The question

I get one question a lot. it's often THE question. why I'm in Mozambique and why I'm doing what I am.....maybe not in those exact words, maybe it's in facial expressions, or often in nice polite southern ways of asking pointed questions without actually asking them, but sometimes it looks exactly like that. truth is....I know what you mean when you ask me. and I'd be lying if I said that I don't think the same thing from time to time. I certainly thought it before I came here. another truth is.....I don't have a really good answer for you. ok, I mean I do. and man is it good. I just mean, I often can't really put it into words and sum it up and wrap it into a nice little neat package like you want/need/will understand.

the short answer: God. He called me and to here, this place, and so here I am. for however long. till He says. doing/serving where and how He says.

the long answer: gotcha....like I'm even going to attempt that one on here right now. it's long.

the medium version is the one I'm trying to formulate and articulate better so that I can better describe the why and the what without bumbling like an idiot when asked. cause like I said. I have an answer. and man is it good. The other night after a particularly good day, a worship song was washing over me and scripture kept running through my head....and two pictures stuck. it's the reason. and while I can't use this in a conversation.....I can show you through this media......so maybe this will answer the why and the what. Warning: it's not so nice and neat.

"I have REDEEMED YOU; I have called YOU by your name, YOU are mine."
-Isaiah 43:1

I know and accept this, with all of my heart, as TRUTH. It is essentially the life force and motivation behind all my actions.

on admit
with Dino, a child his same age who was in the almost the same condition just a year previously

Lord I give You my heart
I give You my soul,
I live for You alone
Every breath that I take,
Every moment I'm awake
Lord, have Your way in me
-lyrics by Reuben Morgan

This is the only way I know how to respond to Him; to what He's given me. It's never even close to enough, but it's all I have. How thankful I am that He never asks us to repay Him. It's free and so am I.

Just a few days ago!
It's Latifo (pictured above), a complete miracle with full blown AIDS, dying from malnutrition, less than 10 lbs, barely able to sit, and almost 2.5 yrs old. 7 months later, finally walking and talking and ALIVE-physically and emotionally and pretty healthy, weighing in at 26 lbs.

It's D, who couldn't even sit up at 10 months, didn't smile or laugh, wouldn't make eye contact and was constantly sick. He had given up on life and refused food for WEEKS. After 6 wks of living with me and finally bonding to another person, he started turning around. Now after a year of living in a smaller environment and learning to trust and love and bond....he's walking, smiling, laughing, playing, talking and almost NEVER sick!

It's dozens of other babies and tots that I am absolutely blessed and privileged to care for, to breathe life into, to hold, and love, and dream with. I have watched HIM transform them right before my very eyes. And I can't do HIM justice to try to describe the beauty and paradox of these miracles amidst one of the poorest places in the world. But I do know, that what He did for me; how He redeemed me and called me; He has and is continuing to do for EACH and EVERY ONE of these that I am serving.

And I don't understand it. I can't explain it. Especially not eloquently. And I have no clue why He called me. But He did. So I'm here. And I have no clue how or when it's going to end. or even how it's going to look tomorrow. But He's faithful and good and I'm trusting in Him for each and everyone of the steps He's laid and numbered before me.
Now there's the adventure.


New faces

Well, I've been back for about 1.5 wks now, resting, catching up, and trying to settle back in. Meghann, the nurse covering for me while I was gone, did a wonderful job, so there wasn't much to have to clean up, but there's always figuring out the new kids and where each kid is versus where they need to be and how to get them there game that I play. So after lots of thought, and prayer, and plotting.....most of my plans will go into action tomorrow and we should all be back on track (or a new one) asap.

A few prayer points before my next newsletter:
  • This Wednesday is election day....time for a new (or re-elected) president of the country. Prayers that a good leader is chosen, that the election will not be surrounded by riots, fights, or corruption; that they will be fair and that the transition (if there is one) will be smooth!

  • Arsenia (who we recently found out by a visiting dentist is actually 12 yrs old and still in the BH) is going in for surgery (under anesthesia) to have several rotted permanent teeth removed. Pray this is successful, she does well with the anesthesia, and does not develop any infections in the process.

  • Our medical team here at Zimpeto is growing. This is amazing and it gives us the opportunity to really expand our ministry in this area. Pray with us on how our resources and woman power could best be used at the present, as well as each of the new opportunities that we each will have to increase our own personal skills and abilities. Pray for wisdom and discernment during this process.

Opportunity to bless our children: Christmas is just around the corner and it's coming 2 wks earlier for us this year (not because we're in a weird time-warp, or in the southern hemisphere, or simply can't count, but because our staff will be too low on the actual day, so we're celebrating early). In the Baby House we are pretty much set with toys this year (thanks to a recent generous donation by one of our visiting teams), but our need is in clothes and a new baby swimming pool (for the 120+ degree days without air-conditioning). The director said that she's looking at spending about $8/child and we have 42 children at the present. The swimming pool will cost us around $50. Please email me asap if you are interested in donating or sponsoring a child for Christmas so I can tell you how to do this!

