Saturday, December 25, 2010

Heroes of the Faith in Niger

It must seem that everyone I met at CURE Niger impressed me.....well,  pretty much, that is correct. It is by faith that families have relocated to a new place, with a new culture, and a new set of sacrifices as they serve the LORD.  Only the Lord could have hand picked such incredible people!
The man on the right is Jean Francois Negrini. He is the surgeon at the CURE children's hospital in Niger. I wrote about his wife on a previous blog.  JF is an amazing man of God. He is a loving husband and father. More than that, JF is a great doctor. He cares deeply for the people who come to the hospital. JF is a shaker and mover. He works hard to see things happen so that patients are cared for excellently. He is a great teacher, trainer and mentor for the staff.  He cares deeply for people in the community.  JF and Anne were patient teachers during my October visit as I tried hard to recall French vocabulary and verb conjugations. Their children were exceptionally helpful in correcting my poor grammar too.  But I digress...this hero of the faith has relocated his family of four children from a mission compound in Bangladesh to a busy capital city in West Africa. Jean Francois and Anne are trusting God for the education of their children in foreign systems. They are trusting God for His provision for material, emotional, social and spiritual needs of each of these dear children. Please pray for this dear family! One thing that I love about this family is that they take life in stride with humor and joy. It was such a joy to 'do life' with them. JF and Anne are intentional in their parenting. They are raising children who are multilingual, aware of the world around them and compassionate towards those who are in need. Along they way they are teaching their children to enjoy life and make the best of every situation.  Is it any wonder, that I am wide awake on Christmas eve, blogging about these heroes of the faith? When I think about the Negrini family, I think about their singing, laughing, playing, helping, welcoming and enjoyment of people. May the Lord bless this family along with the Lemans and Roarks this Christmas season.  When I go to Niger in January, I will have to get more pictures of the families for my blog! You will enjoy hearing more about these precious missionary families.  These heroes of the faith are living incarnation-ally...they are the hands and feet of Jesus in a community that is lost, lonely and in desperate need of a Savior...Christ the Lord! Happy Christmas one and all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dear People-Niger

Whenever I brought my camera to the hospital, people would ask me to take their picture.  Often they would ask to have a picture taken with me! This particular day, I had a lot of fun being in pictures with some very dear people at the CURE Hospital in Niger. Dr. Gary Roark on the left unfortunately got a bit of his head chopped off in the photo...he is much taller than the rest of us! Ali in the middle is all smiles. He has something to smile about! During my first week at CURE, Ali's son became extremely ill with malaria. He did not respond to the first line of treatment, so the dear little boy was admitted to the hospital for IV therapy to rehydrate him and to give the medications that would bring relief. The poor little fellow was so very low and he gave his parents quite a fright. We knew that the child could easily die from malaria....yet we put our trust in the LORD for healing as the appropriate medical care was given....trusting in God's wisdom and mercy.  By the time of the Grand Opening on October 18th. the young lad was full of health and joy!

Can you believe it? God is so good. Ali is sure that the Lord brought about the restored health of his son. How grateful I am for the mercy of the Lord in the life of this dear one.
Please pray for Dr. Gary Roark as he oversees the medical aspects of the hospital. Pray for wisdom, ingenuity with staff training, creativity when supplies are not readily available and continued progress in learning the French language. Dr. Gary has a great sense of humor and endears himself to the staff.  He is trusted and respected by all which is a huge step in developing relationships in a new country.
No wonder, I am excited for the opportunity to return to CURE Niger in January.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beautiful People-CURE International

As our children grew up, my dear husband Paul intentionally provided opportunities for our family to meet and get to know people who exemplify the love of Jesus Christ in their lives....in character and service to Him.  Over the years, our children, who are now adults, enjoyed the privilege of meeting many missionaries, pastors and interesting people. Sometimes the people seemed unlikely candidates for God's kingdom work! Yet through all these special visits and relationships, we learned important lessons....God uses whom He chooses (not always the ones we think would be best suited for a ministry), God uses those who obey Him (no point in being a Jonah...look where that got him!) God brings glory to Himself often by the way He faithfully enlarges our vision and passion for His kingdom expansion. God receives much glory as He produces the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives....love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
Christine Lehman and Anne Negrini
Whenever I travel visiting CURE International hospitals, I meet beautiful people.  These are people who are sacrificial and outstanding in their examples to me of serving the LORD. I like to call them modern day heroes of the faith. Since I cannot bring these beautiful people home for Sunday dinner to introduce to the family I'd like to present in this blog posting two sweet friends and sisters who impressed me with their love and commitment to the LORD. Christine Lehman  and Anne Negrini are two women who I met in October 2010 while visiting the CURE hospital in Niger. These women are amazing examples to me of steadfast faithfulness and obedience to the LORD.
Chris is the wife of the hospital Executive Director Leron, she is the mother of three, and a part-time pre-school/kindergarten teacher. Chris is an amazing hostess, helpful friend and dear sister in the LORD. I love her cheerful attitude and ability to jump enthusiastically into a project. I was so grateful for her interest and help in sorting the toys for the 'Pavilion' so that the children had access to toys and books during their hospital stay. Chris is down to earth and practical in her relationship with the LORD and people. She lives her theology! Upon my arrival, she bought me a sac of groceries....sensible and practical. She also included me into her circle to enjoy 'girl friend time'. I love Chris and can't wait for the next time we get to be together!
Anne is the wife of the CURE surgeon, she is the mother of four children, a skilled crepe maker, an amazing cook, and a trained Radiology Technician. Anne was born in Switzerland and has served the LORD in many countries before and since her marriage to Jean Francois. She is no stranger to sorrow, experiencing and seeing many losses in various places as she serves GOD. But, look at the picture....she is smiling and she has the joy of the LORD. Anne is a sweet and tender sister....she took me under her wing when I was alone in the guesthouse. She treated me to many lovely meals and even invited me for a sleepover in their guestroom...with a water-bed! Anne was a patient tutor as I bumbled along in my Quebequois French. I insisted that we speak French as much as possible so that I could communicate with the nurses at the hospital. I love Anne and feel so much at home with her.
Both of these mothers are passionate about raising children who are aware of the realities of life....especially the reality that life is not about us (in case you are wondering....life is about God, His plans and purposes)! They are raising children who are aware of poverty, injustice and God's kingdom work amongst the 'least of these'.....the poor little children born with disabilities. These children are learning many realities in Niger. These are real kids....growing into citizens of the world, aware of God's plan to bring some of every tribe, language and nation into His kingdom.  They see by word and example the Love of Jesus Christ. My heart overflows with admiration and love for these precious MKs (missionary kids). God bless you dear sisters as you raise your family in difficult places and in trying times! Thank you for your example of love and generosity to so many. You are beautiful from the inside out! You are heroes of the faith!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Blessings in Niger

