Tater tot updates

Yesterday was a long day.  Chelsia now has the cold on top of the asthma thing....she started with a fever and runny nose and it made her breathing trouble worse.  Plus my well-meaning Mozambican nurse doesn't quite having the loving touch when it comes to getting the smaller ones to do something they don't want to do (ie sit for a nebulizer treatment)....so she only got a portion of her 7 am nebulizer (which was over an hour late) and when I found her at 1040 she was really struggling (as it had been since midnight for the previous neb and has never gone more than 6 hrs).  She ended up needed 2 back to back to recover and then I started her on a second medicine to add into her nebulizer that was a donated medicine we can't get here (Atrovent).  I'm praying it will help keep her in between her every 6 hour nebulizers.  By 1pm I had given 6 nebulizers.  sheesh!  Then, Latifo, who was off his prednisone and albuterol nebulizers for over 24 hours crashed and burned and needed a few extra nebs.....he didn't look as bad as last Tuesday, but nothing good.  Then Vasco started having respiratory problems, so he got a nebulizer for good measure and got started on some meds as well.  no one likes to miss out on all the fun!  Good thing I helped out one of the other nurses by taking her shift on friday night cause by monday afternoon I was ready to crash myself as I started feeling the same things the babies have been feelings....to bed with me and she did my shift yesterday afternoon.  Today is my computer day to catch up on stuff and tomorrow's my day off so I'm hoping to be rested and better by Thursday!
Today it seems that Latifo and Vasco are doing well, but Chelsia's still putting up a good fight.....I'm praying this will go away fast!!!
In other news....Dionisio, everyone's (my) favorite toddler, is doing just that...toddling.  He's walking....not just head diving or running full force to the next object, but really walking!  and turning, and stopping, and starting.  And he's eating rice....well a few spoonfuls before each and every mushed up rice meal.  It's about time, as he's just made 18 months 2 days ago.  He's really made amazing progress considering he couldn't sit up by himself in november or eat most foods.  And he's saying my name....which is a very important skill.  he's saying other words too....like bread, water, mouth, walk, go (for let's leave the nursery and go walk around, erin), give (as in I want that, give it to me), baby, all done, good bye, no (well the head shake is enough anyway).....which is really good news....and he's into everything of course.  Smile emoticon  including attempting to tip up baby 2 month old, Cleita's crib so that he can see her....when standing on his tip toes and trying to peer in doesn't work....kinda brilliant actually....if you can't see the baby, bring the baby to you.....he likes to go to her crib and try to pat her when she's crying. 
In funny stories.....Mindah, 2 years, is hysterical.  She's such a little talker and whenever they are outside playing and I sit down on the low wall, she'll come over, sit down and just start talking.  A preface to this story is that we have quite a few Brazillian missionaries that work in or love to go into the BH all the time.  They all have a common phrase that they say when anything startling or out of the ordinary happens...it's "Meu deus" for my god....but not in a bad way.  They say it frequently.  This wkend, I was sitting outside and she came up to me playing and chatting away.  The tias and children around us were playing with giant black ants (formigas in Portuguese) and letting them walk across their hands, putting them in sand toys, ect.  So the entire time she was talking with me there were ants everywhere.  Out of nowhere she stood up, clapped both hands to her face, got a surprised look on her face with giant wide eyes and declared...."Meu deus, formigas, formigas!  Meu deus!"  pointing at them and shuddering slightly.  Then she went right back to playing in the sand and talking away, standing in the exact same spot as before with all the ants around her.  5 minutes later, she did it again, slapping my knee, shuddering and proclaiming, "Meu deus, formigas, formigas."  This went on and off for about 30 minutes.  It was quite hysterical.  The best part was, I couldn't stop laughing, but she couldn't figure out what I was laughing about. 
The 3 new ones, are settling in just great and putting on weight like champs.  Please continue to pray for them, as they grow more and more each day! 


Chelsia's looking better and other news

Continue praying for Chelsia.  She is doing much better today.  The prednisone that I started her on Friday didn't work, so I upped the dosage yesterday and it seemed to help.  Finally at 10pm last night I noticed a difference.  She went from needing a breathing treatment every 2-3 hours to being able to wait 5-6.  We went all day with only giving her treatments every 6 hours.  I'm hoping to be able to spread them to every 8 tomorrow but we'll see.  She's still in good spirits and playing...eating ok, but seems unphased!  That's a baby for you!  Please continue to pray for our staff and children, many of whom are sick!  I'll keep you updated.
In His hands,
Erin Welton


Latifo and Chelsia

Well....one down and one to go.....

