New baby on board! That’s right….Lucilia’s here. She’s 1 month old and a little over 7 lbs. She’s super sweet and settling in nicely. She arrived Wed morning. Her mother was 16 and died from complications 2 weeks after delivery. Her extended family isn’t able to take care of her. In fact, for the last 2 weeks they had been feeding her Cremora which is an instant coffee creamer kind of stuff. But we have her now…and I’m allowing her to take real powdered formula…that we presto chango into leite (Portuguese for milk). She seems to like it, although it’s probably not as creamy (he he). Oh well. Sorry for the pic-she wasn’t really into the photo shoot I was giving her….too big of a day for her, I guess. I’m sure I’ll snap some cuter ones later, but you get the idea. Oh and I posted a pic (finally) of Martinha 3 a few posts below. She’s really adapting to her new environment and starting to thrive. So many new tots since I’ve arrived: Freddie, Alberto, Julio, Martinha 3, and now Lucilia. We’re busting at the seams! Please prayer as we make plans to open the new nursery at the end of November. Little Lucilia will be our first baby. It will give us 6 more beds (that I’m sure will be full soon). Also, there is one kid that has an adoption in the works (waiting on a date for him to be able to take him) and a few that will probably be reintegrated into their families by the close of the year. Pray for these changes-for the children affected, their families, and the other kids in the BH that lose a sister or a brother! The younger they are reintegrated, the easier on everyone it is and the better for the family. It’s also a more secure environment to grow up in, truer to the real Mozambique culture, and easier for the kid to adapt to the hard life they are going to face once they leave the center.

In other requests…..I have really felt led to pray for this upcoming election and for our Country. I hope you’re joining me in praying daily for these things. It’s been really heavy on my heart lately!

Just for fun: Pictures from the week

Lena and Enocue are sitting up!

Dionisio (aka Eyeore) too...and he is NOT happy about it....and he refuses to do so or at least cries about it...here he is right before the tears-because sitting up is an undeniably scary and torturous thing...i know.

And i finally got a few moments to PLAY with my tots...Mindah and I even took a girl time out for dolls and pretend kitchen in my room (she loves bonecas=dolls).

Also, as most of you know I had a wonderful respite time at Lisi Resort last weekend where I spent 2 nights and 3 days off the center in total bliss and quiet….lounging by the pool, sleeping in, reading books, sitting in a massage chair, curling up in big cushy couches, eating really yummy food, and basically just being a bum. I am refreshed. I have pics up on my photo journal (click on the link to the right) if you wanna see more!


You are the defender of the weak

First, I have a praise report!!!! God had really been laying it on my heart for the last few weeks to reach out to supporters and friends for help with Christmas for all the tots in the BH and Toddler house. I was going to wait until my next newsletter the first of November, but just really felt strongly that I should send it out last Thursday night. I asked that everyone consider sponsoring one of our 43 kids for Christmas. We spend about $15 a child for things like new clothes, shoes, towels, a toy, stocking stuffer kind of items, ect. I was a little worried and felt bad for even asking as there is such an economic instability in the States at the moment, the big election coming up, and the holidays around the corner. I know people are a little stressed. I am excited to report that within 5 short days, I have received pledges that cover not only all 43 kids for Christmas but several hundred more which will allow us to purchase quite a few things we’ve been holding back on as well as many developmental items for the new nursery set to open the first of the year. I am overwhelmed and feel completely blessed. This was such an answered prayer for quite a few of us. God has once again proven His faithfulness, His goodness, and how awesome His provisions are. I am thankful to each of you that followed the tug in your heart when God asked you to give. If you still feel a pull to answer the email….by all means please do as. We trust Him to provide for all our needs, unspoken, unknown, and unforeseen. Email or leave a comment here and I’ll give you more details. Praise God!

Now on to why I’m posting for the moment: this is completely off topic for my ministry here, but it is being laid on my heart and is dear to me as I used to volunteer in a pregnancy crisis center for a little over 2 years as well as working as a nurse in a neonatal intensive care for 5 years.