Morning sustenance-Bread of Life, baguette and Starbucks Coffee
The hospital gate....people waiting to come in and be blessed!
One thing I learned many years ago, was that I need to have a regular daily appointment with my God and Savior. He speaks to me through the Bible and I try very hard to listen. I enjoy talking to my Heavenly Father in prayer. It is easy to get distracted though! This particular morning as I read the scriptures on the terrace of the guest house in Niamey,  my eyes were drawn to the men down on the land toiling to get rid of the weeds on the hospital property.  It was very hot, sunny and did I say hot? It was amazing to see how diligent these men were to clear the land to protect the hospital property from rodents, snakes and mosquitoes that hide in the scrub. I was reminded that I too need to clear my life of unnecessary clutter and anything that might insidiously invade my life causing heartache and harm to those around me. How wonderful to enjoy special moments in a new surrounding and be filled by God's precious words. He brings to life Biblical truths. Matthew 13 speaks about different soils that represent my heart's condition when hearing the scriptures......sometimes when I hear God's Word it is quickly snatched away by inattentiveness or distracting thoughts. Other times God's Word is taken into my life but doesn't take deep roots so when the heat of temptation or persecution comes...I've got nothing to show for it!  Sadly sometimes God's message to me is choked out by the cares and worries of life. Oh, dear....! Thankfully Jesus' parable speaks of times when my heart is prepared and ears are listening and much comes from the Word of God planted in me. It is good to be taken away from all that is familiar and be alone with the LORD. These travels for CURE International strengthen my faith and allow me to be quiet, to listen and to be filled....not just to benefit me but so that I can be a blessing to others. That is my heartbeat.....to pour out onto others the many blessings of knowing and living for Jesus Christ my Savior. Look at the faces pressed at the gate....longing for physical healing and in desperate need of spiritual healing too! Welcome dear ones.....you have come to the right place!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Niger-CURE Children's Hospital

This fall I spent 4 weeks at the CURE Children's Hospital of Niger. It was a very exciting time. It was a challenging time. I loved being in Niger very much. You might be wondering....how is Niger different from the other places that I have visited for CURE International?
First of all Niger is in West Africa....all the other places I have been have been in East Africa...Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. Niger is not a former British Colony like Kenya and Uganda....nor is it a country like Ethiopia that was influenced greatly by Italy.  No, Niger is a former French colony. It is a country where French is the language of education and business. What a blessing to have learned French while I lived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada!  Although I hadn't used French for many years, the Lord helped me to communicate in this beautiful language. When I explained to my new Swiss friends that my Quebequois French was often scorned by Parisians as sounding like a 'farmer'....they said that in Niger Quebequois French was called the 'pure french' unaffected by other European countries. They went on to say that when French is poorly spoken they say....'Ils parlent comme une vache espanole'...meaning they speak French like a Spanish cow! Hope I didn't sound like that!  The Lord was so good to help me communicate to the nurses and the staff in my simple French. I was even asked to pray in French a few times. I learned to read my French Bible and appreciated the richness of the language. Some familiar verses took on deeper and fuller meaning to me! How grateful I am for God's gift of language.....and understanding.
It was an exciting time for me as my assignment was to train the nurses for the official opening of the hospital. Surgery was to begin and patients would be not only in the clinics but in the operating room (Surgical Block) and the ward (Pavilion). There was much to learn. This picture was taken after we spent time on respiratory assessment. The nurses were so happy to receive from CURE their very own stethoscopes. I thought that my nursing career might be over, but the LORD called and I am obeying! More about the trip next time!

Friday, November 5, 2010

What happened to the blogs?

Hello dear blog followers! If you thought that I went AWOL rest assured that all is A-OK!  Although, I managed to email quite easily from Niger, my little iPod began to act up and I could not blog after the last entry....most annoying but then, those are the sorts of things that happen with travel. It seems that perhaps the internet may have been restricted for a few days, plus a number of power outages....all making communication a bit dicey. There's the excuse and explanation for not blogging.
So here I am back in the USA....so how was Africa?  In a word GREAT!!
If you want to know more, you will have to wait until later when I download my pictures. Meanwhile, imagine everyday being in the 100's F, rusty brown sand/dirt everywhere and flat....I mean flat! Imagine being the only person in a large guesthouse.....on the outskirts of the city.....within a walled hospital compound and guarded by security officers who carry only spray cans of something.....that they say puts the intruder to sleep?!  Sure sounded dicey to me but then again.....I was surrounded and protected by my loving Father and His angels encamping round about me. Was I afraid.....not much!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday in Niamey with Linda

Happy Saturday to all the blog readers! Last night was a very quiet one as Linda the other housemate besides me was crook...she is an Aussie and that means she was sick. It pays to speak several dialects of English....Canadian, British, Jamacian, Aussie and the most difficult of all American! Haha...even when we speak the same language we can struggle to understand expression and meanings. Back to my point...Linda was sick so we didn't think to do anything much today. However much to my delight Linda woke with just a bit of a cough and suggested we make our way to the Petite Marche as she wanted to do a little shopping. I feel very safe here but prefer to do something like this with someone else. We got a taxi easily enough and arrived at just the right spot to find quite an array of leather, brass, silver, wooden and batik crafts. We shopped and paused to pop into the grocery store for a cool drink. Then we went back to the shops for a bit. I bought a few small items and put them in my little backpack. A young man named Amadou convinced me to buy some oranges, two mangos and a pineapple for 4000 CFAs which is What? Oh brother,I just paid $8 for a bit of fruit for the week! That's almost what I'd have paid at Krogers or Meijers...at the time it seemed a good deal. Never was too good with the rapid calculations. Can hear my family laughing at this:)
After Linda and I made our purchases,we enjoyed a nice brunch at Amadine's an expat hangout with French pastries, gelato, European dishes and fabulous coffee. I sipped an espresso while Linda had a latte. We enjoyed omelets and baguette and finished the meal with some delicious biscuits (cookies for my American readers). Linda and I chatted heart to heart as women and sisters in the Lord. Is there anything finer than true Christian fellowship? Sally Harrison's charge to us at the Grand Opening of the hospital was Psalm 133...how good and pleasant it is for brothers (and sisters) to live together in unity.
It is such a delight volunteering for CURE International and see the partnerships and cooperation with other NGOs (non government organizations).
So all in all this has been a good Saturday and typical for many of you...shopping, coffee and lunch out with your friends! As a young girl in Pioneer Girls, we learned a little song that we sang in a round...Make new friends but keep the old..One is silver and the other gold! All friends are precious! Looking forward to being with you all in USA and Canada again soon. Sure, I am missing you but I am not ready to come home until this week of surgery is completed. We have a team from Monaco coming to operate...or is it Morroco? Guess I didn't read the memo well! Atfer that...I'm coming home!
Until then, God bless you and keep you, turning His attention and grace to you, giving you peace that only He can give! Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Big week in Niamey!

