Sunday, January 15, 2017

Starting off the New Year

January 15, 2017
Emmanuel and his friend Jonas playing ball
A Clinical Case to Start Off the New Year & Reflections of the Previous Year
She is getting stronger every day

We had a very emotional admission to our malnutrition program this week.  This year we had two deaths in one family from malnutrition, Francine and Moise.  After paying a home visit to this family, a 10year old hungry child was found.  On the home visit, our nutritionist and community advocate learned the reasons the family is struggling:  depression, lack of planted crops, an absent father, and a mother trying to get by by selling a local alcohol.  You name the difficulty and this family has been through it.  There is no food in the house and they do not know where their next meal is coming from.  It is a sad story and one we hear too often.

We agreed that this family was in crisis.  There was some doubt if the mother would come to the outpatient nutrition program with her child this week.  She did not come, but the 10year old boy was found on the road walking to attend the program alone.  He said his mother was sick and his father was not at home.  He was desperately hungry.  He gratefully accepted a meal, milk, and porridge.  We all agreed to find a woman to care for the child overnight and to send a message home. 

The following day on rounds the young boy’s mother arrived and we talked together.  She was in full support of the boy’s admission and recognizes that they need help. 

I ask myself what can we do to really help this family, trapped in poverty?  MWe CAN provide a safe refuge where the family will receive food, hear the Gospel, and receive love from our staff.  We CAN involve community organizations that support local farming efforts.  We CAN talk with the local church leaders and chief of the village.  We WILL do all of these things over time.  We WILL pray for the family to be freed from this trap, of physical and spiritual poverty. 

As we care for those in true need we are ministering to Jesus Himself.  Whatever we do to the least of these we do onto Him.  It is a holy calling to give physical and spiritual care.  It is my prayer that the Lord is pleased with our daily work.

New Mothers
Looking back on this past year, we have admitted five women to the feeding program.  The thing these women have in common is that they were new mothers.  Many of them stopped lactating and their babies were failing to thrive as well.  One young woman was diagnosed with gestational diabetes as the reason for her severe weight loss.  Another had a re-activation of her tuberculosis with her 11th pregnancy.  Most of these women beg for help to prevent future pregnancies.  On average the new mothers gain >10kg over about 1-2months. 

Pregnancy and motherhood are supposed to be joyous times in life, although it is often during these times that women struggle to stay healthy in Congo.  I am proud to say that the hospital meets the needs of these women during a nutritional crisis. 

I am often reminded as I care for patients in need that I am ministering to Christ.  His identify is seen in their beautiful faces.  These women are truly in need, cry openly, and are grateful for the help they receive.  It is not just about providing for a physical need, although this is important.  More completely, it is about loving people who need support.  I feel honored to be part of these women’s lives.

Matthew 25:45 "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

Proverbs 14:31  He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.

Proverbs 19:17  One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed.

Matthew 10:42  And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward."

Matthew 25:34  Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Serving in Iraq

Thank you for many of you who are praying for Warren and the work of the trauma hospital in Iraq.  The injuries are severe, no respecter of age or sex.  Over 100 lives have been saved through the efforts of this hospital in the past week.  The hospital was dedicated this past week in the presence of Iraqi officials, World Health Organization and the United Nations.  Many organizations were asked to provide help in this conflict, many refused.  Samaritan’s Purse answered the call, true to the parable of the Good Samaritan who stopped to help the wounded on the side of the road after others passed by.  My husband’s skills acquired with trauma in residency in Chicago, and with many war-injured in Sudan are being used to provide oversight/wisdom/skills to the surgical team.  I am proud of him and what he can offer.

Keep praying for us, for quick resolve of the conflict in Iraq, for the field hospital, for the continued work here in Congo.  
Many blessings and love,

Lindsey for the Coopers
Dreaming about airplanes with 3 toy airplanes in his hands!
Our Sunday morning crew.
Thank you Angel fand Sheryl or all your help with our kids
Thank you Angel!
Dinner with our friends the Jacobssons
High heels again

Playing with Cocoa, an airplane in each hand

Monday, January 9, 2017

News and Raising a Toddler

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.

Speech Development
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.

Social Life
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.

Child Care
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:

Lindsey for the Coopers
The nightly dance around the airplanes