Saturday, June 25, 2016

The song of the redeemed rising from the African plain

"Its the song of the redeemed
Rising from the African plain
Its the song of the forgiven
Drowning out the Amazon rain

Its all Gods children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns"

He Reigns, Newsboys



There is just something so special about experiencing worship in other cultures.  The fact that God speaks all languages, that we are bound together by the same bond, regardless of the tongue we speak is so cool!  And when we have the opportunity to experience it "live and in person" is a special thing indeed.

This last week we had the opportunity to go to the interior of the country and spend some time with a pastor and his sweet children.  During this time we got to hang out and interact with the kids, and just be a part of their lives.  

In this song that they shared with me they sing..

"There is no one like Christ,
no there is no one like you..."



video

Together we sang a lot more songs, I sang a few in English, they returned the favor and sang in Spanish, and even in Fang.  It was a beautiful time.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Is your heart or your flesh speaking?

So...we hear we need to "pay it forward" - don't get me wrong - I think this is an AMAZING idea!  I LOVE it!  However...what is your motive?!

YEARS ago, way before we ever went on the mission field, I helped a young man who tipped his wheelchair over and couldn't get up - I stopped my car, and got out to help him, got him back upright, and sent him on his way.  But my pastor asked me - why did you stop and help him?  were you thinking about what others thought about what you were doing, or were you doing it because it was the right thing to do?!

Now...my DNA since my earliest memories, was as a 4 year old saving a baby bird that had fallen from a nest...and I begged my pre-school teachers to save this poor little creature.  As an adult I realized that this was hopeless, but as a young child of 4, my world was wrapped around this little bird.

God put into me the NEED, no, the MANDATE to help others...people, animals, it doesn't matter.  My husband has been so frustrated with me at times ...as an example, one day I made him pull over as a praying mantis was on our windshield, and I knew would be killed if he flew off of it at 50 miles per hour, so I made him stop, I scooped it off our windshield, and placed it on the forest floor before we continued on. I've "rescued" a robin who flew into my windshield...I took it to the vet...I picked up (yes..I picked it up) a tarantula that made it's way into our house, and I escorted it out to do it's job...I've given food to the starving, clothed the naked...I can't pass by the need...it's a bit overwhelming at times...I feel overcome...but my DNA, no....my God script in my soul...tells me to help those who can't help themselves.

 Micah 6:8
He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

Then I look at my motive...what IS my motive?!  Do I do it without others seeing?!  Yes...I've stopped and administered CPR to a bicyclist hit by a car...a man who flew through a windshield not wearing a seat belt, and life flighted him to a hospital...delivered a baby in the devastating earthquake torn country of Haiti...comforted a man who lost his whole family after a tsunami swept them all away...I do it because I am called to do it...I do it because I can't NOT do it...my heart hurts when others hurt...

Search your heart...do good to others...not because society is watching...not because you want to be seen...do it because you WON'T get the accolades...do it because you WON'T be seen by others...because God sees your heart...He knows why you do it...

1 Samuel 16:7

"...The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."


I was sick and you visited me...

I was naked and you clothed me...

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat...

Matthew 25:35 - 40
‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Termites ate my couch...and other stories from a missionary nurse.

My husband is the writer.  He has written more than 50 articles that have been published.  He is sought after for very specific subjects, and has an incredible way of pushing people without insulting them, and yet doesn't sugar-coat things either.  I am a journaler.  Now, don't get me wrong - I really do NOT like to journal.  But I write blogs, and somehow this fulfills that journaling need.  I write blogs for me...I am just thrilled that some people actually like to read them as well.

Man do I have stories...they have filled up my blog over these last 10 years.  Stories written, and stories unwritten fill my head.  Stories that I only passed over in a cursory manner, and did not give them the full credit they deserve.  But I understand that we, as people living in 2016, have a very short attention span, so I limit myself on the stories.  Until I can't.  Then I write 5 part blogs...but again - that's for me...to help  me get out the feelings I need to get out.  We all go through things in our lives that need telling.  You need to feel it to heal it, my sweet friend once told me.

