Monday, March 29, 2010

Going Home!

After almost three weeks here, we are finally discharged from the hospital. God is so good! What a feeling to come with a child in critical condition and to now leave with a healthy child. What a journey it has been. Josh is so excited. I find myself quite emotional. I even cried while thanking Luka's doctor and saying goodbye. He helped save our child's life. Yup, it is a strange mix of emotions. A lot to process over the next few weeks. So today we leave Gertrude's Childrens Hospital, have our last visit with Luka's kidney doctor this afternoon, then stay at a hotel until we fly out tomorrow night.

Yesterday we had a nice day away from the hospital. Our IT friends took us for lunch, to see rift valley, and the giraffe center. We were so blessed by the fun day they gave us.

Keep us in your prayers as we travel to Michigan Tuesday/Wednesday. Pray for Luka. He is still not sleeping well at night. He has a TERRIBLE cold and cough which continues to give him a fever and keep him down. Pray for Luka as he continues his medical care under the doctors in Michigan for several more weeks. Thank God his blood level is high enough to fly (high as it has ever been through this whole ordeal) and that both toxin levels are back to normal. Praise God!

Someone wrote recently made a comment about following our story actually God's story. They are exactly right. This is God's story. Our whole lives are. It is all from God and for His glory. No one ever wants to go through tragedy or have their child critically sick, but to see God at work through it and in His people is a rare privaledge. To be able to testify of God's love and power is an honor. To give Him the glory is what life is meant to be.

We cannot begin to personally thank everyone for each word of encouragement, all the offers to help and care for us, and most of all for the faithful prayers lifted up on our behalf. We have been richly blessed by all of you. Please except our heartfelt THANK YOU! You have shown us the love of Christ.

We will continue to keep the blog updated and post more pictures as soon as we can.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fever and Blood

As ready as we are to get out of the hospital and be able to fly to Michigan, we are thankful Luka is still under a close watch of his doctors. Last night Luka got a fever again and vomited a couple times. He was not feeling well at all. We were so surprised because he was doing so well and had such a good day. I was amazed how quickly my heart went to worry and fear again. Again I was crying out to God for Luka's healing. Am I failing to learn something God wants to teach me? How many times do we need to go through this?

They took blood again this morning to check the toxin levels, hemoglobin (blood), and also looking for an infection. We already found out his hemoglobin is down to 7.5 again so we are now preparing for his third blood transfusion. We called a missionary friend to come and donate blood and he is on his way. Hopefully this will keep Luka's blood level high enough to fly next week.

-Keep praying for Luka! He is doing well but not done with this all.
-Pray for his fever and whatever is causing it to be healed.
-Pray that his hemoglobin stays above 10 after this blood transfusion.
-Pray for all of us as we are getting quite bored around here - not complaining just ready to be with family and friends again. We need to rest in God's timing.
-Thank God our girls and everyone arrived safely in Grand Rapids yesterday!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

No tubes!

Luka is no without any tubes or cords! And he is happier because of it too. Yesterday he went in for his forth (and we pray last) surgery to remove the dialysis tube and center IV line. His toxin level are almost down to normal which means his kidneys are working. We have so much to be thankful for!

We got our first full night of sleep in two and a half weeks last night - partly due to the pain killer he was on after the surgery. Luka woke up a happy boy this morning. They are still watching this blood level and doing other blood work the next few days. The doctor said maybe we will be discharged tomorrow then need to stay around for a few days to keep an eye on him and continue the blood tests. So maybe Tuesday we will be able to fly to Michigan.

We had a wonderful reunion with our girls Monday night! What a joy to be with them again. They have really been great through this all. They were curious about Luka and his tubes but not upset by it at all. Josh and I were able to take them to a water park for an afternoon and just be together. We had so much fun! We are thankful Grandma could come and see Luka too. It was a nice couple days together. Last night our girls, Grandma, and Ryan and Rebeka left for Michigan. Josh and I were surprised we were the ones crying when everyone left. Thankfully the girls did well and are excited to go to Michigan.

