Friday, September 1, 2017

9/1/17 post part two

It seems that blogger and I are still in a battle of the wills.  Guess I better learn how to be brief! :)

Another really fun, exhausting, rewarding, pull you hair out frustrating part of our summer was VBS.  I know, you did VBS too.  I know you were tired right?  Again, not minimizing anyone's battle, but VBS here is just hard to get across in words.  Before the thing ever starts, teaching materials have to come straight from the drawing board.  We have to figure out lessons and games and songs and crafts from scratch!  We then have the task of teaching people that aren't used to doing much of anything with kids how to play, teach and pray on their level.  Children are most often seen as just a distraction at church.  The main idea for them is often to keep them quiet and out of the way.  Also, just for reference, a child here is anyone from age 0 to 15 or 16 depending. 

The funny thing every year is that we never need to advertise for VBS.  If I show up in my truck during the summer months and start doing stuff, the kids come out of the wood work.  We had a funny experience this year because the first day fell on a Muslim holiday.  We had around 70 kids and the day was very manageable.  We are only able to break the kids up into three classes for lack of trained teachers.  I had the oldest class and with a little less than 20 kids, it was very DOable!  Later that evening the Jgirls and I sat at my house finishing craft projects for the next day and I opened my ignorant mouth.  "Oh, I think we won't have more than 85 or 90 tomorrow.  God will ease us up slowly so that we can handle the heat!  He'd never send us 120 or 130.  That would just be too much!" HA!  We had 150!!!!  Day three, I was over an hour late due to horrible rains and flooding that should have caused me to go back home and we were up to 175 kids!  I drove past an overturned city bus.  By Friday we had around 200.  Nobody can count high enough fast enough to tell us what we really had.  It was like a little army of ants moving and running and wreaking havoc all around us.  So many many kids heard the saving message of Christ.  There were easily 50 of them that prayed to receive Him as Savior.  The middle class is hard to count as all ALWAYS want to pray.  It is my most earnest prayer that many of them understood and stand behind their decision.  Many of them won't be back to church until next year.  Their Muslim parents let them come to play so that they will be out of their way and stay for lunch so that they have one less mouth to feed, but would never let them come on Sundays.  I truly believe that God can take the honest prayer of these kids and help them continue their journey to Him in His time.

We did a lot of travel as a family this summer.  We went to Benin for a meeting and spent most of July in Senegal for another meeting.  The kids enjoyed the pools.  Ben and Karis LOVED hanging out with American friends.  Those that don't know the mission family may not realize that our kids look forward to our meetings so that they can have a big family reunion.  They ditch their old parents that they see all of the time to hang out and spend precious moments being a kid with others that understand well the lives that they live.

Maybe I can call a truce with Blogger and get another post out soon.  I'd love to tell you all about our fall projects and I need to find some pictures of our kids to post!

With love,

Medical Clinic, VBS and Everything Else I Missed

OK, so the silent treatment that I have been giving our blog, for its terrible treatment of me lately is really not doing anyone any good.  I'm pretty sure that blogger cares very little if I post or not, so I'll try to give up my anger and just get on with life. ;)

Here is a brief overview of our spring/summer doings, so that we can all move on with life!

Medical clinic was great and exhausting as usual.  It was a unique experience again as it was a new year with new people and new experiences.  It was fun to renew old contacts and see doors open wider for our work in many places.  We treated around 1800 people in general medicine this year.  It is always so amazing to see the state that some are in when they come to us.  A young boy had a hand so swollen that I couldn't believe the skin was staying together.  He was terribly ill and hadn't been sleeping due to the pain, but our young doctors were able to give some immediate relief and provide medicine for him.   Others came to be treated for teeth problems.  We treated around 250 dental patients.  The big hit is always the eye clinic where one doctor did 604 eye exams in 6 days.  This has required a tremendous amount of follow up work to choose the few that would receive glasses.  Everyone in need of reading glasses got those given to them and another 128 received prescription eye glasses made for them.  None of these records are in any sort of electronic form, so we have spent hours pouring over records, pouring over them again, copying, choosing, losing, finding again.  In the end, so many lives have been changed for the better.  Over 2000 people heard the gospel story.  A couple hundred responded to this life changing message.  A whole neighborhood has seen firsthand what the love of Christ in action looks like.  May His name be lifted up!  It was so great to work with our special nurse friends from the US as well as having one of them bring her gifted evangelist daughter with her.  Sarah and Savannah, our Jgirls, were invaluable.  Mike and the whole urban team worked for all they were worth.  By God's grace and that alone, we survived and we did so much good.  It is interesting to do evangelism in this area now, because this particular church is well known for being different, in a good way.

Young and old get poked to check for Malaria and other routine tests

In news that I can barely believe, our Caleb moved back to the US, graduated from high school and has started college.  I knew this would be a wonderful and yet difficult time for us, but was ill prepared for the grief that hit hard.  I know that many of you have sent of kiddos to college.  I know that is hard all around.  I don't minimize anyone's loss or feelings, but my kid doesn't even live on the same continent as me.  When he needs me, we are more than a few hours away by car we are days from an airline purchase and then a couple of days in transit.  THIS has been HARD!  We are very proud of Caleb for the work he put in to finish high school and excited to see where God takes him next.  He has loved his very first chance to play soccer for the high school team.  He loves being a referee and is always looking for somebody wanting to play.  It has been such a blessing, as his Mom, to see Caleb choose a church and get involved.  I pray that he stays true to his faith and truly trusts in the Lord with all of his heart.