Delivering a baby in the rubble remains of earthquake torn Haiti
Keeping a man alive while we drive through the rubble of Port-au-Prince
CPR and being the only "EMS" around
Feeding the hungry
Sri Lanka and the tsunami

These are a few of the many stories I have to share.

So my blogs are short, to the point, and tell a message.  But a book...now THAT I could write as much as I wanted - people were reading a book to get the nitty-gritty after all.  They are expecting to sit down for the long-haul and read something more than 800 words.

I am a story teller.  I'm not all that funny, I'm not all that wise, but I have some things to share, that I think others would be interested in.  Life, medical, whatever.  So I'm going to tell it.  I don't know how long it will take me - I've already started and am more than 13,000 words into it.  My husband tells me that an "average, short book" is about 80,000 words.  I am positive I will hit that number before I even make it to our time in Africa...and I'm sure the stories will start coming in once our time here is in full-swing.  And so I begin...I begin this journey and will see if anyone is interested enough to come along for the ride.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Customs in Equatorial Guinea - chalk anyone?


An interesting custom that can be found in Equatorial Guinea is the eating of chalk.  I observed it when I went to the market for the first time and found it for sale at more than half the stands.  When I asked the woman who was selling it what it was for,  she didn't really have an answer for me.  She did tell me that it helps the digestive tract, and is really good for pregnant women.  She also said it can be ground up into a powder and applied to the skin to make it healthier.  Several other times I have asked nationals about this interesting custom, and no one really has a definitive answer.  So, I've determined that it is just a cultural event.

I then was determined to try and do some research on it and find out more information.  This is what I found:

The term is called geophagia or geophagy.  It is the practice of eating earth or soil-like substrates such as clay or chalk.  It can be found most often in rural or preindustrial societies among children and pregnant women.  There is also a mental disorder that involves the ingesting of dirt or other non-edible items – this is not what this is. 

I also found that geophagia is nearly universal around the world in tribal and traditional rural societies – although it has not been documented in Japan and Korea.

In Africa, this custom is found in Gabon and Cameroon and is known as kalaba.  In Equatorial Guinea it is known as calabachop.  It is said (according to my source) to be eaten for pleasure or to suppress hunger. 

An interesting note is, clay minerals have been reported to have beneficial microbiological effects such as protecting the stomach against toxins, parasites and pathogens.  

So I bought some, and we all tried it.  It is an interesting experience indeed.




Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Health of a Nation

The World Health Organization (WHO) regularly gets together with leaders around the world to discuss global health issues.  They are the impotence behind the eradication efforts of Small pox, for example.  Part of their goals are to establish health-related targets within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are then adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. This not only helps evaluate the "health" of a nation, but help develop achievable methods of combating some of these major social injustices and serious health issues around the world.

I always look at these to help gauge what kind of maladies I will be dealing with in the area I am working in, and also ways to try and help community development.  So...if you are bored already, feel free to stop reading, but if you want a little more information - stay tuned...

 I will be comparing the three countries I have worked in, and many of you have visited (Honduras/U.S.) to better assess and know what each statistic is saying. 

Life Expectancy at birth (years)
U.S. - 79.3
Honduras - 74.6
Equatorial Guinea - 58.2 (#12 lowest in the world)
Globally - 71.4

Healthy Life Expectancy (years)
U.S. -  69.1
Honduras - 64.9
Equatorial Guinea - 51.2
Globally - 63.1

Maternal Mortality Rate  (per 100,000)
U.S. - 14
Honduras - 129
Equatorial  Guinea - 342
Globally - 216

Children less than 5 years old - mortality rate (per 1,000)
U.S. - 6.5
Honduras - 20.4
Equatorial Guinea  94.1
Globally - 42.5

Births Attended by skilled personnel (percentage%)
U.S. - 99%
Honduras - 83%
Equatorial Guinea - 68%
Globally - 73%

Neonatal mortality Rate (per 1,000 live births)
U.S. - 3.6
Honduras - 11.0
Equatorial Guinea - 33.1 (#15th lowest in the world)
Globally - 19.2

