Friday, June 17, 2016

Father's Day & Recent Novelties

June 17, 2016
Happy Father's Day to all of you dads (spiritual and otherwise)!!!  I am grateful for my father and the husband the Lord has given me.  Emmanuel absolutely adores his father.  I come home so many days to see them rising the tractor together, playing in the woodshop, watering the garden, or playing with the dog.  He hears his motorcycle coming home from the hospital and he says, "Daddy!"  I enjoy hearing them sing and talk together.  What a great calling it is to raise children who know Jesus.  "The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him"  Proverbs 23:24.

This last month has some random novelty worth mentioning.

We ate our first wild guinea fowl!  It was quite good.  Our night watchman trapped it for us.  They are beautiful birds and like to pillage peanut fields.  

Last week one of our teammates had a really severe reaction to malaria, what looked like anaphylaxis.  He is finally feeling better and we are so grateful.  I am learning that malaria can present itself in almost any way!

We praise God for our first case of successful pediatric resuscitation after circulatory/ respiratory arrest.  It has been a rocky road of recovery for this baby, but we are so grateful for his life.  We still don't know exactly what happened.  I do know, however, that we are seeing some very strange presentations of cerebral malaria as well as handicaps afterwards. 

We set up our first above ground pool in the yard and had a first swim this past Sunday.  The crazy part is that
our newly renovated water system can support having a pool (at least in the wet season).  Emmanuel had such a fun time!  He likes being able to touch the ground and float around.  We look forward to some fun times with kids having the opportunity to swim.  I remember how many fond memories I have as a child swimming and I want the same for Emmanuel.

These have been difficult days in the hospital with so many complicated cases.  People come for care so late and often as a last resort after they have been to traditional healers or been operated on by an unqualified person.  We struggle to know how to handle the needs.  Some people live and others die.  It is hard to know how hard to try...and when it is ok to say "stop."  Both Warren and I struggle to experience joy in the daily experience as we slog through it all.  I need to remember and claim the promises of God.  It is a deliberate choice to give thanks and rejoice for He is always good.  We need to remember continually that the "Joy of the Lord is my strength," not in a trite spiritual sense but in a deep, gut-wrenching battle sense.  

I have been learning about "Joy" and the need to claim it.  Everythings can literally be falling apart around you and you can still claim joy in God's presence.  I am learning that rejoicing is a choice and direction of our hearts.  There is always something to rejoice in.  Even simply that we walk with The Lord, that we can talk to Him, that He accepts us, and forgives us.  Joy is also incomplete in this life and will be made perfect in eternity when we walk firsthand with God.  

Do you ever feel like you are from another planet?  Some days I feel this way.  Leaving my house in the morning
is life stepping out of a spaceship on foreign terrtain.  Other days I feel very much at home out of my element.  Some days it just seems that the educational and cultural barriers are too hard.  At times I forget these differences and speak with ease in my funny Swahili.  Often I laugh and cry with my patients.  Occasionally I can be speaking the same language as a family, yet it still seems that people are tuned into a different frequency.  I have felt special bonds to many of my patients and families...yet other times I feel estranged from their beliefs and worldview.

I suppose all of this comes with cross-cultural living.  We are different and we come from a different language and culture.  We have the unique challenge and honor of being moulded by a different culture.  I can accept that there will always be things that I do not understand, or, as Warren so often says that I will never understand the whole truth around something.  I will always be a bit of an alien.  But I do hope to come closer to understanding where people are coming from and to communicate effectively.  People across all cultures need to be understood and loved.  I can get my mind and heart around this.  I can speak the language of love.