Who sews??

**update: here's two links on how to make thecloth baby books (for the few that are asking me) and another of an example of what i'm looking for (just for ideas)

also...baby activity mats/quilts with rings, velcro, flaps for hiding things/lifting, mirrors, different patterns/shapes/numbers/letters/animals would be great as well! I can't find a good online example but surely you know what i mean...the blankts you throw on the floor and stick a baby on so they can explore all the cool things attached to the blanket and play! Ok, thanks for all the interest!**

Calling upon all my faithful readers to help me out a little. Anyone have contacts or are in any sewing circles?? Maybe even girl scout troops needing to work on a sewing badge (do people even do this anymore)?? or maybe you just sew yourself?? I'm looking for some soft cloth books for some of my younger tots. They are hard to find over here in Moz and SA. I've looked. When I do find them they tend to be quite expensive. In SA, we can find the thick cardboard books but my under 2's love to shove everything in their mouth and are, quite frankly, a little too rough with them...so cloth seems to hold up the best. Plus they LOVE feeling all the different textured materials, and looking at the different patterns, colors, shinyness, ect. A friend (thanks Amy) sent me one and it has been a giant hit so I'm looking for some more....of course, if anyone has some gently used ones....we'd take those two. I don't care if they have words or not since they aren't of reading age...it just gives them something else to look at and play with. So who's up for sewing some baby books?? It would be a great project. hint hint. Email me or comment if you have ideas or could help us out!

On a 2nd note...I'm back from SA with some pics to add to this post (or a 2nd one) soon. It was a great quiet time. I got tons of shopping done for the kids....there's just some things we CAN'T get in moz...strike that. make it LOTS of things. Anyway, I have some developmental toys for the tots in the bercario that are outgrowing the baby toys we have in there (since that's the age it was designed for). I also bought some more medical stuff...how exciting...I know. it is for me too. Most importantly this weekend was just about rest, in all capacities. I am now much healthier as well and almost done with this last course of antibiotics which I'm praying is going to do the job. On a negative note, my back has been giving me some trouble for the last few days....go figure. If it's not one thing, it's another. But it's much more manageable. So that's what I'm doing. Managing. Thanks for all the prayers!


What a difference the simple things make

Study this picture. What do you see? Do you see two children the same age within a month of each other (2.5 yrs)?? Do you see two children with the same problem diagnosed within just weeks of each other? What's the difference/.....well, i'll tell you.
The picture of my two tots below are Lorenco and Latifo. Both contracted HIV from their mothers at birth. Both are the same age...and both were just diagnosed with HIV themselves. Scroll back a few posts and find the picture of Latifo on the day he came back to us from the hospital. That's what he looked like before coming to us...this is just weeks later. The difference is simple, yet so vital for these children. The difference is really good nutrition and medical care. HIV is a death sentence for children that are untreated. They only live about 2-3 years. Both of these guys are beating the odds. One has severe malnutrition and ends stage AIDS. The other one, just Tuberculosis and HIV. But Lorenco (the bigger and healthier) has been with us for the last year of his life. Oddly enough, he's been tested 4 times as we've thought all along it was possible he was positive...they were all NEGATIVE. Praise the Lord, that he was protected and in our care during this time or his prognosis would be so much worse than it is. It's funny and sad how such a simple thing like food and medicine could make such a difference....but the proof is in the picture. Latifo has just finally able to stand while holding onto something in the last 2 weeks and he's learned to "crawl" which is really a butt shuffle that he sits and shuffles across the floor to get where he wants. As he grows stronger and healthier he'll have the energy and muscles to do more and more developmentally appropriate things. Please pray for these 2 kids as they have both just started on treatment for HIV and tuberculosis and they are really strong meds that leave the kids feeling nauseous, vomitting, tired, shakey, achey, and worse. Pray they are protected from illnesses that would let the HIV rapidly mulitiply while their body is fighting off other infections. Pray that they grow stronger and healthy and come more alive with each and every passing day!