So sorry for not blogging this week. It has been an abundant one! Since so much has happened I think I'd better give you the high and low lights while we have electricity and Internet...
*Grand Opening of CURE Hospital for Children of Niger
*Meeting dignitaries from Niger Government
*Being asked to be Facebook friends with the Minister of Communications
*Enjoyed Tea with Scott and Sally Harrison and the CURE Board delegation
*Discussed nursing issues with Sir Christopher Levy MDCM
*Invited to CURE reception at Grand Hotel
*Ate dinner with two dear brothers in Christ from Switzerland who have labored for many years for the Evangelical Leprosy Mission
*Another dinner partner was a hospital director of a Leprosy hospital
*Met an amazing family from Colorado who graciously donated the funds to build the CURE Hospital
*Worked alongside nurses at the clinic seeing cases that would break your heart knowing all I could give them was Jesus' and I guess that is all we truly need
*Saw hopeless and disappointed faces on those we could not provide surgical/medical care
*Lectured the rest of the week in French with minimal help from translator
*Nearly pulled my hair out with trying to make nursing schedule
*Went to craft Market with guesthouse mates Don and Alex
*Enjoyed wise counsel from Andy Group from CURE HQ
*Sadly said goodbye to the above named men who returned to the USA after serving at hospital for many weeks! Before they left they treated Linda and me to an elegant dinner at Le Pillier a nice French Restaurant in Niamey
*Joyfully welcomed Linda Coordinator of the World Clubfoot Program. She is Aussie so I feel right at home....we speak the same English and enjoy a cup together
*Experienced dehydration and drank a liter of Gaterade, a first for me
*Danced for joy when nursing schedule was presented and accepted by management and staff
*Received so many answers to prayer I know God is alive and I give Him honor and thanks for being so compassionate and kind to me
*Inspite of power outages and water cuts...I am grateful for the comforts of communication and community...one hilarious moment was the faucet coming off into my hand on the morning of the Grand Opening! You have to have a good sense of humor to enjoy overseas travel!
*Feeling fidgety tonight as work complete until Monday...what to do on a Friday might in Niamey...anyone want to rent a camel (dromedary) with me and cruise the streets?
Looking forward to Sunday and worshipping togethr with dear brothers and sisters on French and maybe some other languages too...what a picture of heaven to see some from many of the tribal groups praising the Lord altogether!!
Happy Weekend!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday in Niamey

It started out at a 'cool' temperature of 88 F inside, this morning. I prepared my morning coffee and reflected upon Psalm 123. What a great privilege to know our Lord Jesus Christ and to be able to look to Him for direction for the day's activities. As I look to the Lord and not anything else my thoughts, emotions and interactions with others will have a proper perspective. On the missionfield, it is like anywhere else....the tyranny of the urgent can rob one of peace and joy in the good works the Lord has prepared for me. I am grateful for God's plan to put us in a community of faithful ones. How we need one another for the challenges ahead. Today I went to the SIM church and felt quite at home. The songs in French were easy for me to sing. I love the African worship as it is so enthusiastic. I felt as if we were all looking to Christ alone for help, strength and renewal. What a great way to start a new week!
Afterward, we joined two dear men from the Leprosy Mission and the Nigrini family (CURE surgeon) for lunch at Amadine's. It is a French pastry shop and restaurant. I had grilled fish in case anyone is interested:) The fellowship was sweet and felt like a Sunday lunch that the Sloan brothers so frequently hosted. We were a mixed group, speaking so many different languages yet we had the common love for Christ Jesus. One of the dear Swiss brothers insisted on paying for our meal. I am so used to Paul and David treating...I was so very touched and so very grateful. Learning to receive graciously can be a challenge when one is used to being the giver.
Tomorrow, it is the Grand Opening of the CURE Children's Hospital of Niger. We are looking to the Lord our strength and guide for a day that will communicate Christ's love for the little children. May those who attend feel welcomed and excited for the healing that will change lives for eternity.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Power Shortages?

Have not blogged for a couple of days as Niamey has experienced some major power outages. There has been a problem with the supply which comes from Nigeria. When the electricity is out the water system also fails. Sounds pretty uncomfortable, eh? (like my Canadianism?) What I learned from the past couple of days is:
1. I am dependant on electricity to live.
2. These inconveniences are minimal compared to what the people of Niger live with daily.
3. Without giving Satan more power than he has, I expect these disruptions are temptations to be discouraged and obstacles to the furtherance of the gospel of Jesus Christ as the CURE Children's hospital plans it's Grand Opening on Monday.
3. I must be more concerned about God's glory than my comfort level.
4. God takes care of me whether I am in the USA or here.
Truly the Lord has given me deep abiding peace and joy as I serve Him here.
It is wonderful to be a small part of a big effort to bring healing to bodies and hearts of patients and their caregivers.
As temperatures drop to the 90's we are grateful.
As the water pressure increases for toilets,laundry and cooking we are grateful.
More than electricity or drinking water, I need no interruptions in the supply of spiritual energy that comes from the Holy Spirit through prayer, Bible study and fellowship with God's people. There is never a reason for a short supply!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday's training session with nurses...in French

What an exciting day! Those of who know me well, know that teaching floats my boat! It is such a joy to share life with students. Today we discussed what are the important distinctions of CURE nurses. I shared with these dear nurses what character, perspective and values are desirable in giving care at a CURE hospital. We had a great discussion with Christian and Moslem nurses all together. Later I did some demonstrations for IM injections and sterile dressing technique. It was amazing that the Lord helped me with my French. Originally,the plan was to teach via a translator but I started in French and used Angelique (translator)only a back up. The nurses appreciated my efforts. It was a real answer to prayer. Tomorrow I will demonstate the procedure on a patient. These dear nurses want to learn and do the right thing, in the right way.....oh that we would have the same attitude in obeying the Lord! I wish that my GO Team was here with me! We had a great bunch or nursing students. I could use a software program....or Mandi to help us with the scheduling of nursing staff. It is a skill I never had to use very much. So now the teaching for today is over. I walked home between two storms...dust and rain. Oh, boy it is quite something to see the sand/dirt fly about...along with the black plastic bags which are a curse on the environment!
What a great day! What an exciting day! What great opportunity to share my faith in God, in Jesus. The nurses are interested to know what makes this a Christian hospital and how is it different to any other. Teaching is exhausting, fulfilling and so delightful. We have much to think about until the next time the nurses have their 'formation' that is the French word for training. May I continually be in 'formation' as a daughter and servant of my Heavenly Father.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday in OR

Today it started out looking cloudy. There was a hint of rain which is always a blessing. Before the rain began to pour we had a huge dust storm. I felt like I was watching a snow storm and stranded evev to go the several yards to the hospital complex. I waited it out and several minutes later all was calm and I could slither over. I missed staff devotions this morning as the two doctors and I were sorting out a few things for the first case. We had a great time of prayer together which put everything in perspective for the day ahead. Prayer is like that isn't it?As we talk to our Heavenly Father and listen to the Holy Spirit's leading we can step out confidently to do the work He has given us! Although, I have little OR experience, I scrubbed as the circulating nurse. I learned and taught disinfection of surgical instruments and autoclaving! Wow teacher and learner and I'd better be humble about it as I am trying to get up to speed. My McGill nursing training has come in good stead! The exciting day continued for the CURE staff in Niamey, Niger. After the morning case to release the tendons bilaterally for a little girl with club feet, we had a special visitor from the government. There was great joy on everyone's faces as they saw the wonderful facilities. Please continue to pray for the commuminty to understand that the hospital is taking children born with certain disabilites like cleft palates, burn contracture and of course club feet. It will take time. It is always sad for me to see patients turned away but we do not have the resources or expertise to care for these problems. Praise the Lord we can pray for these dear ones and give them hope in a God who loves, understands and cares. This Heavenly Father understands the pain of seeing His own Son suffer.
All in all this was a great day! We have experienced loss of power...now back on...wind/rain storm....causing the roof of the guest house to leak....and water not running this evening....had my shower and dishes are done...We have plenty of water to drink...so don't worry! Am living the dream, happy to be serving the Lord. Wednesday, I get to teach via a translator when my French fails me. Excuse the errors on this blog. The one finger typing is tricky:)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bats!

