Home with Jesus

update:  Graca's funeral is at 10 am our time tomorrow morning (Saturday).  Please keep us all in your prayers!

Graca (Pequena) died about 1 hr ago.  She simply stopped breathing.  We are all very sad.  Please pray for our team-missionaries and tias.  For our Bercario tias this is the 3rd baby that has died in less than 1 yr.  They are grief stricken.  Yesterday, after I arrived home from the hospital, I went to the Bercario and updated the tias and explained how none of this was their fault and they could never think that way.  They did exactly as they should and we did all we could for her....never doubt that.  The culture here loves to place blame and in such a situation as this it could be easy to place it but I wanted them to know and believe that it was not truth.  Today, I was able to visit with Graca for about 10 minutes and pray over her and kiss her.  Catia, the tia with her, was going home and was being replaced by another tia as she had been working for 4 days already and they don't allow you to rest or even sleep when the child is in ICU.  I took her aside and hugged her and told her what I had told the tias the night before.  I needed her to know that no matter what the outcome she did the best she could for Graca.  That is the truth and to let know one or anything tell you different.  A few minutes ago, when I entered to hug them I told them thank you for the love and care they gave Graca.  It's the love and care of the Lord.  The Lord chose them for this work.  It is the work of the Lord.  Know and believe that it is a blessing to love and serve these children.  These children know the love of the Lord because that love is in each of them and they have been pouring it out onto these children.  They both just broke into tears and clung to me.....we prayed and cried together as a team.  Please continue to lift them up in prayer.  Several of these tias are battling these same diseases themselves, and though we don't talk about the diseases of the children with our tias so they will not form prejudice toward some or against some as is the culture here, they are sensitive and know which kid is sick and they can guess why.  As this is the 3rd baby in such a short time, we are praying against any spirit of fear and shame and against the belief that it has to end the same way for them....we are praying for life and truth!  Pray for the spirit of apathy over life and how precious a gift it is that is rampant in this country.  Of all 4 children that I have cared for that have died here, it was in the end because of this spirit.  Today when I arrived in the baixa (ICU), there was a brand new team of doctors on and they were questioning me over and over about her condition and why we brought her to the hospital.  I kept answering questions and after a few minutes I realized what they were trying to say and were asking about.  They didn't understand why we had brought this orphaned child with TB, HIV, and malnutrition in to the hospital.  They thought she should just die.  Isn't that what she is going to do anyway?  Why were we fighting for her?  I tried very calmly to explain that while she was battling all these diseases, this is NOT what she normally looked like....she's NOT this sick.  This is an acute event that we hope and pray she will recover from.  This is not the end.  She was great 5 seconds before she aspirated her milk!  They seemed skeptical and not too understanding.  This is the most frustrating part of all these deaths.  Pray for Graca's dad who loves her very very much.  He visited frequently in the short time she was here.  While her mother abandoned her, her father loved and cared for her and tried his best to take care of her.  This isn't the norm in this country.  He was able to see her today in the hospital about 2 hours before she died.  He was stunned with the news as he thought she looked ok when he got to visit.  Thank you for all the prayers you have been lifting up and for the many I know you will continue to lift up.  You are a blessing to all of us and it is a comfort to each of us here to know you are praying for and with us and our children. 

Pequena update

UPDATE of urgent prayer request for Pequena.  I was able to see Pequena this morning for about 10 minutes and she wasn't on a cardiac monitor anymore but is still on 14 Liters of oxygen by mask.  Her breathing has eased only slightly and she's not breathing quite as fast.  She's awake a bit more and the tia said she was a bit playful last night.  All good news, but she is still VERY critical.  Please continue praying with us!