Ok, one more request here too....little Adeliade (go back 2 or 3 posts for more info and a picture below) is struggling and sick. She's only had a day or two without fevers since admission and now she's having nose bleeds, and really large lymph nodes pop up. We know she is HIV positive (or at least that her mom had it and Addie has been exposed), but it's also possible that she has Tuberculosis as well. She's just 11 weeks old and so tiny. Please pray for wisdom and discernment in how to treat her medical for myself as well as the HIV clinic's staff that help us. Pray for her health and strength as well. She has a long road in front of her and while meds might be the only option we have even at this young of an age, they are really nasty strong meds for such a little tykette!

Well, I'm off to South Africa this weekend for a whole 4 days of rest and relaxation! Pray for my quiet times to just sit in the presence of the Lord and hear him speak. Pray for me to relax, be rejuvenated, and REST! I've been sick 3 times since I've arrived back safely and am on my 2nd round of antibiotics (I previously haven't taken antibiotics in 7 years). It's just little things, but I can't seem to get over them and just better! Ok, off to pack for the weekend. Will post after my return! Thanks for all the prayers.
**Pictures courtesy of Anna B**


Anyone have any suggestions for my problem child???

Ok, so I'm involving all of you that might have some feasible suggestions out there for me.  You are invited to use whatever resources you have, ie yourself, friends, coworkers, parents, parent handbooks, neighbors, internet, whatever to feed me tidbits to help me.  Here's the situation:
I have Dionisio mister picky eater here who's tons and tons better.  Anyone remember the I hate food altogether battle he waged?....well, he lost and my patience and wisdom (or something like that) prevailed.  So since he's been so good about eating food itself for me now (he is eating brkfst, lunch, dinner, and 2 wholesome snacks every day) I have let it go that he refuses anything that involves textures.  I thought, perhaps one day he'd become daring and eat something lumpy.  or maybe, just maybe, he'd reach for that banana and stick it in his mouth.  well....he hasn't.  and he flat refuses things that involve non-pureed textures.  He's 15 months now and has a full set of 15 month old teeth including 1 yr molars that he NEVER uses except when the tias brush his stinkin teeth at night.  So I need creative suggestions and solutions for encouraging him to A-eat things that are NOT pureed (ie real un-pureed rice or non-mega pureed apples or perhaps just a nice big ole hand held banana) and B-perhaps actually use his hands and put something into his mouth on his own.  I've tried enticing him with the food I'm eating since he seems to LOVE me lately.  and by that I mean scream without stopping until I pick him up or walk out of the room.  I tried a banana like his counterparts eat.  the result??  when I would put it in my mouth he would lunge toward me, hand outstretched and say Da!  which means "give"  so in toddler speak he just told me to give him the banana.  then I would and he'd throw it on the floor or push it away from me, or shake his head violently no and turn his face away from me.  Then I'd eat some more and he'd repeat the whole game.  I'm desperate.  I need good ideas.  the problem you must keep in mind is there isn't a fresh stock of junior foods and or junior graduate like snacks to start him on.  it's pureed food (which he eats) or big people food (what I eat) or mushed up food (which he hates cause it's not uniformed in texture).  I need ideas........ 


The name game

I get this email update about 1-3 times a day.  It's a world medical site that sends me a friendly update on all the extremely serious and very important bacteria, fungus, viruses ect that are lurking in our world and are making their mark.  They tally the number of reported cases and tell me about epidemiology...where this thing is going, came from exactly and how.  They give me signs and symptoms, severity, and possible outcomes.  Well, somewhere along the way I must have gotten on the agriculture and animal list cause I don't care one darn bit about a weird fungus on some obscure type of cucumber in a tiny country I've never heard of....but they think it's important to me, cause I must have checked (or most likely, didn't uncheck) the box.  Now, some of you are wondering why I even receive this email.....answer:  cause I live in a 3rd world country and deal in tropical medicine daily.  It's kinda important for me to know the latest on the cholera epidemic or what countries now have polio in it or....well, you get it....that weird ebola like virus that was heading our way killing a few.  anyway, the point is....they sometimes give me information I need to know.  and sometimes, it's comic relief.  the names of some of these things are hysterical.  or maybe just why someone cares about it.  I could uncheck some boxes somewhere in my profile, but then you and I would be deprived of such hilarity.  I'm going to begin trying to give you a list of names of fun diseases you never knew existed 1x a week so you can enjoy my world.  Like the dreaded stripe rust disease....coming to a store near you in the UK....don't eat the wheat bread!  scary....and clearly it's a bad week for wheat cause in New Zealand they're having problems with the wheat virus...and that my friend, means that white bread is probably having some celebratory party somewhere making it their best week ever.  And all you in the US with access and contact with bats, better watch out for the ultra-scary white-nose syndrome.  Also, there's an outbreak of undiagnosed whale deaths in the US....my bet is pollution or global warming though.  And I leave you with my last one for the week:  Russia has had an outbreak of African swine fever.  But hallelujah the local outbreak on the pig farm has been erradicated.  No worries here....eat more pork!


