The sweetest sound

is a laugh from a child's lips.
Especially their first.

Yesterday I shared, that for the first time (since she arrived) I saw Fernanda smile at me.....3 times.  Three big smiles as I kissed and said goodnight to her.

Today, I picked her up to play and she sat in my lap.  Cleita came over to play with us and offered her a play toy (very sweet of Cleita).  Nanda reached out for it and started baby babbling to Cleita....who then decided that the toy was, infact, hers and though she would like to offer it...she would not really like to SHARE it.  So she took it back.  While Nanda was interacting with another child for the 2nd time since she arrived (and reaching for a toy for the very first time), I thought I saw a hint of a smile.  So I got a little stuffed animal for her to play with......to my suprise she started actually PLAYING with it and smiling.  I haven't seen her PLAY with anything....just sitting there somberly and holding things....occasionally touching them, but never PLAYING.  So I started "attacking" her with the animal and tickling her......and it was then that i heard the sweetest sound you can hear......a little chuckle...which turned it to a giggle....which moved to a laugh!  A beautiful beautiful sound!  Literally music to my ears.

Please continue praying for her and her social/emotional development as she comes out of her shell.  She gained another 140 grams today (over 4.5 ounces) and is doing well with her food.  She's going to be back on regular formula instead of ironman formula in just a few days!  She's starting to look plump!  He he!  Ok, not really, we are only 17 lbs (13 ounces) but it's a lot better than how she looked just 1.5 weeks ago.  Oh and today was her first FEVER-FREE day!!!  Whoohooo!  Pray this continues!

Graca is still settling in and we've put her back on regular baby formula as of tonight and she is taking it just fine!  No throwing up!  Praise the Lord for tiny baby steps.  Still no weight gain yet.....so continue praying hard for her as well.  Also for no side effects from any of her nasty medications!


Nandinha and Gracinha

Fernanda is still plugging along and doing wonderful!!!  She gained 540 grams today (that's 1 lb 3 ounces)....ridiculously amazing!  Seriously, i'm not feeding her growth juice or anything and I've been cutting down on bottles too.  It is all God.  We are thankful and praise Him daily!  I think she might be getting a bit jealous of Graca, though.  Our Bercario directors said they watched her try to calm Graca down while she was crying by stroking Graca's cheek and when that didn't work she held her hand!  WOW!  From no interaction to calming down her sissy!  That evening though, Graca attempted to return the favor, and Fernanda was less than thrilled.....let's just say it involved a not so nice look and the removal of Gracinha's hand, several times.  But the best part of Fernanda's constant transformation is.......................I got a big smile out of her tonight!!!!!  I said goodnight and blew kisses (as i do everynight and to each and everyone of my tykes) and she smiled 3x at me.  Little stinker.  Melts your heart.  We are still praying for her daily, especially over her emotional and psychological development at the moment!

Graca is still cute as always and gained 110 grams (3.5 ounces) yesterday but lost 20 grams (1/2 ounce) today.  We are still very thankful for her progress.  She has alot of nasal congestion and a bit of a chest infection, so we are working with the tias to remember when she refuses the bottle, it's cause she's having trouble breathing and sucking at the same time, NOT because she doesn't want it.....and anyway...she doesn't get to decide that.  So they are cup feeding her when she refuses it and it seems to be working just fine.  Please continue to keep her in your prayers.  She will start on super powerful anti-retrovirals this week on top of the chemotherapeutic TB meds.  Not a very good combination.  The ARV's usually make our kids vomit, not want to eat, have a belly ache, as well as other pains they can't explain.  Please pray she has NO sideeffects from these medications and that she continues growing.  Also pray she comes out of her shell and starts playing and laughing and bonding to the tias!

Thanks for standing with us!

ps.....little Chelsia is moving to the Baby House first thing tomorrow...pray for her quick transition and making of friends easily....of course she'll have Dionisio, Lucia, and Augustinho to keep her company too.  She gets a bit frightened of new people and large crowds.  She's been "visiting" for over 2 weeks now for playdates and has started settling in a bit.  We just pray this will be an easy move on her....and everyone else!  That means our Bercario is back down to 6 with 2 that are quite needy at the moment.  It keeps our 2 tias on there toes...especially since 3 of the others are very close to walking.  Wesley can take 2-3 steps when motivate and unfearful.  Francisco can take 11 steps without falling but still seems to prefer the safety of crawling....closer to the ground when gravity prevails.  Cleita would LOVE to be walking and grazes everywhere....she's also climbing everything (though i've told her walking comes first...she's ignoring me) and can stand for 5-10 seconds on her own.  She's quite good at "pinky walking" (walking with the use of only your 1 pinky for support), so i suspect we'll see some toddlers soon!


Meet Graca AND Ernesto

pronounced: "Grah-sah"
translation:  Grace

Meet the newest member of our Bercario (nursery)....Graca

She will be 8 months old in just a few days.  She only weighs 5 kg (11 lbs).  Though you can't tell from the picture, she's a 2-3 month old in size and stature.  She is quite malnourished and couldn't tolerate regular baby formula today (though dad said she was taking it and baby cereal just fine....perhaps it was quite watered down milk though)....she just kept vomitting it up....so we are back to square 1 like in the beginning days of Fernanda.  She's on a special kind of milk for the next week, taking it every 3 hours around the clock in little bits.  We are hoping she'll keep this down.  She is very sick with malnutrition as well as tuberculosis and HIV.  She has been on TB treatment for a month now and is still losing weight.  This week she will start taking ARV's for HIV which are just as bad as the TB treatment.  Pray for no side effects from either medicine, that she starts tolerating the food we give her, and that she'll begin gaining weight.  We are praying for God's grace on little Graca!  We want to see what happened to Fernanda....happen to Graca....
from THIS
to THIS.....
in just 7 days!
We will be praying daily for her and Fernanda at 3pm our time (8am/9am central/eastern time) when she wakes from her nap and we weigh her.  We'll continue this for these first few weeks....well, until she doesn't need daily prayer over her life.  That doesn't mean we've stopped praying for her, just laying hands on her and interceding/begging God to save her little sweet spirit!  We invite you to join us praying for Graca and continuing to pray for Fernanda.

Fernanda gained 330 grams in the last 2 days and has.......BEGUN TO CRAWL!!!  Well, like 4 crawly steps when begged to come to us from just a foot away.  But it means she's getting stronger, bonding, and becoming more interactive which is an amazingly rapid transformation for her!  This normally takes a lot longer.  She still isn't doing it of her own free will, but we know her sweet, beautiful personality will be shining brightly through her tiny diseased body someday soon!  Continue to pray for her....she also has an infection and we started her on antibiotics today.  She continues with high fevers everyday which makes her quite uncomfortable!