Bats and more bats....on the way to church this evening we saw bats near the river. They seemed to be diving for fish!? There are hippos in the river and I hope to get a glimpse of them soon. Evening worship was great all the expats off many language groups joined together...praising God. The preacher was visiting from Richmond Hill, Ontario. Message on the availability of the Holy Spirit to do His work, His way.

Sunday in Niamey, Niger Warm Worship

What a funny blog experience! I wrote a long blog about today's church experience, then my iPod wouldn't post it due to some cyberspace mumbo jumbo. Thankfully, Alex and Don have kindly let me use their laptop for a bit. Today's worship experience was awesome and a taste of heaven. There were some from many tribes and languages worshiping together. There were some who looked like Lawrence of Arabia, some with Niger traditional costumes, others were wearing some interesting western clothing that could have come from Old Navy or Macy's. Although, I did not understand the words, or even the dances they performed, the pastor who spoke French explained that they were praising the Lord Jesus their Savior.  It is delightful to know that God knows their language....and part of redemption of this world is the ability to communicate and bring understanding of one God, Creator and Savior. The time together was precious...warm fellowship. Speaking of warm fellowship, it was 104 in the shade and probably hotter when we went shopping for some groceries after church. It couldn't have been more than half a mile to walk but it felt like an oven. Thankfully I like the heat!
Please don't feel sorry for me. It is a wonderful experience to be in another African nation. I love the work I am doing....as challenging as it is! The Lord is faithful and I am ever thankful for all His tender mercies. The Christians here are so hospitable. God is good!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Safe and Sound in Niamey, Niger!

How does one describe first impressions? I am always tentative to make any broad generalizations or comparisons to the other African countries or Cure hospitals visited. Each is unique. What seems to be the same is the big welcome and smiling faces of CURE staff. It is a delight to see the new facilities and tremendous progress...for me it always comes back to people. So perhaps this will be my approach in blogging my experiences over the next month.Perhaps through word pictures you will enter into the people scenery of Niamey, Niger.
Yesterday upon my arrival, as I waited in line the woman who checked my documents was so kind to me. The young man who helped collect my bags was so enthusiastic even when I said I had no local currency! When another young man inspected my luggage with CURE labels he finally said, fini....meaning I could go meet Leron Lehman who was probably wondering what had happened to me!! What sweet greetings when I arrived at the hospital....my fractured French was received joyfully! The nurses, Drs. Gary and Jean Francois were such a delight to meet. I cannot wait to hear their stories! The guest house residents are a father and son team. Don and Alex have helped me feel most welcome. I hope that I can return the kindness. Of course, I expect that I may not have all the skills that could benefit the nursing staff but with Christ's strength what He purposes will be accomplished. It is a blessing to be here safe and sound which is saying a lot these traveling days! The guest house accommodations are much nicer than expected. The Lord had gone ahead and will make a way for His will to be done as CURE Children's Hospital of Niger officially opens. Can't wait to meet clinic patients and their caregivers...also the Spiritual Director, kitchen staff...guess I'd better get some sleep...now I am awake as it is usual time to get up!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Niger Bound....on a wing and a prayer!

We live in quite a world.....I never flew until I was 17 or 18 years old and now I am flying overseas several times a year!  Each time, I think, I'll pack smarter, pack lighter, be more organized etc....the Lord keeps reminding me that I am not in control, not even capable of doing any of this without the help of the body of Christ and His gracious strength.
This morning as Paul and I sipped our last cup of coffee together before he headed to the hospital, I was amazed at how much closer we have grown in our relationship. Obedience influences every area of our lives. God has blessed us so much....and we want to be a blessing to others.
What a joy to share a partnership that is complimentary......I'm bubbly, he's thoughtful, I talk a lot, he listens a lot, I have a calling with CURE overseas, he has a calling at the University of Kentucky! I love to talk about my relationship and serving God....Paul lives it....using words when necessary.  Paul not only supports this calling financially, but he supports me emotionally and prays for me daily too. One way that Paul helps me during all these extended times apart...is for us to plan special times together. When I get back, we will plan to have some special time in Peoria visiting Baby George...who is now 20 months. Now, that is a plan that any Grandma can get excited about! What can I say, but thank you to my dear Heavenly Father for giving me such a great husband!
It will be Paul's birthday on October 10th....and since I'll be away....HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEETHEART! May you be blessed and encouraged on your special day.
Next time I blog, I expect it will be from Niger. Thank you for praying for me!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Packing and praying!

Today, the last minute shopping is complete, banking done, laundry...check! Now the fun begins, to make all the piles of clothes, toiletries, books, food stuffs etc to fit into the luggage. It can be quite 'nerve wracking' to put it all in. As I look at the items I'd like to bring......somethings will have to be left behind this trip. Ouch! Oh, well, the Lord will help me bring what is truly needed.
How grateful I am for helping hands and kind ones who encourage and pray for this rather daunting task of packing.
To make it more interesting....besides the 50 lb bag limit.....I am awaiting a piece of medical equipment that weighs 20 lbs and is a foot cubed! Fun packing times.......adjusting and readjusting tomorrow.
All of this pales in the harsh realities of the dear folk I will be serving in Niger. At least I have enough clothing, enough funds, enough reading material, enough personal hygiene items.....at least I have a Bible of my own....even a French Bible on my iPod! Oh, boy, I am so spoiled!  Thank you, Heavenly Father for blessing me.....please help me now to be a blessing to others. Counted more than 65 people who have agreed to pray for me regularly...not counting family! God is so amazing to encourage me this way. Now, I need to be an encouragement to others.
Jaja (Grandma) Maureen
 This is one of my precious babies from Mbale, Uganda. One of my favorite activities is to hold and sing to the babies. I was singing Jesus Loves Me to this little one who was the 12th born. The mother was a sweet Christian and I just loved talking with her. Am praying that the mothers in Niger will trust me to talk and sing to their babies too....hope I can remember some French songs!
Ruth and Maureen

Ruth is my sister who I look up to very much. She has such a servant's heart. I certainly would not be able to get on the plane without her help with packing. She is way more technical than me....so she helps with all sorts of things....like computers, cameras, iPods etc. She is also driving me to the airport.
Tomorrow will be an intense morning of packing, weighing and reweighing bags in preparation for Wednesday's departure. However, as I pack I am in an attitude of prayer for the dear disabled children CURE is reaching out to serve in the name of Jesus Christ and for His glory. It is very humbling to be called and used by the LORD in this wonderful ministry!

 One of my favorite expressions regarding my volunteering with CURE is: If I had any more fun serving the Lord, I'd need a license!

Thank you for praying!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blogging from an iPod

As I pack and prepare for Niger, it seems wise for me to see if this will actually work. Is it possible to send a blog from this dear little gizmo? Unfortunately, I don't have a laptop or other portable devise to send you all the tales, trials and daily adventures. This iPod is so much smaller, lighter and less conspicuous. The only thing is that I cannot send pictures from it....unless I download to computer then iPod. Sounds a bit complicated for Grandma. I'll be missing those dear 'techies' the Lord has put in my life...Ruth,Mark,Sam...!
Please be praying for me...all my dear GO Team people from the summer know how to pray for me. I really need Mandi to help organize my packing! Some how, some way....by God's grace I'll be on the plane Wednesday around noon!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Serving together: Rick....last but not least!

