Thursday, January 30, 2014

Grace's Healing

As many of you know we took Grace to Kampala Sunday with severe stomach pain.  I am tired just thinking about what all just took place.  Life and plans can change so quickly. 

It actually started Christmas Eve when Grace had terrible stomach pain and just cried out when the pain came.  We took her to a doctor friend in Soroti and for an ultra sound which showed everything was normal.  Unfortunately, we can’t trust the medical care in Soroti and we were left without answers.  Christmas Day she was in pain again but I gave her strong pain killer and by afternoon she was feeling better.  Since then she has stomach aches and about a day a week where she has to just lay on the couch but no more extreme pain.

Then Saturday night we were reading the Bible and suddenly Grace got intense stomach pain.  She just cried out for us, shook, and was very nauseated.  The only way I can describe it is it was like she was in labor.  It was so scary!  She was miserable and there was nothing we could do and no where to go for help.  We just prayed over her and called on Jesus and His power to heal.  I don’t think you can understand until you are in a moment like that where you are totally helpless - the nearest good medical care is 6 hours away, you don’t know what is happening to your child, and you have to watch her in sever pain. 

After about 30-45 minutes the pain started to calm down.  Josh stayed with her while I called our doctor friend in Soroti and called home to get a hold of our doctor in the States.   The fear was appendicitis and by midnight we knew were would be taking her to Kampala in the morning and maybe flying on to Nairobi, Kenya.  I felt sick to my stomach.  I didn’t want to leave, travel 6 hours or fly to another country, I didn’t want to leave Lydia and Luka and Sarah (although I am so thankful she was here to care for our children), I didn’t want Grace to be in such pain…  But we had to do what was best for Grace.  We packed for who knows what and how long, got all our documents and things to take, tried to get our van that was in the shop being but couldn’t get a hold of the mechanic to get it, and prepared the house and Sarah for staying there with Lydia and Luka.  Then tried to sleep but mostly prayed and listened for Grace.  Thankfully she slept well all night.

Lydia and Grace were both crying when we left in the morning.  The unknown is hard on everyone.  Grace’s terrible pain came back on our drive and she just cried for us, begged us to stop, told us she couldn’t do it, and wanted to throw up but couldn’t.  It is an awful feeling not being able to help your child when they look at you in such pain.  Josh and I just kept praying!  Begging God to heal Grace, take away her pain, protect her, and get us to the medical care we needed!  At some points we were all crying.  Josh did a great job driving smart under such difficult circumstances.  I kept praying for God to send help.  We needed an ambulance, or to fly to get there quicker, or something.  I didn’t know how Grace was going to make it.  We finally got strong pain meds down her and the pain slowly calmed down and Grace slept.  Praise God.

We went to the clinic and they checked her urine and stool.  Which showed a bladder infection and a fungus infection in her stomach, but this was not causing the intense pain.  Grace was not feeling better and so happy about it.  We had to beg the doctor to do an ultra sound.  We came all that way and we needed to check everything.  The scan was normal and the appendix was ok.  Thank you Lord! 
We talked to Grace’s doctor in the US and the doctor in Kenya and they think it may have been stones or abdominal migraines.  We plan to have some through testing when we are back in MI.         

THANK YOU for praying for Grace and all of us!  God was with us.  He is faithful, true, powerful, healer, and provider.  When we were praying so hard in the car sometimes I thought, “God we are calling on you and believing your promises – so do something now!”  Looking back He did.  We drove to Kampala in record time because traffic was so good, He stopped or healed the pain, we were able to talk to the doctors we needed to, and Sarah was there to care for our other children.  I have over and over experienced God as my refuge, my Rock, and my fortress.  When troubles in life come I know to claim His truth and trust Him.  He is present and powerful.  In our time of need He is who we look to.

Thank you Sarah for caring for and loving our children, Steve and team for praying and helping, my husband Josh for taking Christ authority seriously and protecting our children, to Lydia for loving his siblings so well, thank you to our parents for praying and caring at all hours of the day and night, and everyone who took the time to cry out to God on our behalf. 

Side note, cost to see the doctor here – three days, 12hrs plus of driving, $150 plus in gas, two nights in a hotel, four meals, and the doctor, lab, and scan.  What an ordeal.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Luka is 5!

Luka turned 5 January 14

We love you Luka!  Every year we celebrate Luka's birthday we thank God for saving his life.  He brings so much laughter to our home.  We love his imagination, expressions, and all the boy play he brings to a house of girls.

Our neighbors came to celebrate Luka's birthday with us

Luka & Gideon (best of friends)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Life in the village

Emalai turned 1 Dec. 27!

We love you!

Sunset from our house
Talking on the phone outside where we can get cell coverage
Roasting hot dogs
Oh how dirty we get living in the village

Pork anyone?

Singing with friends

Playing church

Lydia loves to read

Walking to church

Playing in the fort

The girls did a lemonaid stand to raise money for church

Luka helping with the well
January 6, 2014

Here we are in 2014.  It really is true that the years seem to go by faster as you get older.  Sometimes I just want to slow things down.  I continually remind myself to stop and enjoy each day, even each moment.  Life is so short, too short to worry and hurry around for things, activities, and all that will fade away.  I want to value what matters – my family, people and of course my Lord.  I hope to love well this year.  To do that I need my first love to be the Lord, then I will have love for everyone else.  It is really that simple.  When God is first, loving Him with ALL, we will desire to be with Him, read and know His Word, believe His promises, trust Him, obey His truths, and then there is peace, true joy, rest, hope…  I did not say all the stress, troubles, or sin are taken away but we are able to go through it with our Lord and He will be all we need.  No one can make you believe this but I am here to tell you when you experience it as true your life will never be the same.  And you will never desire anything more than Jesus.  He is so good and true.