Today is October 15th which just another day for most….but for many, many, many, women it is national day of remembrance for pregnancy and infant loss (whether they know the day exists or not).

  • Tonight I am praying for all the women who have suffered a miscarriage-who have known what it is like to experience the joy and excitement of a pregnancy, of a womb full of the life God has created and placed there, only to have that stripped away and the unborn taken straight into the arms of our Heavenly Father. I am praying for these women that were never able to hold their child in their arms and say goodbye, who ache daily for their children that will never be and await the day that will meet again in Heaven.

  • I pray for all the women who have given birth to a stillborn infant. Who have carried to term or near term, preparing for the day of the arrival of their new addition, who arrived at the hospital to give birth, only to return back home emptied handed to an empty nursery and a heart full of grief and sorrow.

  • I pray for the families who have carried babies to term knowing full well their child was diagnosed with a syndrome incompatible with life….cherishing each day before the child is born as a gift they have been given to spend with their child….longing for many more minutes to spend with their infant once he/she is born before God takes him/her back home to be with Him. I pray they will know God’s goodness and healing touch. I thank God who gave them the strength to give the child a chance to spend even a few breaths on this earth rather than choosing to terminate as the easier route.

  • I pray for the families who have seen a bouncing healthy baby come into this world, loved it and watched it grow, but seen his/her life caught short unexpectedly by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. I pray they will see God’s meaning and plan for the purpose of that child in their life if even for a short moment.

  • I pray for all women who were unable to carry their infants to term, who gave birth to a premature infant and infants born with congenital anomalies, cardiac defects, ect, the families who have stood vigil in the hospital day after day in intensive care nurseries praying over their child’s side, the ups and downs, the hope and despair, the precious moments they were able to spend, longing to touch and hold their infant, but often times, unable to-leaving them only to watching them fight for their life behind a plastic wall for minutes, hours, days, even months, only to see him/her finally go home….home to the arms of our Father.

  • I pray for the women who have lost a child to abortion…the women who were forced by pressures from society, husbands, friends, parents, boyfriends, and church members to extinguish the life God ordained and allowed in the midst of bad timing, bad circumstances, bad relationships, inconvenience, or poor planning. I pray for the women that saw it as their only option, who couldn’t see past the present and now many years later, a few years wiser, may regret the decision they made. I pray for these children that were never born, that were never given the opportunity to serve our Father on earth, who are, even now, dancing with the angels in heaven. I pray for these mothers, who live with that choice daily, that they will experience true forgiveness, peace, and comfort from Him.

  • Finally, I pray for the fathers. I pray for the fathers that never had the chance to show what strong Christian men are able to do….love and nurture a child into a healthy man or women, to share God’s love with them, to prepare and raise a new generation to be God’s warriors. I pray for the father’s who aren’t given the chance to grieve and mourn by society, who can’t even put words to their emotions as most do not recognize their pain in miscarriages the same as a women’s. I pray for the fathers that had the chance to be an earthly father for a short while. I pray for the fathers who never had the chance to know their child the way the mother did while the infant was growing in their womb, still alive and vibrant. I pray for the men that stood by women when there was a tough choice to make regarding the born or unborn, that supported the women who bore pain daily waiting to deliver a child they knew would never grow out of childhood. I am thankful they can be a stronghold and supporter for their wives and family through the trying times after the loss.

"Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. Noone can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak, and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."

-Isaiah 40: 28-31

Tonight I am reminded that God is the defender of the weak….and I can think of no one more weak than an unborn child, than the child that never had the chance to grow up strong, the premature tiny 1 lb infant given the chance to only spend half the time it should have growing in the womb…..for all those who could not speak for themselves……who were too little or weak to stick up for themselves, to defend themselves…..He is our great protector and all the children are sitting in His lap and around His feet tonight as He tells them their bedtime story and the angels are singing their lullabies. They are whole again, complete, there is no more suffering or pain. I pray that all the mothers and fathers tonight will experience peace, comfort, and rest in Him and His goodness….He is our comforter. You will all be reunited one day, until then….they are in better hands now and waiting on you!


