Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tragedy to Beauty

July 22
Let me first give you the kids update. Luka is now 6 months old! He brings us so much joy with his continual smiles. People still talk about how happy and content he is. He rolls ALL over now. Like from one side of the room to the other – quickly. He can use a sippy cup too. And he is almost ready to sit up by himself – so close. His hair has lightened or lessened on the sides and there is even a hint of red in his hair. (Lydia had that also.) He has the cutest little curl in his hair too. Luka is starting to say new sounds too. Every week seems to be something new.

Lydia continues to do well in school. Last night she read to us and even knew the word “proud”. She also tells us a lot that she wants to be a mom when she grows up. Then Grace said she wants to be a grandma. They are still praying for people around the world. We are now praying for kids on the street or as Grace prayed for the “road kids”. Today at lunch she asked if we knew what curious meant she told us it meant pregnant.

Wow, summer is a busy time here. We have been really enjoying getting to know all the short term people on our team. Our newest visitors are Becky Carlson and David and Heather Breen. Becky is hoping to join our team next year after training and support raising. We have really enjoyed having her here. She is easy going and so helpful with the kids. David and Heather just got married a month ago so we really admire them for coming. We know David’s family and David use to be friends with our brother Chris, so it is neat to have someone we know here. David and Heather are asking God what He wants them to do. So maybe they will be back!?! They are a joy to have out here. I think we have all grown really close as a team lately. We have had birthday parties, campfires, game nights, lots of eating together, and even when camping together. It will be hard to let so many of them go in a short time.

We had a great get-away last weekend. Our whole team drove to Mt. Elgon (near Mbale) to hike by the waterfalls and go camping. Since it was our first camping experience in Africa I thought it would be best to take a lot of people – safety in number or more to laugh with if it went bad. We piled in two vans and drove to Sipi Falls first. We went to hike by the second of three falls. It is always great to be up in the mountains where it is cool and beautiful. It only took about 10 minutes to get behind the falls where there is a small cave and a great view. Everyone was enjoying until…the accident happened. I wont go into detail but Tim was helping another team mate get a vine to swing on when he slipped with the vine then fell about 8 to 10 feet down onto rock with Moses on his back. I cannot describe to you the horror of that moment. Almost everyone saw it happen but me. All I heard was screams. I didn’t know what I would look down and see. I kind of panicked. I made sure the kids where ok and stayed put then went to help Angie with Moses. Everyone on our team when into action! Sarah ran for any help she could find, Stephanie watched the girls, Heather held Luka, all the guys went to Tim, Rachel (a LPN) started treating what she could… I remember Tim moaning and saying something maybe about Moses. It was an awful scene. I guess Moses was unconscious for a minute. He had an instant goose egg on his head so we were really worried about him since the injury was to the head. He just cried and cried. Tim was in a lot of pain and in shock. They managed to get him to lay down and started cleaning his wounds. His shirt was torn and cell phone (which was on his hip) was smashed. I was so worried. I remember just calling on God’s name. Africa is not the place you want to get hurt. Where do you go for good help? We needed God!

(I told you I was going to keep this short, but writing about it is like processing it for me.)

We began to make a plan. Get them to the hospital – now! Moses’ eye was beginning to swell shut and we were feeling the urgency to go. By some miracle Tim walked out from behind the falls and with great pain got into the van to go with Angie, Moses, and Josh to the hospital in Mbale. Tim was so upset by it all and worried about Moses. As they went the rest of us gathered around the picnic table to pray. There is so much peace in prayer. When we call on God’s name there is comfort and power. He always answers. We ended by calming our heart in song and worshiping our God in praise. I am so thankful for our team! Everyone helped, everyone cared, and together we went to God. I love them.

It was a long afternoon. Although numb the group decided to continue as planned to hike to the third falls. It was what Tim wanted them to do. Karen and I stayed back with the kids (at the lodge). Good thing too because it poured and got very muddy very quickly. All afternoon I got updates from the hospital from Josh or Angie. I also called home and told my sister, mom, and in-laws to start praying. What a blessing to have others cover you in prayer when you are unable to. The kids did great for the circumstances. Even Avalien who usually doesn’t let her parents out of her sight did great. God answered so many prayers even down to the little things.