Thank you for sticking with us as the weeks pass by. We appreciate every prayer and all your loving care.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pray for Sleep

After two long, sleep deprived nights, I felt like we better ask for some prayers. Luka is having a hard time sleeping at night. We are not sure if he is uncomfortable, in pain, has nightmares, isn't tired, or just wants nothing to do with his room anymore. Last night he didn't fall asleep until 12:30 then woke at 3:30 crying and crying. His loving father walked him for almost two hours around the hospital. Walking outside is the only thing that keeps him calm. They gave him Tylenol and put him on a drip (IV) last night but nothing seemed to help. (They are worried about dehydration now.) The night before went about the same. The only good thing is we all sleep in til about 8:30. He hasn't napped much either. Maybe he is sick of sleeping after two weeks of being in bed. All I know is if this keeps up it is going to be a long week and we are going to be exhusted. Pray that Luka settles down and is able to sleep knowing God's peace.

Like I said the doctors are now a bit concerned about Luka getting dehydrated and then ends up back where we were. He is now urinating so much that he is not keeping up with fluid intake. They said that sometimes the kidneys over react when they start working again and Luka was on meds to encourage urine so they took him back off of that. For days Luka wanted to drink so bad but was limited and of course now that he is allowed to drink as much as he wants, he doesn't want to. He no longer wants his pediasure either but is eating more. The doctors have him on an IV drip today. They are watching the toxin levels in the blood closely the next few days. His hemaglobin (blood) level went down alittle so they are also watching that. Pray that Luka drinks well today and does not become dehydrated.

We were so excited to see Luka walk yesterday holding our hands! He is weak and off balance but he can do it. He also sat up in bed to play. It is great to see such progress. Thanks again for all your prayers. We will try to get some more picture on soon and keep you up to date.

Can't wait to see our girls tonight!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Doing Well

Luka is out of ICU! Actually, we kinda got kicked out because they needed his bed for a child who was sicker than Luka, but Luka was well enough to move to a ward.

Luka is now off of dialysis for the next 24 hours to see how his kidneys will work. So good to be free! He loves taking walks and being held. Every car we pass on our walk he wants to get in and get out of here. He continues to urinate and his toxin levels are now down (3 times higher - when he came they were 8 times higher than they should be). His blood and oxygen levels are stable.

And our baby boy is back! Luka is Luka again. He is smiling, playing, laughing, and we are even happy to see him cry again. It is so good to see. He is annoyed with nurses and doctors again and has enough energy to fight.

Thanks for still praying for us! Luka had a ruff night last night. He woke up all sweaty yet cool and crying. Also, pray for grandma and our girls as they travel to Nairobi tomorrow. The doctors will continue to monitor Luka this week with blood work and keep him on antibiotics, but if all goes very well we MAY BE able to fly to Michigan by the end of the week where the doctors will finish his care (several weeks). Amazing. Time will tell if Luka will have long-term problems or complete healing. We will keep you posted.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Luka is out of critical condition! What an answer to prayer and a reason to glorify God. Everything continues to progress in the right direction. Toxin levels are coming down, urine increasing, oxygen stable, and blood count stable but low. The doctor thinks maybe five more days on dialysis. After that we continue to do blood work, see at what precentage the kidneys are working, and continue to monitor. He even said we can take Luka off dialysis once a day to hold him and walk outside. Luka is really weak but loves to play ball with us. I even got my first smile today! Luka loves to drink (gets pediasure). He started by allowing 30ml every three hours now he is getting 100ml. He isn't eating much. He only likes watermellon right now.

We are so thankful for the doctors here, all of your prayers, and God's love and healing over Luka. We still have a long road ahead but at least now it isn't so unkown and scary.

Lydia, Grace, and my mom will arrive here Monday night and fly out again Wednesday night with Ryan and Rebeka. We look forward to seeing our girls (it will have been two weeks). It will be good for them to see Luka too and understand what is happening. Then someday we will meet up with them again in Michigan when Luka is stable enough to fly. We will do follow up care with the doctors there.

-Pray for us as we try to close up our house and wrap up details from so far away.
-Thank God for Tim and Angie, Bobbi and Rachel, and the Dwire family who have helped us so much.
-Pray for us as we deal with health insurance. We are so thankful they are paying but we need to figure out how to get the money here. Just one more thing to think about and do.
-Pray too for the girls and my mom to have a safe trip. We heard today about some possible riots in Kampala where they have to travel through to get to the airport, so pray for a peacful and safe journey.
-Continue to pray for a full recovery for Luka
-Pray for Luka to get stronger physically and heal from this trama mentally and spiritually
-Pray for us as we are here and continue to figure things out and make plans for the future.

Thanks again. We serve a great God!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Praise God!