Meet Ernesto......
pronounce: "Err-nesh-two"

His registration papers tell us he's 15 months old....but i think you'll agree with me (and the number of his teeth, his weight/size, his vocabulary and language command, as well as developmental behavior) that he's at least 3 years old.  He arrived the day after Fernanda, and I honestly just haven't had time to introduce you.  He's living in our Baby House and has adjusting quite quickly despite the fact that he didn't know a word of Portuguese (only his tribal language) when he came to live with us!  He has such a sweet nature and now tries to mimic everything you say and do to learn....and learning he is doing....quickly!  Pray for his continued adjustment and quick language acquisition!

Thanks for praying for our beautiful children!  And thanks for all the emails I've recieved in support and prayer and encouragement over these last few weeks re:  Naftal and Fernanda.  You are each wonderful and special to me.  Thanks for blessing me and these children so wonderfully.  Excuse me for not being able to get back in touch with each of you personally!


He gives and He takes away

My heart is heavy today, as I know many of our other missionaries' hearts are as well, because little Naftal went to be with Jesus this morning at 1am our time.  I think it's hard for two reasons....the first is Naftal is such a juxtaposition to Fernanda as God performed an undeniable miracle in this little girl, yet watched Naftal (mourning with us, I know) suffer greatly, and then die.  His father was daily at his bedside praying for the tias and for Naftal.  Naftal, himself, knew Jesus and prayed and asked others to pray for him.  His dad called him and the tias every morning as well as visiting and prayed again with them.  It's heartbreaking to see one so lifted up in the natural and other one, only in the supernatural.  Of course, we also know Naftal is with Jesus and he has a new body without any suffering or pain and he is celebrating!  We also know that God is and was and will still use little Naftal's life for His glory....in unexpected and possibly unknown ways.  We don't know the affect Naftal and his dad's relationship with each other and with God had on the other children and their parents.  As they prayed for the other little kids in his room....as Laura the missionary that visited him almost daily stopped in and prayed for everyone she met on the pediatric surgical ward....we don't know what seeds these events have planted or how God will use this event and Naftal's life in the lives of everyone he has known and touched.  But we KNOW Naftal's life served a purpose and it will not go forgotten.  It will be used to glorify God!  We were absolutely blessed and privileged to have been chosen to walk with him for the brief moments at the end of his life.  That is a gift and a blessing and we claim and acknowledge that!  Praise God that He answered our prayers (albeit in an unexpected and undesired way) to touch Naftal, to comfort him, to make him whole, and to take away all sickness, disease, pain, and suffering.  God answered each of these prayers, in His timing, in His ways!

The second reason it's a bit hard, is it's opened up a slightly raw spot in my heart that was healing for little Dino....and that pain has been revisited!  Please pray for all the missionaries and tias involved in little Naftal's care....his father and his young brother...all the little boys that lived with him in his camarata as they process this....all the youth that have been faithfully praying for him daily, believing a miracle for him....that NONE would lose faith or hope through these events, but would press in and be drawn closer to Our Lord during this time...that they would know Him as their comforter, guide, protector, and healer.

On the giving side of things.....Fernandinha gained another 70 grams (2 1/2 ounces) yesterday and today 320 grams (almost 11 ounces) and is up to 7.33 kg now (16 lbs).  She had now made it through her first 3 days since arrival with NO vomiting....those were also her first 3 days of harsh, chemotherapeutic drugs!  This was also all gained even by dropping her late night feeding.  Praise the Lord.  The new team of tias, who haven't seen her since they left Friday morning (before her amazing transformation), came on duty today and the first thing they said to me when they saw me was.....Fernanda is so much better....look at how fat she is and she's gobbling up all her food.  Her grandmother was there at that exact moment and you could see the pride and thankfulness and excitement in her eyes as she expressed the same of Fernanda.  I was able to recount the story of how God performed a miracle and we can give all the glory to Him because of our prayers and his goodness.  They were all so excited.  I asked about Fernanda's mother, who is still in the hospital very very sick (since December) and to be able to say we (along with a host of others all around the world) are praying for her daily!  Continue to pray for this little girl, who is NOT out of the woods yet, her family, and the tias taking care of her...that LIVES would be changed as He is changing and speaking life over little Fernanda!!!  We'll probably be dropping the 2 bottles she is taking with her rice/beans at lunch and dinner!  Yeah God and Fernanda!  We are waiting for that JOY to come bubbling up from within her spirit and to see her smile and laugh!!!

on admit with Kwashiokor's malnutrition 
7.36 kg (16 lbs 6.4 ounces) 

last Thursday at her lowest weight
5.97 kg ( 13 lb 4.5 ounces)
today, 3 days after starting TB meds & exactly 1 wk after prayer & a miracle
7.33 kg (16 lbs 4.2 ounces)-all fat and no edema

We're continuing to pray daily with her and over her with our tias in the Bercario at 3pm our time (8am/9am Central/Eastern Time).  Please join us! 



What comes AFTER God shows up, in response to a church/people gathered together crying out in prayer and He performs a miracle??  The only sensible thing is to give praise, celebrate, and tell others of His goodness and mercy!  In fact, it doesn't seem simply sensible, but the only thing you can do....it's completely natural.  And that is what we are doing.

This weekend, starting after prayer at evening church on Thursday, God has shown up in mighty ways.  Not just in the life of little Nanda, but also in the lives of the tias and our Mozambican nurse that work with her.  This morning I spent a few minutes speaking with Nurse Aurora about what happened over the weekend and how God had been listening to all our prayers and was answering in a mighty way.  2 hrs later, I walked into the Bercario (nursery) to find her carrying Fernanda around, dancing and singing with the other 2 Mozambican tias, hands raised to the heavens, giant grins spread across their faces, praising the Lord for what He had done in Nanda's life and just giving glory to Him through worship!  It was breathtaking!  This evening I stopped by the weekly chefe meeting of the older youth that help with leadership/mentorship over the dorms.  They had been asking and wondering what was God's response to their constant prayers and Thursday night church.....so I told them the good news.....and......they were excited and encouraged and have seen proof of God's faithfulness.

