Friday, April 22, 2011

They only asked me to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do...

Just a quick update on this week. On Monday we had a barber volunteer to come and give all the boys haircuts. The power went out at Fanny's where we were doing it so we had to load up and relocate to Maureens but luckily they all got new looks! (Some of the boys are away for the holiday, but those who were around all got their hair done. After that we brought a counselor and a social worker to the Tembo's so that they could try to convice her to at least let Wisdom take medicine. She is absolutely unshaken in this, and we left with little to no progress made. In fact, it seems Wisdom is even more on his mother's side on the issue now. We have another appointment next Wednesday.

We were given a donation by the Pizzino family as well as a friend, Daniela Ando, for us to use toward something the kids needed. On Tuesday, we went into town and purchased a bale (large bag of slightly used) of blankets. It is getting cooler at night and the kids don't have beds (as you can see, in one of the albums I took a photo of Kaumba's room) and some of them just sleep on the cold hard floor so we were able to give each child at least 2 blankets! We devided them up and labeled them and then Wednesday we set out delivering them. We were able to sit and talk with the families more while we made these deliveries.

On Thursday they were all supposed to leave for a 3 day vernacular confrence, but after they all gathered with blankets and toothbrushes and clothes in hand, the bus broke down and they all stayed in Fanny's house for the night! The kids were invited with their families, plus Fanny's family makes somewhere near 35-40 people sleeping in her little home! They were able to get packed up and head out this morning!

A few items for sponsor's knowlege and for prayer:

When we visited Everlyn's home we talked extensively with her Auntie and got some more personal information. When she was born, both of her parents died while she was still nursing. The Auntie took her in and is raising her as her own child- Everlyn is not aware that this is not her mother. The Auntie's husband (who Everlyn thought was her father) died a year ago so essentially she has been double orphaned and then single orphaned. Her Auntie sells water for money, and right now is a bad season for that. People are not buying because it's no longer hot and dry. Only one of the Aunties 3 real children is in school- he was supposed to graduate grade 12 but she was unable to pay for exam and school fees so he will not be finishing. The other two would be in grade 9 and 6 but are not attending due to finances.

Protasho and Patrick are being evicted from their home on the 30th of this month. Their rent has been 80,000 Kwacha (16 dollars) per month. The mother recently got a job and there is no reason she shouldnt be able to pay this. They are not telling us the real reason for the eviction but we have reason to believe that since I am seen there 3-4 times a week the landlord assumed I am giving them money (white person= money) and raised their rent to an amount they cannot pay. We cannot help them with rent, unfortunately, because if we did we would then be asked by every single family to pay their rent. They have told us they are not going far and I have decided to drop the boys off within walking distance of the home and try not to be seen there to save them from this happening again.

When we went to the Sakala's (the home of Faith, Tisa, Christopher, Harrington and Emmanuel- plus the mother/auntie) they were so excited to be recieving the blankets! They live alongside the road and it gets very cold there. They have a tiny little house and all 6 of them sleep together on the floor. The mother was holding one of the blankets and said "I am even salivating in anticipation of the sun going down just so I can use this blanket." We noticed the cupboard and shelves were empty and asked about food. They had nothing in the home but tomatoes. The mother sells tomatoes but since they are in season, they are not in high demand because everyone has them so they had no food to be seen. We immediately went to the market and got them mealie (cornmeal), fish, some vegetables, oil and sugar to stock the shelves. This woman is VERY determined to work and support her family and never asks us for anything, so it was nice to see her accept this gift with tears in her eyes. She wants to start a charcoal business (cold season is fast approaching so charcoal sells well) but doesn't have the start up money yet. Also, Tisa is having chest pain and racing heart beat every evening. She was taken to the clinic and her BP is very high so they are monitoring her and we take her back monday. It could very well be malnutrition and stress from her living situation.

Kaumba's roof blew off his house in a rain storm but he has been helping his father repair it with scrap metal and peices they find in the dumpster. They seem in good spirits and are working hard to repair the home before it gets cold. There are many holes in the roof so it will be very cold- they thanked us PROFUSELY for the blankets!!