story of the day...make that week.

Sorry, I've been blog delinquent lately, I'm blaming that on all the virusy stuff going around the BH at the minute and the fact that for some reason, I'm catching each and every one of them in succession.  Anyways, as I'm resting up on the road to recovery (again), I have a few minutes to share a good laugh from today....about the only thing I did today in fact, make that the last few days.
Me and my counterpart Anna, took two of our kids for consults at the HIV clinic.  We'll and a 3rd, but she's an older kid, and not really part of the story, so I'm excluding her.  It's been a long morning for little baby Addie (she's 10 wks) cause she had a long bumpy car ride out there, then the mean clinic people stuck her finger, then the doctor poked and prodded her.....then she started getting hungry.  Now let me share a little something right from the start.....we have way to many kids to feed on demand.....we have to keep them on a schedule....a pretty tight one, so the tias aren't feeding all the kids at the same time and never getting rest.  Just think if you had quintuplets (that's 5) and you only had 1 other person to help you out every day.  Oh yeah, they'd be on a schedule.  So we're almost ready to go, and Anna's taking the prescriptions to the pharmacy while I sit with Addie and Lorenco (2 yrs) and his balloon, and his cookies, and his juice box, and all of our stuff to wait for her.  I'm sitting in the middle of the open air waiting room, as in we're outside, but there's a nice cover over our heads.  Of course, I'm being stared at, that goes without saying.  I'm the white girl with 2 Mozambican babies....make that the ONLY white person (minus Anna, but she's way gone by this point)...and my baby isn't capalana'd to my back, and Lorenco is drinking from an actual juice box and well, I'm white.  So I'm juggling a million things to help Lorenco hold his precious balloon (it's green) and eat his cookies (it's past snack time) while drinking from those darn squeezable juice boxes that 2 yr olds rarely know how to operate (and Mozambican 2 yr olds NEVER know how to).  Now's about the time, Addie's tired of these games and starts screaming.  Now, I've never minded a screaming baby.  Ok, almost never.  Usually it doesn't get to me.  It annoys me here though when I'm in public, cause all the women around you start chatting and staring and finger pointing about how you are an inadequate caregiver and don't know nothing about babies.  That's not just me being paranoid.  It's the truth.  So I dig in the baby bag to find her pacifier that's buried under tons of things, being careful not to squeeze the juice box, drop the cookies, or the baby.  All the while, Addie's getting louder.  I find it.  Stick it in her mouth.  Ahhh....no more crying.  for 2 minutes, until Addie shoves it out of her mouth and it rolls onto her chest and bounces onto the cold dirty ground, all while I'm helping Lorenco with his juice box.  Yeah, there's not a 2nd pacifier.  That was it.  And I'm not a germ freak, but she's 10 wks, it's the GROUND, as in outside, at a community clinic, and she's had a a fever all week.  Sorry, Addie.  No more pacifier for you.  Gonna have to suck it up.  She accepted my little speech, then thought about it, wrinkled her nose, and began to wail.  At this point I start the bounce....not calming her, hmmm....change positions.....not doing it.....ok, change again....nope.  Diaper?  check....change the diaper.  Even louder screaming.  I whisper into her ear:  Please Addie, don't you wanna just be quiet....people are STARING.  ha ha.  I stand up and rock her.  Now, let's say I'm thankful that Lorenco is a good little 2 yr old and is just holding his balloon, eating his cookie (the same 1 for the last 15 min) and staring at me.  Praise the Lord, any other 2 yr old and I'd be in trouble at this point.  So I sit back down, and try again.  The longest Addie's been quiet is like 1 minute.  Oh, Anna, hurry up and come back.  No Anna.  Next thing I know, over the screaming wails of my 10 wk old I hear...."SSSST,   SSSSST, Senhora"  Deep breath erin, this is NOT going to be good.  Let me interject a cultural point here....Mozambicans believe in community babies.  I mean, it's not unusual for a baby to be crying and another women to take it from them and help them, or give pointers.  They stop each other on the road and say, you know, you baby's not quite capalana'd right....here....or say, you need to do this with your baby.  It's how they learn from the older women on down from when they were children and so on.  Anyway, I figure I'm about to get a pointer.