Malaria (per 1,000)
U.S. - not statistically relevant
Honduras - 3.2
Equatorial Guinea - 211.1
Globally - 98.6

Proportion of married or in-union women of reproductive  age who have their need for family planning satisfied with modern methods (percentage %)
U.S.- 83.4
Honduras - 76.0
Equatorial Guinea - 20.5
Globally - 76.0





Adolescent Birth Rate, 15-19 years old (per 1,000)
U.S. - 26.6
Honduras - 101.0
Equatorial Guinea - 176
Globally - 44.1

As you can see, Equatorial Guinea falls way underneath Honduras, the United States, and the global statistics in every category.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that Honduras was considerably above the global statistics in almost every category.  Bottom line - I have my work cut out for me, and the need is great!  I thought I was much needed in Honduras, the statistics here show I am even more in need here.  I am praying that I can make a difference, however small it may be.







Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Odyssey of washing

Psalm 51:2 - Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 

"You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.” - See more at: https://sojo.net/magazine/november-2013/10-bible-verses-about-water#sthash.eBP1Yd30.dpuf
 John 4:14 - But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Isaiah 12:3 - Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Proverbs 5:15 - Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.


I feel like Homer would have enjoyed my Odyssey in washing...I feel like a character in his work - although I certainly hope I don't encounter any cyclops, but the adventure continues....

After my last washing blog, a few things have changed...

We are not authorized to use the tank well water, we MUST hand collect our water from the lower well water.  This is definitely a 2-person job - took us four trips to get enough water to use for the wash cycle, and then the rinse cycle.


Headed down to the well...




































However, this was not before I needed to hand scrub some clothing I knew would not come clean in my simple washing machine - so I took  my soap (specifically made for this process) to the scrub board which is conveniently located next to the well.  I hand scrubbed the item of clothing, then moved up to washing my clothes.


















We were then informed about the huge cost of electricity (nice to know after the almost month of being here), so our clothes will be line dried as much as possible (baring rain, etc.) then thrown in the dry cycle for at least 10 minutes to kill off any lurking bot fly larvae.





"You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.” - See more at: https://sojo.net/magazine/november-2013/10-bible-verses-about-water#sthash.eBP1Yd30.dpuf



Thursday, April 21, 2016

Washing my clothes with my "semi-automatic" washing machine

So...I purchased my washing machine...opened up the box...and had NO idea what to do.  The instructions, as rudimentary as they were didn't offer that great of information - so I had  to go ask my team mate to give me a lesson on doing my wash.  Here is what is involved:

The well (in the foreground) has water pumped up to the tower (in the back ground) - that is of course only when we have electricity.  The water is then gravity fed to the water source at my house...


This is where I tap into the water with my hose...
Then I run the hose to my washing machine to fill..

This is assuming we have electricity, or water in the well.  If neither is the case, then I have to take my very large bucket and walk down to the end of the property...













To this well - where I lower a bucket, and fill my very large bucket (takes about 4 times of lowering the bucket to fill enough water for a wash cycle...















THEN...I add my clothing...














 
Set the timer...

 Set my other dial to wash...


 when the timer goes off, I select the switch to drain - and the water drains out of the tub...



Then I refill the tub for the rinse cycle...



Set the tub to rinse...



re-set the timer...let it run it's cycle...



then set the knob to drain again...



then I wring out my clothes, and put them in the spin container....




After all that is done - I have semi-clean clothes.  Water coming from a well is tainted with dirt afterall, so you are washing clothes in dirty water...As you can see, this process does not allow me to go very far from my washing machine as it requires constant attention.  I guess I can now see how the machine is labeled "semi-automatic" - still not so sure what part is the automatic part!  HA!

Goes without saying, this is all assuming we have electricity - no electricity, no washing machine, no dryer - all our clothes go in our dryer so we don't get those pesky bot flies in our clothing, and then into our bodies...(and this was the LEAST  offensive picture of a bot fly larvae emerging from someone)



So...next time you throw your clothes in your washing machine and return 45 minutes later, think of us, say a prayer for our ministry, and add your Downy dryer sheets to the dryer.