Some one had to be last for my blogs on the CURE GO Team Uganda. Rick may be last but certainly not least. Rick's joining the GO Team was a great answer to prayer. I had been praying for someone to come from my area, specifically Lexington. It was such a delight to have Rick on the GO Team Uganda. Although I knew Rick over family dinners after church, it was so special to get to know him better through this journey.  Before we even left Lexington for Uganda, Rick had begun a journey of faith. I observed a wonderful transformation in his face and life even before we embarked on our first plane! Such a transformation cannot be accomplished by effort but by God's gracious intervention in our lives.
Rick bonding with baby!
From earlier blogs you can see all the help that Rick gave to our GO Team preparations. Rick was willing to do anything to be of assistance. He cut rope, singed rope, sorted rope...you get the picture. We bagged crafts, colored banners, packed....weighed bags...made lists and checked them twice. Through all this Rick was patient and most helpful.  He even traveled cheerfully with an 'old lady' like me. We had an adventure in Detroit after our first short flight. As we were trying to decide on a restaurant for lunch, a man overhearing our conversation invited us as his guests to the airport lounge. We were able to rest and enjoy the free refreshments in a peaceful atmosphere. The man gave us his card...he is the mayor of a town in Michigan! Go figure...God used this man to give Rick and me a calm start to our long journey.  Once we arrived in Mbale, Uganda, Rick was ready for whatever opportunities came his way! Rick spent time in the Lab at the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda, learning about various tropical diseases and how to cross-match blood for transfusions. Rick visited with the mothers and babies. Although a little reluctant at first, he got into holding the babies, much to the mothers' delight! African women get very excited when the men take an interest in caring for babies. It is still quite a novelty to see a dad get really involved with the little ones. Rick set a new standard!  I was thrilled to introduce Rick to Dr. John Mugamba the pediatric neurosurgeon at the hospital. Rick was very impressed at the kind welcome he received.


It must have been difficult for Rick to be on a GO Team with 9 women:) Well, you know..."Rick can you lift this?" "Rick can you help me do this or that?"  "Rick could you protect us on our walk?" He took it all in good humor. Of course the upside was all the attention he got from us.  He couldn't sneeze without several of us handing him a tissue, hand sanitizer and a cough drop!

Rick telling the Bible Story

Rick willingly helped with anything during the Mbarara clinic. He washed tons of dishes. He killed a chicken. He took a turn at the medical clinic. And to top it all off, Rick bravely told a Bible lesson....his first! The audience was very attentive and pleased that a young man from the USA would be willing to come and tell them Bible truths. To make this even more challenging, all the GO Team members had to speak through interpreters. That meant that each thought had to be stated in short phrases or sentences.  It was a challenge but Rick and the others learned quickly!

It was a joy to serve the Lord with Rick. I hope that in the future we may have the opportunity again. It will be very exciting to hear what is next in store for Rick for studies and career. Whatever it is, he will be great at it! This GO Team Uganda trip has changed us all.....for all eternity. Please check out the Shutterfly link....http://uganda2010curegoteam.shutterfly.com/ for more great photos of Rick and the team!

  Thanks Rick for coming. Please don't be a stranger....we live in the same city!

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Serving together: Kathryn

Kathryn and one of the special babies at CURE Hospital in Mbale

Mandi, Kathryn and Maureen at Landmark Inn for Indian food in Uganda!

Mandi and Kathryn distributing pens to CURE Staff
As children we sang a song: "Make new friends but keep the old, some are silver and the other gold!" Kathryn is my silver and gold friend now!! It was a delightful surprise to have Kathryn join the GO Team Uganda this summer. It was delightful for many reasons. Firstly, most of the team members are young....it was a great fun for me to have someone closer to my age and life experience. Secondly, Kathryn had been in the Peace Corps for several years and those experiences brought a richness to our team efforts. Kathryn was so helpful in our debriefing sessions at the end of our trip. Thirdly, Kathryn asks the most amazing, thoughtful and extremely hard questions!  I used to be scared by tough questions about my faith or about life...but now I see the wisdom in asking....seeking and finding answers....which may not be full or complete but at least hints leading toward reality and truth. For someone like me who has a firm confidence in God's Word, it is easy to get complacent and even sloppy in my understanding of God's ways.....thanks Kathryn for making me think harder! Sometimes as Christians, it is easy to think that we can check our brains at the church door! Please don't let that be me!  I learned some great things from Kathryn....she speaks plainly regarding spiritual matters.  Many of us, me in particular, can forget what it is like before coming to faith in Christ. Kathryn has a simplicity and depth in her words that God used to draw people to Himself.

Thank you Kathryn for your generosity in letting us post our blog from your Blackberry while in Uganda. Thank you Kathryn for your pictures, stories and videos of the mothers. The Polaroid pictures were a huge delight to the parents and caregivers. I am so much richer for spending time with you! Missing you!

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Serving together: Mandi

 Sorting supplies on Day 1 in Mbale

Mandi helping a caregiver get started on the craft
Mandi is a gifted leader and administrator. I am so thankful for Mandi. She was such a help to me on the GO Team Uganda this summer! When Mandi and I talked about the Uganda mission, she was wondering if there would be anything that she could do since we were going to the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda in Mbale. Several of the team members are nursing students or headed to medical type professions. Mandi need not have been concerned in that regard! What a joy to have such a gifted woman on our team. Thank you Mandi for taking the lead in the sustainable craft. What a great success the craft project turned out to be. The mothers, caregivers, CURE staff and even Medical officers were so excited and skilled in sewing the drawstring backpacks.  Mandi was great at organization and distribution of supplies, craft kits and treats while on the mobile clinic and while we were at the hospital in Mbale.  There is plenty more to know and love about Mandi than just her administrative skills!  Mandi has a fun loving joyful-playfulness with children. She seems to know how to capture their curiosity and attention. Mandi helped with the Bible stories, coloring and Sunday School songs in Mbarara. What a blessing to have Mandi's enthusiasm!
There were several occasions when Mandi was the photographer and captured the 'moment' for the team. Other times, I was blessed by her 'reminders'. As the Team Leader, I had many details spinning around my head. Mandi could be trusted to remind me of major and minor details. Thank you, Mandi. I'm missing you! May the Lord bless your work...whatever your hands find to do...I know you will do the work with excellence and bring much honor to God.
Mandi captured children's curiosity!
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3




Serving together: Megan

 Megan possesses a quiet strength that blessed our GO Team Uganda.  Although I did not know her before meeting her in the airport in Amsterdam.....I enjoyed getting to know her! How thankful we were for Megan's nursing skills.  During the Mbarara clinic, there was a staff shortage. It was great to have Megan trained on the spot to assist. She did a great job. The medical officers were very pleased with her calm and efficient care. These clinics can be hectic!
Megan has a playful side too which endeared her to the children. I have a vivid memory of Megan playing 'tag' with some children in Mbarara. It was the end of the clinic day and we were getting on the bus back to our hotel.....I thought I was going to fall asleep standing up! Yet Megan was having the time of her life with the children.
Megan loving-up on a dear little baby!

 Megan is going to be a great nurse! I am so excited to hear about her progress and future ventures. The Lord will definitely have something special in serving Him....here or abroad!

Thank you, Megan for coming. We learned much together!

















