Sunday, August 27, 2017

Bye -Bye for Now...until next time!

 God Be With You

God be with you till we meet again
By His counsels guide, uphold you,
With His sheep securely fold you
God be with you till we meet again


Till we meet-----
Till we meet, Till we meet at Jesus' feet,
Till we meet----
Till we meet----God be with you till we meet again

God be with you till we meet again,
'Neath His wings protecting hide you,
Daily manna still provide you
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again, 
When life's perils thick confound you,
Put His arms unfailing round you
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again
Keep love's banner floating o'er you,
Smite death's threatening wave before you
God be with you till we meet again.

Jeremiah E. Rankin (1826-1904)
Public Domain

How did the time here  in Niger go so fast? This morning I woke up thinking about this old hymn. It is a bit of a tear jerk-er. We used to sing this at the end of BSF Leader's Retreats. The tears would flow not knowing if we would see each other for another few years. My Mum has recalled saying good bye to missionaries at the docks in England. She recounted a time when a young woman was going to a far off land with a wedding dress and baby clothes in anticipation of her future joys! When one left to serve in another land it was a lifetime commitment with seldom opportunity to seeing one's homeland or family again.  Serving the LORD today is quite different. With the advent of airplanes, antimalarial medications, Internet, stricter visa requirements and government restrictions on Christian missionaries rarely leave their home country forever.  I was brought up to love and respect missionaries. At the same time, I learned that all those who are saved are a part of the God's family. We are missionaries...each one has the privilege of sharing the Good News of God's kingdom. Simply put,  you are either a missionary or a mission field!

As a young child, my Sunday School teacher, one year, was a missionary on furlough. Her name was Mary Poole. She was a missionary in Rhodesia (which is now Zambia). I was 10 years old and so impressed with her love and devotion to the LORD and to the children who she taught at the Sakagie School. She brought reel to reel movies which was pretty sophisticated for missionaries in those days. All the other missionaries had slide shows beginning with maps and ending in lovely sunsets. In between these book ends, there would be pictures of missionaries in villages with straw thatched roofs and church services under trees. Miss Poole's movie showed me the movement of children playing, learning and engaged in everyday activities. During her movie, I sensed the Holy Spirit calling me to go to Africa to be a nurse for these dear people. Oh, how I wanted to leave everything behind to go and be a missionary in Africa! So I began to pray.....and pray........the Lord's timing was not what I expected.

Fast forward 37 years, nursing studies, marriage, 3 children....many life events, including various ministries.

Finally, it seemed that the LORD answered my prayers and in 2004, I was able to travel to Uganda for my first African experience. It was so wonderful to be able to integrate my nursing with my love for the LORD....What would be the next step or phase of serving the LORD? How could I be a missionary in Africa as my heart desired?

God's plans and ways are so amazing as He has allowed me to go back and forth since then serving with CURE International as a nurse. Now I get to serve as a nurse consultant, sharing my love of Jesus Christ with my passion for caring for people's health and well being....physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually. It has been a joy to even have family members join me in the earlier years. More recently, my dear husband Paul has enjoyed joining in God's activity through CURE International and is able to travel with me.  This journey, I had to make alone. It is hard to be away from Paul especially at this particular time in our lives as grandparents and with some health issues. It is hard to be away from Mum who lives with us too. Being able to go back and forth works well for the most part.  So here I am preparing to return to Lexington......part of me will always be in Africa, particularly in Niger, ( but also Zambia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya and wherever the LORD calls me)!
God be with us till me meet again!!

Sweet cuddles and goodbyes...last picture together for this time!

Some of my team of nurses....I say my team because they are like my family! Love each one1

Deep and wide there is a fountain flowing deep and wide. May these dear children and their caregivers all know the length, breadth and height of the love of God through Jesus Christ one day! Looking forward to next time!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Restoring the broken

One of our amazing cases of two brothers with very deformed is the older brother with his first surgery to straighten his legs. Wow, this young man is going to be so tall when the surgeries finished! Even JF our surgeon is surprised.
Our friend is leaving the ward for the hostel which is on the hospital property. He will stay there with his mother and brother until the next phase of his treatment. This young fellow is so happy....I didn't catch his smile in this photo. He is also deaf but seems to read lips well and just rolls with life. He has such a calm attitude towards everything. I learn so much from our patients.

So many of our little ones who come to CURE are starved for affection. Today, I had three kiddos on my lap for morning devotions. They messed up my hair, smoushed my fresh dress and dirtied up my clean white pants....but who cares....they just wanted me to put my arms around them, sing to them, pray over them and acknowledge that they are special. Jesus loves these little ones......I know for the Bible tells me so!

