The new nurse in town

Our co-workers left this morning for a month long break.  Before she left, Shannon brought me two boxes this morning: one containing various boxes of painkillers like ibuprofen, paracetamol and the like.  The other box contains bandages and wound care items.

I shuddered as I took them; I am no nurse.

She also let me watch her clean up a machete foot wound.  I nobly suppressed the gag reflex and promised to keep my eye on it for a week or so.

Like I said, I don’t even pretend to be a nurse.  I can barely keep it together when my child has a wound.

We didn’t tell anyone in the village that I even had the boxes of medicine, but she gave them to me “just in case”.  I also tried to spread the word this morning that accidental injuries are strictly forbidden for the next month.

Our co-workers had not been gone for five minutes when my first little patient arrived.  Throwing up and diarrhea in an 18 month old toddler, without a fever.  Using my very poor Tagalog, I suggested that the mother increase the times she nurses the baby and wait to see if it passes.

A few hours later I was scrambling some eggs for supper when I saw a group of women that I didn’t recognize coming down the path.  I thought to myself, “I bet they are coming here…”  Sure enough, there was a knock on my door.  One of the ladies was suffering from a headache and had walked, along with her five friends, from the village 30 minutes away for a check-up.  WHAT?  I asked the lady about her other symptoms and when I was satisfied it was only a headache I sold the lady some ibuprofen.

A guy with them asked if we could give him anything for an allergic reaction he was having on his arm.   We said no to that one, not wanting to dive into diagnosis and prescribing on our first day on the job.  Hopefully he’s ok.

After selling a few vitamins and a package of paracetamol to another neighbor, I guess the word is out that the new nurse is in.

Pray for me!!

When the power goes out- an impromtu lesson in trust

Late last night two scared little girls gathered around me in the dark.  Our power went out around 10:30 pm and it was immediately stuffy and hot.  When the power is out we can’t run the pump to have water to flush, wash our hands or bathe.  The girls wandered out of their room, scared because of the dark, the heat and the quiet.

After a day of no power the first week they were here, and after an afternoon of no electricity on Thursday due to a large truck failing to get around a tight corner and taking out a power pole, our girls know what a power outage means-

Rule #1: Don’t put your TP in the toilet.
Rule #2: Don’t flush.
Rule #3: Don’t wash your hands.
Rule #4: Don’t open the fridge.

And the Fact the remains in the forefront of everyone’s mind: IT IS GOING TO BE HOT.

As they clamored for attention I felt myself getting snippy with them- I was sweating and harried, and I didn’t really relish the idea of enduring a hot night myself, especially if it was going to be fraught with interruptions.

Realizing that my own attitude was going to escalate the problem, we sat down to pray.  First, I explained to the girls what a privilege having electricity is, and how many, many, many people go through their lives without it.  I explained how it has only been in the last century and a half that people have gotten used to it, and how for years and years little girls just like them have been sleeping in the Philippines without air conditioning or even fans.

I could tell they were calming down.  I heard Button’s little voice that had been so worried and cross before say cheerfully, “Yes!  People have lived like this for a long time!  It’s ok.”

I reminded the girls of a devotion that we read recently that encouraged us to find something good that God might be doing even when things look bad.

We took turns praying.  Squeaky started off by asking for God’s help to trust Him even when bad things happen.  Button continued, offering up her little voice in petition to God that He would perhaps allow the electricity to come back on but help her trust Him in the meantime.  They both thanked God for all the times we’ve had electricity and didn’t appreciate it enough.

As we finished praying we sat quietly chatting in the dark.  Their voices were more cheerful now and even though the sweat was dripping down my face I felt a tiny breeze float in through the window and as I thanked the Lord for it my spirit was lifted.

Just as I was settling the girls on the living room floor where they’d catch a bit of a breeze the power came back on.  Oh, that moment when the power comes back on.  It brings a huge feeling of tentative relief- tentative because often it will roar to life only to go off again moments later and plunge everything in darkness again.  We collectively held our breath for a moment or two, then sighed with relief as it stayed on.  The girls were cheering and praising God for His answer to prayer.

They bounced off to bed, delighted.  I returned to my room, relishing the cool air drifting down from the noisy air conditioner.  As I climbed into bed I prayed and thanked the Lord for God’s loving hand that allowed the electricity to come back on just as two little girls and one mommy prayed for more faith to trust Him.

I thought of this verse, especially the part that says, “When he calls to me, I will answer him:”

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.  Psalm 91:14-15

This time His answer was, “Yes, right away.”

Perspective

It is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.  These past two months have brought me to a place where I am aware that I am in desperate need of perspective.  It isn’t that there has been tons of big things- it is everything, big and little, that wears me down little by little.  I feel like I’m falling.  The falling isn’t the bad part, it is natural given who I am- frail, weak and needy.  The danger is if I fall back onto my own strength or try to figure it out on my own.  I need to fall back into the arms of someone who can provide the perspective I need.