Urgent prayer request

Urgent prayer request for one of our tiniest and sickest.  Please pray with us! (side note:  We haven't had internet for two weeks...I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, and I have 2 other blogs that are cueing in my outbox, but this takes precedence.)
Pequena (means very small in Portuguese as she is 9 months and only 10 lbs.  I am referring to her this way instead of using her name because we recently made the choice as a medical team to do our absolute best not to put medical information regarding our children up on websites in an effort to protect their identity) is very ill with HIV and Tuberculosis and malnutrition.  We've had her for a bit, and she's getting stronger, but not really gaining weight. 
This afternoon (well since it's the wee hours of the morning, yesterday afternoon) she aspirated her milk (vomited it and then breathed it into her lungs) and began having very serious breathing difficulties.  I was called immediately and on arrival she was gray, and floppy and not responding very well.  We gave her two nebulizer treatments, chest physiotherapy to help loosen and liquify it all so she could cough it up.  This helped a bit, but she was still in a lot of trouble so we rushed over to the clinic and gave her oxygen with a bag and mask to provide continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) which forces air into her lungs to keep them open so she won't have to work as hard.  We kept her on CPAP (the oxygen by bag/mask) for over an hour and she continued retracting (breathing really hard) horrifically, flaring her nares (in an attempt to get more oxygen), breathing insanely too fast, and not responding appropriately.  Without the oxygen, she immediately looked even worse.  We were all afraid she wouldn't make the 45 minute trip to the city without the oxygen, so we got several boys to carry it and put it in the back of our ambulance (a truck with a mattress in the covered back bed)....the tank is practically as big as I am.  Everyone was praying on the base.  I prayed and sang worship songs over her the entire way and cried.....mainly cause memories of the 3 little ones that have died in the last year in the hospital due to respiratory complications was flooding into my mind, and I clearly haven't dealt with all those feelings yet!  Anyway.....by the time we arrived, she had gotten worse.  I rushed her in and they actually listened to me, 10 minutes and 3 doctors later, we were in an ICU treatment room with a nasogastric tube in (tube through her nose into her stomach) which they had used to suck out all the air I had forced in with the CPAP and any remaining food in her tummy, started an IV, drawn labs, checked her glucose (blood sugar), and put her on a cardiac monitor.  Her heart was beating 200 times per minute (think 130's as the upper limit of normal), breathing 80 times a minute (30's-40's is pretty normal), and her oxygen saturation was 49% (anything below 90 isn't good if you aren't on oxygen).  By this time she was barely, and only occasionally, responding to painful stimuli which means she wasn't getting enough oxygen to her brain.  They scooped her up and took her to a real ICU room and started her on oxygen through 1 (that's right not both) of her nares at 1.5 L/min (pretty normal for her size/age)...well by the time they got her hooked back up to the monitor she still only had an oxygen saturation in the 50's.  I gently mentioned to the doctor that we had her on a lot more oxygen and with CPAP for over 2.5 hr before she arrived and her nasal cannula with a tiny flow wasn't going to do it for her.  She ran off and got a mask and cranked up the oxygen to 14 liters.  OK, so that's a huge dose for an adult, much less a 10 lb 9 month old, but finally after 5 minutes her oxygen saturation came up to normal and her heart rate dropped just a bit to 185, but she was still struggling to breathe as well as breathing really fast.  After talking with the doctor a bit more to find out what all they were going to do for her and knowing that they were going to keep her on a monitor that beeps very loudly and annoyingly when she's breathing too fast, too slow, not at all or her oxygen saturation is too low, I felt ok to leave for the night (also I didn't want to outstay my welcome especially since I wasn't really allowed back there and they hadn't said anything to me about it-thankfully).  Also, they had listened very carefully and with many questions to all I had to say about her and wrote it all down.....so I know they were taking me seriously...the doctor seemed hopefully, but I'd call her condition unstable and critical when I left, so I'm not sure.
Please join us in prayer.....Praise the Lord for the small miracles and favor-actually having a functional oxygen tank with an ambu mask; a quicker than normal trip into the city; favor with the doctors that seemed knowledgeable and acted quickly and sanely; favor to be able to stay so long with her when they don't normally allow it; doctors that actually listened and believed me; and some progress shown from the treatments they have given.  At the present, they are pretty much doing all they can do for her.  Please pray for Pequena.  She is a very very sick little girl at this moment.  Pray for her father who is being notified and will hopefully go see her tomorrow.  Pray for the doctors and nurses-for wisdom, discernment, knowledge, and a soft heart for her (as they can often write off "orphans" that have HIV and TB and sentence them to death by their inactivity).  Pray for the tia who has to sit in a small hard chair by her bedside all night long without being allowed to sleep or rest....essentially being her nurse after having worked the last 3 days and nights (she'll go home tomorrow and be replaced by a new, fresh tia, who will have to sit by Pequena's side 24 hrs a day without sleeping or leaving or resting).  Pray for all of us here that care for her, who have seen so much death over the last 2 years and are scared for little Pequena.  Pray that the treatments work, that Pequena's breathing is eased; that she can rest tonight; that she feels safe, comforted, and peaceful.  I'm going into the city first thing in the AM to see her again and bring more supplies in.  I'll try to give updates as I can.  Thanks for praying with us!  We have seen what the power of prayer can do and believe this for Pequena now!



He died for us.  To save us.  Each and everyone of us.  By His blood, our broken bodies and hearts are healed, made clean, and we are given a new life.  We are His.  He knew us and called us before we were even concieved, before we were formed in the womb, before we were even a thought.  He called us.  Set us aside.  He has a plan and purpose for each of us.  We are His.  He is our Daddy!
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who have nothing.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."
-Proverbs 31:8-9
"O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.  
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; 
You restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit......
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.....
By your favor, O LORD you made my mountain stand strong......
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!"
-Psalm 30
"I have been anointed.
The brokenhearted has been bound up;
LIBERTY has been proclaimed to the captives;
COMFORT has been given to those that mourn.

and now "(through God's faithfulness)....
Her ashes have been turned into a BEAUTIFUL headdress
There is GLADNESS where mourning was once present
PRAISE where there was a faint spirit
She is called an OAK of RIGHTEOUSNESS, a planting of the LORD
He IS glorified!

and One day.....

Princessa Peanuttiness will help build up the ancient ruins; raise up the former devastations; and repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations."
-Isaiah 61:1-4

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
-Jeremiah 29:11
"The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.  
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."
-Zephaniah 3:17
Just 2 weeks after being prayed over at church and daily prayer times started:  She can crawl across the room, moves/crawls of her own free will, PLAYS interactively with the other children and us....laughs and smiles and "talks."  She's even acted silly!  Her weight is back in a "normal" and "safe" range.....usually this takes months!  We have seen true joy and a complete change in her spirit!