One of the other nurses on base, Aleya, went with little Nanda today to the Tuberculosis clinic to get her started on treatment.....with the favor and mercy of the Lord going before us.....1-she got started on the meds, despite the fact that the correct paperwork hadn't been filled out by our doctor (so our doctor has to fill it out and we'll bring it back the next time we come).  2-Aleya didn't have to wait hours in line, but took little Nanda right in and was told that our Mozambican clinic helper can just bring the card and pick up her meds each time without waiting and there is NO NEED to bring Fernanda with her.  3-she gave us 2 weeks worth of meds!!!  4-They didn't have the medications our doctor wrote for so, she simply figured out the correct dosing for the same meds (just in a differnet pill/combinations instead of one single pill for all 3 meds) and gave them to us that way!  Praise the Lord.  These might seem like all logical simple things to you, but believe me when I say, these are amazing things that would NOT have happened without God's help as NONE of them are the protocol...Mozabicans are all about following protocols and almost never use rational thinking to make logical decisions if something deviates from the protocol.

Today Fernanda did wonderful with eating again.  She is a bit more alive and interactive and seems stronger.  She gained......another miraculous 390 grams today!  We dropped the 3:30 am feeding.  hip hip hooray!  She hasn't had any side effects from her first dose of medicine and kept it down....the first few weeks usually results in vomitting up food and the meds after each doseage as they are chemothearpeutic and are very harsh for such little ones.  But praise the Lord, all she's been doing in jumping out of our arms and squealing when she sees food!  How precious is this little one!

We are continuing to fight for Fernanda daily at 3pm as she gets through these hardest first weeks and we ask for you to join us.  But we are also crying out for 8 year old Naftal tonight!  He is waiting for a biopsy on Wednesday to redetermine the type of cancer he has before the proceed further, as they are beginning to think it is NOT as they previously diagnosed.  His condition is very grave.  He can't walk more than a step or 2 and can't sit up for more than a minute or two.  He is constantly writhing around in pain.  He is hungry, but cannot eat as he is too nauseous and doesn't have room in his tummy for anything but the oppressive fluid buildup and tumors.  He is only recieving tylenol (paracetamol) for his pain.  That is it!  He is struggling for breath and is unassisted in every way.  They are doing nothing for him and he is suffering.  In the natural....next week is a LONG way away for him to make it, still living.  And now he has malaria-on top of EVERYTHING else.  But our God is bigger than this.  We are crying out for supernatural lifting of his symptoms, pain...we want to see him comfortable, smiling, laughing, and eating.  We want the tumor to NO LONGER be there when they go to do the biopsy on Wednesday.  We want the malaria parasites to be removed from his bloodstream, from every organ.  We want health and life to be restored to this little boy and his family!

Thanks again for standing with us, for expecting and faithfully believing in the miracles He is performing!


My help and my deliverer-Fernanda update

Thursday night we brought Fernanda to the front of the church to be prayed over by missionaries, educators/tias, older youth, kids, Mozambican pastors, and visitors.  We were at our wit's end, nothing was working, and she had just lost 300 grams (14 ounces) in one day.  The whole church lifted up her name in one voice and prayed with all their heart for healing for this one little baby girl.  We prayed for over 20 minutes.  Many kept praying after I had no more words or tears left.  Fernanda, wide eyed and alert, just stared around at everyone with their hands outstretched, touching her, calling out her name.
Friday a few of us missionaries started gathering daily at 3pm to pray over her while many of you all around the world got on your knees and joined us at exactly the same time.  We weighed her Friday and for the first time we had an utter halt in her weight.  She didn't gain weight, but she didn't lose anything.  She started having an appetite and eating all her food.  Saturday she gained 60 grams (I made a mistake if you read the previous update).  I shared with the tias our joy, excitement and expectation to see God show up and help little Fernanda.  I told them about all of you interceding all over the globe for this one little girl.  They were amazed and in awe.  That night the two tias that were on shift together gathered and prayed over her together.  Today (Sunday) she gained........510 grams (that's over 1 lb)!!!!!  She is now 14 lbs 6 ounces (6.54 kg).  We have not changed a single thing in her care.....she ate everything again today and has still been crying out for more food.  She has life in her eyes and is much more comfortable today.  She has started bonding with one of the tias on this shift.  The tias are excited and amazed at the work God is doing.  We are too!!!

We have been praying for healing, comfort, fever reduction, a ferocious appetite, weight gain, bonding with the tias, healing of her mother, to bring the family together-back to unity and closer to God using this event, for wisdom, for Fernanda to be plucked out of the mire and set on the firm Rock of God so that she can grow old and have a family and take in orphans and babies that are near death like herself and love them with the LOVE of GOD back into His arms....so she can cry out and tell of the miracles He has performed in her life, how He has changed her and saved her, set her apart for GREAT things!  Praise the Lord for hearing our prayers and answering them!  Continue praying for tomorrow as she starts treatment, for no side effects from the harsh medications and for grace and favor with the Mozambican medical system as we attempt to navigate it (they can require us to come 5 days a week and wait hours each time to receive her daily meds as all the other patients have to do for the entire 6 month treatment period).  Pray for her continued weight gain, fever reduction, comfort, bonding to the tias.  Pray also for encouragment of the tias/drawing them closer to our Heavenly Father as they see his mercy, grace, love, and power through this experience.

"I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD."  -Psalm 40:1-3

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all you iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."  -Psalm 103: 1-5

Thank you for the prayers for Fernanda.  Keep them coming!!


Updates on our peapods-an invitation to prayer

UPDATE 20/3:
-Fernanda ate every bit of every bit of food we gave her today.  All of it.  with only 1 very unfortunate vomitting episode.  This means all of each and every one of her every 3 hr around the clock bottles with ironman formula, 1/2 a banana, 2 small bowels of rice/beans, a bottle full of baby cereal, and my special ironman shake of yogurt, ironman formula and peanut butter.  She made it all day without vomitting until tonight right after her very last bite of rice/beans.  This is the most food she has ever taken.  The tias even said she wanted more.  We aren't pushing our luck yet.  But we are giving God all the praise as this is a miraculous turn around for her in 24 hrs.  Plus........she gained 60 grams (2 ounces).  Hip hip hooray!!!!!  I don't care how much it is, as long as it's in the black!  The tias were celebratory this afternoon and in awe that so many people were praying all around the world at the same time every day for this one little girl!  They are seeing the amazing results of prayer as well.  Praise the Lord for His goodness!  Continue praying for little Fernanda as she'll start treatment on Monday that will help her, but possibly hurt her at first!