These kids just vie for attention....and love to see their faces on the selfie mode of the phone! It is all part of loving and restoring these dear ones while they are with us.

Sodogas our special Physical Therapist, is helping a young man who is post op and learning to walk with a heavy cast using crutches. He has a lot of patience and kindness towards these little after day!
 Sometimes it feels like I am the broken one. My heart is so overwhelmed with the brokenness, poverty, sickness and hopelessness of the people we see day after day. Yet it is always good to remember what I have learned this summer while studying Ephesians 6:10-18...the armor of God is actually putting on the person of the LORD Jesus Christ....being hidden in Him for our daily struggles and joys, too!
Today this hymn has been on my heart and it has blessed me very much...maybe it will you too?

How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer's ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole and calms the troubled breast;
'Tis manna to the hungry soul and to the weary rest.

Dear name! The Rock on which I build, my Shield and Hiding Place, 
My never failing treasure filled with boundless stores of grace!

Jesus my Shepherd, Brother, Fried, My Prophet, Priest and King, 
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart and cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art, I'll praise Thee as I ought.

Till then I would Thy love proclaim with every fleeting breath;
And may the music of Thy name Refresh my soul in death.

Well folks, it was a great day at the hospital, having a small role in restoring the broken. It was great praying together, playing with the children and participating in wound care today. There are many layers to the work here that all add up to restoration physically, socially and hopefully spiritually too. May it all be done to the honor of the name of JESUS CHRIST our LORD and SAVIOR.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tuesday Musings--Rain, Rounds, Bandages and Blessings!

Tuesday morning rain fell steadily and abundantly on our way to the hospital
We saw many ponds, rivers and 'lakes' made by the accumulation of water

And how would you get to work?

Morning rounds includes Joel our CURE Kids Coordinator loving on the sweet patients. I didn't capture his smile but the children just love him. He is so comforting for the little ones. Thanks Joel!!
So happy to have a nice supply of rolled bandages supplied by the Workers Together Ladies Sewing Circle from Boca Raton Bible Chapel in Boca Raton, Florida.

See how we are using these hand rolled bandages! Thank you!
One of our wound care tables is assembled and ready....including the above mentioned bandages.
Pretty girl and her grandfather. She was actually smiling when I showed her this picture. She was giggling as I chatted with her. These pretty bandages are such a blessing. I like to think that as this bandage surrounds her head, this dear little girl will experience the loving everlasting arms of the LORD Jesus Christ in her life one day!
Dear Djamilla, a nurse I have known since the beginning of my journeys to CURE Niger, came to visit me on her vacation time. She especially wanted to greet me and ask about Pappa Paul. Feeling so very loved by the nurses here! Relationships are so important! I have known her for nearly 7 years.

This sweet girl has suffered many burns on her arms and legs. She is so happy and jolly in spite of all her grafts and wounds. Every morning when I am at devotions, this little girl likes to sit with me or on my lap. These dear children just love all the affection that you can give them. It is very refreshing that they do not ask for anything....just to be with me! Of course, it is my joy to occasionally bring stickers, lollipops and other little treats.

It is always a joy to greet and take a picture for those who want one....even if we do not speak the same language. It is as if the picture affirms them and gives them a moment of connection between us. What joy!

Rainy Days and Mondays make me smile!

It's raining! It's pouring! Rain is seen as a blessing for the crops. Sometimes those who live in low lying areas, their homes flood. JF kindly chauffeured some hospital staff including me to work on Monday and rainy days. Thanks!
Blessed to have a team of Americans come to help with surgeries.

It is great to see collaboration and precision in the work at CURE!
Behind every great surgery is a team of anesthesia staff, techs and of course nurses! Rabi and I were circulating together yesterday! We love being together! 
Behind my surgical mask is a big smile. Why? I love being here in Niger. It is a huge privilege to be a small part of bringing healing to disabled children and at the same time bringing the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ.  

I have been asked how my day rolls. So I will try to tell you about a typical day like yesterday in the operating theater, bloc or whatever you like to call it.