As I sit here typing in our home in Obulle, it amazes me that a year ago we were in MI asking people to pray with us about moving to the village.  Now here we are!  It just makes me smile.  God has led so clearly and put everything in place.  We really are happy and at peace here.  I wish all of you could come and see our lives here.  See Lydia, Grace and Luka play with their friends.  They play church, sing, dance – Oh yes, the other day I went out and Lydia said look what I taught them mom and the kids went on to do the “Macarena” for me.  Oh my, I don’t think we need to be teaching that!  Just yesterday I saw two 3 years olds doing the “Macarena” again.    Our kids go to the neighbors and cook with them, go to the well, tie the goats with them…  They make forts and attempt to farm.  I love seeing them use their imagination and love the culture and people.  Our kids seems so comfortable here – it’s home.  Even Malai loves it.  She wants to be outside all the time.  She loves watching the animals and exploring.  She gets so dirty and has been know to eat everything (yes, goat poop looks good to a baby – sorry Grandma).  She is so cute toddling down the path, dancing to the drums (swaying her hips), clapping when people sing, and squealing with delight when a chicken runs by.  

It is just nice to be here.  To walk to church, walk to our neighbors and say hi, or greet our friends as they pass by the house.  We are thankful to be living among our friends.  I love the beautiful African sunsets, the enjoy the birds chirping and rest in the peace of the village.

Our house is now home.  We really enjoy our open floor plan in our home and find it great for entertaining.  New Years Eve our teammates stayed the night and it was so fun to wake up and make breakfast while others are watching a replay of the Lions or played games.  It is kinda fun having a house built exactly for our family.

With all the joys stated I have to be honest and state the trials too.  Our solar is just not right yet.  We are so conservative and yet we end up in the “red” (too low) every morning lately.  Josh is so bothered by this and I am tired of worrying about every light we switch on and how much power we use all the time.  I really am just whining.  Our refrigerator is working and I have power – none of my neighbors do!  It is all relative and there is always something to be thankful for.  Pray with us that we will get the solar figured out.  We plan to add a couple panels and hope that helps.

Our other trial is jiggers!  I don’t want to scare any of you from visiting but the truth is we are having a real issue with jiggers.  Jiggers are sand fleas that get into your skin, lay and egg sac and you have to get it out.  Literally we had over 15 last week in our family.  Just yesterday we got four out of Luka’s feet, two from Josh, and a couple from Grace or Lydia (I can’t remember anymore).  Josh tells people you wake up and go to bed at night by brushing your teeth and washing your face, we get up and go to bed looking at our feet for jiggers.  It is just a pain.  I am over the yucky part, it is just bothersome.  Thankfully they don’t hurt but Lydia has had plenty of tears over them.  The villagers say it is so bad because it is dry season and sand is everywhere.  We hope to spray the area and get our hands on some cream that is suppose to help prevent jiggers.  Really, you shouldn’t let this deter you from coming.  If we (even our kids) can put up with it and still be willing to live here, you can deal with a couple in your stay too.   Pray for us.  We know God cares enough about us to protect us from jiggers.  With all my complaining I must look at all our blessings.  I have a home with cement floors and resources to help us.  My friends here sleep on the ground and live in constant sand.  They don’t always have the resources I have to help them.  I am so blessed.

Luka still keeps us laughing.  I love his prayers.  The other night he told God he liked the supper, and playing with his friends and then told God he needed a DS.   Emalai likes to find our laundry basket and wear underwear as a necklace.  She is beginning to like dolls and carries them around patting their backs – sometimes with a purse on her shoulder.  What a cute one year old!

I don’t think I tell you all, my knee is well again!  I just wanted to praise God with you.

We go to Kampala this week to get Sarah.  She went home for the holidays and will be returning.  We are so excited to have her back.  The girls are even looking forward to school again.  Pray for us as we travel.

As we continually hear about all your beautiful snow and wonderful winter (don’t complain – enjoy), we sit in our hot, dry season.  Instead of snow we have dust blowing.  It is probably over a 100 each day but thankfully we get nice cool 70degree mornings.  What different worlds we live in.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas - in Obulle!

Gingerbread cookies

Ladies Christmas tea

The Saturday before Christmas we had dinner with some of our teammates and then a team party in the afternoon

It was so fun to host in our new home

The kids on our team exchanged names for gifts

Grace's friend gave her a dress for Christmas

Christmas Eve with our family

Malai loves carrying around her little purse

The kids got Ugandan sandals made from tires

Pizza dinner

We went caroling to our neighbors - it was so fun under the stars!

Poor Grace was sick Christmas Eve and Christmas - thank God for His healing!

Emalai and Lucy at church Christmas day

Lydia feeding Malai rice for Christmas dinner at church

We took our volleyball net and played with the people at church - they loved it!

Merry Christmas!