Latifo is much much better. Back to his normal self. He's now getting his final day of nebulizer treatments and only 2x/day. :) He's smiling and playing and eating and cheerful! he looks great! Thanks for all the prayers.....

Now on to the next victim of this yucky cold.....Chelsia (11 months).
Poor tot is not doing well. It started yesterday morning that i noticed her intermittently wheezing and the tias said she hasn't been eating well for the last day or so. She got 9 breathing treatments in 24 hours......you may do the math. I'm tired. I like night shift, but NOT when i work all day too! I started her on prednisone (steroid) to help alliviate the swelling in her airways and help her breathe easier after her 3rd treatment in just 3 hours, but apparently it really hasn't kicked in...so her dose is being adjusted today and lots of praying will commence. Also, we are running out of nebulizer solution today which at times is impossible to find in the country, but praise the Lord, we found some at a shop in town today and are sending someone to go get it!

Please pray for Chelsia, that the meds will kick in and help her breathe easier, that she will get over whatever is making her body react like this, that she will grow stronger, that we will have the medical wisdom to treat her, that we will have the ENERGY to treat her. Pray that this virus stops, and that no other tots or babies get this! Some really can't afford to be this sick. Thanks for the prayers, we saw a miraculous change in latifo in under 24 hours that cannot be attributed to the meds. Praise God! I will keep you updated!


Thanks for prayers

Latifo is a bazillion times better. He still has a snuffy nose but almost all of his snot has disappeared....he hasn't had a stitch of fever since the first night! We've been giving him breathing treatments every 8 hours and he seems to be doing just fine with that. He's been laughing and smiling and playing and eating pretty much like normal today! Praise God! Continue to pray for him!


update on Latifo

Semi false alarm.....well by the hospital's standards. He continued vomitting lung crud while there. They did a chest x-ray, a few other tests, gave him a nebulizer treatment, and are sending him back home to us on, guess what?? All the exact same treatments/medications I had initiated on him, and a bonus parting gift.....an antibiotic. Because what can't antibiotics cure? Apparently, in Mozambique....absolutely nothing. That being sad-I believe in the power of Vitamin B & C so he's getting some extra doses, plus the magically useless antibiotics, prednisone, nebulizer treatments every 4 hrs around the clock except for the one I'm skipping at 4am during the night. Please pray for our staff to stay healthy and full of energy while caring for him, as most of our staff has been getting hit themselves with the nasty flu and cold! Pray for Latifo to get better and better with each hour and that he will continue getting rid of the junk in his lungs (by his choice method..."vomiting") while not accidentally breathing any of it into his lungs (a real risk). Pray that he won't pass these on to any more children or that no others will be affected by it in the same way! Thanks for praying.....we are clearly not out of the woods, just a hospital stay for the moment!

Pray for Latifo

Please pray as one of our little ones is being admitted to the hospital for respiratory problems. Latifo, who most of you remember, is almost 3 years old. He came to us battling severe malnutrition in March and then had to be hospitalized for 10 days from a simple GI bug because essentially he had no immune system. Since he returned at the end of March, he has gained over 14 lbs. He has been started on treatment for HIV and his CD4 counts which tells about his immune system and the number of cells in his body that are available to fight off infections has doubled. It is still remarkably low, but much much improved. This is our winter and so as you could guess our cold and flu season. Most of the babies and tots are with fevers, snotty noses, coughs, and just generally not feeling great. For most children, this is ok, but for our weakest (malnourished and/or HIV + and/or TB +) and our youngest (under 2 years) a simple cold can be life threatening.....because what is a simple cold for us is a virus called RSV that can put a child into respiratory failure.

