Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm just a LITTLE NUT

This term has been quite a bit different for me than our last term here. When we came in 2005 it was just me and John, so I was able to be very involved in ministries both in the hospital and outside the hospital. I had several Bible studies, worked in the hospital staffing, and taught the nursing students both in the classroom and at clinicals.

This time around, things are quite different. I knew that coming back with 3 children, and expecting a 4th, would change things but I wasn't sure how it would all work out. Right now, I am about 99% mommy and 1% nurse.   I often tell people that I am just a nut here! The whole ministry is a big wagon wheel churning away trying to share the Gospel. Some people are the frame, some are the spokes, some are the center piece. And then there is me....I am just a LITTLE NUT in the frame of the wheel that nobody notices or even knows is there!  Right now, my ministry is here at home with the kids.  Most days, I don't do anything grand to write home about. I am just a mommy. But then I realize that being "just a mommy" is exactly the ministry the Lord's wants me to have right now.

Even though I ADORE being a mom and homeschooling the kids, I have prayed that the Lord would give me oppurtunities to be involved here and there in ministries outside the home. But since there is no child care and no grandparents to call on to help with kids, much of what I have done so far involves the kids.  So I was rather excited last week when I had the chance to work with the nursing students for just a couple hours Thursday and Friday afternoons. John was able to arrange his schedule so he could stay with the kids.

I was pure giddy as I headed to the school! I was so excited to get the chance to pour into these amazing young people that the Lord brought into this nursing program. They all went through a strenuous application process and were all highly recommended by their pastors. One really important thing to know is that they all applied to this program knowing that they may be sent up north 8 hours away(to Mango) to work in the new hospital. So they are all willing to leave their homes and families in order to reach the Muslim people in Togo. Essentially, they are missionaries! What servants hearts they all have as they show their willingness to sacrifice in order to reach their own people for the Lord.

I was able to teach the students some English/medical terminology, as well as how to read progress notes, interpret orders and how to find information in the charts. These students have it tougher than most.  They deal with mainly English speaking doctors/PAs/NPs who write their notes and orders in English and most of them know very little English!  So not only are they learning anatomy & physiology, pharmacology, assessments, and skills, but they also have to learn some English along the way!  We had great time together and I look forward to working with them again.....and being something other than a nut!

Friday, January 25, 2013

We got mail!!!!

We got mail!!!!  A couple letters and cards have arrived since we have been here, but when we got word from another missionary that we had a package at the village post office the kids were beside themselves with excitement....and I must admit that John and I were a little excited too!

The nearest post office is in the next village, Adeta.

It was right around lunch time when we heard, but had to wait until after the "siesta" hours for the post office to open back up.  The kids could hardly take naps because they were so excited to get the packages.
Can you tell it's a little sunny!!??
Aiden was still asleep(and sometimes still sleeps til 5 in the evening when the PO closes) and the girls just couldn't wait any longer.  So John borrowed a car and took the girls to the post office.  And they found out that we had 2 packages waiting!  One package from both sets of grandparents.

So much excitement opening the boxes!
It was a family affair when Aiden finally woke up and we got to open the boxes.  I happened to notice the shipping sticker on the boxes and saw that they each cost $60 just to mail!!!  I felt just awful that they spent so much just for shipping.  It probably cost more to mail them than the value of what was in the boxes.....but that's granparents for you!  And if the grandparents could have seen the excitement and heard the squeals as we opened the boxes I know they would probably pay 10 times that!

The girls loved the Christmas monkeys!  The box was sent well before Christmas.....but took over 6 weeks to get here!

And Aiden was pretty thrilled about his Hot Wheels

So "thank you" to Nanny & Popa and Mamaw & Papaw!  It was quite the day for the kids!   Who would have thought that 2 little packages could mean so much. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Air....Glorious Air!

Other than the arrival of my three children,  today brought the next greatest arrival.  Ok, not really...but it ranks pretty high up there!

It all began a little while back when our sending church felt led to take up money to help with a AC unit for our house here in Togo.  You see, the houses here do not have central air conditioning.  So if it is 100+ degrees outside, then it is pretty close to that inside!  It is ALWAYS hot here, kind of like North Carolina in July, but all the time!  We have ceiling fans and stand fans that we are so thankful for.  But there is no fall, spring or winter!  When people ask what the weather in Togo is like, we always tell them the 2 seasons here are "hot" and "hotter"!