Where did the week go to?

I'm a little behind on the updates….been busy. Sorry.

Nemias came home on Friday which was a pleasant surprise. We love having him back……unfortunately, for the both of us, the doctors decided that he still needs Gentamycin for 12 more days (I personally think they may be slightly crazy and would like a little proof on the matter…but I’m holding my tongue…just not my typing fingers). Since this can only be given two ways….IV (which he doesn’t have and we aren’t licensed to have) and IM (a shot)…..guess which way he gets it? That’s right. I am now Nemias’s greatest enemy and he screams whenever I go to pick him up. I would too if I was 2 and some mean lady gave me a shot in my leg twice a day (and it’s only been 2 days). The doces (sweets in portuguese) afterwards…..aren’t working…..neither are the bright, cute, charactered band-aids I give him to stick on the doi (ouchee in portuguese). What does work, is his brilliant set of lungs…..

We have a new girl….Martinha 3. Yes, that’s number 3…and with only 35 kids in the BH…that’s almost 9% of the population…..seems too many for me. But you gotta distinguish somehow and they are 3 and 4 years old so you can’t do big, little, baby. They know which one they are and respond to/call themselves it. Sad really! J or cute. On to Martinha’s story….

She’s three and tiny! Really. She’s only 19.5 lbs…..she’s 3!!!! She looks like an 18 month old. And adorable at that (promise a picture really soon). She didn’t speak to us all day the first day and now while she’s started playing a little, she’s still quite frightened and quiet. Couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that all the other kids think she’s a cute doll and wanna play with her constantly too….which is slightly overwhelming when you go to leaving practically alone to having 34 other kids attacking you (in the good way-new sister!!!!) She came to us last Monday night. She had been locked inside her house all weekend long without any supervision while her “grandmother” (I use this cause that’s what she says she is and that the mother ran off to South Africa, but sometimes…the aunt or gmom is really the mom…ditching responsibility.) went out for the weekend. Her older 10 year old sibling…was lucky to be locked outside of the house and went to the neighbors. The neighbors called the police, the police called social services, who called us and brought her over. We did a quick home visit and found the “grandmother” at the house….she went to jail overnight and then after neighbors gave statements to the police that this is not the first time it’s happen-it’s frequent, it looks like she could get 7 years in jail, and Martinha gets to live with us. We’re praying she grows strong quickly and settles in too. I can tell she has a very sweet, gentile personality and I can’t wait for her to blossom! She seems to be really healthy besides malnourished with a touch of a respiratory infection thrown in.

In other stories…..Dionisio got over malaria last weekend very quickly with the help of some good meds and is back to his normal cranky self…cutting in two new giant front top teeth does NOT help the eating issue. But, he’s feeling better and not giving the tias such a hard time with bottles, which is good news all around. I started the 3 youngest members of the BH (Lena, Enocue, and Alberto) on papino this week and boy did they LOVE it! mmmmm…wish they’d pass on that passion to my boy D. Almost 21 month old, Mindah, has learned to quasi say my name….and she thinks it’s cute (oh it is alright) and she loves to call me over whenever I’m in the BH and speak to me about very important matters in precious toddler Portuguese babble accentuated with exaggerated gesturing and super serious facial expressions…..if only I knew what she was saying. Oh and I’m planning a weekend away coming up in 5 days…..yeah!!! At an amazingly dirt cheap, brand new, and super close by resort. Hooray! They have a pool, and air-conditioning, and a flat screen tv with DSTV IN MY ROOM, and a mini fridge too….and a whirpool spa tub!!! And they have a SA chef who cooks meals all day with amazing coffee…oh yes, and there’s a spa with a giant massage chair, pedicures, and manicures…..and Alex and Ellie said I was dreaming of some place far far away perhaps found in the land of never never land way over the rainbow….well don’t pinch me till Monday! J


