Sunday, August 28, 2016

Emmanuel, the Birthday Boy

August 28, 2016

Emmanuel’s Birthday

It has been a busy week in the Cooper household!  The BIG news is that Emmanuel turned 2!  Where has the time gone?  There are lots of kids pictures in this blog, as an aside or an apology?!  He ate his birthday candle and fed his cupcakes to the dog (not just one, but two)!  We have been practicing singing “Happy Birthday” for months now.  I think he was a little surprised when everyone seemed to be singing around him.  He liked blowing on his celebratory party streamer.  It is so much fun to see him growing and developing every day, learning new words.  Both Warren and I would like him to replace his repetitive “What’s that?” with another phrase.  I love little boy hugs and kisses and spending time in the afternoon with him.  Now that he is two years old, he prefers his stroller less.  The other day he ran all the way down to the airstrip with us and Cocoa, instead of riding in his stroller.

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from

him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth."  Psalm 127:3-4  Children are truly a gift.  We are so grateful that the Lord has given Emmanuel to us.  We are reminded on birthdays to celebrate his life and dedicate the way we raise him to the Lord.

A Special Visitor
In addition we have had a special visitor with us this week, an American internal medicine/pediatrics ICU doctor named Nicole. 
The funny thing is that it took her 4 days to travel 500km from central Congo to our village in eastern Congo, by air.  It literally would have been faster to travel to and from Europe than to travel in country.  It is wonderful to have a new friend and colleague!  Our residents were able to hear about her area of research on the pathophysiology behind cerebral malaria/meningitis.  It is just crazy that we don’t really understand why some people die from the complications of cerebral malaria and others survive.  Her visit was such a blessing to us.  It is really beautiful to see how God can accomplish amazing things through people who are open to His will.  It was an encouragement to me personally to be able to see cases together and feel like I am providing good care to people.  We look forward to meeting the rest of her family someday and exploring ways that we can collaborate and encourage each other. 
Our medical staff with Dr. Nicole

Sports Team from California
We were blessed to host an evangelistic sports team from California at the end of July.  This is their fourth trip to Nyankunde to meet and encourage the youth.  The youth gathered in the morning to study the Word of God and be encouraged through Scripture.  In the afternoon they then taught each
Mek and Emmanuel are buddies

Sports team from California (plus Sheryl)
other and played sports.  They have maintained relationships with the youth over the past 6 years or so and know their stories.  Many of them have received scholarships to study at Christian universities, with the prerequisite that they return to work/teach in their home village.  This really is a highlight of the summer for many of the youth.  They develop leadership skills and close relationships with one another.  We housed the team in the guesthouse and organized their meals and life needs.  It is an honor to serve in this way.

The theme of their two weeks here was to “Racheter le temps” or “Buy back the time”, or in the words of Ephesians 5: 15:  “Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”  It is a very convicting question of how we use our time.  Are we making the most of our time to love others?

“You are what you eat!”
Have you ever heard the old adage “You are what you eat”?  People definitely have a good grasp on this concept, maybe better than we Americans do.  Food is perhaps the most widely discussed topic!  It is almost a personal question when you ask someone, “What did you eat today?”  What you are really asking is more than the food they actually ate.  You are asking for a little window into their world, their social support, knowing what they are planting in their fields (whether successful or not).  I have grown to enjoy the interaction of asking my Mamas which foods they are preparing for their children.  The most common plate here is foo-foo (cassava root) and fish with perhaps a cooked form of spinach on the side.  Whenever I get this food history I say, “He is a true Congolese kid!”

Often there is a partial understanding (or complete misunderstanding) about nutritional concepts, and   It is fascinating.  As Americans we have a lot of beliefs around food too.  When you are sick, don’t you need to eat chicken noodle soup?  If you have been sick, don’t you need to replenish your Vitamin C?  Maybe chamomile tea with honey for sleep?  During pregnancy women seem to require chocolate and ice cream.  You get the idea.

a lot of beliefs.

In Congo when you are sick you need to start with vegetable soup too.  I am told that carrots are necessary to eat when you are sick to strengthen your eyesight.  New moms need to eat squash leaves and beans to keep a good milk supply.  When you are anemic you need to eat more green vegetables.  It is true that green vegetables are rich in iron and can help with anemia, but the response is not immediate like everybody here thinks. 

There are some funny beliefs like drinking a red soda called Mirinda helping with anemia.  It is true that Mirinda will keep up your blood sugar though during a malaria crisis.  I think somehow the color of foods is more significant to people.

It is true that after weeks of an unhealthy diet lacking in protein, one begins to show external signs of swelling, lack of energy, etc.  A diet lacking in iron eventually leads of anemia, weakness and fatigue.  A diet high in fat/sugar is quickly seen in added weight and an increased waistline.  These are obvious things maybe, but often we don’t analyze the things that we eat.  We all need more fruit and vegetables, less processed foods.  So we are to some degree what we eat.

Prayer Requests
Please pray for Alili, a young boy that Warren wrote about a few weeks ago.  He is back in the hospital with respiratory difficulties and a mass pushing on his trachea.  Just minutes ago Warren was called into the hospital to do an emergency tracheotomy.  He almost died.  Pray for wisdom in knowing how to treat him.  He is such a special soul.

Pray for us as we continue to build our ministry support team.  If you are interested in being involved with our ministry we would love to hear from you.

Pray for new ways to invest in the hospital staff and various ministries.

Pray that we would represent Christ well in our words, deeds, and relationships.

The kid pile-up

...right before he fell over

1 comment:

  1. In all of these years, I don't imagine that anyone has figured out why Nancy, Warren's mother, died of cancer? Most of the time she ate in foreign countries, far from our adulterated US food. I have always wondered why she would get cancer.