Yesterday evening I was called to the Baby House because Latifo was not doing well. He had vomited 2x earlier in the day and spiked a tiny fever at lunchtime. My Mozambican nurse did a malaria test and it was negative. I had just left him an hour earlier without a fever, playing and happy, without any real problems, having just eaten a snack. When arrived he was burning up and was having a lot of trouble breathing. I gave him a nebulizer, started him on some meds, and gave him some ibuprofen. An hour later he was looking better, but not great. I gave him another respiratory treatment 2 hours after the first one and put him to bed. I checked on him at 10 pm and gave him a 3rd respiratory treatment and some more Tylenol and put him back to bed. At 2 am when I checked on him he looked great! This am, he was still looking good (respiratory wise) and the western nurse in charge of the HIV program packed him up and headed off to the Doctors without Borders HIV program we take our kids to so that they could once over him and discuss if they wanted to do anything differently than the treatment plan I started. While there with the doctor, Latifo vomited 2 times and when he did it was evident that he wasn't really vomited but instead coughing up massive amounts of stuff from his lungs. Immediately afterward he started having severe respiratory problems. Anna, the nurse with him is at this moment in the pediatric emergency room with him getting him admitted.

Please pray for wisdom for the doctors and nurses; for clarity as to his problem and how to treat it; for strength for Latifo; for healing and a quick recovery; for the Tia that will be staying with him. We are all a little worried as the last 2 children we have had to admit, died while in the hospital from very simple respiratory distress that they couldn't treat. Latifo has come so far in such a short time, we are really praying for him to pull through this as well! Please pray for his family and mother who absolutely love him! I will keep you updated as I hear more. Thanks in advance for lifting this little one up in prayer!

This is Latifo (left) from a month ago and yes he's the same size as Lena (Right) a 15 month old.


I'm coming to a town near you (hopefully)

Get excited...I'm coming home to the States in exactly 6 weeks!!! 
I have been working to secure a schedule for where I'll be and when while in the States, but I have been having tons of internet problems and so it is making it hard to correspond and plan. Here's what it is looking like so far (although I'm reserving the right to change this at any moment):

Aug 27th: arrive in Atlanta
Aug 27-29: CLEMSON, SC
Aug 29-30: Atlanta, GA (pre-wedding festivities)
Aug 31-Sept 3: CLEMSON, SC
Sept 4-7: New Orleans area
Sept 8-11: CLEMSON, SC
Sept 11-13: Charlotte, NC (for friend's wedding)
Sept 13-24: Marion, NC (for medical missions intensive class)
Sept 24-Oct 1: Nashville, TN
Oct 1-3: Birmingham, AL
Oct 3-9: CLEMSON, SC
Oct 10-13:  Family only weekend trip (location tbd later)
Oct. 13?? return to Maputo, Mozambique

Speaking opportunities:
-I am planning on having dinner and speaking/showing a video to anyone who would like to come in the NASHVILLE area Sept 25 or 26th depending on my host's availability. Mark your calendars and email me asap if you wish to attend. If the number is too great, I will seek out a 2nd time and place.
-I would like to have a time to speak to any friends within driving distance of the BIRMINGHAM area as well (either Oct 2nd or 3rd). If you are interested in this, please email me and let me know which day would be better for you (Friday evening or Saturday brunch or lunch time) and how many would be coming so I can figure out a place, date, and time.
-I have a few other small meetings planned for speaking engagements and I will let everyone know times, dates, and places when they are all sorted out!
-If you would like me to speak to a small bible study, youth group, Sunday school, discipleship group ect, let me know and availabilities and I'll try to accommodate.

I am thankful for this opportunity to come home for a little bit of relaxation, refreshment, renewed vision, restoration, and most importantly fellowship with all my friends, family, and supporters. I am excited to share what God has been doing here the last 6 months since I've been gone and the things God has been stirring in my heart for the future. Thanks for all the support you have lent me. I am continually blessed!


tres novas criancas (or 3 new kids)

UPDATE July 17...pictures added to the post. And all three tested negative yesterday! yeah...now on to fixing their malnourishment!

This afternoon i admitted 3, count them 3, new girls into the Baby house....and you'll all find this story really sad and funny all at the same time.
We have a set of new twins: Catia and Edsan.