A young woman says: she's hungry, she needs milk.  Yes, yes, I think....I know she's hungry.  The little rug rat refused to take her normal bottle on the rocky ride over here and now she's hungry early....an entire hour early, and NO she can't have it early.  All thoughts though.  So I say: I know, but she's already had her bottle.  Now all 6 women around me are staring at me and say: well she needs more milk, can't you see she's hungry.  Interject another cultural point here:  Mozambicans feed soley on demand.  They breastfeed till at least 2 yrs.  Baby cries, they swing the capalana'd tot from the back, to the front, and feed the baby.  Baby feeds for 5 minutes and gets bored, cause it wasn't really hungry in the first place.  Baby gets swung around to the back again.  Baby cries another 15 minutes later, and back to the front to feed again it goes.  This goes on ALL day.  No kidding.  So I insert a little lie here.....sorry, but I did it....I say.  Well, she already drank her milk when we got here and it's gone and I don't have any more for her, she'll have to wait, we're leaving in a few minutes (I pray-hurry up Anna).  I get confused looks at this point and the women start chattering to each other....Addie's still crying and now the entire half of the waiting room is staring at the white girl with the screaming baby.  Yeah, mine's the ONLY one screaming.  Why did I lie?  Yeah, I had another bottle, of course I did...it's for in another hour, when her bottle is due.  But if I tried to explain that one to them, they would be mutiny and I'm pretty sure they'd find the bottle and start feeding her themselves.  So I stuck with the safe (so I thought) bet of....there's no more milk.  Ok, rally over, the women turn back to me and say...what, no milk.  She needs milk, what are you going to do.  So I explain, patiently again, that we're leaving in a few minutes and I have some more at home.  At this point, I think they were shocked, that a-I still wasn't feeding this starving (exaggerated) baby, and b-how could I be out of milk, as that was impossible.  So the ring leader, says....you can just feed her here...pointing to herself and pretending to Breast feed her infant.  Ummmm.....I look at myself and my baby and wonder how (for the 20th time) anyone could think that this is very dark infant is MY baby and that I could breastfeed it and then I begin to explain that I'm not the momma and I am not going to breastfeed her, cause she drinks milk out of bottles.  I promise, it will all be ok, she just ate, and we are leaving in a few minutes (where is Anna???).  They all get silent and exchange looks, and stare at me shamefully.  Then one of them offers me her own baby's half drank, probably watered-down, and very cold, sitting out since this am or before, bottle to give to little Addie.  I am quite flattered, but am not desperate, and somehow think that I could just shove the dirty pacifier back in her mouth at this point.  It would, less likely, be as harmful, and maybe she'd stop crying, and then they'd stop yelling at me.  Ok, yelling isn't the right term.  I politely (well, that's what I hoped it was anyway) refused the bottle and say very assertively that we'll be leaving any minute now, but thanks anyway.  Finally Anna rounds the corner.  She says...another 15 minutes.  I look at her and say...we don't have 15 minutes.  She suggests we go wait by the car.....brilliant save Anna....cause I'm pretty sure that any minute now, one of these mommas is going to steal Addie from me and start nursing this kid if we don't run out of here.  We gather up our stuff and scoot out of there.
And just so you know...this sort of thing happens all the time when I'm at consults.  I don't stop finding it amusing.  and a little bit embarrassing.  I'm over it.  so how was your day??