-Naftal Our center director and his wife (Also a nurse) talked to the doctor taking care of Naftal today but didn't seem to get anywhere or more information.  They are still planning to do more tests next week to confirm a few things and plan treatment from there, but in the meantime, he is getting more and more unstable as they are doing nothing to treat any of his symptoms and he is very uncomfortable.  Please pray for wisdom for the medical doctors treating him as well as us as a medical team for future decisions we may have to take!

UPDATE 19/3:  
-Fernanda ate almost all her food today...Praise the Lord for that.  And was doing a LOT better with not vomitting it up (which is simply becoming a control/learned response at this point reminiscent of Dionisio).  We didn't gain any weight today, but we certainly didn't lose any either.  She's 15 months and only weighing in at a little over 13 lbs (5.97 kg).  She is litterally the definition of skin and bones.  And she's tall for her age.  Our doctor agreed today that she is tuberculosis positive and to start her on medicines (though it will have to wait till the clinic is open on Monday), but she really wanted to have her admitted to the pediatric ICU to do so.  Well let me tell you that I almost lost my cool, but by the grace of God....my blood started boiling and I had heartbreaking flash backs to watching baby Addie waste away and die a very slow painful death for almost 6 weeks, finally gasping for each and every breath for her last few days of life without any help or pain meds.  I pleaded in the best Portuguese I knew and fought back tears as I explained how fearful I was to take her in there (Addie died from tuberculosis infection as well...at admit the ER doctor wrote that it was TB and to start her on meds and they waited and did absolutely nothing until the last few days of her life).  Fernanda does not have WEEKS to start on TB meds and I envisioned this same thing happening.  If the meds don't work and she is going to waste away and go home to live with her Heavenly Father, she is going to do it here on base, surrounded by people daily praying for her and loving on her, not in a hospital, surrounded by germs and people that don't care and yell at our tias, don't do anything for her, and being poked and prodded for her last days.  Plus, honestly the hospital can do nothing for her that we aren't already doing.  She doesn't need IV meds, or IV fluids, or a feeding tube, or invasive tests to confirm anything.  She needs love, and all the good foods we are giving her (which they would NOT do), care, cuddling, and praying that we are doing here.  She is monitored 24 hours a day by us...the tias keep a miraculous record of everything that goes in and everything that comes out for us.  The only thing that is left is God's intervention and TB treatment.  Please continue standing in prayer for her with us daily at 9am Eastern time/8am Central time.  She will start medication on Monday!

-Naftal-now has some sort of test (don't know what) scheduled for next week, which means they will do nothing until then.  He is very uncomfortable and has labored breathing.  He has gained 6 kg (13 lbs), all fluid in his abdomen, since admission to the hospital, never once having any of it removed to help him.  The father has asked to speak to the doctor for a few minutes for an update and the doctor has ignored him.  They are still not treating ANY of his symptoms or giving him blood.  Please continue praying for this little one as well!

Fernanda-well, my plan failed miserably....I was beaten by the Princess.  She not only figured out that I had put ONE spoon of cereal powder into her milk, but she SMELLED it before it touched her lips and knew, screaming and pushing it away.  At least, she has a fighting spirit.  Unfortunately, it's working AGAINST us.  Then I tried the favored beans/rice from yesterday that she so loved.  The minute she saw it, she was squirming out of the tias arms (to get AWAY), pushing it away, and crying.  0-2.  Then I tried my power shake-milk, yogurt, and peanut, mixed until drinkable.  Well she wasn't thrilled and loudly let us know, but she did drink 3/4 of it, only vomiting 1/4 it back up.  1-3.  The beans/rice were a no go again tonight.  She lost 300 (yes you read right) grams today...that's 14 ounces....16 is a pound.  She doesn't have an ounce to lose much less 14 of them.  I'm trying a new baby cereal with her tonight to hopefully entice her.  I'm not holding my breath though.  The problem is three fold....a-it's a control thing.  b-loss of appetite due to the Tuberculosis. c-she's a toddler.  And clearly, we're getting our butts KICKED! 
On a serious note....she isn't doing well.  She's shrinking before our eyes and the first weeks of TB meds will be hard on her little body, harder than what she's battling now.  We don't have weeks to wait before they kick in and increase her appetite and increase her weight gain.  She will die before then.  She HAS to put on some weight.  Like a week ago.  She is taking an Ironman formula (extra fortified with oil and sugar) every 3 hrs literally around the clock even when she refuses the food we are giving her and even that is not helping with the weight gain.  Please join us in prayer.  We took her tonight to be prayed over at our weekly church service.  And we all prayed over her for healing and strength and wait gain and for the TB to be removed from her body, and for the will to live, for a spirit of JOY to come over her, for LIFE, for a hunger for food, for a miracle.  This afternoon, before church, God laid it on my heart to start asking people to pray for her daily.  So the missionaries here on base are going to gather around Nanda every day in our clinic at 3pm when she wakes from her nap and it's time to be weighed and we are going to lay hands on her and pray.  EVERYDAY. until she doesn't need it anymore.  We are inviting each of you to pray with us at exactly the same time as we are praying.  If you are on eastern time that will be 9am.  If you are central is 8am.  Please stand with us and intercede for this very precious baby!

Naftal-is not doing any better either.  It has been confirmed that the Wilm's tumor has metastasized to his heart as well as his second kidney.  They have decided to start chemotherapy first and try to shrink the tumors before doing surgery.  They are still not treating any of his discomfort, severe anemia, fluid filled abdomen, or problems breathing.  Please pray just as hard for Naftal, the tias staying with him, the missionaries working with Laura's dorm, the kids and tias in Laura's dorm and Naftal's family (brother and father)!
Thanks for lifting us up in prayer!  We are expecting and waiting for God to show up in a mighty way!


Princess Peanuttiness

Princess Peanuttiness...though i'd really like to call her Princess Pea-nothingness....but that's sounds a bit mean and hopeless.  so Peanuttiness it is.  Also, Chelsia (18 months) likes to call her Nanda since Fernanda is a bit too much to form in her mouth.  I like it too cause she's much too small for Fernanda.

We finally gained weight today.  Though it is explained ONLY by 1 of 2 options:  it's a-false weight gain and we'll see a big loss tomorrow or b-all GOD.  She vomitted way too much yesterday, ate/drank way too little yesterday, was dehydrated all day yesterday because of the first two and then all day today she peed and pooped like mad, still not eating superbly.  That does not equal a 100 gram weight gain (3.5 ounces).  But I believe in miracles and I'm choosing to believe a miracle for this little one, cause that's what she's going to need to survive.....we are now back up to 6.37 kg (14 lbs).