Please understand that I LOVE it here in Togo.  It is times miserably hot, but we really do love it here. There is no where else I would rather be at this very moment than here in Togo.  My heart is here.  That being said,  the heat is sometimes hard to deal with.  You sweat all the time.  When we are doing school in the morning, it is hot.  When you cook, it is hot.  When you go to the market it is sweltering hot!!  When you go to is hot!  Today, after I washed the dishes I was drenched....not from sink water, but from sweating.  You take a shower to cool off and it helps....until you step out of the shower back in to the heat!  Where ever I go in the house, I move a fan to at least have some air moving.  Sometimes I think it is God's sense of humor that He called me ( a hot natured person) to Africa!  Couldn't He have sent us somewhere cold!!??  There is no air in the hospital.  There is no air in the churches. It is just not possible to have everywhere like we are accustomed to in the US.  But all of that is ok, because we are right where we are supposed to be!

So when our church mentioned that they wanted to help us get an AC unit and help with the extra monthly expense of running it, I could hardly contain myself.    I know it seems so trivial to some, but to me it was such a thoughtful gesture.

We were able to purchase a small unit shortly after arriving, but the maintainence missionary who has to install it just hasn't had time.  When he is responsible for so much here, I hated to say "Hey!  Can you stop working on the oxygen generator for the patients and come install my AC?"  Installing an AC definitely was not high on the priority list.

But the Lord brought 2 other men here to the compound that were able to do it and they took the time to install it!!  Hallelujah!!
Aiden, of course, loved helping the guys work.

The kids were just fascinated by the guys working.  It will be the first time
these 2 have experienced AC since we left home.  They waited eagerly!

Aiden and Livi watching as the guys drilled through the concrete wall.

And here it is!!!  Isn't it the most beautiful things you have ever seen!? 

Now this is basically like a window unit. It will only cool one room and due to the cost we will only run it occassionally for a hour or two, but what a blessing it will be on the days when the heat is overwhelming!!!!

I know some of you think I am crazy for writing an entire blog post about an AC, but to me it means so much more.  It makes me think of the moms who made crafts to sell to help raise money for the unit and all the ladies who bought things to contribute. It makes me think of those who give to support missionaries.   It makes me think of our missions pastor and his heart for missionaries.  It reminds me of our Pastor and wonderful home church, Faith Church, and their love for their missionaries.  It reminds that God does care about the little things! 

Was this a necessity for us to have here?  Definitely not, but our home church was nearly insistant that they do this for us.  I have told some of the other missionaries what our church did and they all have the same response, "Wow!  What a great church!"  And they are right.  We do have an amazingly supportive home church!

So each time I turn the air on, I will think of all the people who helped, donated, and felt led to give us this blessing and thank the Lord for each of them!


January Prayer Letter

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Singing in the Rain!!!

The heat the last few days has been rather oppressive. I thought it was just my pregnant self struggling with the heat until I heard other missionaries saying it was extra hot lately. And then, when you see the nationals sweating and hear them say it's hot....then you know it is REALLY hot! I have no idea what the actual temperature has been these last few days. I try not to look at the thermometer.   It seems like it is easier if I just don't know! But I would guess it has been well over 100 in the shade outside and in the upper 90's inside our house! The other morning as I was teaching the girls, I noticed they both had sweat dripping down their faces....but they don't complain! I have prayed (seriously I have!!) for grace to deal with the heat.  I am not complaining about the heat, but I have said several times over the last week that I am ready for rainy season to begin.

Obviously, the Lord knows about the heat and today He chose to smile on me. You see, it is Harmattan right now. You can Google it, but basically it is the time of year where the dust from the Sahara dessert travels south and coats everything here with a lovely layer of dust. There also is NO rain for several months. I think the last time it rained was early Decemeber.....until today!!! Hallelujah!

I noticed the air seemed a little cooler this morning (relatively speaking of course!) when I was cleaning up from breakfast so I told the kids to go play outside and enjoy the cooler air before we start school. As I was putting things away, Eliza comes running in the house practically screaming "It's gonna storm!!! I can hear it!! It's gonna storm!!" I walked outside and looked and sure enough it looked like rain clouds coming over the mountain.
Looking for the rain.  Even the kids seemed desperate for a little relief. You can see how brown and dry the gound is. 

