right now which is also significant. If he has made it this far he may be able to move around a bit like his sister.
Please forgive my camera woman, she is a bit inexperienced. And I get busy and don't take the time for pictures.
 All three of these kids were together in one post last year too. April 2012  Thanks for praying for them! 
One last picture, this is Sarah and Lazaro's mother. Her husband left her for a new wife and she has 9 kids to care for. I always pray with her and try to encourage her.