annoyance and updates

Let's just clarify: Today is Friday and Nemias was taken to the hospital last Sunday....he is still on ampicillan and gentamycin....the same antibiotics he was on for the LAST week he was in there just 2 wks ago.....are they really killing anything? I wonder. Good thing they won't really tell us anything. He is scheduled to have the antibiotics through friday at midnight and since he won't see a doctor all weekend, he'll be there till Monday, when they'll send him home again, just as sick and broke as before. He's still not really eating and is pretty listless and tired.....cause he's not eating...and not recieving iv fluids. To make things even better (first refer to my story below: operation moses basket) the campaign also went around to all hospitals and immunized the sick patients.....i still am in shock. He's laying there all weak and sick with uncontrolable fever and they aren't even treating him adequately and then they allow the ministry of health to give him a vacinne he's already had (and they know it cause they require him to have his yellow immunization card with him when he's in the hospital). Brilliant. I'm angry. Go immunize kids that need it!!!!!


Operation Moses Basket....complete and sucessful

I have a funny little story for you concerning our hectic morning this morning:  Operation Moses Basket.  Yes, I named it this….you will understand in a minute.


First, you know how unicef and America (ameriaids) gives money to countries in Africa for needy things like vaccine…..you wanna know what’s really done with it by the governments it’s given to?  Of course you do….I did to.  Well today I found out first hand….glad I had been warned prior to this even.  The government gets a massive amount of fun life saving medicines like vaccines.  They they give them out to seemingly untrained, uncaring, uneducated individuals whose sole responsibility is to go around the country and deliver these medicines.  Sounds good to start with huh?  Cept you wanna know what they do with them…..try to get rid of them as fast as possible so they can be done with it all (like a policeman handing out speeding tickets at the end of the month to fill his quota).  Every 6 months they come to our center (and others I’m sure) with a new vaccine of choice and ask us to round up all the kids and start sticking them with needles.  Now, I’m all for vaccines. (well most of them).  I believe they do  save lives and ward of potential debilitating and/or life threatening diseases that have killed many and were epidemics many many years ago.  Here, in 3rd world countries, these diseases have not been irradicated as vaccines are not available to everyone.  Children still do die every day from childhood illnesses; completely preventable…enter the efforts of America and Unicef.


Yesterday, a nice young lady came from the health department and wanted to mass immunize all the kids 6 months-5 years for sarampo (measles), give vit A (helps with eye sight and respiratory function), and mebendazole (which deworms the kids).  We deworm our kids (the entire center including the staff) every 3 months…the gentle way…small doses for the babies twice a day for 3 days….and it still causes stomach pain and diarrhea.  What do they give….the entire 3 day regimen in one giant pill…really fun for my two year olds.  Vit A we like…..i’m excited abou the free medicine to help my kids.  The sarmapo-they have all received at 9 months as part of the recommended schedule by the health department themselves.  They even have fancy yellow cards stamped and signed by the health department that say so.  So we told them that all our kids just got dewormed 2 weeks ago along with the entire center and they have all had the sarampo…..and they said….no problem, they can just get it again.  I love this idea….I mean come to the BH and give 35 kids shots they don’t need, induce fever, pain, tears, and diarrhea…..I love it!  especially since they don’t NEED it!  So we devised a plan….sure, come tomorrow after brkfst at 8:30am.  We then gathered the calvary and put our plan into action.  I went through my records and pulled all the under two year olds, and a few that are over 2 but are just now finishing their immunizations and just received the sarampo vaccine two months ago.  I then formulate hiding places for all the tots and babies on the base (in missionaries houses).  We then gather all the kids together and cram them in one room so they will look like more kids than they actually are.  Then we bring some over that are too old from Tracey’s toddler house to fill in the gaps and shut the door to the baby baby room where all the empty cribs are.  We keep the 3 youngest there that have just made 6 months but look like they are 2 months old and simply state…they are too young to get it.  When they arrive, I have all the yellow cards lined up for them so they can document it….plead that they don’t need to be tortured with the mebendazole….do they listen….no….do they even want to see the yellow cards….no….do they even want to know the name of the kids….no….they just want us to parade them into a room, drop the vit a into their mouth, give them a giant pill, and stick a nasty needle into their arm one by one…then mark a black mark on a specific fingernail so no kids gets immunized twice (Funny, I’ve never seen a kid that would offer up their other arm…and they are all getting vaccinated twice cause you are here doing it).  So while they were busy, we opps…forgot to send a few other kids in…..and claimed we were all done.  You will all be happy to know that I enticed all the kids into the dreaded scary room with promises of doces (sweets)….nevermind the other kids screaming and crying leaving the room…there are sweets in there.  It worked….kinda…..but all the kids we hid (just as moses was saved by being hid in a reed basket and sent down river)….were saved and unharmed.  Mission complete and successful. 


