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!