I am so excited that I just had to write and let you know. I have had a real burden for Luka's doctors here because we love them so much but they don't know the Lord. Last night as we prayed over Luka I asked the Lord to do some healing that was such a miracle the doctors had to see it. Today Luka's oxygen came up suprisingly. The doctor came in for the normal check up and talk and he asked Josh if he had any explanation for the change in oxygen. Josh said a lot of people were praying. The doctor said you have powerful prayers? Josh said no we have a powerful God. He yes it does appear that way.

I am so excited! Praise be to God. Keep praying!

While I am writing anyway, Josh and I are beginning to feel a lot of emotions. With all the decisions we have to make for our girls, details to take care of with shutting up our home in Soroti, and not know how long we will be here we are feeling a bit stressed. Please pray for God's peace over us, wisdom to do what is right for our family, and help to do all the detail. We are busy and tired. Thanks.

Pictures and update

(The internet is slow here so I will only post four pictures for now.)

I am simply in awe of how God is answering your prayers for Luka! I post a prayer request and by the next day we see answer to the prayers. We were desprate to have some hope, some improvement. The next day Luka's toxin levels finally started to come down and his urine output has increased every day. Luka's oxygen levels have come up today - in the morning we noticed they were in the low 80's (the last two days they were in the high 70's) by noon they were high 80' and now in the 90's! His lungs are healing! Luka's leg was swelling last night because of the IV. This morning he has a new IV line in his other thigh and is doing well. We also prayed for Luka because he seems so down. This morning he was much more awake and "talking" with us. No smiles yet but that will come.
It is beautiful to know the family of God is lifting Luka up and see God work! Thank you God!!!
Please pray for continued healing.
Pray to for Luka to heal emotionally and physically too. He has been through a lot.
Pray for us as we try to make some plan yet still have to live day to day. It looks like we will be here a while. We are now making arrangements for our girls to fly home with my mom next week via Niarobi so we can see them.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quick update

Just wanted to let you know before anyone panics that Luka's leg was swollen because of his IV. It was leaking earlier and later began to swell so they removed it tonight and will put another one in tomorrow.

I will try to get some pictures posted soon as I can. Now it is time for bed. Thanks again everyone.

Praise God some good news

I just had to get on a computer to let you know we have some improvement. The doctors are happy, too, but warned us to smile with caution yet. They are hoping we have turned a bend. Luka now uninates half of the normal amount. And for the first time we are starting to see the toxin levels come down! A good sign. And right now his blood count is good.

Luka still needs your prayers. We found out the chest x-ray showed an acute lung injury which means the HUS has attached his lungs (it is known to happen with HUS). That is why his oxygen levels have gone down. They are watching it but can't do anything about it. As other things improve his lungs should too. We also just noticed that one of his legs is a little swollen. The nurse does not seem too alarmed but she is doing some tests and informed the doctor. We just want him well; these setbacks are hard on us.

As I read the new email and cards Ryan and Rebeka brought, many of you said you were storming the gates of heaven with prayer. I was struck by this and feel that God really did something last night. Thank you! God is at work.

Also, Ryan and Rebeka made it in last night and it is nice to have someone to talk to. Our girls are thrilled to have grandma and especially their cousins back. Grace keeps coming up to her grandma and just squeezing her leg. Pray for Sliedrechts as they adjust back to Soroti - not easy anyways and especially with everything else happening.

Thanks for helping us trust in God at this time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Luka's ups and downs

Hello everyone,

Just so you know I will NOT be emailing any more because I can't keep up, BUT we will just update on the blog for now (the address is below). Please keep in touch by reading updates there and feel free to keep emailing us. Pass on the word to others too. Thanks.

Now for a quick update. The roller coaster continues. One minute feeling strong and encouraged, the next (right now) I am weak and worried. Luka is still in critical condition and that is a hard fact to swallow. Really hard. His oxygen levels are still not coming up so he has had two heart tests and a lung x-ray. We know one heart test came back normal but haven't heard on the other. We also know they saw something on the x-ray but are waiting to hear from the doctor. To be honest I am worried and can't handle any more. I just want Luka to be healthy. He seems sad today. I want to hold him again and see him walk and laugh. Okay, I am getting too emotional so I better just continue with the update.

Luka had another blood transfussion last night. We saw God's hand in that as we had 8 missionaries visit us and 6 of them had Luka's blood type. His dialysis is going well which we are very thankful for. The best news is he is producing urine again!