New Life

I feel compelled to blog about something eastery.....why? cause tomorrow's Easter and for some reason it doesn't seem like it.....commercially....hmmm. now why is that? Oh yeah, cause I'm not living in Western culture at the moment. Refreshing actually. I barely saw anything about painting eggs, the easter bunney, baskets, or peeps. Though I do miss cadburry eggs....my favorite thing all year long.

Anyway, so I'm going to celebrate Easter here with new life. New life...that's what we're about here. God sent His son to walk this earth and DIE for each one of us and ALL of our sins so we could have NEW life. I'm here living in Mozambique so I can give new life to these kids. To the ones that haven't been given a chance, who have been discarded, rejected, abandoned. They may not have a voice, but I have one. And God has blessed me abundantly with knowledge and skills and training and daily helps me to save these children from despair. We are giving them new life! A new life spiritually, physically, emotionally, and health status.
We are giving new life. Yesterday we had a new admit to the Bercario (nursery). Meet Adelaide! (Pronounce: Ah-deh-lie-dee).
She's sweet and oh so little at 10 weeks. I'm going to call her Addie for short, though I don't know how the Portuguese spelling will be...but I'm going to make it stick. Adelaide is way too long a name for such a small little tyke! Anyway, I was in the Bercario yesterday waiting for her and her dad to arrive. She was so tiny and beautiful all wrapped up in bundles with a woolen hat on.....it was way too hot for that, but definately not the point. So I sat and talked with her father regarding why they were here. The mother died, he thinks of Tuberculosis and quite possibly HIV. The father was unsure. We are going to be investigating her health really closely in the following months as we have other tidbits I gathered from him that need to be followed up on. She has a 4 yr old sister, and 9 and 12 year old brothers at home. The father doesn't have the means to look after a baby so small at the present time. Then I took her from him, cut off the witchcraft cord and button from around her wrist and prayed over her with another missionary. We are giving her new life! Pray with her to break any bonds that have been placed over her by witchcraft as well as for health. She has already spiked a high fever and tested negative for malaria. Pray for wisdom and knowledge in how to best care for her and her family. Pray that she settles into the Bercario and that her fiesty new big brothers and sisters welcome her with open arms (but maybe not open hands....they tend to get a little rough with each other and they like babies). We are giving new life.

We are giving new life. Today as I was in the Bercario, Latifo's mother walked in. I've been waiting to have the chance to speak with her. I have yet to meet her since his arrival and want to discuss his HIV status, the severity of it, and the medications that he is now taking for it. She was overcome with joy and happiness and kept saying thank you over and over in Shygunna (their tribal language) because he looked so good and healthy compared to the last time she saw him. He has really come alive. He has started to mimic speach, wave goodbye, and always laughing, and smiling. He's even standing while holding onto you or a chair. Look at the difference just 3 weeks makes!