Catia is on the left and Edsan on the rigth

They will turn 3 years old in just one month. They are very malnourished and not looking so hot at the moment, but are walking and talking and loving some food. They are each only about 16 pounds. That's right. i said 3 years old. One of our healthy normal 10 month old weighs more than each of them. It appears that they have been malnourished all their lives, but it has escalated lately after their mother died. Their grandmother semi looked after them, but they were forced to look through the trash for thier own food. I am taking every precaution with them for malnutrition as they are showing signs of edema in their hands and feet which is a harder and more dangerous type of malnutrition to treat and we are trying out very bland foods with low protein and sodium for the next week or so...and i rehydrated them today. I'll get them HIV tested this week as well. They've started on deworming meds, antibiotics, they have multivitamins, and i've already given them vitimamin A which is really important for malnourished tots. They will also get an appointment at the malnourishment clinic hopefully this week so they can get a lovely thing called plumpy nut....which is just a ready to eat food they give malnourished kids here....500 calories in one small packet of super fortified peanut butter with extra multivitamins. Sadly for some of the kids, it might be the only food they are getting plus a piece of bread a day. At the moment, the twin girls wouldn't be able to handle all that protein, but in a week or two...they'll need it.

And now to introduce their Auntie Admira.....

Yup, that's what i said. Their Aunt just made 2 years old 2 days ago and is bigger and stronger and healthier than the two of them...guess she should be since it's their Aunt!!! He he. Admira's mother is the grandmother of the twins. I love Africa!!! Admira has been already to the malnourishment program and is already on Plumpy nut so she is doing lots better than her neices (he he). She is about 19 lbs and still malnourished but much much less so. She's not getting the full treatment from me. She looks to be the spunkier of the 3 as well. only time will tell on this one.....

I wish you could see how tiny these girls are. they are really the size of one year olds....

Please pray for these 3 girls! They brought in an older boy from the same family and i'm not really sure much about him. I promise to post pictures in a day or two of these 3 if the internet allows me to. Pray they will remain healthy and strong. Pray for them to gain weight each and every day and that their bodies will heal from malnutrition. Pray for wisdom in how to treat them. Pray that their HIV tests are Negative!!! Pray that they settle quickly into the giant, noisy, and sometimes very scary baby house....especially when you are tiny and look like a doll baby.

(insert story here to drive home this point...alirio who just turned 2 in March loves the babies....and by babies i mean anyone he percieves is a baby...like Latifo who is almost 3 years old but is smaller than him. Latifo gives the evil eye to Alirio whenever he comes over to snuggle him, pinch his cheeks and coo at him. the other night i tried to explain to Alirio that Latifo was NOT a baby and was a whole year older than him even though he was a bit smaller. Alirio ignored me and my beautiful portuguese and kept cooing in his face. i believe Latifo then slapped him in his face and started to push away. they are hilarious! also he thinks Dionisio who is only 9 months younger than him and a whole inch taller than him is a "baby" still and does the exact same thing with him. Oh Alirio!) I love my babies!!! Ok, it's off to bed now. Admitting the new 3 wore me out today!!!


Updates by email

Just in case you've been reading my blog for sometime and didn't know.....I send out monthly (well mostly) email updates in the form of a newsletter. There's always a recap of the month (which you will probably already know), but then there's other more detailed things that have gone on around here, prayer requests/praises, projects I'm working on at the moment, and just thoughts on what I'm doing here and what God's doing. I know (as some of you have emailed and commented on a regulary basis), that there are many of you that I have never met, but have been walking this journey with me for some time and praying for me, this ministry, and my children. I am blessed and amazed at how God has used this blog. I would love for you to get more regular updates and get involved in whatever way you felt led (I have prayer teams too!). Newsletters are a good way to get more information on this. If you are interested in getting on my email list to recieve these updates, simply email me and let me know, or respond in a comment. I just sent out my update covering the month of June and I'll get it out to you as soon as you let me know! Thanks to all my faithful readers, supporters, intercessors, and encouragers. You are an amazing team and I am very very blessed!


Emily's time here

Emily, my dear friend that came to visit me for 2.5 wks, left a few days ago....I wanted to share with you a few things we did while she was here, besides going on outreach, admitting 3 babies to the Bercario, helping me take Jaime to the hospital to be admitted, and then to visit him 2x.