They couldn’t go out into the bush and immunized kids that never see a doctor…..no….gotta come to the shiny children’s center that has nurses and doctors on staff and stick the kids.  Sounds like a way to irradicated these diseases and produce a healthy Mozambique…..


I'm glad this wasn't my weekend.....

First, I’m thankful for the rest this week and weekend….although I’m sure I still have a little catching up to do, I’m almost back to being really energized (and ready for the next big catastrophe).  Second, I’m really thankful this wasn’t my weekend to be on. 


So, for those of you who don’t know or haven’t figured it out, since I’m the nurse for the BH, I give out all the meds every day Mon-Fri at 1pm; always there checking them out, working on administrative kinda stuff, updating policies for the new Mozambican nurse, working on updating records and getting things all in order (ie. dietary stuff, physical therapy, growth charts, medical records, stuff like that).  Anyway, I have some help with giving out the rest of the meds for 7:30 am and 6pm shifts.  There were 3 of us, but Jannie decided she just had to go get married to James, so they are off in Denmark getting married (glad they’re coming back too).  So Jannie did 2 med shifts a week (which includes, for the am shifts, making about 25 bottles for the 3 babies on special formulas so they grow better) and took a weekend shift every 6th wkend.  Erin and I kinda split up the rest, with me taking an extra shift since she has other obligations on base anyway.  But now that Jannie’s gone it’s just me and erin for the wkend (we’re doing an every other rotation) which means you get all the med shifts Friday night, all day sat and Sunday, plus the 1pm meds sat and sun, make all the bottles for all the tots on Saturday morning and sometime Sunday morning too (which is finally down to 56 bottles-praise God!); and deal with any sickness issues.  So Erin and I have each picked up an extra shift where Jannie was doing them during the week and praise God Hilary decided to step up and at least give meds for me on Thurs nights-yeah I could squeeze you!


This weekend was the other Erin’s weekend and on Friday (other erin does Friday mornings) Dionisio decided he just couldn’t stand not being sick any longer….and came down with malaria…well it started Thurs night, but we were sleeping….vomiting, diarrhea….erin found him first thing Friday morning with a high fever and did a malaria test…..POSITIVE.  By that time I couldn’t get him to take any of the fever meds I was trying to give him…I was thankful that we can get paracetamol (essentially Tylenol-esque medicine)suppositories…but there are no such things for ibuprofen and recall the kid hates meds.  He kept holding it in his mouth not swallowing it, vomiting all over me, and pretty much anything else he could do…well when you’re fever is close to 104 you’ve got to take meds.  You’d think he’d just feel so crappy he’d take it right….nope not when it comes to things going into his mouth….all the fight left in him shows up…then back to being listless and sad.  Knowing he would have to take yucky antimalarial meds or die, we conferred and came up with our game plan…..buddle him up and stick the ng tube back in.  I know, we’re mean.  I’m over it.  So we started giving him antimalarial meds and today, he looks much much better.  It took a little rehydrating through the ngt and lots of coaxing from the tias for him to eat, but we’ll take out the ngt tomorrow.  His last fever was yesterday afternoon and it was just barely one.


