Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Fall travel fun

October 16, 2018

It is this time of the year that I miss the leaves changing, cool nights, and temperate climates.  Rainy season seems to drone on and on.  Mud is a serious impediment to movement.  Today we are reading a book about the seasons and doing a leaf tracing with the kids, all in an effort to recognize the autumn season.

A Trip to Uganda
We just returned from a short road trip to Uganda to procure batteries for the hospital.  Power is a serious problem when the sun does not shine for our little “off the grid hospital.”  The hospital received several grants to help with the costs.  It is a large initial investment that pays off in the long term.  It was nice to get away from the threat of Ebola and be refreshed. 

There were lots of fun times on our road trip to Uganda.  It took about 16-18hours to make the 308 km trip to Kampala.  Google maps says it takes 11hours 55minutes, but the reality is otherwise!  We try to have some fun camping along the way, seeing animals in Murchison Falls and on the Nile

River.  We really enjoyed time as a family, with our friend and visiting surgeon Jen.  It is a season of firsts for our four-year old.  It gives us a lot of joy to see Emmanuel enjoy ‘catching’ a Nile perch and roasting it over the fire and learning how to swim for the first time.  He is gaining the confidence to swim and is not afraid of being underwater.  Rivers equate with crocodiles.  Elephants sleep under trees.  We sleep in a tent house.  As I am reading about this developmental stage, it seems that his rational thought is catching up with his emotions.  He is able to modulate his emotions and deal with his feelings, even express them.  We are really enjoying this new phase of parenting.  We are always thankful
to return safely to Nyankunde.

The Ebola Outbreak
As many of you know, we find ourselves living in a province affected by Ebola.  Our hospital has taken certain measures such as completion of an isolation ward, triage, and general infection control.  These are difficult days for hospital staff as our patient load has decreased significantly.  According to the government, we should only be doing emergency (no elective) surgery.  We have not had any confirmed cases here, for which we are so thankful.  Still there is a lot of fear in the population and fear makes people leave treatment centers, conceal the severity of their illness, and flee to outside hospitals.  The epicenter of this outbreak is in North Kivu in and around Beni.  However,  people have fled north to cities in our area.  Join us in prayer for the Lord’s protection of our staff and village.

Home Assignment

We are returning to the US for a short period at the end of the year (December-March).  This has been a particularly stressful time with the current outbreak and upcoming elections.  We are blessed to have a surgeon with us for the year.  This really gives us the freedom to travel and take a little time off.  It is the first time in 6 years that we are leaving with a surgeon in place.  We are looking forward to spending time with family and friends over the holidays in the Blue Ridge mountains, reconnecting with supporting churches, and taking care of medical appointments/etc.  We won’t be doing as much traveling this time, but we would love to see you.    

We know that God is with us.  He is sovereign and directs our paths.  He gives us purpose and daily lives that matter for His kingdom.  We have the honor to represent Jesus to others in our work.  

Prayer points:
-Please pray for the end of the Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo.  Pray for an end to fear and violence that escalate the problems.  

-Pray for Nyankunde Hospital as it struggles to pay staff and provide patient care.  Pray that we would represent Jesus well in our daily work.

-Pray for our preparations for home assignment in a few weeks.  Pray for a joyous time of reconnection with family and friends.

-Rejoice with us that the hospital chapel rehabilitation project is moving forward.  This is the last  link to the project:  https://youtu.be/uaeM-FhP8OM.  
An aerial view of the old hospital chapel
building of Nyankunde Hospital to be rehabilitated since the war.  The hospital received a generous donation from Redeemer Church in LaMirada California that will allow the work to commence.  If you would like to see more about this project, please email us privately: warrenandlindsey@gmail.com.  Check out the video

-Pray that we would also be growing in our walk with the Lord and with the community.

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

With love and blessing,

Lindsey, Warren, & Emmanuel Cooper

Sunday, September 2, 2018

We need each other

September 2, 2018

Medical Care and Discipleship in Pairs
This week I have been helping our Samaritan's Purse nursing friend, John Troke, with training procedures for donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE).  We have been training small groups of nurses and
physicians and continue to do so this week.  We have been focusing on the fact that patient care and decontamination is always done in pairs, one that can directly check and assist the other.  We saw first hand that the people who did the best at this skill were those who collaborated and learned from each other well.  It took the others considerably more time to perform the skill with more mistakes, some of them crucial.  It was encouraging to them to realize that they would never be alone when asked to care for a patient in isolation.  

 There is a Biblical lesson in all of this.  The first lesson is that we need each other.  Everyone is important.  Everyone.  We need others to see our blind sides, and to protect us.  There are dangers all around us; if we recognized them all we would rarely leave the house!  Ebola is a very serious disease, and one in which it is necessary to take every infection control measure to prevent contracting or spreading it.  The spiritual parallels are profound from spiritual warfare, to discipleship, to marriage, to accountability with others.  There is an enemy.  This enemy seeks to undermine us, to break down our relationship with God and others.  When we are out of communion with others who can help and keep us accountable, we can start to make serious mistakes.  I am learning that our partner is just as important as the personal protective equipment that we are wearing.  Oh how we need to value one another highly.

In the New Testament Jesus sent out the disciples in groups of two.  It wasn't an accident, convenience, or convention.  This was intentional on the part of Jesus.  They were told to declare the Word of God boldly.  They had the support of each other.  They had different giftings and could relate to people differently.  There are many examples, among those: Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, and Mark and Barnabas.  Two people provide a credible witness of something, teaching and miracles included (John 3:11).  The testimony of one person was not considered acceptable by God (1Corinthians 14:29).  "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses" 2Corinthians 13:1.  Then there is the issue of credibility of two persons (Mark 6:11) when someone rejected the teachings of Jesus.  Not to mention it is always more fun to do something alongside another person!  I continue to learn Biblical truths from medicine.

Emmanuel's 4th Birthday
Last week our son Emmanuel turned age 4!  
We celebrated by doing one of
his favorite activities, going for an airplane ride!  We sang and ate coconut cake in the plane over eastern Congo.  Our friend Chad said that it was his first in-flight birthday party.  Then over the weekend we had a birthday party at the house with a water theme.  The kids painted things that live in the water.  Some of the Congolese kids were not so familiar with things other than fish, so we had some plastic examples to copy.  Then we swam, fished out sunken fish toys, threw water balloons, and slid down the slip and slide.  There was a lot of activity going on!  It is a blessing to be part of a larger missionary and village community.  Emmanuel has a rich childhood.  We are so grateful to God for the gift that he is to us.  

Thank you for so many of your personal messages and prayers for us and our hospital.  This is a  period of high disease vigilance and a time when we want to limit hospitalizations to only essential cases.

-Pray for the control of ebola in eastern Congo.  Pray against fear that keeps people from seeking care and infecting others.
-Pray for the witness of Nyankunde Hospital, that we would be faithful witnesses of the Word of God.
-Pray for Emmanuel as he starts preschool again next week.

Blessings from eastern Congo.