Monday, April 29, 2013

Give a child a camera...

Give a child a camera and you will more than surely see life from their eyes... literally.  And that's exactly what happened when I let Lawrence use my camera.  Lawrence lives in the Worcester Family.  The family group that I am coming to love more and more.  Lawrence is a young boy hungry for love.  He is quiet with a very sweet disposition.
Slashing the compound.
The most common way to cut grass is to slash it.
 It takes muscles and time.  
Kasava is a common food here.  The roots of the Kasava
tree are dug up and then prepared.  

Working hard with Harriet. It's early Saturday morning and
we are preparing the food for dinner that night.   
Peeling the Kasava Roots.  The root is then cooked and eaten.  

It's a long process and a little dirty.... but the end product is worth it.  

Edmund is on washing duty.  Handling it like a champ! 
Dishes drying in the sun.  The yellow container is called a jerry can.  This is one of the main
containers for collecting and storing water.  Children travel far to water pumps where they gather the water
and bring it back home.  It's a HARD job.  Thankfully, the water pump here at New Hope is not too far.  It is about a five minute walk.  A little longer when you have a FULL jerry can of water.  

This blue container is water is stored.  As the children bring the filled Jerry can's of water,
they dump them in the blue container.  Rain is also collected through the gutter and saved in this blue
container.  This water is NOT safe for drinking, but is used for washing and cooking.  

one of the Bandas (huts).  Anywhere from 3-4 children live in each one.  

dishes drying

Little Dan.  

Check out the clouds.  Seriously, the clouds here are absolutely amazing.

Breakfast.  porridge is a staple breakfast here.  

Little Derek... turning a tree into maybe a horse?  or a car?

The sky.... 

Thanks Lawrence for taking us all on a tour of your family.  So thankful to be part of it! ( c :

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever.  Amen.  
Ephesians 3:20-21

I would love to introduce you to my new little friend, Shakira.  When I first met her, she was timid and reserved.  She came when I reached out to pick her up, but it was clear that she was not sure of what she thought about this lady who not only had a different shade of skin, but also didn't speak her language.  After a few more interactions, she has warmed up.  This afternoon in the clinic as I was treating another patient, she came into the room.  She just wanted to make her presence known.  No objections there.  Picked up her cute little self and just loved on her.  She is living at the clinic with her mom and her baby sister.  Her heart has a defect and she is waiting to have heart surgery to repair it.  She is three years old living life in a body that is barely the size of an 18 month old.  It was interesting because the other day, I was listening to her heart and to be really honest, I didn't hear any overt irregularity to the rhythm of her heart.
The only hint to me that something was not right was how loud her heart was beating.  I didn't really need the stethoscope to really hear her heart beat.  A wave of uneasiness came over me in that moment.  How many kids hearts had I listened to and missed a serious heart issue?  We had just finished school assessments of kids from the school last month... what if I missed something? And just as quickly as the uneasiness came, the awareness that this little girl had been seen by a doctor, had had tests to confirm what was going on, and was in a place ensuring that her needs would be taken care of.  God has her.  And pulling myself further away for a second, I was reminded by the hints.  Yes, obvious at some level, but hints nonetheless.  God has given me a mind that has been trained medically and HIS wisdom and leading often come to me.  
This afternoon when a young boy came in clutching his neck, I paused.  His sore neck was too tender and it has been hurting him for 10 days.  I sensed that more was going on.  A whispering of a thought and before I realized it, I knew that I needed to check his ear.  Before coming here, I was able to spend time with my doctor and fellow colleague, and was able to see lots of little eardrums.  
Taking the otoscope, I peered into the ear on the opposite side of his hurting neck.  His ear looked normal to me.  And then I peeked into the ear adjacent to his sore neck. The eardrum did not look the same at all.  It was bulging.  And so little Richard was treated with some antibiotics and some pain medicine and after praying with him, he went on his way.  I may have gotten on a plane alone four months ago, but I rest in knowing that I am NOT alone.  I am here because God has led me here and I rest in knowing that He has HIS children.  He is guiding me continually each and every day as  He uses me to love on His people here.  Sometimes, He uses my training, sometimes He uses colleagues here, sometimes it is calling a colleague back home, and sometimes, I believe, He whispers a hint to me.  It is neat watching Him take care of His people and it's also sweet watching Him show me that He has led me here and He will impart His wisdom to me as He leads me.

I pray and ask Jesus to keep leading me.  That He would keep me flat on my face in dependance to Him.  He is the Jehovah Rapha... The God who Heals.  His healing takes on different forms, but no matter how He chooses to heal, I choose to rest in knowing that He has His children.  
Thank you for coming alongside with me on this journey.  There are more blog posts coming..... ( c :  So thankful to have you all at my side.  It's a GRAND adventure. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Life through Him...

This has nothing to do with life here in Uganda and at the very same time it has all to do with my life here. ( c : The story happened at an undisclosed location sometime in the not so far past and to this day, I still smile when I remember that day. May our hearts be drawn to Him.  This was the message that I presented this morning in class....I revisited my younger days and stayed up till nearly 3 AM... Almost became teary sharing this in class. For those of who were present that day (there a few out there who will most likely read this) we watched a miracle happen.  Still makes my soul smile...

