Friday, September 19, 2014

An Update from the Cooper Family

September 19, 2014

“But as for me, I will sing of your power.  Each morning I will sing for joy about your unfailing love.  For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.  O my strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.”  Psalm 59:16-17

Here I sit almost four weeks after giving birth to our first child with a story to tell.  We have a beautiful
little boy named Emmanuel who loves to eat and is gaining weight like milk is going out of style.  We are so thankful for him.  This has also been the most difficult time of my life, and consequently my husband’s life.  Since having a caesarian-section over three weeks ago, I have been quite sick.  I have required re-interventions to drain an old abdominal bleed whose cause is unknown.  My intestines did not function for about two weeks.  There were days that I struggled physically to get out of bed.  I have experienced a lot of different kinds of pain and have become good at describing it.  I have needed help bathing and transferring.  I needed a steady arm to ambulate.  I have felt weak and wanted to do more to care for our beautiful baby.  Everyday I looked for “small victories,” but some days I struggled to find them.  Sometimes the day ended with me simply knowing that God was with me.  He knew my struggle and was able to catch my tears.  I am about 25pounds lighter (some of that is the baby!) and so thankful to be able to eat good food again for the past week.  I am thankful to be able to take over more of the care for Emmanuel.  I am on the mend, thanks be to God.

Through all of this, my husband Warren has been both an amazing new dad and husband.  He has stayed up with Emmanuel for nighttime feedings.  He has taken very good care of me, from the c-section to managing my complications with the Congolese doctors here.  He has challenged me to do
 A common event in our household
the difficult things, like moving despite the pain.  He has put in IVs and made it possible for me to be cared for at home, albeit one evening that he spent with me in the hospital.  I have been grateful for my dear nursing friend Heather who been a constant encouragement and prayer partner, faithfully taken my vital signs, cooked me good food, and helped me adjust to being a new mom.  I am grateful to Heather’s husband and mother who have also been present in a supportive role.  We have many Congolese friends and colleagues who have visited and prayed for us.  I am grateful to a missionary friend who gave me his blood when I was in need.  We have other missionary friends who have shared their food and prayed with us.  I am grateful to the doctors and nurses at CME-Nyankunde who gave me anesthesia, took my vital signs, did home visits, and delivered medications and drew labs at the house.

It has been very significant to the Congolese that Emmanuel was born here at Nyankunde.  They say “he is one of us!”  The vegetable ladies (ladies who sell vegetables in front of the hospital) have been calling him “Nyankunde.”  It used to be that many missionaries had their babies here, but it has been many years.  We want the local people to know that this village is safe now and that we believe a new day has come.  It seems funny that giving birth to a baby could help give people hope, but I believe it can.

We chose to name our baby Emmanuel which means “our God with us.”  This has been a good choice
Me and Emmanuel
of names.  There have been many times these last few weeks that I have been reminded of the simple fact that God is with us.  He is our refuge and in Him we put our trust.  Even as I received a very disorienting medication called ketamine for a procedure, when I did not know who or where I was I had our little boy’s name in my mind: “Emmanuel, our God is with us.”  I knew it was God who gave me this consolation when I needed it so desperately.  He wanted me to know that He was with me and that I did not need to be afraid.  I needed that.

Many of you have wondered how we are doing, so this is an update as we are emerging from a challenging time.  Give thanks to the Lord with us for health and recovery and for the amazing blessing of children.  We need your prayers as I (Lindsey) continue to recover.  Stay tuned as our next posting will be about the hospital's celebration of Emmanuel's birth, a really special time.  Can you guess the gift we received for giving birth in this little village?



  1. Wow, Lindsay (and Warren), what a wild and challenging time. As difficult as this time has been, I think you're right in mentioning the significance of his birth IN CONGO…many people would have recommended you return to the US for the birth of your first child. We chose to stay at Tenwek for Ben's birth and I have never regretted that decision (although our process was much more routine than yours). Even when we returned several years after leaving, everyone asked about Ben first, The Kenyans still referred to him with his Kipsigis name, Kipruto. It bonded us to the Kenyans more than anything else. Praying for a full recovery and continued joy in the journey. Rachel

  2. Oh Lindsay, I had no idea you were unwell and struggling so much after Emmanuel's birth. Thanks for the update to let us know how you're doing and that, despite the challenges, you are continuing on and being well supported and, most importantly, have felt God with you. I love that Emmanuel's birth has been so significant for the people you're working with. That's very cool! I'm eager to read your next post about the hospital's celebration. :-)