Her fevers are still continuing, still shedding like a snake and we're still waiting for Friday to come (even faster).  Today I trialed a new food regime....step 1:  get the kid to eat; step 2:  give her what she knows; step 3:  disguise everything else so she chooses to eat what she thinks she knows and likes; step 4:  success! celebrate.

I mashed up rice and beans in desperation today (which in reality was my plan that i tentatively made out last week as my food guideline, but since she's been eating so poorly and vomitting so much, i thought it best to hold off a bit more).  She LOVED it!  Practically jumped out of Meghann's arms while I was making it.  Then she proceeded to eat 1/2 of the small bowl I fixed her and drink 100 ml of milk (remember it's the special ironman milk i made for her full of calories and fat) WITHOUT VOMITING.  So now we have a new plan:  I've eliminated the paphinha (breakfast cereal) after she wised to our attempt to syringe feed it to her...well at least SHE thinks I've eliminated it....I'm going to attempt to sneak it in with each and every bottle she eats by mixing a spoonful into every bottle since she's exerting her power over this area of food.  Next, I'm going to make a yogurt/milk/PB smoothie for her to drink in the afternoons since she's refusing the yogurt....hoping/praying this will work tomorrow.  She seems to like all things drinkable.  And lastly, she will eat rice and beans 2x/day everyday till she starts putting on weight...most important for her high protein needs.  We are keeping the banana as she seems to like that and the potassium is really good for her.  And we're starting on big girl multivitamins (as the the malnourished baby ones without iron) with a BIT of iron in it as she needs it and I think her body can finally process it!  We aren't quite ready for the full iron supplements (which we are working toward and she will need), but we are getting there.  Slowly.

Thanks for praying for her....keep it up!


Updates of urgent prayer request-updated daily-ish

-Fernanda started very reluctantly with yogurt today.  vomitting it up 2x.  She did like my 1/2 of a banana i gave her this morning-well half of that half anyway...then held it in her stomach for 3 hrs and vomitted it up on Meghann.  I DID give her a no vomitting lecture.  she must have heard, understood, and obeyed.  Next time, I'll be a bit more specific.  We haven't done very well on feeds today and she lost another 30 grams (ounce).  I find that anytime the staff changes (every 4 days) she seems to go back to the vomitting for 24 hrs and refusing to eat.  Never good for us.  We did make it to the clinic today and did all the labs.  Praise the Lord (and thanks to everyone praying) they managed to get all her labs done in just ONE stick.  Seriously.  three tubes worth.  She did a chest xray and then we got her ppd (for tuberculosis) done.  Her labs all looked normal:  malaria-neg(3x now); HIV-neg (that's at least 2x now); complete hemogram (to look for infection)-normal with just slightled elevated platelets; Hemoglobin/hematocrit (to check for anemia)-only borderline low; electrolytes-normal; ESR (check for chronic infection indicative of a bazillion chronic infections but most importantly tuberculosis)-only slightly elevated; Chest xray-pretty normal give or take a few spots.  So I took them to our Moz doctor that visits us 4x/week and presented her case-history, symptoms, what i've done since arrival, how she's responded, all her lab results, chest xray, and finally, her yellow immunization card that tracks her weight monthly from birth.  She looked it over, did a full assessment and felt like Tuberculosis was our best offender (which I thought from the beginning).  So the plan is-wait till Friday to see her results of the ppd TB test, see how she does (which she's had a huge fever all day-NOT helping with the gaining weight thing) and then a-start her on the most powerful oral antibiotic we have, despite the fact that her labs don't really indicate a big infection that shouldn't be responding to the 3 round of pretty powerful antibiotics, all from different classes and broad-spectrum that I gave her and then b-start her on TB treatment, even if her ppd is negative (which it most likely will be if her immune system is so shot from the TB and malnutrition that it can't even form a response to the tuberculin they placed under her skin).  Please continue praying for her.  TB meds would be great if it's her problem, but even then they are VERY harsh chemotherapeutic like drugs that have very harsh side effects as well....for such a sick little one, they are NO fun!  And she NEEDS to start eating better and gaining weight!
-Alberto is still all better today, just need a little chest physiotherapy 2x today to help him break up his snottiness!
-Naftal I don't have an update at the moment...will let you know more!

-Fernanda continued doing well with her cereal today even with peanut butter, though tonight she started clamping her jaw shut so the tias couldn't feed her.  They are now feeding her cereal with a syringe.  That's right.  She's taking it to.  She's not vomitting or having diarrhea, but the fever continues and she LOST 250 grams (1/2 pound) in the last 24 hrs.  NOT GOOD at all.  So I'm headed to a private clinic in town to do a battery of tests to see what's going on (besides the obvious infection that's not responding to her antibiotics).  She's rarely having the energy to even sit up on her own and she is sleeping a lot.  Please pray for this little one.  We are in the danger zone as she is eating, not vomiting and doesn't have diarrhea, but still LOSING weight.  Tomorrow we add in bananas and yogurt, both with peanut butter ONTOP of her milk feeds every 3 hrs.  Ridiculous amounts of food at this point.  
-Alberto on a happy note was better this morning not needing a nebulizer and by the afternoon still going strong, but his lungs weren't great.  I had planned to give him a nebulizer before i left for the night, but when I listened to him at 7p he was insanely clear.  everywhere.  i checked again at 9:30pm and it's exactly the same.  Praise the Lord.  A strong and quick turn around.
-Naftal we got a super confusing report on him (as i'm not suprised) as he was mixed up with another kid.  We were told it wasn't a heart problem, but infact the tumor had metastisized to his heart.  Then we were told he had surgery today and the tumors are everywhere.  Apparently, that was another kid.  We still haven't cleared up the heart thing and if or when he had an echo, but we still think it's tomorrow and now it's looking like surgery on Friday or the following Monday.  Continue praying though as he's still having trouble eating or breathing and is very uncomfortable.  Nothing is being done to help him.  He needs divine intervention for sure.  Please continue praying for Naftal. 