Then yesterday, Nemias decided he had more attention and fun in the hospital and would really like to go back…he started spiking fevers again that at least responded to med…malaria test negative and he’s still on antibiotics from last week.  This morning his fever stopped responding to meds and got way too high….back to the hospital he went.  They decided to admit him after about 6 hours (again thankful it wasn’t me) and put him on the exact same meds as last time….didn’t we learn anything guys?  Tests shows he still has the urinary tract infection, but this time…they’re going to do a cultural of the urine to see what he’s growing and what medicine will actually kill it instead of just guessing and changing them around a bunch till his fever went away.  Everyone together now…..ohhhh.  ahhhhh.  How exciting and brilliant.  I know, I know…..that’s what I was thinking too.  Eye roll here.  Hopefully, this time they’ll get it right…although prayers will probably be much more effective.  And hopefully he’ll be home again soon (again)!


Tomorrow’s another day and a new week.  This weekend will be mine…prayers for a calm uneventful next 7 days puhlease!  I wanna just play with the kids!  J


Words and moments of the week

Words for the week:

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of the them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would counte them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you."
-Psalm 139:13-18
"And He is before ALL things, and IN HIM ALL things hold together."
-Colossians 1:17
"Therefore let us be grateful for recieving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire."
-Hebrews 12:28-29
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
-2 Corninthians 12:9-10
Moments of the week:
  • Dino (just turned 2) playing with all the new-to-him toys in his room before bedtime and being utterly frightened (and screaming loudly) by all the stuffed animals (including a fuzzy smiling teddy bear), dinosaurs, and practically anything that could be alive in real life. Then the next day when watching Madagascar the cartoon movie before bedtime, screaming everytime the lion came on with sheer terror in his eyes. Good thing he was the main character.
  • Mindah (18 months) has an undeniable and illogical fear of anyone new...translation....all the visitors that frequent the BH. Me coming into the BH and her running up to me with arms outstretched and then wedging her head between my knees to "hide herself" from them....she wouldn't let go and followed me around the BH like that till I picked her up. Then the next day planting herself face first and digging it the deepest she could into her mattress with her butt sticking in the air like an ostrich screaming bloody murder....when asked why she's screaming like that and unconsolable by talking to her and patting her (she won't even remove her head from her "hole") I was told a visitor had just picked her up...then immediately set her right back down (who wouldn't when a kid acts like that)....Oh, I replied...well, then...she'll needs to be picked up-promise it will work...just a millisecond will do. Tracey-picks up ostrich mindah, mindah opens her eyes to see who has her....immediately turns off the tears and screams, starts sucking her thumb and practically smiling. She is set right back into the crib where she crosses her legs and starts babbling and playing.
  • Julio (the new kid-3 yrs old) discovering what a slide is for the very first time......hysterical smiles and laughter followed.....priceless really. then wanting to go down it a thousand times. good thing is is super light.
  • the older girls (4-5 yrs)-raquel, martinha 1 and 2, and telma playing house and acting like Lorenco (21 months) is a baby-trying to capalana him, rock him, feed him with a pretend bottle and spoon, ect....all the while Lourenco is screaming and crying huge tears (this kid is as passive as they come)

I always wonder how kids get some of the wierdest fears at such a young age.....and I love watching them discover even the simplest things for the first time....and then go back to wondering how their imagination works. They are fearfully and wonderfully made, each with their own purpose and being. All with a heart God placed within and set to beating, breathing life into them. I wonder what plans he has for each of our precious tots.....and how I can encourage them to grow into adults whoose lives are in living worship for Our Father. Mozambique is the country He has purposed them for....it is their country....and they are the only ones able to affect change....ignite a fire from the inside and let their light shine so brightly.