Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Where in the world is Maureen?

Where's Waldo, I mean Maureen?  It has been ages since I wrote a bit for this blog! Well, I am still in the USA, but not for long! By this time next week, I will be in Niamey, Niger. This will be the third trip to the CURE Children's hospital in Niger. I am so excited. Each venture to Africa is an opportunity to serve God as I serve CURE staff, caregivers and patients.
What do I do there.....? If you have followed this blog before, you know that it is about building relationships in the daily functioning of the hospital. Yes, I go in the operating room and watch surgeries, observing nursing care, making list of supplies, helping the nurses in any way I can. Remember, this hospital is only a few months old and there are many things to consider in a new facility. The nurses deliver patient care in two main areas, called the bloc and the pavilion. In the bloc the nurse are responsible for the operating room equipment, sterilization, supplies and assisting the surgeon and anesthetist in the peri-operative and immediate post-operative periods.  The nurses in the pavilion are responsible for patient care including; admission to the hospital, orientation for patient and caregiver, preoperative preparation, postoperative care and discharge planning/teaching. Nursing is more than just techniques of dressing changes, cast care, vital signs and surgical care. Each patient and their caregivers are precious souls that are in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 This past visit in January, I had a great time getting to work alongside Pastor Hassane. We visited the patients and their caregivers in the hospital and the annex called the 'masion de passage'. The annex is really a hostel for long term patient management. This dear little one has a cleft lip and palette. She is two years old and rejected by her village. Consequently, she was very malnourished. With a special diet and attention, she will be ready for the cleft repair soon. The happiest part of the story is that the parents were so astonished at the love and care given to them. The gospel was preached to them through loving care for the whole family. Pastor Hassane explained that the care was given to them in the name of Jesus. We had many happy prayer times together. Please pray for this dear little girl. She is going to be so beautiful as the cleft repair work is done.
Every visit, I am reminded that the nursing, medical, practical care that is given to the patients and their caregivers, is a means of showing love and ultimately an opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Although this is a Muslim country, there is an openness and eagerness to learn more about the Lord Jesus. Often language is a barrier as many patients speak neither English or French. Praise God that Love is the Universal language.
As I go next Monday, please pray for more opportunities to share Christ's love!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Home from Africa! So how was your trip?

Sharing a Bible with nurse in Uganda
Cuddling a little one at the feeding center at the Mbale Regional Hospital
Little girl next to me is named Beautiful....and she is...inside and out!
Esther and Maureen...sisters for all eternity!
I am holding a newborn in a village near Niamey, Niger...proud parents on either side of me!
Holding a baby is a favorite nursing activity for this Grandma at the CURE Hospital in Niger....the baby is the son of one of the nurses.

Coming back from Africa, on February 5th was a huge adjustment in many ways. Although I have enjoyed many journeys to Africa, this one has taken me a long time to process as there were so many interesting place, people, programs and problems that I encountered. It is always a joy for me to serve the LORD and the month of January was no exception. The journey began in Uganda, where I visited the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda. It was a celebratory week for the 10th Anniversary of the hospital's opening. During that week, it was wonderful to visit a feeding center located at the Regional hospital of Mbale. It is a privilege to be involved in nutrition for the children who are malnourished and consequently poor surgical candidates. It was a joy to hold a few of the children, meet their caregivers and pray with them.
Agnes...our precious Compassion child!
Our family supports a Compassion child in Uganda, whose name is Agnes. She lives not too far from Mbale, so I took a taxi and went to the hills and visited her.  We had a great time together. Each step of this journey, I sensed the Lord's faithfulness and grace in the lives of those I visited. Before I left Agnes' home, the social worker translated for me a message from Agnes' father. He asked, 'What words of encouragement and wisdom do you have for my family?' This is when the scriptures that say to be prepared, in season and out to preach the Word to correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction....2 Timothy 4:2....comes into action. Isn't it amazing how the Holy Spirit will pour something into you so that you can pour it out on others? What a great time of sharing a few scriptures and praying for each of the family members. This family loves the Lord and are trying hard to better themselves with the support they are receiving. They are encouraging Agnes to do her best at school and press on to choose a field of study for future employment. This was my third visit with Agnes and each time I see her growth and beauty as a young woman who loves the Lord. She sings beautifully for me each visit too! 
After a  precious week in Mbale, Uganda, we drove overland to Entebbe to the airport and I flew to Nairobi, Kenya and overland to Kijabe to the AIC-CURE Children's Hospital of Kijabe. I will write more about that in another post. Suffice it to say that it was a most interesting, informative and precious time with dear friends from Montreal, Quebec, Canada days and with the CURE staff. The week at Kijabe was much better than I expected it to be.
The next phase of my trip was full of travel challenges....due to mechanical problems, I had to stay in Nairobi for an extra night and Paris for two nights awaiting a connecting flight to Niger.
I'll post more of this another day....meanwhile, I want blog readers to know that God showed Himself real, strong, faithful, dependable, merciful and gracious in the midst of all these comings and goings! What a mighty God we serve!