     The moment I heard it, I knew.  The alarm overhead quickly trumped any task that I had planned for.  A quick glance at the console and I was headed at a professionally acceptable pace towards the room that beckoned immediate assistance.  As soon as I rounded the door, the situation was assessed.  My coworker was standing beside a lady and was  attempting to keep her from falling out of the bed.  A glance towards the patient and I was immediately met with eyes that screamed absolute panic.  Even as I reflect, I can vividly see her face.  She was in an intense fight for her life. With every breath, frothy pink sputum spilled out of her mouth and while she attempted desperately to bring more air into her body, the only thing she appeared to obtain was more and more fear.  Looking directly into her eyes, I let her know that we needed to get her back into bed.  Without much thought of anything else, another nurse and I boosted her fighting body back into the bed.  And as quickly as the alarm broke through into the normal hustle and bustle of hospital sounds, this ladies fight came to a halting stop.  Her muscles relaxed, her eyes rolled back, and her breathing stopped.  A quick check for a pulse and an immediate transition.  No longer was my job to give firm loving direction to a panicked patient, but within a few seconds, my job was to push life through her.  The bed that was in a near ninety degree angle was quickly brought down to a flat level.  The lights that had been dim were brought to their full voltage.  What had been a connection between two nurses and a patient quickly turned into the main focus at the hospital.  As soon as her heart stopped, I was pounding on her chest.  Quick and deep compressions.  There was no time to think of administering pain medications or anything else.  Her body had stopped working and her ability to fight was no longer an option.  We, as healthcare professionals, were responsible in that moment, to take over the fight.  Another nurse and I did compressions as the room around us came alive.  Before we knew it, managers, respiratory therapists, and other staff were in the room.  A new IV was started, labs were drawn, a mask with oxygen placed over her face, and a flurry of behind the scene activities took place.  All of a sudden a blurp on the screen appeared.  A few seconds later, there were a few others.  Compressions were stopped and the blurps continued.  She was back.  She was alive.  Another transition.  There was still a lot of work to do.   I positioned myself at the head of the bed and began compressing the bag that delivered oxygen directly to her lungs.  As I did, I explained to her all that was occurring.  Speaking her name directly into her ear, I reassured her, explained what was being done to her body, and I prayed with her.  Within a short period of time, this lady was being wheeled down to a waiting ambulance.  She was alive.   
And the reality is that what happened that day could so easily be paralleled to that of our own lives.  We are like that lady in the hospital who died.  For her, we look at her body, and we see that it was in distress.  Her body was failing her.  The systems established in her body were failing to work as they were supposed to. Her heart was not pumping blood through her body and so despite the best intents of each organ, it was impossible for them to survive and subsequently for life to be maintained.  Without the oxygenated blood there was no hope.  And within a matter of seconds she was gone.  Nothing that she could do in those seconds had any power over her ability to do anything.  She was completely powerless.  Without intervention, her prognosis was bleak.  No, for better words, her prognosis was hopeless.  Without intervention, her physical body would cease to exist.  And Jesus stepped in. Yes, He used the arms and muscles of humans, but ultimately, He was the one who breathed life back into this lady.  He restarted her heart and cleaned up the internal mess.  Without him, her prognosis was hopeless.  With Him, her prognosis was hopeful.  No, her prognosis was beyond hopeful... it was solidified.  She was alive.  And so the parallel is made to that of our spiritual selves.  Our spiritual organs could be looked at as the different fruits of the spirit.  True compassion, faithfulness, peace, joy, and goodness are unable in and of themselves to maintain life without Jesus and love (Galations 3:12-14). Jesus who infuses His life into us and love that is like the vessels that bind everything together.  Love, not consumed by Jesus, does not bring life.  A soft heart not infused with the compassion of Jesus does not minister. A foundation not built on Christ does not withstand. The state of our spiritual selves without Jesus is futile.  In other words, without Jesus, we are dead.  We are just a bunch of spiritual organs that can function very limitedly, but cannot maintain over the longhaul without the life giving presence of Jesus.  

I just love it.  I love how a picture can paint a thousand words and I trust that as we have looked at the story of this women and now spend a few minutes looking at His word, that we will be able to see more clearly just how amazing His gift of life is to us.
Ephesians 2:1-10
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body1 and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.2 But3 God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We were dead in our trespasses and then... we were made ALIVE in Christ. We are already seated there IN Him We are IN Him.  Our life comes FROM Him.  HIS love, HIS heart, HIS everything is something that we are IN.  If we are HIS.  As that woman lay exposed and vulnerable and dead.... healthcare professionals physically infused life through her.  Oxygen was pushed into her lungs.  Her heart was forced to pound and medications were pushed into her body.  She was NOT alone in the process from death to life.  The Lifegiver was very present.  We were dead and first had to be made alive before we could believe.  And in His sovereignty, He accomplished it allowing the process to be defined by HIS grace and not our works.  Our sins doomed our spiritual bodies.  Our sins had eroded our spiritual flesh and death was inevitable.  But our Lifegiver stepped in and gave us what we did not deserve and in HIS goodness He pumped HIS life and HIS love through our spiritual veins.  He brought life. And He brought us into relationship with Him.  It had nothing to do with us and ALL to do with Him.  

Several days later, I was able to go and meet the woman who had inavertanly caused a frenzy on my floor.  Expecting her to be weak and slow in her recovery, I was completely taken back when I walked in the room and was greeted by a woman who, while weak in some regard, was very much alive.  She was free of most tubes and oh, how her eyes spoke life.  She had been dead and she was NOW alive.  And she knew... she truly knew... that God had been involved.  No, that God was the reason she was alive.  Oh she marveled and her body language confirmed.  She had seen the Lifegiver and  she was never going to be the same.  Her physical body and her spiritual body had been given life.  And many eyes have been drawn to Jesus.  Many eyes plus her own.  And her spiritual body beating with the DEEP love of Jesus is working in a way it never did before.  She is ALIVE.  Alive in a sweet way and amazing way..... thanks to Jesus!