She brought quite a few books that her mom, one of my good friends and prayer partners, had sent....here's her and Dionisio enjoying reading time. Amazingly, D, who NEVER goes to anyone EVER that he does not know and love, went straight up to her the very first day when she entered the Bercario, pulled himself up and lifted his hands up in the air to be picked up....when she didn't respond immediately, he started screaming and crying to her....then he proceded to play and laugh and smile with her. Even the tias were amazed. This continued pretty much the entire time she was here. The background for this is that her mother and father has been Dionisio's prayer parents for the last few months.
This is where D, spent the last week....he's been very crabby of late cause he's cutting his two upper 1 yr molars. He frequently crawls into my lap to snuggle or just lay his head down. Pretty untypical for him. It's that or he has his little paws attached to my clothes following me around the Bercario until I'm out the door. He's learned my name. It's "Ermnin" and it's cute. He can now successfully take 5 steps without falling down...though with me in the room, it's only a lunge foward, head diving towards me with his feet firmly planted where you put him....though everyone else claims he actually takes steps....hmmmmm
Emily helped me to make a growth chart for my kids. She bought this one and brought it over. We made little name plates for all the kids, put stickers on them, and laminated them. The kids loved it! And now, they can watch themselves grow.
Here's me with a few of the kids, measuring how tall they are.

Me and Nemias dancing in Church....we were doing handmotions to the Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes, Yes, Lord song....but in Portuguese....and i was still getting my caffeine fix for the AM....so I was only doing one hand! he he
I'm already missing Emily and feel very very blessed we have had the opportunity to meet again, get to know each other, and become good friends in such a short time. She was such a blessing to me while she was here! Can't wait to see you again when I'm back in the States Em!!!

Meet our newest baby

This is Cleita (pronounce: "Clay-tah"):

Now that you are in love with her, just like us, here's a little bit of information about her. She's 1 month old and arrived a little over a week ago. Her mother died from HIV within a week of her birth, leaving her father to care for a very small baby. She soon developed wierd sores with pus all over her head. The father has a nephew that lives with us here, so he came to us asking if we could care for his baby. When his nephew arrived a few years ago, he was very very ill with horrific malnutrition, Tuberculosis, untreated malaria, and HIV. We quickly took in Cleita, knowing that we couldn't trust this family to adquately care for such a small child, especially if the father wasn't really willing to. We have since find out that her mother was HIV + and she was given a single dose of nevirapime (anti-HIV drug) at birth, and then was to follow up with a month of AZT to decrease her chance of maternal transmission to only 1%....but the family didn't follow through. Her chances are good though, as she hasn't breastfed and did get nevirapime after birth. We are praying that she doesn't have HIV, but treating her all the same. She is getting a preventative antibiotic and we have drawn a viral load on her which we should get back in a bout 8 wks. This will determine if she will need to start on ARV's or she has only been exposed to the virus, but doesn't physically have it. Please pray with us. She is absolutely adorable and the other 3 toddlers in the Bercario already love her, saying "Beh" for bebe (baby) when I hold her. She is settling in quite nicely and seems really healthy. Her sores on her head are almost all gone now!

Our other new tot, Chelsia has also settled in quite nicely and is quite a bright spot in the Bercario. She is crawling and pulling up and holding her own with Dionisio and Lucia. She also LOVES to giggle....not laugh, but giggle. It is super infectious. She's also learned this dancing song that I made up spontaneous one day to entertain Lucia (our 15 month old)....it's simple and repeats these two words over and over until you get bored of it...."Danca, Danca" which simply means dance, dance. I know, I'm dripping with creativity. Anyway, Lucia soon learned it and whenever she wants to dance she stands up, sings it, and dances with a big grin. Well Chelsia is only 10 months and can't talk yet, but loves to dance and play too...so she's learned to mimic the noise that Lucia makes....essentially she hums the dancing song and dances along in rhythm to it. It is precious. Here's a pic with her smiling away.

