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. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

God's power

OK Christian friends. I have been feeling challenged lately and I want to challenge you also.

Do you believe God is all powerful?  Do you really believe He can do anything?  Do you believe He wants to show us His power? (Romans 1:20, Ephesians 3:20, 1 Corinthians 4:20)

But do we live like we do?  I find myself picking projects that I know I can accomplish. But if I only do things that I have the ability to accomplish He doesn't get to show Himself powerful. I want to go so far as to say God ENJOYS the impossible!

God wants to show His power! Don't believe me?  Do a keyword search for powerful in the bible. (Or click here.)

Do you know the story of Gideon?  (If you don't like my paraphrase you can read it yourself in Judges 7:1-25)  Gideon was called on by God to defend the land that God and given to the Israelites from the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples. This was a huge group of people attacking Gideon. And so Gideon gathers together 32,000 men to fight the battle and he has to be thinking to himself "Great, lets do this thing!". But God interrupts and says that he has too many men and to tell anyone who is afraid to go home. So 22,000 men hightail it out of there. Gideon might have been doubting a bit by then but maybe is thinking "God is on our side, we've still got this thing." But God says he wants to thin them one more time and God has Gideon get rid of another 9,700 men. Leaving them as an army of 300.  Against a huge multitude. And it gets better. God then arms them with trumpets and clay pots. No actual weapons. God made it so that there was absolutely no way Gideon could win the battle. But that is the point. The soldiers in their strength could not do it. God has to have won the victory for them! He desired to show how powerful he was.

How about the story of Lazarus?  Jesus got word he was sick.  He could have gone right away and healed him. But maybe few would have heard. Or maybe some would have doubted that Jesus actually did it and that Lazarus was going to get better on his own.  So Jesus waited until he was four days dead and decaying. You don't generally come back from that. THEN God showed His power.  No one would doubt that it was only the power of God who raised Lazarus from the dead.

There are lots of stories in the bible where God showed Himself powerful.  How about Elijah?  He said "Get that altar extra wet. I don't want anyone thinking it was an accidental brushfire that got this party started!" (Also my paraphrase- you can read his actual words 1 Kings 18:22-40).  There were 12 buckets of water poured on it, so much so there were puddles forming. But you don't see Elijah thinking he bit off more than he could chew. I'm afraid, if that whole thing had been my assignment I would have gone about it a lot differently. But in the end people might have just wondered if God had a hand in it and certainly no one would be reading about it three thousand years later. Instead, there is no doubt God did it and He is powerful.

So, I've started to pray that God would show Himself powerful in my life and ministry. And I know God answers prayer. That possibly means I'm going to start acting a little strange. Like trying to start a big bonfire after I've poured gallons of water over it. Or waging battles, but rather than recruiting more soldiers, I'll be sending most home. I'm being a bit tongue-in-cheek.

But also I'm being sort of serious. I want to be an instrument of God's power at work around me for those who are suffering and lost.

How about you?  Will you also accept for God to show himself powerful?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Worship sunday

This is just a fun little comparison. On Sunday, in the morning service, my friend Ronnie participated in worship in our little church in Obulle.

Another friend, Karen, also participated in worship in an afternoon service in a church in Soroti town. Same idea, little bit different look and feel.

The pictures of the service Karen was in are dark and grainy because I was outside the church. To say it was standing room only would be an understatement.

Karen's blog is here if you want to hear more about Sunday from her perspective.
Ronnie writes here if you want to hear more about their ministry.

Monday, August 5, 2013

His faithfulness


Psalm 91:4

He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

We keep chickens here, mostly for dinner. There are often chicks running around and I think of this verse when we have a mother with a brood. A good mother hen is able to protect her chicks from hawks and even though a chick is technically able to feed itself from day one a good mother hen calls her babies when she finds food. She teaches them safe places to hide and shelters them under her wings. When it gets cold (falls below 70 degrees) they huddle up in her feathers.
God compares himself to that.