Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Termites Ate My Couch - PUBLISHED!!!

Termites Ate My Couch – PUBLISHED!!   

It has finally arrived – my book has been put to print.  It will be available at your local book store soon, but in the meantime, it’s available at all the major distributors including:

And will be available in Kindle soon.

This book has been through a lot of revisions, and a lot of love and angst has been put into the pages that you are about to read.  With the literally hundreds of stories I could possibly share in the over 10 years of being on the mission field, I tried to put down the ones that would interest, intrigue, enlighten, and inspire you.  I hope I succeeded in this.  

“Have you ever wondered what life on the mission field is like? This book is an attempt to share stories that are thoughtful, heartbreaking, inspirational, funny, and crazy - in other words - an average day in the life of a missionary. These are true tales from a mom, nurse, wife, and flawed person. These stories show how reliance on Jesus Christ brought her through the most emotional, rewarding, and hilarious times of her life. You are invited to read these stories and laugh and cry along with her.

Erin spent eleven years in the U.S. Army.  She received her bachelor’s in Nursing, is working on her Masters of Public Health (will be completed in September 2017) and worked at a children’s hospital for 12 years.  She has traveled the world working in disaster response and as a medical missionary.  After eight years as a missionary in Honduras, she currently works as a full-time missionary in Central Africa.”

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Dental work and Blindness

1.      In my continuing pursuit of medical myths, I decided to tackle this one...


P    Pulling teeth can cause visual problems, even blindness.

Question:  Can pulling teeth cause visual problems?

P – Patient Information:  19 year old girl in Central Africa
I – Intervention:  teeth pulling
C – Comparison:  normal degeneration of visual acuity
O – Outcome:  blindness related to teeth pulling

I have had a number of people come to my clinic complaining of “blurry vision.”  Many of these patients are 40 years or older, and simply asking them to try on my reading glasses – they find out that they can see “much better.”  Some visual problems are related to other causality problems like diabetes or blood pressure issues.  However, there are a significant number of other people who need their teeth pulled and simply refuse to because, “later in life it will cause me to have vision problems.”  

 The first time I heard this I was totally caught off guard.  Where in the WORLD did this myth derive from?  So I did a little research and found that Africa isn’t the only location where this myth exists.  The good ol’ U.S. of A has this belief as well.   

The origin of this myth?  Here are some possibilities:

  In the era before antibiotics and modern medicine, upper tooth infections often did spread to the eye as well as the brain, leading to blindness and death in some cases.

§  The nerves and blood vessels supplying the eye tooth are similar in location and origin to those supplying the eye. You could incorrectly conclude that if you remove the tooth, the nerves and blood vessels going to the eye would be removed too.

Answer:  Removing upper, or any tooth for that matter does not have effect on a person eyesight.  The nerves which supply the eye and the teeth are different, hence no interconnection.” - Sujoy Chakraborty, BDS Dentistry, Dayananda Sagar College of Dental Sciences (2010)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Being the White Minority

In Honduras, there was no doubt we were the white minority.

That being said, there are a whole lot of missionaries in Honduras, there is an entire Mennonite community smack-dab in the middle of Honduras – we were in the minority, but white people weren’t an uncommon occurrence.  According to the CIA Factbook, it lists whites as being 1% of the population.  I could find hair dressers to cut my hair, clothes that would fit, American restaurants that would wet my appetite, and tons of American import foods at the grocery store because of the big missionary presence.  So, yes, we were the minority, but there, blaring differences weren’t so dramatic.

Here, in our little country, things have dramatically changed.  In the city where we live, I would suggest there are probably about 10 white people.  The CIA Factbook doesn’t even list “whites” as part of the demographic make-up as there are so few of us.  Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of other immigrants from China, the middle-east, and other parts of Africa – but European white, or U.S. white – yeah, about 10 of us.  The grocery stores are filled with foods from all over Africa, the middle-east, China, and more, but I’ve yet to see any “American food.”  And, let’s face it, Beautiful African hair is nothing like my very white-person hair.  Every hair dresser I’ve walked in to has taken one look at me, shake their head no, and out I go.  Having been here for over a year now, I’ve never found a place to get my hair cut.

We don’t own a car, for various security and practical reasons, so we take taxi’s wherever we go.  In I go, and more often than not, if there are children in the car, I am stared at for the entire ride in the taxi.  The look of sheer bewilderment on the children’s faces when Spanish erupts from my lips is quite humorous to watch.  When we walk into a new church, every head turns, when we go to the grocery store or the market, people watch us.  When I put on a clinic, or go to schools to give parasite meds, silence ensues as people watch and try and figure me out.  If children are bold enough, they touch my skin, and pet my hair.  Personal space is nothing like it is in the U.S. – be prepared to be intruded upon, sat on, kissed, hand-shake, and people showing off their “white friend.”

I buy strange things, and people always look at my cart wondering what in the world I would be making with that.  I sport colored tattoos on my feet – my feet are stared at all the time as I walk from place to place. My weird accent, my strange hair, my white skin, being a 6’1” woman, I start to understand a little of what it means to be a minority.

But for the most part – people are kind.  They help me when I look lost, or need help finding something.  Drivers stop the car to let me cross the street, and people first ask me if I’m from Spain as there are so few North Americans here.

Being here, in a very foreign land, helps to remind me to always be kind.  I struggle, almost daily, to figure out how to live here, not speaking Fang, I struggle with those who don’t know Spanish – and I get a taste of what it’s like being a foreigner in the United States.  In my mind I always thought – how lucky the refugees or immigrants are who are able to find shelter in the U.S.  It has so much to offer – but it will NEVER be “home.”  No matter how long a refugee or immigrant lives in the U.S., there will still be familiar sights, tastes, and people from their original home that they will forever long for.  It helps me be a better person, I think, being a foreigner in a foreign land –not even being a statistical presence of a white person in the land of Africans.  To be a white minority.

But God is not quiet in all of this. 

1 Peter 2 tells us that we are foreigners in a strange land, that we are aliens and strangers in the world.

Leviticus 19:33-34 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Exodus 23:9
“You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt."

Ephesians 2:19
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

Colossians 3:11
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

 So if you are the minority, the majority, the foreigner, or the national - let us love one another in Christ as Christ loved us.