Most importantly.....meet our 5 new tots that arrived while I was gone (2 in the Bercario and 3 in the BH)! They are adorable. I'm getting to know them, each of their needs, and forming game plans to get them healthy!
Wesley is 6 months and....healthy?!?

Agostinho is 14 months and is starting to take his first steps.

Mai is 3.
Alfiado is 15 months and learning to pull up and stand for a few seconds on his own. He's malnourished, but getting stronger daily.

Neto is 2ish and still very quiet.

And just a few other (familiar) faces that we've all missed for almost 2 months......how can anyone NOT love these precious faces??!!!?? The newness (and the fact that they are toddlers and have the short-term memory of a well.....it's nonexistent) of me being back has NOT worn off and I'm still bombarded every time I enter with lots of hugs and kisses and screams and shouting of my name. I'm not complaining. Just stating it makes it hard to work! One individual (ahem: Dionisio) is still adjusting to the fact that I left him.....coping isn't part of his vocabulary and his daily toddler tantrums are in full swing lately.

Dino being very cheeky! All through church Sunday he sat making "caras de peixe" at me and giggling furousisly. Why? cause i make fish faces at them all the time and they think it's hysterical...what's better is that they can't do it back, but try...it looks like they are kissing. Dino has been practicing since i've been away and he's got it down!

Twins Catia (left) & Edsan (right) looking alot more healthy and well nourished after 3 months in the BH.

Lucia's walking well now and as always, full of personality @ 18 months

Latifo is now WALKING (at almost 3 yrs)! Look how big he is & how far he's come since March & 4.5 kg!

Chelsia is walking really well now....working on fixing her Vitiman D deficiency, but looking good!

most of the oldest room in the BH-goofing off!

I did NOT do anything to provoke him....this is simply cause i'm standing in the room and he wants to be in my arms. We're working through it.

kinda. with lots of tears.


Black Elderberry and the flu

Since it's flu season in the States and I love you all, I thought I'd pass on some very helpful information I recently received.  I have not trialed this personally, but have spoken with several who have used it tried and true for many years now and said it is a miracle worker and works as well as tamiflu, if not better and a lot cheaper.  You better believe that I grabbed two bottles and brought them with me to Africa and now have them for safe keeping just in case.  If you go into most drug stores (haven't seen it in grocery stores, walmart, or target) and down the cold and flu aisle you will probably be able to find a product called Sambucol or Black Elderberry.  If you don't, ask the pharmacist if they carry it.  I found it in Rite Aid and heard CVS (didn't check walgreen's) carries as well as well as most healthfood stores and GNC but you'll pay double the price at least at these places.  All you need is 1-2 pills a day as soon as you start feeling flu symptoms and reportedly you get better and symptoms disappear within 1-3 days as opposed to 5+ days.  I have heard that although the label says you can chew it or just hold it in your mouth until it dissolves that it works much better if you just suck on it until it's gone.  The taste is reminiscent of blueberries and not bad at all.  I researched it myself and have included a link to Wiki ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambucus and scroll down to medicinal uses unless you are a nerd like me) that will give you few facts about the trials done and how and why it works.  Also, there's a website about it as well called www.blackelderberry.info  It works for Influenza A and B per several proven studies....should work for H1N1 because of how it works and how viruses replicate, but no research at present....that's just me talking.  Technically it should work period with any thing that is viral, but I don't know if much research has been done on other illnesses (besides the flu) that are caused by viruses.  But I think it's worth a try with so many of you getting sick!  I believe you can even take it preventively 1x/day.  There aren't side effects and it's safe for adults and children.  Just thought you'd like to know I'm looking out for ya'll....even if you are all older than my preferred peds patients!  Oh and feel free to pass on the free knowledge.  Let me know what you think if you end up trying it or if you have or know people that have.  I'm always up for learning more on homeopathic remedies.....I mean I love meds and all, but they aren't for everything or everyone and they come with their own set of problems as well!