Jaime's homecoming

I'm sad once again. Little premature Jaime has been in the hospital for the last 18 days. We were just informed today by a very frustrated father, that his son Jaime had died. We had been giving him money to visit his son in the city as it is only 14 meticals and 2 hours roundtrip which is about 50 cents, but half a days work when the majority of the population lives off less than a dollar a day. He came by the center yesterday to get more money and then went straight to the hospital where they callously told him Jaime had died. He came to us today wanting to know why we hadn't told him. Of course the most obvious answer was we were oblivious ourselves. We sent the nursery director, one of our clinic administrators, and one of our Mozambican doctors to find out what had happened. Jaime died a little less than 2 hours after our nursery director left his bedside on Monday afternoon. They had our phone number and never informed anyone. The worst part is, because they do not embalm bodies here, after 3 days, if the body is not picked up, the simply dump it into a mass communal grave. Today is Friday. Jaime has already been buried and his father, who lost his wife only 19 days ago, has lost his only son and cannot even bury him properly! My heart is grieving again tonight for the loss of a little one that should have thrived in any other country. My heart is heavy for stupid technicalities that are keeping a father from doing something that is so important in this culture....burying their dead. I am thankful for the time I had with him and the love that I could give him while he was here with us on this earth. I am standing in peace, knowing that Jaime is whole sitting in our Father's lap right now! Please pray for Jaime's father, his family, and our workers as this is the 2nd little one we have lost in less than a month.

I've included a few photos of Jaime in the "Neonatal Intensive Care" below to celebrate his life....and the few medical advancements the country has made since I've been here....
me looking at Jaime in his incubator...you can see the rest of the "NICU" behind us
Mommas waiting to visit their little ones and breastfeed...they have to come up every 4 hrs around the clock daily to breastfeed when their baby is strong enough and ready, but they have no where to stay in between.
Jaime not really up for a photo shoot....looking through his porthole in his incubator (his head's been shaved for IV's)

Tiny baby


God is Good....all the time

God has been doing some pretty amazing things around here lately. I feel like most of my recent posts have been prayer related since we've had a few tots sick. So i really felt the need to share some praise reports......We had a man named Stephen Lungu come visit us. He's an amazing man of God who has been radically changed. He is a Zimbabwean man who now is leadership of a ministry called African Enterprises. He wrote a book, I hope to read soon called, Out of the Black Shadows. Anyway, while he was here he really ministered to our Mozambican staff, youth, and children on the center, sharing His testimony and how God mightily changes people. Many of our workers were saved. One being our Muslim tia that works in the Bercario. She has such a quiet sweet spirit and I am so happy for her. Since then, we have started discipleship once a week with any staff that would like to learn more about the Bible and how to continue a relationship with God. The bercario staff, including her, and my Mozambican nurse are attending. They have recieved their very own Bible and are excited about the classes. While Stephen was here, he was able to secure a contact with a man that can help him and African Enterprises come into the country. It is an amazing ministry that spends 3 years laying ground work before they hold a massive conference to revitalize and evangelize the country. They come and train thousands of pastors and lay leaders in the country to be on the ground during that time, how to disciple people after they are saved, how to pray for new believers, how to get them plugged into the church. They pray with business men, goverment leaders, doctors, lawyers, and anyone who will listen to spread His name in the time leading up to the conference. Then they bring 4000 evangelists into the capital city of the country and hold many many revivals all at the same time all over the city for 3 months culminating into a massive revival in one arena. Their goal is to evangelize every African country and they have been trying to get into Mozambique for years now. So they planning has started and they are shooting for 2012 now.

At the moment there is an amazing team from South Africa that is on the base. They have such an annointing and have been really ministering to our missionary team and speaking Truth into our lives. The Holy Spirit has been very present this week. Tonight at church we just worshiped and worshiped and worshiped some more....no one was ready to quit. We were singing a song in Portuguese that has the lines in it "open the floodgates of heaven, let it rain" over and over again, crying out. Suddenly, I could hear this beautiful sound and it sounded like English, it grew stronger and stronger and stronger, spreading throughout the church until all the children were singing together in unison to the exact same tune in perfect English, a song that no one else knew including the worship team:
"Jesus, you are Holy,
Holy, Holy,
Send your fire,
Holy fire!"
They were shouting it in the most perfectly clear English, in unison, with gorgeous voices. Over and over and over. Most of the kids don't speak English. It was amazing, and completely spontaneous, and Spirit led.

Please continue to pray for our ministry here, our staff members, youth and children, who have recently accepted the Lord, for coverage over our base. We are so blessed at the moment! Also continue prayers for Jaime. I am planning on visiting him in the hospital on Saturday and will update more then!