May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Serving together: Katherine

Making chapatis!
Katherine was an adventurous GO Team Uganda member. She was willing to try anything and have as many experiences as possible. Whether it was hiking Sipi Falls, whitewater rafting, cooking, cleaning or killing a chicken! (I'll leave out the pictures of killing the chicken.  Anyone can check those out on our Shutterfly link) http://uganda2010curegoteam.shutterfly.com/
Katherine is definitely keen on new experiences.
Katherine's heart is also tuned to new relationships as she made fast friendships with team members, staff, CURE caregivers and their children.  It was so much fun to see Katherine playing and holding the dear little ones. She attracted neighborhood children in Mbarara and had them busy coloring (shading as they call it) and listening to the Bible Stories.
Favorite activity--cuddling the babies!
Katherine loves children....no doubt about it. What treasures these special needs children are to us! Katherine made sure the caregivers knew of her love for the little ones. Thank you! What a blessing!
Whatever the Lord leads Katherine to do in the future, she will do it with zest, joy and full throttle!
God's blessings as you follow His lead for your future studies and service to Him.


May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Serving together: Samantha (Sam)

Sam with Baby Jackie in Mbarara

Samantha is full of joyful energy! Before we even left the USA, I knew that we would enjoy our time serving the LORD together. Samantha has a delightful sense of humor that cut through a few tense moments. One time I was in stitches as she jokingly chastised the bus driver for being one hour and 40 minutes late! She said what I wanted to say but with such a sweet smile and innocence that the bus driver could not take offense! Samantha was very serious about serving the LORD. She threw herself wholly into caring for the mothers and babies at the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda and the mobile clinic in Mbarara. She was enthusiastic about everything that we did......except the dishes. Sam was very resourceful and willingly traded chores so she could avoid that one! Sam was very careful about what she ate! Before we left she told me that she only ate skinless, boneless chicken breast meat.....would we be able to get that? I said probably not! But.....

Sam, here's your boneless chicken....I think that's what it is?
Samantha was one of our team photographers as she took more and better pictures than most of us. Thank you, Samantha for all the photos you posted on our Shutterfly site http://uganda2010curegoteam.shutterfly.com/
 This is a classic photo of Sam with a baby on her back!
Samantha and I missed our hubbies very much. It is always great joy to serve the Lord. At the same time it is hard to sacrifice being without our spouses. Thank you for being on the CURE Uganda GO Team, Samantha. Your love for the LORD and these dear ones was infectious to all you came in contact with!
 I am missing 'y'all'.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Serving together: Lauren

Lauren with a dear little baby at CURE Mbale Hospital

 It was great fun getting to know Lauren during the GO Team Uganda mission trip! Lauren is a team worker. She has a gentle spirit.....strength under control. I enjoyed her calm, competent and joyful spirit. Lauren was usually always smiling and 'loving-up' on the babies! We were guilty of making fun of her Southern accent from Arkansas! "Do you mean pin or pen?"
We were so grateful for Lauren, Sam, Anna and Kasie who helped with the CIC at the Mbarara mobile clinic. Lauren and I had some wonderful conversations on the long, long bus ride from Mbarara to Mbale. She was my right arm in helping when one team member was ill. Lauren is a great nurse! Lauren's love for vulnerable children and women is evident in her sweet concern and care given to mothers and their children alike. Thank you, Lauren for all your tender care to a grieving mother....your presence meant so much to her!  I am excited to see Lauren's nursing career and ministry unfold in the future. Surely, the Lord will use this CURE GO Team experience as training for something wonderful in her life. Thanks for coming!
 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Serving together: Kasie

Kasie loving the babies at CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda
Kasie is an enthusiastic GO Team member. Most mornings she would be the first one at breakfast, where we would share our love for the Lord Jesus together as the others arrived. We enjoyed our morning cups of coffee together! She has a gift for extravagant and picturesque writing. She should be writing these posts!
Kasie carrying a baby Ugandan style!
 Kasie is thoughtful and inquisitive. She likes to be aware of what's happening and jump in to be helpful. Kasie is a nursing student too and was most helpful at the mobile clinic when there were gaps in clinic staffing. It was wonderful to have Kasie take the lead with the Bible Story telling. She had the team organized in no time at all! The caregivers in Mbarara enjoyed learning stories from the Bible in order to teach them to their own children back in the villages. Kasie said that she will never be the same again after the GO Team experience. Like all of the team members, Kasie is asking God to show her the next step for studies, training and preparation for future service to God. I am missing our morning conversations already! You are so loved and appreciated!

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Serving together: Anna

One of the blessings of being a CURE GO Team leader, is seeing people blossom as they serve the LORD! Anna is a gifted nursing student.  She is very tender, compassionate and cheerful with children which made her an ideal candidate for our mission at the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda. Anna taught Sunday School songs to the caregivers during our Mbarara Mobile Clinic. She helped with other nursing duties too...including assistance to the mothers caring for their child born with Spina Bifida. Anna is a fine seamstress which helped make the sustainable craft project a huge success. Thanks, Anna for all your willing service to the LORD.
Anna was very flexible and willing to serve in any capacity. No she didn't chop down a tree with this axe or 'slash' the grass with the machetes.  She was helping load our CURE 'coaster' (bus) for the trip to western Uganda.  We had a saying, "They who are flexible, will never be bent out of shape"! Indeed, Anna exemplified 'going with the flow'.  Now that the team has returned to their homes, I am missing Anna's smile and sweet gentle spirit! Her passion for obedience in following Christ is an inspiration to us all! Love you dear Anna! Thank you for the opportunity to serve our great God together!

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Look for your favorite GO Team Uganda 2010 member in the days to come!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Back in the USA!

GO Team Uganda 2010 leaving Mbale for Jinja then home!
"Don't cry because it is over...rather smile because it happened." (Dr. Seuss)  It is always with mixed feelings that I leave my beloved ones in Mbale, Uganda. My heart is linked to the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda and the staff. Each visit draws me closer to the mission and staff members. 
How grateful I am for the love and partnership with CURE International! 

How grateful I am for the GO Team members....each one was unique and brought their special gifts to our time together. 

Many of you following this blog are interested in the real scoop....you know,  the pictures that say the thousands of words to describe our wonderful time in Uganda. (Please see the hundreds of pictures on a Shutterfly link http://uganda2010curegoteam.shutterfly.com/ )

Thank you for all your faithful prayers while we were away. But....please do not stop! Our journey is not really over. We now have the responsibility to assimilate what we have learned and experienced into our lives. How will we be changed? 

The GO Team Uganda 2010 is in the process of re-entering daily life in the USA. Some have already returned to work, school, home and ministry responsibilities......just like that!  As we prepared for our return we prayed that our lives would be transformed in our plans for the future and to stay engaged in the mission of CURE International.  We discussed various ways that we could share our experiences with others with church, community and family. We discussed ways that our team could continue to impact the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda.....praying, buying CURE crafts and anything that might help raise awareness and funds for the hospital. May God direct our plans to bring help to the children and to bring honor to Him.