Aiden watching the storm clouds roll over

And then I hear it...... the beautiful roll of thunder in the distance. I told the kids we will have to wait and see because it might not actually rain here.

Before I got the words out of my mouth, Aiden starts jumping up and down, "The wain Mommy! I can feel it!" It started to sprinkle and they all just had a fit running around and trying to catch the rain.  They played in it, danced in it, and sang in it!  It was quite the sight to see how excited they became over a little rain.

Trying to catch the rain drops. 

The kids were surprised how cold the rain felt when it hit there skin.  Eliza said, "Mommy, when the rain touches me I get these little spots on my arms."   I looked at her arms and saw that she had goose bumps!  Then  I realized that she hasn't been cool enough here to have goosebumps!

It only rained a few minutes and was just a sprinkle.   But we sure enjoyed it while it lasted.

Then, this afternoon, one of the other missionaries stopped by to see the kids and play some games. 

While they were playing, the wind picked up and it started again!!!! But this time, it poured!!!

Eliza trying to catch the rain falling off the metal roof.

The kids loved the feel of the cold rain!

Aiden had so much fun playing in the rain.....and in the puddles.
When it was all over, they were just drenched.  But they had such a great time.  Eliza even said, "Mommy, God knew you needed it to rain today!'  I know it seems like something small.  Did God make it rain here in Tsiko just for me?  No, probably not.  But it was a reminder to me that He knows our limits and today He knew that I needed just a little break from the Harmattan heat.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Renewing the Vision

Every year, during the first part of January, to kick things of here at Hopital Baptiste Biblique a revival is held specifically for the Togolese hospital employees.  It is a time of rededication and spiritual refreshment.  This year's theme was taken from Romans 12:2 "..... but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind...."

Denis and Beatrice (2 of my nursing students from our last term here) giving a testimony of God's grace and provision for their family.  What a joy to see them now married and serving the Lord!

I was not able to attend the meetings (had to stay home with Aiden), but John took the girls.  From our house, I could hear the singing every morning.  Oh, how it ministered to my heart to hear these sweet people worshiping the Lord.

The emphasis was placed on renewing the vision of HBB which is to share the Gospel by the avenue of modeling the compassion of Christ as we provide compassionate medical care. The work here is not humanitarian. Sure, it does play that role at times. But the SOLE mission of the hospital, staff and missionaries is to reach the lost people of Togo for Christ by providing for their physical needs. We are not just here to heal bodies....we are here to provide healing for the soul through knowing Jesus!

What a great time the revival was to refocus on that goal and to rededicate the work here to reaching the lost for Christ!  Our prayer is that this year, 2013, will prove to be a spiritually fruitful year as we endeavor to share the love of Christ through medicine!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Christmas Eve Delivery

Wow, I am sorry it has been so long since my last post.  I guess things have gotten a little busier lately and I have slacked off!  I will try to catch up over the next few days!

On Christmas Eve, I along with another missionary Judy, Eliza and Olivia made a special delivery to a dear sweet Christian lady.  Maggie is just a wonderful woman who loves God and has such a desire to live for Him.  She works here on the compound with literature distribution and is an invaluable member of the Bible translation team that works to translate the Bile into tribal dialects.  Unfortunately,  she has severe diabetes and in Togo it is extremely difficult to live with that disease due to lack of protein and a very high carbohydrate diet. But the Lord has really blessed her with good health lately.

Judy and I talked and thought it would be a blessing to surprise her with a little gift.  So we took the girls to a little shop in the village and bought a box of goodies for her and her family.  It wasn't anything grand, but we were able to buy some canned fish and a few other things that we thought would help her and her family to have a special Christmas.

Heading back off the main road to Maggie's house. 
The girls love Maggie and were so excited!

Outside in the courtyard area where Maggie and her family live
visiting with her daughters.

When we got there Maggie was not home so we just left the box with her daughters.  Once again, as happens so often here, I was struck by just how blessed I am.  The girls were so excited to be able to give the gift.  It was such a sweet experience and I am glad the girls were able to go along. 

My family

My family