So Latifo and his mother, myself, and Aurora (our Mozambican nurse) went outside to chat about how he's doing. Aurora had to translate for me as I only speak Portuguese and well, I'm not even attempting Shygunna. I had to tell her that her son was in fact HIV positive, that he was very, very sick even though we were making progress with his malnourishment and he looked much better, and that we were starting him on treatment. I wanted to get more information from her as well as know if she had been tested. We already knew that his father had died of AIDs. She shared that she had no idea he could be hiv +. She had been tested 2x during her pregnancy with Latifo and tested negative. The she wanted to know if he got it while she was pregnant with him or afterwards. I explained that he could have gotten while she was pregnant, while she was delivering him, or even from breastfeeding afterwards, but that she needed to be tested again for HIV. It is possible that she had just been infected before or even during the pregnancy. It takes months and months at times to show up on the rapid tests we use here. She grew very sad and worried when I told her about Latifo and how he probably got HIV. She then said that she thought it was best for her to get tested again. At this point there was lots of other questions I had for her and I also wanted to know more about her other children, but I really felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to invite her to participate more in Latifo's care. Before I knew what I was saying, I asked her if she would like to come with us to Latifo's next consult at the HIV clinic so that she could be tested as well as to talk with the doctors about Latifo and understand more about this. She immediately said yes and we arranged everything. She really seems that she is interested in taking care of him and really loves him. Afterwards, she said admitted that she hasn't been feeling great over the past year and started listing off a bunch of symptoms. It is possibly that she has HIV as well as TB. But whatever the outcome, she has given Latifo a new life. Look at the changed little boy he is. We are really praying for this little guy. That with each passing day he will grow stronger and stronger and more healthy. That his body will wage an all out war on the viruses within it. That his body will adjust quickly to all the new medications he has to take and that they will work! We are praying for his family, for a continual bond with his mother. We pray that she will continue to take part in his care and remain close to him as we help him get stronger and healthier. We declare new life for this little tyke and his family.


Viral overload

What do you do when 19 out of 31 tots in a house have fever???.....good question.  Well, run around like crazy taking temperatures and giving meds is what you do.  Yup, I lined them up, felt everyone's forehead to narrow down the group to actual kids that might have a fever.  Then I got out my trusty thermometer and went to town, taking about 15-20ish temperatures every 3 hours.  Then, calculating doses based on their weights, I alternated ibuprofen and paracetamol (the European version of Tylenol).  We hauled out the mattresses and placed them on the floor and for the last 3 days they have been covered with kids that don't feel good.  It started out with 7.....then the number just grew and grew and grew.....till.....well, 19 has been the most at one time.  I love toddlers with fevers.  They are so fun to be around.  No sarcasm on this one......not even a single drop.  good thing the majority of them love taking medicine.  right......so when you thought is was bad with one or two feverish, miserable, snotty-nosed, fluey toddlers, sit secure in the knowledge that it could always, always be much much worse.  Darn the dang viruses.  Smile emoticon  I'm praying today was the worst and it's only downhill from here.....cause apparently, it's just a little contagious.


statistics to sober your monday

  • of babies born to hiv + mothers without any preventative measures taken, 30-40% will contract HIV.
  • just a single dose of nevirapine given to a mother in labor and 1 dose to the baby within 72 hrs of delivery would reduce their risk to 8%*
  • the above therapy with added AZT to mother from 28 wks onward and the infant for just 1 wk after birth, reduces their risk to just 2%*
  • a triple drug therapy starting in the 2nd trimester of a pregnant woman reduces the baby's risk to a mere 1%*
  • these therapies are costly for the government to provide and would also require the mother knowing (having been tested) and admitting she is HIV +
  • often HIV + mothers have to decide between their kid starving to death (secondary to extreme poverty) or breastfeeding (which doubles the risk of transmission)
  • 30-50% of ALL infant HIV infections are directly caused by breastfeeding (the rest are transmitted during pregnancy or labor/delivery)
  • formula feeding is very very expensive for someone living of $1-2/day and requires consistent access to safe drinking water, sterilization techniques for the bottles, and warming water over a fire every few hours to make individual feeds as there is very little access to refrigeration if even electricity.
  • not breast feeding an infant would mean telling family and friends you are HIV + which still comes with a very high cost here
  • without diagnosis and treatment of an infant with HIV....he or she will only live to  celebrate their 2 or 3 birthday.
*in non-breastfed infants
The HIV rate is 15% in Mozambique for the age-bearing population.  I'm currently caring for 8 HIV + tots out of my 41 little ones in the Bercario/BH/Toddler House.  6 of these are 2 years and under.


Won't you adopt one of my babies??

If you haven't yet "adopted" one of my precious tot in prayer yet.....well, here's your chance. Most of you have heard about this project I'm working on: having all of my little ones covered in prayer by matching them up to a family, couple or individual that will commit to praying for them during this year. Currently, I only have 15 tots covered. I'm looking for double that please. Pray about it whether or not this is the way you could be apart of my ministry......plus, who can resist these stinkingly cute faces???