As we return to the USA:
  • Please be patient with us if we seem "overboard" enthusiastic,  slightly depressed or sad.......we are trying to understand the things we have seen and heard. 
  • Please try to be patient if we seem 'spaced out'......our bodies have endured many miles of travel, many short nights of sleep, different food, different water and sensory overload everyday for the last 16 days or so!
The GO Team with the backdrop of beautiful Mount Elgon
  • Thank you for understanding if we can't quite put into words all that we have seen or done.....or if we talk your ear off until your eyes glaze over! It is all part of us getting the word out about CURE and the joyful, challenging and amazing experiences we enjoyed.   
  • Please help us to keep the stories alive by giving us an opportunity to share these with anyone who is willing to listen....church, community, family, work gatherings etc
  • http://uganda2010curegoteam.shutterfly.com/ remember is our picture gallery....please take a peek....you don't have to look at every single picture....try to find the ones with your loved one holding babies or in a random pose with a new friend...GO Team member or Ugandan!
  • If we suggest that we sell the house, its contents, the car and use the proceeds to sponsor surgeries in Mbale, Uganda....you will know that our hearts have been touched with the plight of the dear children and their caregivers! Help us to pray for wisdom and God's direction for stewardship of our time, talents, money and other resources....who knows?
  •  Meanwhile, help us to take the next logical step by faith.....nurture our spouses and family members, complete studies and commitments at work with excellence.....serve the Lord right where we are...and being available for His next assignment here or abroad! 
Thank you so much for the enthusiastic and encouraging comments! Look for the next blog to tell some stories about the people I enjoyed working with!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hello

We are on the homeward journey.
Rick, Katherine, Kathryn, Megan, Lauren and Mandi set off bravely for white water rafting. Anna, Sam and Kasie are having their own adventures in Jinja. I have the honors of watching the luggage and valuables at Kingfisher Hotel. I gave my local phone to the girls in town so they have an emergency plan. So please don't worry about them. They are being taken to an American style cafe for brownies and ice cream. I shall be content to have fresh avocados and citrus dressing.

What can I say as the team leader at this end of the journey?
Thank you to each team member! What a joy to serve the LORD together! You have all used your gifts for assisting the mission of our host staff at CURE Mbale. We can say with confidence that the LORD is our strength and joy. I am so very proud of each one.

Thank you to all who supported financially, those who loaned clothing, those who donated time and goods. Most of all thank you for your prayers. The Lord protected us from harm and serious illness. Katherine Lean had to receive IV fluids for dehydration. It has been a learning curve for all of us to keep hydrated. We began to hold each other accountable to drink a minimum of 4 bottles of water. All are in fine form for the rafting!

We are changed people...I hope for all eternity. We desire to assimilate these experiences to further God's kingdom work especially in cooperation with CURE international.

We praise God for giving us Heather Hunter to organize the team from State side.
Thanks to Derek Johnson for his care and organization in Uganda.
Thanks to sweet Miriam Ongom and her Spiritual Life team for the privilege of being partners with you in the gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you to all the CURE Mbale staff and Administration.
Thank you Dr. John Mugamba for his love and expertise in caring for these precious children.

We will be setting up a site so that you can view the hundreds of pictures we took! God bless! Truly we have done this work through the strength of Jesus Christ!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, August 6, 2010

Our time at Mbarara.

How did we spend our days in Mbarara?
Our days began with breakfast, devotions and prayer at the guest house, where we are staying, at 5:30am. The CURE coaster (bus) picked us up at 6:15 for a short drive to the 'campus', the King of Kings Bible School.

Since school is on a break we were able to use these facilities. The mothers and babies and CURE staff slept on mats on the floor. Although the conditions were rustic, there was a joyful atmosphere as caregivers were treated to hot cooked meals, food for their stomachs and spiritual food for the soul. The GO team was involved with food preparation, washing dishes, nursing care and cleaning the site. But that's not all....we were so delighted to hold babies and help mothers get on the bus for the clinic.

The team divided in half on the clinic days. Half went to the clinic and the other stayed on campus.

Every clinic day half of the 'Mums' went to clinic appointments and half remained behind. The team members who went to the clinic helped weigh babies, measure head circumference and learned how to dispense medications. We listened to many stories of God's help through CURE to bring hope for these dear ones born with disabilities.
The team members that stayed on campus, prepared food and served lunch at both places. The GO team also played with the older children and played bubbles etc with younger ones.

At both locations there was a lot of cuddling of babies. It was a joy to affirm God's love and care for these special needs children. Some mothers were surprised that we would ' love up' on these dear ones. We tried to encourage the caregivers in every way possible. We taught Bible stories and songs. We are rejoicing with the angels as many Mums received Jesus Christ as their LORD and SAVIOR!

The sustainable craft was amazingly successful. The bags were so helpful to tote baby stuff around instead of the black plastic bags from the market. The caregivers and CURE givers made bags too....even the doctors! Thanks to my sister Ruth who master minded this craft. Ramona Maxwell, Joann Anderson, Ruth, Mandy, Anna and Rick helped in a huge way before we left the USA. All the GO team made bags and gave them as gifts for our new Ugandan friends. We will be teaching the sustainable craft to the Mums at the hospital tomorrow.

What did we do for entertainment?
The days were long at the Mbarara clinic and campus. The evenings were back at the guest house. We took our meals at the guest house some times by flashlight if the power went out. Well, we were easily amused, watching cameleon lizards catching bugs or observing a praying mantis. Go figure?! Naturally with the early start we went to bed early under our mosquito nets!

Surely, this journey would not be possible without your help. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR INTEREST AND SUPPORT!

Please feel free to post your questions. We will try to answer them. We are on the homeward stretch. Please pray that we will finish strong and continue to bring honor to our great GOD!

Sent from Kathryn's Verizon Wireless Blackberry to my sister's email who then posts our news.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

First Day at Mbarara and Personal Greetings

Hi every one. We are exhausted, but elated after a thrilling day at the Mbarara clinic and campus. We enjoyed playing with the children, assisting with the mothers, learned how to dispense medications, and cook the Ugandan way over a fire. We had a great time sharing the good news of Jesus and three women received Jesus as their Savior! We also danced and sang praises to God. Later in the afternoon, men and women alike enjoyed the sustainable craft. The team finished the day on the terrace. Some had fried goat and chips. We're missing you all. Here's some messages from the team for you to enjoy...



I am loving africa but really missin my husband, puppy, and all my besties! Can't wait to see yall! This has been such a great experience for me! Love u nathan... Don't forget me at the airport! Ashley u better come to the airport and bring my mia...love ya!
--Love samantha george


Hi family! If you read this I'm loving it here and I'm learning so much! I love you all and I'm missing you too. See you at the airport in 7 days!!
--Love Anna


Hello all my pa groupies who miss me ever so much... Africa is treating me well and I am having a good time. Keep praying and I will see you in a week. Much love
--Mandi


My name is NOT Mzungu!!! They won't let me stay so I guess I'm coming home next week... :) Love and miss YA'LL!!!
--Lauren


I'm currently hanging out with nine wonderful women in an exotic African nation.....so I can't complain! Enjoying exploring my faith and helping others. I miss you and love you all more than you know!
--Rick


I thought you might want to know I am eating goat in mbarara right now. Also I gained citizenship and found a comfy hut to live in with lauren and our seventeen adopted ugandan kids for after we get out of the peace corps. Sorry to break the news in a blog. Love yall to the moon and back! See you soon.
--katherine


Soo, I've officially become a pharmacist here in Uganda... don't tell anyone back in the US! Haha, just kidding :) More stories later. I've been holding lots of babies and loving life here. Love and miss you all... See you soon!
--Megan
P.S. Here's a special birthday shout out to Dad and Matthew since I won't be there :)


Ugandans are incredibly hospitable. Their smiles are as bright as the sun. Training moms at the clinic is great and the babies are little miracles. The land is remarkable and I have surely been innoculated with african blood that will draw me back again. Sending kisses thru the moon. See you soon! Xoxo.
--Kasie

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mbarara Bound

 We are leaving for Mbarara on the hospital coaster. We are packed full with everything including the kitchen sink! We are very excited and a little apprehensive. There are so many new experiences to assimilate. We have seen God at work in our lives in so many ways.