-Fernanda ate more than half her cereal today twice with only a little tiny bit of vomitting.  that makes me super happy....she didn't seem to mind that i changed (ie amped up) her milk this morning.  she has been awfully sick though with no energy and just laying (but mostly sleeping) all day.  Her fevers have continued, but seem to be getting a little lower and we're semi-peeing normally.  small bits of progress.  now if only she would gain some weight!  We're starting peanut butter mixed in with her brkfst cereal in the AM.  She is nowhere near out of the woods.  I did a second malaria test today and it was negative again, but I'm seriously considering either starting her on a 2nd super powerful antibiotic or doing a round of malaria treatment just in case.  Please continuing praying hard for this little Princess!
-Cleita doesn't even get updates anymore cause she is 150% better....eating her cereal and bananas and just milk (as opposed to the waterered down and mixed with electrolyte solution i was having to give her just to keep fluids down).  She's super hydrated and ALL OVER THE PLACE today.  She's making up for the last 3 days.  
-Alberto is down to just 2 nebulizers a day and NONE with actual medicine in it.....he's slowly making a come around.  Keep praying though.  Sweet 5 month old tot.  Him and Cleita still need immunizations but i've put them off for the last 2 wks cause they've been so sick...it may be a third after this round.
-Naftal i don't really know details, but Laura (the missionary over his dorm) says he's unchanged if not a bit worse today.  I believe his echo (to look at his heart) is on Tues not Monday and the surgery isn't even on the schedule for the moment.  Still not treating any of his problems.

UPDATES 13/3:  
-Fernanda has not taken to the breakfast cereal well, very much asserting her authority to not eat when she wants to....which leads to vomitting....alot!!!  It started last night and continued all day today.  She didn't pee (again) for 18 hrs, but she finally peed before i left at 8pm.  At one point in the day she seemed to be getting better and stronger, but tonight she only took 3 spoonfulls of cereal and vomitted 3 times and each times was tons!  So now we're behind on her fluids.  again.  She's still not gaining weight.  She's lost 2 lbs since arrival.  Most of that was water/edema weight and is a good loss, but by now she should be gaining.  Tomorrow she is starting on a super fortified formula with extra calories that will hopefully help.  She still has a fever and I've decided that she is definately very sick with some sort of infection and is having trouble not vomitting up her antibiotics which is not helping.  Please pray hard for this little girl.  She should have gone to the hospital about 8 hrs ago, but I refuse to take her until she absolutely needs to go (And for the record....if we were in the States she would have been there 2 wks ago).  The hospital will do way more damage then her staying here and she's only going if she needs:  IV fluids, oxygen, or IV medications, otherwise, we're not chancing it as she's just to fragile!
-Cleita PRAISE THE LORD took a turn for the better at noon.  This morning she looked like she was on the iffy line of going to the hospital and was still laying in the floor barely moving (as she had been for 3 days).  I left and came back at noon and she was "grazing" all over the place, crawling and climbing and begging for water.  This evening we couldn't keep her still and she was laughing and smiling and refusing to go to sleep cause she wanted to play.  Her last dose of antimalarials was just a few minutes ago, but she'll remain on antibiotics for the next 6 days for her chest infection.
-Alberto is pretty unchanged.  Happier and playing more, but still have respiratory problems. At least he only needed one real nebulizer tonight and 2 others simple ones (with just saline) to help liquify his snot.  I'll be checking on him and Fernanda again at 10pm to see if they need more intervention before I head off to dream land.  Pray he continues needing less and less help and NO nebulizers!  
-Naftal surgery was cancelled for Monday as they are too worried about his heart.  So they are going to do an echocardiagram to see what's really wrong with it....only took 2 wks to get them to this point.  Though they still have not drained the fluid off his belly or given him blood and he's belly's getting bigger and it's harder and harder for him to breathe.  On one hand, I'm thrilled at the fact that he's not going to surgery till the fix the anemia and all the fluid in his belly, but on the other hand, they aren't doing anything about it and the tumor need's to be removed and chemo started.  It's a catch 22.  Please pray for this little boy.

-Wesley was in fact diagnosed with a VSD (small hole in his heart between his ventricles) today that he had since birth (explaining why he sleeps constantly) and is now beginning to close (explaining the new murmur) and they just want to monitor him (in December) to make sure it either all the way closed or alot more closed by then.  Continue praying for him please.
-Fernanda is still shedding lots of skin and is still losing wt (mostly cause it's all fluid from how edematous she was) and she still has a really high fever and vomitted 2x today.  Her malaria test was negative and so she started on a 3rd round of broad spectrum powerful antibiotics to cover her.  She's starting on breakfast cereal tonight!  Pray for healing, strength, and weight gain.
-Cleita is still really ill, vomiting and having diarrhea frequently but eating and drinking a lot.  We are replacing fluids ontop of her normal to keep her hydrated.  We started her on a broad spectrum antibiotic today as well because she sounds like she has got a chest infection on top of the malaria.  All she does all day long is lay flat on her belly on the floor and stare.  Pray for healing and strenth and for the medicines to work quickly!
-Alberto was seemingly on the bend, but needed a nebulizer treatment with actual medicine tonight as opposed to the saline solution we've been using for the last 2 days to just help liquify his thick snot.  Please pray he recovers quickly from this bout with RSV.
-Naftal is even more swollen and having a hard time breathing.  He is dangerously anemic, but they are refusing to give him blood because the nurse forgot (or didn't care to) do his lab draw 2 nights ago even though he's going in for a major surgery on Monday.  He has new jugular vein distension (if you are medical you'll understand).  Please pray for a miracle for this little boy!


A few very urgent prayer requests

Well, if you've been reading my blog, you know about Wesley (11 months) and his new heart problem.  We go back tomorrow for a full diagnosis after an Ultrasound of his heart by a cardiologist.  Please pray for discernment, for health, and that the hole closes on it's on without sideeffects in the mean time so he won't have to have heart surgery.

You will also know about Fernanda (15 months), who's slowly getting stronger and more interactive (and by that I mean she only turns her head if you are talking to her, or weakly and slightly moves her hands to you when you tell her it's time to go or do something)....she still cannot push up from laying to sitting, does not talk or play with toys, and does not crawl or stand.  She's starting a bland breakfast cereal tomorrow so that's progress.  She started with high fevers today.  All of our bercario tots have been really sick the past 2 wks so pray she is not coming down with the funk as her little body cannot handle any kind of infection.  Also, her skin all over is shedding like a snake skin.  I'm not kidding.  It's good, but slightly painful.  Pray for healing and strength and that she will know, feel, and respond to LOVE.