Let me see… maybe a short rehash will help me put things into the right places.  My apologizes if it seems like “stream of consciousness” writing.  
-After a crazy week of preparations and late nights
-my husband takes a long trip with hopes of deciding where we will go after language study, which is cut sort by
-a daughter who falls ill and is hospitalized for 4 days which leads to 
-a serious lack of sleep and weariness of body which leads to 
-a state of mind that realizes how frail I am and how everything is so intricately balanced in my life.
-Termites, heat, disobedient children, knowing that it is a special holiday season back home that I’m missing, getting behind on correspondence, not getting my hours in of study, struggling to say very basic things in Tagalog that I learned a least a year ago- each incident feels like it carries more weight than it actually does.
-After this I unwittingly get myself involved in a couple of big cultural no-no’s and that gets me to wondering about 
-what the grander purpose is of all of this and throws me back onto 
-What am I doing? Why am I here again? And that reminds me that maybe I’m asking the wrong questions.  Maybe I should be asking…
-Who called me here?  Who made me and knows that I am but dust?  What is He capable of?  Has He ever used failures before?  Is He able to take a tired, worn out, blundering fool who dishonors Him in thought and action and use her for something great?  

Monumental Event for 2011

This is the only picture I’ve taken on our camera so far this year. Squeaky got this little game from her grandma for Christmas. It is the little triangle game you see at Cracker Barrel where you jump the pegs and see how many you are left with at the end. She spent an entire day playing with it this week and whittled her score down to only two pegs left. As you can see, she was over the moon.
Yes, that is the most exciting thing I have to report about 2011 so far. 🙂 Our life has sort-of ground to a halt due to a bout with dengue fever. Dennis came down with a headache, fever, nausea, flushed face and difficulty breathing on New Year’s Eve and is still sick in bed more than a week later. The rest of us have been battling a nasty cold so this last week was pretty much a write-off for all of us. The girls recovered more quickly than the rest of us and are ready to go- but sadly their parents aren’t.
I’m so glad this illness happened before school started up again. It made things a lot easier knowing that we were able to take the time we needed to recover. We have one week left of our Christmas break and I’m really hoping to be able to do something fun before plunging back into the language studies on the 17th!

A Surprise

In an interesting turn of events, I spent the better part of last week in a hospital bed. I now have a new fear and appreciation for the mighty ameoba. That, along with a UTI, fever and sinusitis made for a pretty tired and exhausted me. I’m home from the hospital now with some meds in hand and a new lease on life. I experienced first hand how intricately a body is knit together- how when a couple little things go wrong it can make a person really, really unhealthy.
Thank you Lord for health and strength, and for Your grace provided right when I needed it.
The girls bought me some roses and sent me a little note, signed by each of them. It was so precious.

Ready to go home after four days!

*gasp*

Things are coming together for our departure on Wed. I feel torn in a million directions as we finish up all the things that we’ve been putting on the back burner for the past few months.

Yesterday when I found myself making a decision on what to do with some extra twistie-ties I had, I knew I had stooped to a new low. It’s pretty bad when deciding what to do with twistie-ties actually becomes an issue.

I feel like the true worth of items is not being considered as I throw toys in the trash and stuff a blank 3×5 file card in the last open box of stuff to go to the Philippines. I think my brain has short-circuited!

Please continue to pray for us!

Moving and Staying and Surprises

On January 21 we got the email we were waiting for! We are officially accepted by New Tribes Mission of the Philippines. We began working even more earnestly to sort, pack and make decisions. We started getting quotes on flights. We rejoiced with a wonderful turkey dinner.

That weekend we went to Dennis’ brother’s place. Dennis was speaking at their church on Sunday the 24th and we celebrated Button’s 4th birthday with her aunt, uncle and cousins. We had a great time.

We returned home on Monday night. On Tuesday morning Dennis’ dad had a mild heart attack. We actually didn’t find out that it was a heart attack until Tuesday evening. He was taken to Kingston that evening. The next day they did an angiogram and discovered that he had some blockages in the arteries of his heart. On Friday he had triple by-pass surgery. He is doing well and was up and walking today. He will likely be coming home either this Wed. or Thursday. We’d appreciate your prayers.
We’ve seen God’s grace through it all. All along we had been thinking we’d like to leave in January for the Philippines and couldn’t figure out why all the steps seemed to be taking so long. We see that God allowed us to be here for this time and we are so grateful. We are so glad to be able to spend this time with Dennis’ parents and hope that our presence will be helpful (and not too noisy!) over the next few weeks as Roger is recovering.