These precious faces need prayer families.....well, actually Mindah's already been taken by my sweet friend Amanda, but look at that face....she can work it (Mindah not Amanda). :) But Julio and Adilson are prime candidates.....along with about 15 other tots that are equally as cute. They all have a different story that I would love to share with you. Come on, you know you have just a few minutes a week to invest, interceding for my children. Email me or leave a comment and I'll set you up with a child. You can pick or I can pick for you. It's up to you! Make my day (and their's too).

ps....i swear i DID NOT tell them to do this....they just did it of their own cute manipulative behavior to try and get me to put down the camera and play some more with them....it worked!


Something's different

Something's different this time. I'm not sure what it is exactly. But it's different. Maybe it's a bunch of little something's that's adding up to a bigger thing...making it feel so different. But, yup, it definitely feels different. I'm guessing that it has something to do with my decision to make this my home till at least June 2010. It seems so far out saying that. When I first came here I did not know how long God was going to keep me here or where this journey might take me. I knew just one year in front of me. I think I convinced myself that was all it was going to be because I couldn't handle the thought of more....well, and now....ahhhh....I have no clue how long. And I don't care. So now that I'm back....I know I'm looking forward to at least 15 more months here with the possibility that I could stay here or go on from here or do something slightly different. I've let myself indulge the thought, that maybe, just maybe, God has called me to serve these people here for an indefinite amount of time. I think that makes the difference. It seems more like home. Not just a place I'm living and calling home for 12 months. I'm painting my room (or at least the cans of paint and painting tools in the corner of my room suggest that). I have my international driver's license and drove my first 5 km on the left hand side of the road in Mozambique. No one was injured. I don't notice all the stares or yells or the fact that I'm the insane minority where ever I am. I don't notice that every single last one of my kids have a different skin color as me. You know what? I don't think they notice either. I don't even notice when I'm speaking Portuguese or when I'm speaking English....ok, unless I just can't find that word...and then, then, it becomes painfully obvious. I don't notice all the sand, or dirty feet, or even the hot weather that much. There was something so magical about walking through customs in Atlanta when you know that you are just minutes from being back outside in the States and seeing your family. And it's an indescribably feeling to hear the US customs agent say "Welcome home" to you. But you know what? There's also something really cool about landing on a small strip and walking down the small plane's staircase onto the tarmac as the hot humid air hits your face and you see the ancient and cracking Maputo International Airport sign in front of you. That feels like home too. Just in a different way.

As I was sitting, planning meal plans and nutrition needs for Latifo, something hit me. For the first time since I arrived 10 months ago, I felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility. I am the last in line provider and protector of these kids medically. If he thrived, if he died, was dependant on the care we could provide for him. Ultimately this boils down to my knowledge and the decisions I make about his care. It hit me hard, but in a good way. I had a peace that washed over me and an assurance that I would always have the things I needed as long as I wasn't trying to do this on my own accord. The Lord knows (and so do I) that I could NOT do this alone. Good thing I'm not! These children are in His hands and for that I am very thankful. Praise the Lord, He is the Great Physician!

"But to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and who come to Him without reservation, trusting in Him as the source of all righteousness and strength, He satisfies. Those whose whole life is reoriented around Him and who desire nothing else will never want for anything. He is not our means to get bread; He IS the Bread. When we follow Him by faith with nothing else to rely on, He provides. And we are filled."
" I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."
-John 6:35
I read those words in my daily devotional time after processing and writing the paragraph before it for my newsletter last weekend. I've been meditating on it for a few days now. It's so simple and true, and yet hard to do. To sit and trust Him for EVERYTHING....even when you have nothing left....that you will have all that you need. And not just all that you need....that you will be FILLED. I do that a lot here. These people do that a lot here. Sometimes it's easier here. Sometimes you have no choice. Sometimes....He is all that is left or all that is good. I struggle with always doing this from the beginning. You know, when He isn't all that you have left. Some of that in me is changing. Yeah. That's different too.