Thanks for praying for Alberto in the Bercario (little 5 month old with RSV).  He's getting much better but still not out of the woods and requiring nebulizers and chest physiotherapy (beating all over his chest for 5-10 minutes) 3x/day to help liquify and remove all those secretions.  Continue praying.

Next urgent ones....these are NEW REQUESTS:

Cleita has been sick since the 25th of Feb.  It has been one thing after another.  She just made 9 months last week.  I think she's only had 24 hours of no sickness since then.  First it was fevers, then it was high fevers and flu-like cold stuff, then it was a stomach bug, and now it's malaria.  Malaria is always serious but especially in children under 5....even more so with a child under one.  She is really dehydrated and we are trying to catch up on her fluids, but of course, the nature of the beast, she keeps losing them.  She started on some strong anti-malarials today.  She was pretty frail all day today and the tias are feeding her and giving her a rehydration fluid every 1.5 hrs.  Combined with Fernanda and Alberto and the other mischevious toddlers......they have their hands full.  The good news is I think we caught it early (she had her 2nd negative malaria test on monday and tested positive this afternoon).  The other good news is she has the rare, but mild type of malaria.  Please pray for restoration of health, removal of all the parasites from her bloodstream and organs, rehydration, strength, and recovery of her immune system after.

Last but most importantly and urgently.....Naftal....he is not a child that I look after medically but he is seriously ill and needs as much prayer as we can give him.  He is a little kid around 6 years old that hasn't been at the center very long at all (maybe 2 months).  About 2 weeks ago he started complaining of symptoms that mimicked malaria.  He was treated.  A week later he was still complaining of symptoms and when the nurses saw him he was very jaundiced (yellow), his belly was giant and tight, his hands and feet and legs and face were all swollen.  He was rushed to the hospital where he has been for the last 10 days.  At first they thought he had hepatitis or other form of liver failure.....but now they've diagnosed him with a childhood form of cancer on his right kidney called Wilm's tumor.  He is having surgery this Monday to remove it and then will begin chemotherapy.  This is a huge thing for any child to go through in the Western world where we have amazing technology, good monitoring, wonderful doctors, nurses, and support staff, and cutting edge medicines.  Little Neftal is in a very infectious environment with medicine from 50 years ago, staff who are less than brilliant to look after him (most is done by the tia staying with him that is not related to him and is not in anyway medical), and little to NO monitoring with labs or machines or vital signs, and to top it off a heart valve problem which will complicate his surgery and anesthesia during.  Please lift little Neftal up and the tias caring for him in hosptial.  Pray for his older brother that also lives in the center and has only been able to visit him once since he left.  Pray for his father who loves him very very much, visits him each and every day, and calls the tia in the morning and night every day to pray with them and for Neftal.  Pray for healing, strength, wisdom for the doctors, nurses, surgeons, and anesthesiologists, a successful surgery, a quick recovery, and toleration of the chemotherapy.  I will try to keep you updated on all of these prayer requests!  Thanks for joining with us.



I went to Swaziland for 5 days with another missionary Laura to rest.  We stayed at a little B & B in a chalet overlooking a field.  It was quiet and peaceful and extremely restful.
There was a giant pineapple field across the road from where we were staying.  Apparently that's how they grow.  Who knew??  Not I.

Mostly we rested.  I read books, watched TV (real TV from South Africa with American movies and TV shows), listened to sermons, played games, and slept.  

We also did a little shopping at some of the amazing craft centers they have in Swaziland as a way to sustainably live.  Last time I was in Swazi I went to a glassblowing factory where they make glass from all recycled glass products they collect, melt them down, and then recreate all kinds of things.  It's pretty amazing.  This time, Laura and I visited the candle making factory, where they handmake and form all kinds of different candles.  It is incredible to watch them.  I had a guy make me a hippo. He has been doing this for 10 years.  Here's how they do it:

I picked out the color slabs I wanted for my hippo....then it was warmed in the oven to make the wax pliable. When it was ready, he took out a small ball of wax.

Then he added the color slabs and formed it around the ball.

Next he started molding the ball into a hippo body.

He used little wooden dowels to help him at times make the eyes and ears or simply press something back.
Then he cut out the legs and molded the color around it.
Then came more shaping.
After carefully examining it from all angles and mending and molding and smoothing.....he determined it worthy.
And then he put it in cold water to cool and set.
When it was done setting, he polished it and stuck a wick in it!  Beautiful.  I loved watching him do it from beginning to end.

Laura and I went to several places where they were hand making things....I ended up coming away with several things.  It's funny, but I've been here for almost 2 years and I NEVER buy anything for myself.  I suddenly realized that I could leave here and not have a single thing (besides photos and memories) to remember this beautiful continent by.  So I picked up somethings to help me...of course the hippo.  But also, a hand made and glazed bowl and mug, a few pieces of handcrafted jewlry (earrings, bracelet, and necklace), and the best one:  Noah's ark!  It's a small handmade wooden arc.  You lift the wood and inside are lots of african animals two by two.  Except for the girraffe....somehow the 2nd girraffe is missing.  Clearly (cause I've seen them with my own eyes), the 2 made it off the arc safely and had babies, but perhaps it got lost in translation, or more likely, in packing.  Sad.  But i still LOVE it!  I would love to have kids some day to play with it and ask me about it and I could share an amazing God story of creation, salvation, and Africa with them.    I hope to post a pic of this soon, but I just haven't taken one yet!



Well, I got back from Swaziland last night VERY well rested to find out that i had been *elected* to go to the heart institute early in the morning with Wesley (11 months old) to evaluate his heart murmur that all of a sudden started last week....and boy is it loud! We've had him for 6 months now and he has NEVER had this mumur before and hadn't been sick recently.  He has been a champ sleeper since we got him...ie asleep an astronomical amount of time for a baby both day and night, even now at 11 months.....

Anyway, Wes and I headed to my favorite (please read absolutely NO sarcasm here cause i, for once, mean it) medical place in town...the heart insitute.  And as i had thought/diagnosed/hypothesised it was a VSD (ventricular septal defect which is basically a small hole between in his heart).  I had guestimated he had it from birth and it was finally started to close and thus the diameter of the hole getting smaller, creating a bigger force of blood being pushed through, making a large murmurish sound when i listened to his chest last week.  They did an ekg to check the rythm of his heart and checked his oxygenation level and then the doctor evaluated him and confirmed that she thought it was a VSD.....so we are off the the heart institute on friday morning to confirm with an echocardiagram (ultrasound of the heart) to make sure that's what we're dealing with and then we are going to pray it just closes on up by itself before it's 2.  Hopefully that will help with his sleepy/tiredness!

