News and Raising a Toddler
January 8, 2017
Wishing you a Happy New Year from Congo! Hope your year is off to a fresh beginning. Each day is a fresh beginning, yet somehow a new year is special.
News from Warren in Iraq
Warren is currently in Iraq assisting with the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital for the next few weeks. They are receiving wounded civilians leaving the city of Mosul as the city is slowly liberated by Iraqi troups. He wants to inform friends and family that the work is progressing and that they started receiving patients this previous weekend. They are seeing gunshot wounds and shrapnel wounds. I am grateful that Warren can share his skillset at a time like this. It is my prayer that everyone’s skills will be used to thefullest extent and that civilians will be evacuated.
Please pray for the safety and health of this team as they serve in a difficult place. In the meantime Emmanuel and I remain in Congo. Pray for us during this time of separation.
Emmanuel and I have been spending a lot of time together. I feel blessed to have been given such a beautiful child which such an inquisitive sweet spirit. This morning as he observed me frustrated with our parrot repeatedly landing on my head…as it approached my feet he said, “He hurting momma’s foot.” He is starting to show sensitivity, especially to people who are hurting or sick. Yesterday he told me his “Eye hurts” and “Head hurts.” Sure enough, he has had a cold and bacterial conjunctivitis. He was sharing his needs with me. It is so sweet to him express himself.
The next minute after hearing these sweet words, I am infuriated trying to get simple eyedrops in his eyes. He squirms and screams and kicks. After much effort I overpower him. Maybe girls are easier to deal with…I have no idea. Oh, life with a toddler! Let me take this opportunity to share a few toddler topics relevant to a missionary mom.
I haven’t heard many parents talk about the challenges of raising kids on the mission field. It is a unique experience. Let me illustrate. A fever in the US is most likely a viral infection, maybe strep throat or a urinary infection. On the mission field this could be malaria, amoeba, typhoid fever, acute schistosomiasis…a fever is not just a fever. One thinks of all the possibilities, malaria being the first. I know the disease we see here, as I treat them everyday. It is different when it is your child with a cellulitis that just won’t go away. Emmanuel was born in Congo. He was circumcised here. He has had malaria and parasites. He is a pretty healthy kid, but he does occasionally get sick.
Mothers everywhere are concerned that their kids are getting good nutrition. It is challenging on the mission field when your child refuses to eat and you don’t know why. This has happened to me, sometimes for days on end. Sometimes I have to leave the table because it is emotionally hard for me. Is it my cooking? Is he getting enough calories? Am I doing something wrong? Food sources are more limited and everything is home-cooked. There are no fast food alternatives or easy fall backs.
Language development is a fascinating process. Our son hears three languages, almost interchangeably. He is now putting more words together and is frustrated less of the time. If you didn’t know he understands three languages, you would think his language is delayed. But really he knows the same (if not more) words, all languages combined. Language requires patience and a lot of time. Each child learns at their own pace.
Living overseas is a rich social experience. A day doesn’t go by when we are out on a walk, and people shout from far away…”Jambo Emmanuel!” Everybody knows this kid and he knows everyone! I think more people know him than me ( I am Mama Emmanuel). He loves to dance with our gardeners, they are his best buddies. Extended family looks different than in the US. He has lots of aunties and uncles here, many within the missionary community.
We are fortunate to have a nanny every morning for about 4hours. This enables me to work and complete some of my home responsibilities. I couldn’t do my job without our nanny Maziga! Sometimes Emmanuel has to go to the neighbors or run with me down to the hospital. He is pretty flexible, although he really does thrive on routine. I wish his grandparents and aunt were closer and could spend time with him. This is a hard part of living overseas…family does not live close to share life or celebrate birthdays. When our son isn’t with our nanny, he is with us. I have never spent a night apart from him since he was born. This is true for a lot of missionaries in the field.
Thank you for your prayers and interest in our lives. Stay in touch! Pray for quick resolve of the situation in Iraq.
To read more: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/updates-from-emergency-field-hospital-in-iraq/