5:30 Alarm goes off, get ready for work
6:10 Join the Negrini family for breakfast
6:30 Espresso coffee made by JF Negrini (surgeon and master of coffee preparation) 
6:50 Leave for the hospital to pick up staff along the way
7:20 Arrive at the hospital
7:30 Ward Rounds
8:00 Hospital Devotions/Yesterday I helped prepare for the surgical cases, otherwise I attend daily
8:30 Begin first surgical case (anesthesia induction and nerve blocks)
9:00 Prayer and surgeons begin first case
12:00 First case finishes
12:10  Prayer and second surgical case begins with anesthesia preparing patient with a spinal and nerve block
12:30 Surgeons begin surgery on second patient. I am helping to translate from English into French and also circulating as a nurse (gathering and opening materials like sutures or bandages)
15:30 Second surgical case finishes. We eat lukewarm rice, beans and spices for a late lunch. We are so hungry we do not care what we are eating!
16:00 Observe a training session that JF is giving to the nurses regarding a new drill system and drill cover for the orthopedic cases. Quick visit to the ward to see post op patients
16:30 Return to my corner in Josh's office to write notes and check email etc
18:00 Leave to go home for the evening.....tired and satisfied in a good work day!!
Thank you dear Heavenly Father for the work you put into our hands. May it be done in such a way that those receiving care would see Your love and care for them. May the words of our mouth share the Good News as we go about our daily duties.
18:30-20:30 Dinner and refreshing time with the Negrini family.
20:30 Reading etc then to sleep early as each morning comes around early!!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Sunday Activities

Proud and beautiful Hannatou with her new daughter Eliza---dedicated to the LORD!
I am so excited to be included on this very special occasion as part of the CURE family!

See the plastic bags? They contain the catered lunch...a box with rice, a little meat and veggie sauce, a soft drink and a bag (yes, bag) of water.  Everyone was very pleased with this generous offering!

Nafissa is one of our ward nurses. She was showing me her 3 month old beautiful!
Enjoyed an afternoon coffee after the baby presentation/dedication at the Negrini's....learned to warm and soften a Belgium waffle over the hot coffee.....yummy!

Finished Sunday at NEWS (Niamey-English-Worship-Service)....expat missionaries and workers join together to sing praises and share God's Word together. It was a very refreshing time!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Feline, Festivities, 'Formation' and Friday Feasts

Feline: Hazel is a sweet puppy with the family and friends but she can be a very fierce guard dog when she needs to be! Näiva loves her pets! Hazel decided a relaxing pose would be appropriate for Facebook and the blog!
Festivities: Happy 16th Birthday to Maïka!!
'Formation' is French for training-today we had training in CPR
Formation: Scrub tech and surgeon practice resuscitation together

Friday Feast: After a long week of surgery and CPR training session Dr. Negrini treated us to brochettes and baguettes

 It has been a full first week at the hospital and today my post is a few pictures featuring Thursday's birthday celebration for Maïka and the Friday activities at the hospital.  We began the day with a wonderful time of singing and praising the LORD for His goodness this week. It is such a gift to be here!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Simply Trusting

It is very wonderful to keep returning to CURE Hôpital des Enfants au Niger! There are always many people to see, things to do and places within the community to visit. Last evening I had dinner with a dear friend and we discussed many things concerning our lives over the years. A theme was trusting in the LORD to guide, provide and care for our various needs and those around us.  As I went to bed, I was humming this hymn. When I awoke this morning, this hymn was still on my heart and on my lips......

Trust Him When Thy Wants Are Many

Trust Him when thy wants are many
Trust Him when thy friends are few
And the time of swift temptation
Is the time to trust Him too!

Trust Him when thy soul is burdened
With the sense of all its sin
He will speak the word of pardon
He will make thee clean within

Trust Him for the 'grace sufficient'
Ever equal to thy need
Trust Him always for the answer
When in His dear name you plead

Trust Him for the grace to conquer 
He is able to subdue
Trust Him for the power for service
Trust Him for the blessing too.

Trust Him when the dark doubts assail thee
Trust Him when they strength is small
Trust Him when to simply trust Him
Seems the hardest thing of all

Trust Him! He is ever faithful
Trust Him for His will is best
Trust Him for the heart of Jesus
Is the only place of rest.

Trust Him, when through clouds or sunshine
All thy cares upon Him cast
Till the storm of life is over
And the trusting days are past.

Lucy A. Bennett (1850-1927) 
Public Domain

This dear Maman is carrying her child who has received corrective surgery and is relearning to walk. There is another baby on her back and who knows how many at home!? Trusting for our patients' healing!
These kiddies are so happy to have knitted hats from Boca Raton Bible Chapel...even in the heat! Their clothes are in tatters! So glad that each of the children could receive something! Trusting for our patients' material needs!

This dear baby Jean is usually smiling but malaria has him down in the dumps. Maman Maureen is more than happy to cuddle and snuggle with him. Picture taken is better today! PTL! Trusting for healing from malaria!

One of our patients is from Sierra is quite amusing to hear her talking to me in English!! Trusting for our long stay patients who are away from family, friends and all that is familiar!