So, after the hike and a late lunch we piled (on top of each other) into one van and drove to Sisiyia Fall where we camped for the night. Grace got out of the van and said, "don't worry there aren't any vines here" - Amen! Amazingly, Josh, Angie, Tim and Moses also joined us there! Praise God! It was only by the work of God – a miracle! After a long day at several hospitals (questionable hospitals) the x-rays showed Moses’ head to be fine and no broken bones on Tim. Moses was back to himself and Tim with very sore with torn cartilage by the ribs but at least walking and with us. We were all so thankful and simply amazed at the miracle we just witnessed. God is good!

We had a great time camping. It was breath taking beautiful. The team named it the garden of Eden. The kids loved sleeping in tents and had a fun little stream the played in and floated “boats” down for hours. It was perfect. We had a wonderful bar-b-q dinner, we witnessed a gorgeous sunset, watched the falls, and enjoyed each others company around a campfire. Could it be any better? What a weekend it was. From tragedy to beauty. Only God can do that. I love my Savior!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


We had a great weekend camping by Sisiyi Falls with our team! I just had to share some of the many beautiful pictures. Also, Luka is now 6 months so I posted some of our precious baby boy. I will write about it all soon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

June 09 (150 photos), by Mandy Shaarda

I'd like to share my Snapfish photos with you. Once you have checked out my photos you can order prints and upload your own photos to share.

Celebration and Sick

July 7, 2009

Happy belated forth of July everyone! We celebrated here on the 3rd of July since some people were busy on the 4th and our team is now half Canadian so we went in between the 1st (Canada’s Independence Day) and the 4th. We had a fun time playing volleyball, horse shoes, and bocce ball. We grilled and had a wonderful potluck picnic. Afterwards we had a campfire and smores (for anyone who could eat anymore).

We have also been sick around here. Lydia started it last week when she said her stomach hurt. A few days later she throw-up and had a fever. After that came the diarrhea. I always feel so bad when my kids are sick. Lydia is a real trooper when she is sick. She is easy going even when she is sick. We put Lydia on medicine for Giardia and she was better in a day. Then it was Grace’s turn. She went through the same thing so we thought it was probably a bug going around. Grace did well too and took many nice naps. After that it was my turn. I had a crampy, gasy stomach for over five days and thought something would come of it. I started to feel sicker each day, then got a fever, and a major case of Giardia. I was sicker than I have ever been in Africa. I don’t know if you know much about Giardia but it is an intestinal bug that causes A LOT of gas and of course diarrhea (don’t you love how missionaries talk so casually about diarrhea). Because I am nursing I couldn’t take the medicine. I had to let it run it’s course or get rid of it self. I was in so much pain. My stomach literally sounded like a pot boiling on the stove. It felt like it too. I would compare it to labor but I know that was worse. All I could do is let it “boil” then take another trip to the bathroom. Poor Josh was on full parent and nurse duty. He did everything for 24 hours (or more). He is such a great Dad by the way. And he can cook really well. I didn’t have to worry about them at all. After along night, I was thankful that God heard our prayers. I felt quite a bit better and the next day almost all better. Praise God! I felt like my stomach had gone to war and was really tired. Thankfully my husband allowed my to sleep a lot and get well. My tummy still rumbles at time so we will keep an eye on that but otherwise I am SO much better.

Now we hope we are finished with this sickness. Luka seemed to have a touch of it but is doing well. He does have a cold that bothers him at night which bothers us. While I was sick I asked Josh if possibly it could be our new water filter. Because you cannot pass Giardia and it usually comes from water. He got out the instruction sheet about it and surprise, surprise it was not meant for cleaning water but for filtering clean water. Can you believe it a $700 water filter that doesn’t clean water?! Only in America. Thankfully we didn’t buy the filter but Josh did work on it a whole day installing it. What a let down. Well now the water filter is packed up and put away. We just hope we didn’t get anyone else sick.
So pray for all of us. It seems a lot of us on the team have been struggling with being sick – diarrhea, malaria, pain, infections, colds… I believe we are being attacked. Our team is doing well so satan is distracting and discouraging us with sickness. Thanks for your prayers for all of us. We know God is with us and is our healer. We can trust in Him.

Avalien turned four today. Grace was crying about it last night because everyone would be older than her. While we were saying our night time prayer and she interrupted and said, “pray for my problems too Mom”. She was all upset about it. There are a lot of birthdays lately and Lydia’s is next so we will see how Grace handles that one. Grace was fine for the party though and we had fun celebrating with Avalien.

The other day a storm started and Lydia was afraid. Grace gently told her, “God is with us Lydia”. Isn’t it so good when you hear young faith come out of your children? Praise God He is growing in them.