Sliedrechts and my mom arrived saftly in Uganda and are driving to Soroti now to be with our girls. Josh's sister and brother-in-law arrive to be with us tonight.

Thank you for continuing to lift Luka in prayer!!! For praying for all of us. We love reading all the encouraging emails (when we get a chance), hearing about prays in all the churches, and everyone willing to help us. Thank you all!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Update on our dear Luka

Hello dear prayer warriors,

This is our first chance to update you ourselves. What an emotional roller coaster! It is all so surreal yet. How quickly life can change. One moment we feel we are doing well and feel good about how things are going, the next moment we are so scared for our baby. We go one SMALL step forward only to go back again. We just want Luka healthy and safe again!!!

We will fill you in as soon as we can about the whole ordeal but for now we want to share the latest and give you the urgent prayer requests.

Last night Luka went in for his second surgery because the his tube for dialysis was clogged. I was so upset and scared again. Luka has a fever now too so I asked the doctor if it was okay to do surgery. He said we have to, he needs to be on dialysis; the value far outweighs the risk. With great fear we had to submit to God's will not knowing what that is yet. Josh and I were literally down on our knees crying out to God.
Thankfully Luka came out of surgery ok. Thank you God! By morning (we only got 4 hours of sleep) we were again feeling much better about things. Dialysis was again working well. Then we got another clog. I almost paniced. But the nursed flushed it out and it is working well again.
There is so much I want to write but that will come. Please pray for Luka's fever to go down. Yesterday the fever started which means an infection. The doctor said with all the holes put in Luka it is almost to be expected. So they are giving him antibiotics. Pray also for dialysis to continue to work well and not clog again. Pray for improvement and for us to deal with it when there is little or no improvement. We are still about the same over all but the doctor says it will take time. The doctor said that the good news is that Luka is not any worse than he was when he arrived to ICU. We are looking at at least a week or two here (to stablize Luka) and could be a total of 6 to 8 weeks in the hospital for Luka. There is a chance of coming to the States somewhere along the line. Right now Luka is in critical condition (so hard to say) because he is dependant on the dialysis, but beginning to stablize (not in immediate danger because we are doing what he needs).
We are so thankful for the care we are getting! The doctors, nurses, and hospital have been wonderful. We have full confidence in them. So far Luka has been the only child in a four bed ICU which is really nice and quiet. Not to be selfish but it would be great to remain that way.
Pray too for Lydia and Grace. They have done amazingly well but it is getting harder as the days go on. We are SO thankful for all the missionaries taking care of them! And that Grandma Beute and Tim and Angie are on the way to Soroti.
THANK YOU for praying!!! We are without words. The love we have felt is overwhelming. It is a true blessing to see everyone pull together, do what they can, and get everyone praying. Wow.

Friday, March 12, 2010

update and pictures

In case any of you didn't get the e-mail:My name is Dotun Modupe, a co-International Teams missionary of the Shaardas. I serve and live in Nairobi, Kenya with my wife, Ami.I'm sending this to you on behalf of Josh and Mandy. Some of you may have already received news that Luka, their youngest child, was airlifted to Kenya last night for emergency medical treatment. After a long and rough day, they finally arrived in Nairobi at midnight.Upon arrival, they were immediately taken to Gertrude’s Children's Hospital in Muthaiga, Nairobi ( ) where Luka was admitted. He has already had blood transfusion and is currently at the ICU where he is undergoing dialysis. He is far from where he should be. His condition is still critical but he is somewhat stable (not doing worse, just not much improvement).The doctors and staff are doing their best to ensure that he is well taken care of. I visited them today and even though they have had some tough experiences, they are doing okay. They are handling the situation with much grace. They have unwavering trust that the Lord will complete Luka's healing.
Here's a link to some pictures taken by Mandy of Luka to share with you at You can click on the link and it should take you to the pictures.The Shaardas continue to covet your prayers. They are seeing the Lord's hand and feeling the prayers you are offering up for Luka. They will continue to update you whenever possible.
Thank you all so much.Dotunfor the Shaarda family

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pray for Luka

(written by Tim Sliedrecht on behalf of Josh & Mandy Shaarda)

On Monday, March 8, Josh & Mandy rushed their 1-year-old son, Luka, 6-hours to the hospital in Kampala because he hadn't eaten anything since Friday and became lethargic. They found out that he was dehydrated and had shigellosis, one of the most severe forms of the bacterial-induced diarrheas, related to e. coli and salmonella.