Mbarara is to the left of Kampala and Mbale to the right near Mt. Elgon Park.
Saturday was a super day enjoying God's beautiful creation at Sipi fall. Everyone except Maureen hiked. One of the highlights was a cultural dance display. We all joined in the fun bedecked with vines. Well almost all of us. Rick and Mandi took pictures and video. We learned that the festivities were for circumcision ceremonies! Oh dear! It was a learning experience. There is some video footage I am willing to pay big bucks to delete of me dancing. The guide said I was a great dancer. I learned it all from my daughter Marie!

We ate dinner at Lanmark Inn. It was Indian cuisine. Most of us enjoyed it. The others tried it and enjoyed the garlic Naan bread. We had a hilarious finish to the meal. It was suggested that we have tea. It was brought in the largest thermos imaginable. Sam was doing the honors of pouring the tea.... and then there was a major thermos fail. Tea was everywhere! We all laughed ourselves silly!!

I am sending this from Kathryn Hall's blackberry and the bus is bumpy so more later about our Sunday worship experiences. We are all pretty healthy...just a few aches, no sickness. Thanks for all your support and prayers. We are keen to get to Mbarara to serve the Lord, the mothers at the clinic and the camp site. Blessings!

(Map added by the "blog fairy") 

Friday, July 30, 2010

GO Team Update...

Rick is ready for a big day at the hospital!
Lauren and Kathryn playing and praying for the dear little ones!
One of the Mamas with their little one who has hydrocephalus
What a team! Megan, Anna, Casie, Samantha and Lauren--all smiles...having the time of their lives...for God's glory!
Megan, Anna and Mandi enjoying morning chai! (Tea time)
Our GO Team has been busy today doing what is most important in Uganda....being with people....visiting mothers and children. Rick, Megan and Kathryn Lean spent some time in the Lab this morning. Zephaniah was so kind to explain the tests, equipment etc. Kathryn Hall and Mandi enjoyed being with the Pastoral team visiting and praying with the mothers and babies. Some of the team stayed with a grieving mother until family arrangements were made. Anna, Casie, Samantha and Lauren were busy with all sorts of things in preparation for Mbarara. Everyone, under Casie's direction, practiced Bible story telling....I think we are ready and excited for next week.
Please pray for safety as we travel to Mbarara.
Pray that many would turn to Christ as their Savior and Friend.
Pray that the mothers/caregivers would be inspired, empowered and encouraged and we spend time together next week.
Pray that we would continue to work together in unity! We are such a fun team together. It is such a privilege to work with these special team members. I feel your prayers! You are doing the important work...praying! Thank you so much! Keep praying for all the GO Teams that are serving with CURE International, please.
We are learning and experiencing so much!!!
We appreciate you all so much.

Pearl Pictures....

                                                                           Tea time!!!!!
Cutting Soap for the mothers to bath and wash clothes with!!!
Spending time with the mothers and babies!


Pearls!

Hello everyone: We are here in Mbale Uganda. Everyone is healthy and very joyful to be at the CURE Children's Hospital. Sam has taken 220 pictures already...so we will give you a sample or two (when we can get the cables hooked up!) The team has been working together in unity and we praise the Lord for answers to so many of your faithful prayers!

You may be wondering why today's blog is called Pearls.....well our first morning in Kampala our devotional was on James 1: 1-6.....verse two in particular reminds us to count it all joy when troubles or temptations come our way......for there are great results when we reframe our difficulties into opportunities for growth in Christ's character!
So we were not surprised when some things didn't go the way we expected...ok...nothing major, don't worry....just little things...little struggles with our schedule, getting settled....jet lag etc. Everytime something unexpected happens or frustrates one of us...we look at each other and say PEARLS!!! That is our code word to remind each other that God is going to use these challenges or irritants to make something beautiful..like a pearl. Most of you who know me, know that I wear a pair of pearl earrings most of the time. They are white and perfectly round. White represents the purity of Christ...His righteousness....not our own, the round sphere represents the wholeness and fullness of God's character to me...His holiness, creativity....
Each team member is a pearl to me....I feel like I am walking around, working with an exquisite strand of pearls!! Beautiful people....!!! God is working in all of our lives. You parents have done a great job!! It is such a joy!
Today, after breakfast of omelettes, grilled cheese/onion/tomato sandwiches, chicken wings, fruit, bread, juice and tea/coffee we walked to the CURE hospital. It was a pleasant and cool morning to walk. We arrived just as the staff devotions began. Worshipping the Lord is very energetic and energizing! We clapped, sang, danced, jumped all at the same time! It was so much fun to worship the same living God and Savior in a different culture, different place and even different language. And the Lord understands us all! It will be a busy time today as we prepare for Mbarara clinic 10 hour away by bus. We leave Monday.Tonight we will go to a slum called Namutella....we will have time to visit with AIDS orphans and people who have great needs. We are excited to be invited to a church supper!  No crockpot chilli dinners here! Tomorrow the team is having a tour of Sipi falls...a little hiking and sightseeing. Sunday will be a full day of worship and completion of packing for the mobile clinic in Mbarara.
Please pray that we would enjoy strong health to complete God's Work here.Pray for us to process all these experiences into godly thoughts and actions in our daily lives when we return. Thanks for all your support!
Blessings!  And Pearls!

Monday, July 26, 2010

On our Way!

Rick and I said our goodbyes to our loved ones and got thru security just fine.
You will laugh when you hear my personal bag was three pounds over. I added paperwork for CURE in my bag to lighten my carry-on. Oh well, my carry on is now three pounds heavier! All is good! Please know that the team is pumped and ready for a challenge and to serve. Thank you for all your support shown in so many ways! Eileen Jeffries from
CURE called to wish all Bon voyage and reassure us of many prayers! Those of you who are staying to keep the home fires burning and paying the bills, we thank you so much. This mission is yours too! God be with you and give you peace while we are away.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Parting Prayer for GO Team Uganda 2010

My arms are full with two little ones in Gulu, 2009

As the GO Team departs tomorrow, please pray for us.....not just the usual prayers for safety and a 'good trip'...please pray that God would allow us to join His work in Uganda and be a part of accomplishing His will......this scripture reminds us that it is not about us....all of HIM! To God be all glory and honor!


Sam from Cure @ mobile clinic
May God be merciful and bless us. 
May his face smile with favor on us. 
May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere. 
May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you. 
Let the whole world sing for joy, because you govern the nations with justice and guide the people of the whole world. 
May the nations praise you, O God. Yes may all the nations praise you. Then the earth will yield its harvests, and God, our God will richly bless us. Yes, God will bless us, and people all over the world will fear him. Psalm 67 NLT