Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Coopers!



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Coopers!


We hope you had a blessed Christmas close to those you love.  This was our first Christmas in Congo.  Our celebration out in the bush was a little different than in the US. We celebrated Christmas Eve with our new friends the Jakobbsons and Strietzels (who serve with MAF-Mission Aviation Fellowship). We realized that this was a first for all of us as newly committed missionaries to the re-building of Nyankunde.  It was a special moment.  Amidst the heat, we listened to Christmas music and had a traditional Swedish meal.    It feels like a new chapter has begun here.  Christmas was a bit simpler this year…complete with a small tree carried in country via suitcase, 3-dimensional sugar cookies, Norwegian rosettes, and friends around the table.  We have hosted our Congolese friends for watching of the Nativity and discussion about Christmas traditions.

A holiday meal with the Jakobbsons

Before the war here in Nyankunde, there was an active mission aviation program here.  Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) has re-established their program here since May 2013, but this has not been without significant hurdles.  There have been two near misses, both involving motorcycles crossing the airstrip as a plane was landing.  The first near-miss resulted in a totaled plane, but no injuries.  The second near-miss resulted in the airstrip closing.  A very large fence is being built the length of the airstrip to prevent motorcycles and pedestrians from crossing.  I suppose the location of a water source on the other side of an airstrip is not ideal.  We believe in what God is doing here and look forward to the flight ministry “taking off” again.

Peterson
This month we said goodbye to our sweet puppy Peterson at only 11months of age.  We are still struggling
On Nyankunde mountain with Peterson
with losing her.  She was the most amazing and powerful dog either of us had ever known.  She loved bounding through the green fields, digging, jumping waist-high, and eating fish.   She never took much interest in retrieving balls…just watching us throw them.  Not only were we her masters, but also her veterinarians, and nursing team.  We did upper endoscopy, placed IVs, fed her by syringe.  Her illness was abrupt and advanced quickly.  We miss her.

Looking back on the year
This new year marks the one-year mark of our moving to Nyankunde.  We are learning a tremendous amount about living overseas including hospitality, gardening, cooking, carpentry, and lots of odd jobs. 
Homemade lasagne (everything local, even ricotta cheese)


Always a bird on his shoulder!
It seems like we almost always have several home improvement projects going on.  We have learned the necessity of taking a Sabbath day of rest every week…it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t see patients but rather an attitude of the heart.  We do most of our cooking on Saturday, including baking for the week.  Home really feels like a place we can rest.  We are really happy here together and our marriage continues to grow in new ways.






We have seen the coming and passing of many lives here.  Life is precious and fragile, we just don’t realize it most of the time.   I (Lindsey) have had several memorable patients that remind me that life is a gift.  I have mentioned a sweet girl with a severe skin condition called pemphigus vulgaris.  She has basically been in the hospital for the past 6months, with the exception of a couple of weeks.  It was my
Littliest ones of Nyankunde
hope to get her off steroids and transitioned to an antibiotic called Dapsone to control her symptoms, but I can’t seem to do it.  I have traded the severity of a skin condition for the side-effects of steroids.  We have decided that the best course of action is to hospitalize her for exacerbations and keep her coming to the hospital for daily visits/meds from the community.  This essentially means she is living at Nyankunde.  I want to give her the best possible life she can have.  There are two preemies (Nyangoma and Nyakatho) just under 3lbs (1.2kg) who are now 2 months old, finally gaining weight.  It is an absolute miracle to see in this setting where our electrical restraints don’t allow us to run incubators and baby formula is also quite expensive.   The other amazing thing is that the mother is displaced from her home due to local conflict, so the best place is probably in the hospital where she has people to care for her. 

The hospital will begin using the new mattresses that many of your financial contributions helped to purchase.  We are blessed to have more than enough mattresses for our current needs.
 
On-Going Ministries
This year we look forward to new ministries and old.  We continue to support the malnutrition program and cooking for the indigent poor population in the hospital.  Samaritan’s Purse will branch out more into community health intervention and follow-up surrounding the most vulnerable, malnourished pediatric population.  This program plans to incorporate agricultural intervention within family groups.  There is much to be done.

We continue to welcome visiting doctors and nurses and their families to serve and teach.  We pray for more and more opportunities for service, to strengthen the surgical service.

We pray for continued financial viability of the hospital and the spread of the Gospel in and through our work here.  We pray that we would be more and more like Jesus in our service here.  May we be filled with His joy to offer Him praise.

Thank you for your interest in our lives and support this last year.  We welcome your participation in prayer and finances this coming year.  To find out more visit: www.samaritanspurse.org/wmmgiving.  We are registered under the name Cooper and project account: 002121.


I conclude with the Christmas oratorio by Christian Friedrich Henrici and J.S Bach from the 1700’s:

“Come then, only your name will be in my heart! 
Thus I will call upon you, filled with delight,
When heart and breast burn for love of you.
But, my beloved, tell me,
How do I praise you, how do I thank you?
Jesus, my joy and bliss, my hope, treasure, and reward,
My redeemer, defense, and salvation.
Shepherd and King, light and sun!
Ah! How can I offer you worthy praise, my Lord Jesus?

Love and blessings,

Lindsey and Warren Cooper



Us with the Tenpenny's before their departure from DR Congo


Nyankunde Docs (the present and the past)