They were able to get him hydrated, but he didn't improve. Now his kidneys are failing and he has become anemic. It appears he has Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome in which the bacteria has entered his bloodstream and is killing his red-blood cells. He is currently being medically evacuated to Nairobi for kidney dialysis and a blood transfusion .

Please pray for Luka, for Josh & Mandy, and for their two girls, Lydia & Grace, who are back in Soroti with Bobby & Rachel Kolb, our teammates.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Feb. 2010 (24 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.
Click here to view photos

Pray for Luka

March 6

Luka is sick today and needs your prayers. All week he had some diarrhea but acted just fine. Yesterday he began to get worse. Today he is also vomiting. So between diarrhea and vomiting (ever water) he is ruff shape. We are trying to give him little bits of water so he doesn’t get dehydrated. But we can’t get any of the medicine to stay down today. We did do lab work and so far he does not have malaria but has maybe dysentery. Poor little guy. This is the sickest he has ever been. He has slept most of the day thankfully. When he is awake he is miserable and just lays there fussing. Thanks for praying for him.

Last Saturday Josh was really sick. It is so lonely without him around. Thankfully, everyday he got better and had more strength. Amazing how much it takes out of you.

We have been enjoying some wonderful, unusual weather here. We had five days with clouds and on and off rain. It was 70degrees! Josh ever wore a long sleeve shirt all day long for the first time here. We slept under our blanket all nigh – what a treat. I love it. It is so nice when you can go for a walk or do anything and not have to be hot. I think growing up in Michigan the cooler weather and clouds are a comfort to me.

This week we got a call from our friend here and her 1 year old daughter fell off the bike and wouldn't stop crying. The siblings put her on the bike even when mom told them she was too young. She fell off and was hanging there as her foot was caught in the wheel. I took her to the clinic that night and the next day for x-rays. Sure enough the ankle was broken. They put a cast on up to her hip. Boy that will be fun for a month with a one year old. I think they just needed me for money but it does feel good to be able to help.

Lydia was outside the other day playing church with Grace. She began preaching and totally impressed me. She knows her Bible! She went through the story of Adam and Eve and how they sinned and were punished and how that is like when we sin and our parents have to punish us so we learn. Our guard John was impressed too. Josh is pretty sure Lydia knows more about the Bible than the Bible school students. I am really proud of her. I am excited to hear her faith. She really is a missionary sharing God’s story with all who will listen.

The kids have been learning the 10 commandments and it has been a great learning tool. When the girls lie or don’t obey we go back to what God told us in our memory verse. It is good for me too! Grace and I went to the store this week and a man was sitting in the back of the store tied up. Our Indian friends told us the man was caught stealing. Grace of course was very curious about this all so we had a talk about how God said in His commandments not to steal. She talked about it all afternoon and assured me she was never going to steal!

We had a picnic table made this week! I am so excited because it has been on the "want" list for a long time and I love getting projects done. We already had a grill out last night - so fun. The girls are thrilled too. We actually have been getting a lot of projects done lately; landscaping, cushions on the dinner room chairs, and other odds and ends. Unfortunately, there is always more to do. We are good we got somethings done before we are busy around here with teaching and guests.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Some of you may have heard about the mudslides that have taken place in Mt. Elgon (about 2 hours from our home near Mbale). What a tragedy! We have been getting a lot of rain here. Monday the rain continued and by evening the mudslide happened. Three villages have been totally wiped out - gone. Most reports say that 80 bodies have been recovered and over 340 people still missing and presumed to be burried in the mudslide. The mudslide was about a quarter of a mile and went down about a half a mile. Articals I have read say that school kids where taking shelter in a store because the river was flooded when the mudslide happened and the whole shop is now gone with all the kids in it. A school with 35 kids in was also burried. The relief is having a hard time getting there because the roads are inpassable. The rains are continueing and people say the mountian is roaring again. The goverment is trying now to evacuate people. They say it is starting to smell there because of the burried bodies, body parts, and animals under the mud. They are worried about all of this now getting into the water and going down the mountain to other villages.

Can you imagine? If you are an American, no you can't imagine. We have been so blessed! When have we ever gone through such a tragedy that all of your friends and family, your home, and work where destoryed and taken from you in one night? Talk about sad. My heart just aches for these people. Not to mention Haiti and Chile. We have a lot to pray about! Pray with us for the people mourning and homeless from the mudslide. Pray also for safty and help.