Back in Moz

Well, I made it safely back to Moz via (are you ready??):  Charlotte-Boston (x5 days with family)-London-Lisbon (overnight x20 hrs for shower/food/sleep)-Frankfurt-Johannesburg-Maputo.  Can you believe that I had absolutely NO excess luggage charges despite that according to 3 of my flights I had $300 worth (they NEVER weighed a single bag)???  And can you believe that when I arrived in Maputo, they simply scanned ALL my bags (including my purse) in an xray machine and sent me on my way....they did NOT open a SINGLE bag and plunder through it asking for bribes and a hundred answers like normal!  Whoa.  Miracle.  Praise the Lord.  I always bring back tons of meds and supplies that we can't get here but I'm always worried they will get stolen, lost, or taken.  Not a single piece of my luggage was lost and not a single item was misplaced or stolen!  I am so thankful!
I was able to sleep through the weekend since I thankfully never have jet lag but also never sleep on planes.  So I had a lot of sleep to catch up on after travelling from Boston to Maputo over 4 days!!!  Yikes!  Now I'm starting to have meetings with the director and heads over the areas of kids I take care of as well as the nurses that covered for me to get updates and changes and spot problems.  Then I'll start to work on piecing everything together and forming a game plan.  We had 2 children reintegrated while I was gone, 2 moved up to the girl's dorm, and 5 new admits!  Wow.  I have a lot to catch up on!  Please be in prayer for all these children, families, and the workers in the areas they are now living in.  It's always an adjustment for everyone!  Pray for me as I take back over my area and get to know these new little ones.  Pictures soon! 
Also, the Sunday before last, one of our HIV + 12 year olds died in his sleep.  He had just started feeling sick that day and had been healthy and stable otherwise.  Please pray for the missionaries, workers, and nurses that took care of him (as it is always a shock when one of our children die), the families and friends of the child who are mourning his loss, and for the other children on the center with HIV as there are a lot of superstitions surrounding death and HIV.  We do not want our children to fear either but to hear and accept the truth and be comforted by our mighty God that is in control of all things!
I will update you on my time at home asap with pictures.  I had such a restful, peaceful, productive time, despite the fact that I was rarely in one place for more than 5 days!  Thank you for all the support, meals, coffees, beds, and conversations you gave me!  You are all a blessing to me!  I am happy to be back in Mozambique though and can't wait to get back to loving on these children!


Videos, videos, and more videos

I can't access my video site while I'm at Zimpeto because it slows down our internet like crazy.  So I went on a video uploading blitz tonight......here you have it....tons (9) of short video clips that I've taken over the last 9 months or so all on vimeo for your viewing pleasure.  If you didn't get enough with my video update, you can hop on over and get a few laughs at  www.vimeo.com/InHishands  NOTE:  these are really edited in any way, just uploaded for you to get idea of my life and the kids.


Hey everyone. Sorry I've been absent from the blogworld for the last 6 weeks. I've been really trying to focus on rest, friends, family, fellowship, and spending time with my Heavenly Father! I'm heading back to Mozambique on Oct. 13. I will arrive, finally, on Oct. 16th. Please pray for travelling mercies as I'm taking 5 different flights and over-nighting in Lisbon, Portugal for 20 hours. Pray everything goes smoothly, all my luggage makes it safely, and I stay SANE (remember how much I hate flying).

I've uploaded my recent update video of my last 6 months in Moz. If you didn't get a chance to see it in person while I was in town, I would love for you to get to view it now. If you are new to this blog and never viewed the first one, please click on the video in the right hand column. It will give you a better idea of where I'm serving, the ministry I'm serving with, and the culture I'm living among.

My latest video alludes to how I'm praying about the future and changes to come. At the present I am committed to finish up my 2nd year with Iris Ministries in Maputo, Mozambique. My plan is to return back home at the beginning of June 2010 and spend at least 3 months at home, sharing with each of you, resting, and switching gears. The Lord has really laid it on my heart that He has been preparing me to move out of the center and more into the community to serve those in a deeper need. I have been serving in a children's center that is only 45 minutes from the best medical care the country has to offer (however meager it may be). But there are still many, many others in Mozambique that have to walk over 10 miles each way to see any kind of medical professional that may or may not have the life saving drugs or equipment to help them. The last 2 years has been absolutely amazing and such a blessing. I have learned tons about the language, culture, tropical medicine, pediatrics, the medical system here in Moz, as well as myself and my God. It has been so good to have a huge support family at Zimpeto and learn it all in such a safe environment. I do not know the exact timing or how or where (in Mozambique), or what this will look like, but I know there will be some changes-just waiting on God's timing for all of this. Please join me in prayer for wisdom and discernment in these areas. I have been blessed beyond words over the last 1.5 years with all your prayers, encouragement, wisdom, support, and finances. Thank you so much! I pray God blesses each of you as well.

Also, thanks again to each and every one of you that blessed me over these last 6 weeks while I was home resting up. You were each amazing. I loved sharing time, meals, memories, coffee, and God with you. I especially appreciate everyone who opened their homes to me! I cannot thank you enough. I look forward to being home again next summer and (hopefully) sharing the next step in His plan for my ministry in more detail!

Mozambique: March-August 2009 from Erin Welton on Vimeo.