Fernanda (introduced to you last blog) is doing MUCH better this week.  On Wednesday we were having a lot of trouble with her.  The tias couldn't get her to eat enough and she was starting to get dehydrated and her kidneys started shutting down.....so she didn't pee for 16 hrs and her hands and face were getting all puffy.  She looked pretty miserable.  Well, I took her to homegroup for the missionaries and well all prayed over her as a team at 7:30 and when i went back to check on her at 9:30 she had peed a lot and took her entire feeding (little by little out of a syringe, but done all the same) over an hour and kept it down.    So much to my suprise when i went to check on her this morning....We stopped vomitting, took all our feedings on our own, peed and pooped appropriately (after intervention with prayer and medicine) and the swelling in her legs is almost all gone.  She's even started reaching out to people and for things.  Still no emotions shown or crying and she can't push up from laying to sitting even, but we are getting there bit by bit.  Now we are just trying to get rid of her snake like shedding of the skin off her legs in giant sheets.  Poor tot.  Tomorrow we start with regular powdered formula (full strength) and pray her little tummy can digest and handle it.  Continue to keep her in your prayers!

Little baby Alberto (also introduced last blog) has a bad case of (what i think to be) RSV (respitory syncytial virus)....he's 5 months old and not liking all the snot so much.  He does seem to be on the bend a bit today, but keep him in your prayers as the snot disappears, he starts to breath easier, doesn't need nebulizers or  chest pysiotherapy to break up all the mucous and finally gets back to playful smiley alberto!  I used my mad NICU skills tonight to elevate his head of bed and secure him in a tight and developmentally perfect position with 3 blanket rolls to keep him from rolling over or scootching down so he could breathe easier all night.  I knew they'd come in a bit handy here sometime.

Ok off to rest after a LONG day with NO coffee.  Next blog post:  Swaziland adventures and pictures.  Stay tuned.


New Friends

Hello friends!  Surprised you haven’t stopped reading this yet.  My apologies for not updating this in the last few weeks…honestly, I’ve been THAT swamped with work, then for the last 2 wks the internet has been so insanely slow it was practically non-existent…for the last 4 days i couldn’t even upload/download emails…then there was just my lack of motivation. 

So here i am….to say goodbye to old friends and hello to new friends.

Twins, Catia (left) and Edsan (right) went home to live with their mom who just reappeared from SA and was ready to take them back.  We still have their 3 year old auntie, Admira (in the green), but are praying for their quick and successful reintegration at home….and that they stay healthy and safe.

We said goodbye (sort of) to:  Ryan, Jose, Arsenia, Rosa, and Albertina left the oldest tot room in the BH last week and went to live in Tracey’s toddler transition house for a year, before moving onto the “big kid” dorms.  We still see them lots (and i still cover them medically), but they don’t live with us in the BH anymore.

Lucia from the bercario (nursery) has been transitioning via morning play dates to the BH and will move on Thursday as she turns two in just 2 days!  So she’ll just change locations, but the bercario tias and kids will miss her a lot!!

We got two newbies I’d love to introduce to you and ask prayers for:

Alberto (pronounce: Al-burt-two)
He just turned 5 months a few days ago and he’s healthy and happy and chunky.  He loves to giggle and smile and drool and he loves sucking his thumb.  We are working on sitting in a tripod position but his belly gets a bit too much in the way for the moment.  He rolls just fine and pushes up on his belly.  That’s pretty much life for Alberto in the bercario (nursery).  His mother died 3 wks after his birth and his dad just needs a bit of help at the moment.  His 4 yr old sister is with us in the girl’s dorm as well. 

Fernanda (pronounce:  Fur-nan-duh)
She’s 15 months and only 16 lbs (7.36 kg) but much of that is water weight as she’s pretty sick with a type of malnutrition called kwashiorkor.  This just means that while she’s super skinny in her arms and chest area, she’s also super deficient in micro-nutrients, especially proteins, and her body has begun to have problems with circulation in her lower extremities.  She has skin breakdown (previous and current) on her legs and they are very swollen.  I’ve started her on rehydration feedings for the next 12 hrs and then she’ll be on a special, easy-to-digest-for-malnourished-babies, milk every 3 hrs around the clock for the next week till i get her fluid balance back in line, all the water she’s retaining that is making her feet and legs swell gone, and gaining some healthy weight.  She’s also on de-worming meds and 2 very powerful antibiotics plus lots of good multivitamins.  After a week we’ll start re-feeding her with normal formula and then slowly start reintroducing bland solid foods that are super healthy and choc-full of calories and minerals/nutrients she needs.
At the present she can sit up somewhat on her own, could once crawl, but hasn’t in months because she’s too weak, and apathetically cries without tears.  She also only speaks their tribal language and doesn’t understand my baby Portuguese.  Pray Fernanda will settle in quickly, that we will know how to treat her medically and find the cause of her rapid decline over the last 5 months (as previously she was amazing on her weight and then rapidly lost and is at a dangerous weight right now), that the tias will have endurance and strength to keep up with her very demanding feeding schedule and how hard it is to encourage these little ones to eat at all or not eat too fast at times (think LOTS of patience); that her very sick, in hospital mother with get healthy and be able to leave and go back home, that Fernanda will become healthy, grow stronger and gain weight each and every day, growing in God’s love and light here in the bercario.  She’s quite critical but stable at the moment and could use all the prayers you could lift up at the moment.  Also, at the moment all the bercario tots are with fevers and bad colds, so pray she will not catch this and stay as healthy as possible!  She has beautiful expressive eyes and reminds me of a female Dino when he came in to the center at first, very sick and malnourished.

Beetle Bug. (pronounce: bee-tahl buh)
oh no.  he’s not a friend.  though he has been hanging around my curtains for the last 24 hrs and gave me a bit of scare when i pulled them closed last night.  but i don’t consider ANYTHING creepy or crawly or slithery or furry and rodenty a friend (if it scurries…..i definitely don’t like it).  Funny that i live in Africa, yes….but we all have our limitations. 

Well I’m off to Swaziland for 5 days starting on Thursday.  This will be my first break in 3 months and I’m really way past due and exhausted.  Pray for safe travels, rest and refreshment in the Lord, and strengthening as for the next 3 months we will be on bare minimum (or worse) nursing staff and i will be working an astronomical amount.  Thank you in advance for ALL the prayers and support and encouragement.  I could not do this without each of ya’ll!