Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Passionfruit Harvest in September

September 6, 2016

Joy and sorrow.
This past week our hearts have been heavy as we learned of the death of a close friend after a serious accident.  We have also lost many patients lately.  It is pause to consider what we are doing with our lives that really matters.  It gives joy to remember who our friend was, yet at the same time it brings sorrow.  We know she knew Jesus and that we will see her again. 
Passionfruit flower, a beauty

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked...Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."  2 Corinthians 5:1-3; 5.

Indeed, we are travelers on a journey and this earth is only a temporary home.  We have an amazing life ahead of us.

Peace and pain. 
Furaha is a girl with diabetes that we have been managing for the last few years.  After a long struggle to manage her medical problems, she developed kidney failure.  We did all we could for her, but in the end I sent her home on palliative care with her family.  God can do miracles and sometimes he does, we will see.  As I spoke with the family who has suffered and given up so much for their daughter, they can’t imagine having done anything else.  Life is so valuable.  Even suffering has a way of bringing out love.  There is peace knowing we cared for her, even though it hurts.  The meaning of her name Furaha is "joy" in Swahili.

Strength To Walk Again
I was reminded again this past week that we care for patients so that they can tell others of the goodness of God.  As patients are healed they bear witness to others, and God receives the glory.  So many times in the New Testament Jesus heals and the result is many people praising God, not simply the one healed.  My jaw dropped recently when one of my patients walked into the pediatrics ward for a clinic follow-up.  Delphin was hardly able to walk in April due to tuberculosis affecting multiple bones in his body.  After many arduous surgical drainages and lots of pain, the infection seemed to be under control enough to go home.  I had his story translated into Swahili and told the family to share the good news with their friend and family. 
Wbat a great kid!

What joy to see him walk with a smile on his face!  The purpose of this visit was to see if he should start the academic year.  I gave a wholehearted “YES!”

One of my other patients stood for the first time last week.  Neema is a 3year old who has been struggling for months with the neurologic complications of tuberculosis.  She has been all smiles these past few weeks, able to sit independently and swallow food.  Just as we were watching Neema stand, we asked, “Can she walk?” Her mother said “No.” I think Neema heard us.  In an instant, she walked towards the door, holding onto the bed.  It was as if she wanted to show us what she could do!  What joy!!!  Neema means "grace" in Swahili.

Not apple picking, but passionfruit picking
I have been reminded to treasure Emmanuel this past week!  It keeps me going when work is difficult to know that I can come home and play with him.  He is growing so fast and is really such a sweet little boy.  He is learning to communicate his wants and needs, so there is far less frustration on his part.  I am learning patience as we ignore the occasional tantrum and focus on the good things he is doing. 
Birthday celebration with Emmanuel's aunties

He was very interested in the video of a certain "baby" (himself!)

We took a fun trip together to buy passionfruit on Sunday.  We may not have apples in Congo, but we do have an abundance of passionfruit.  This is my new favorite fall activity.  Emmanuel was really excited to load the fruit in the car.  He wanted to help washing the fruit.  At one point we filled the bathtub full of fruit and warm water and put him in it!   We bought $12 worth of fruit and have over 15L of concentrate to make >60L of juice!  I do miss the temperate seasons here in Africa…so it is perfect to have little things to remind me what time of year it is back home.

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Blessings and love,

Lindsey (for the Coopers)