Kelleys garden looks great and we found him and Morgan working on it together- the initiative these boys are showing is absolutely wonderful.

Lastly, there are photo's in the last album on my facebook of the plot where the church building/ ministry house will be. We are VERY excited and they begin building next week- praise God!

You can imagine how difficult it is to see this much need and feel a bit helpless at times. There is a never ending list of things that need to be/could be done for these kids and their families and neighbors and it can be so frustrating to not be able to do everything, but by God's grace we are at least doing everything we can- he is opening doors and creating opportunity for us to obey His word and care for the orphans and the widows and for that we are thankful!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

ALL THE TIME. God is good.

I am VERY TIRED and the last thing I want to do is write a big blog so here are the hilites of why this has been one of the best weeks ever- and why we should praise God together for his goodness... (as well as a prayer request).

In absolutely no particular order:

1. Protasho and Patrick are understanding and speaking English. It is not perfect and they need a lot of work- but they went from "How are you, Fine" being ALL they knew in English to carrying on full conversations in 3 months. They can also spell a lot of words and are starting to sight read. I am crying typing this.

2. Someone who cuts Megan's hair has offered to come give free haircuts for all our boys!! This may seem so silly but they need it and lice and head sores are an issue here so it's a blessing!

3. We had a "girls day" on Tuesday and I had a great opportunity to minister to the girls as well as have them open up a bit. We painted eachothers nails, ate brownies, talked about peer pressure &boys, and played with barbies. It was a complete success.

4. They began digging the foundation for our new building this week!!!!!!!!!!!

5. Someone from my home church sent another donation to me personally, which makes me able to fill my tank with gas and buy food so that I can better minister and spend more time with the kids. Praise God!

6. My friend who left gave some money for us to put twoards getting blankets for the kids, and one of the visiting pastors also gave money and together it covers the cost for a bale of blankets which will mean we can give each of our kids 3-4 blankets a peice! They sleep on the hard ground, and the season is shifting and getting cold so this is a HUGE deal and a load off our backs!

7. Today we had a "family lunch" and we cooked nshima, chicken, rape, eggplant and soup for the kids. They all got full bellies and left with big smiles- another huge success!

8. I hooked a sponsor up with two of our kids this week. One had the same birthday as her husband, and the other, who is a twin, has the same birthday as her own twins! Then I hooked up the last of the kids with another woman. This boy broke his hip and one of her children has had a broken hip also. This may seem odd- but to me it has God's handiwork written all over it. (as a side note, the two kids we have who have mental disabilities are both coincidentally linked with two families that have a disabled child. God is in control)

9. My relationships here are great and I am blessed with the most amazing friends and church family who are nothing if not the most loyal and amazing friends I have ever had.

10. I had the most wonderful time with Daniela and I was encouraged and refreshed by her visit. Also I am feeling 100% better!

As for the item for prayer:

Many of you have prayed for this family before (the Tembos). Wisdom is one of ours in our Kabanana/Chipata group who is HIV+. We took him for a Cd4 (white blood cell) count a few weeks back and they ran some tests on him to check his liver function so that we can get him on the proper medication right away. His count is VERY low and he is sick nearly every week with skin sores, coughing, vomiting and many other various ailments.

This morning I drove to Kabanana to pick him up and begin his treatment and his mother, Alice, said he "went to play" and it's too hard to find him. With his health, he rarely travels far from home so we knew she was avoiding the appointment. She got very heated and finally said that she refused to let us put him on medication. She herself is, by every calculation, suffering from full blown AIDS at this point, but still claims to be HIV negative. (She is tiny, weak, frail with sores and rashes all over her body- frequently ill) When we had first brought Wisdom to the clinic, the nurses pulled us aside and asked if the mother is on medication because by the looks of her she is in her very last days, and we had to try to explain that she insists that she is HIV-. She took away the medication they gave Wisdom before, and told us to "close the chapter" on asking about this for Wisdom, and that he can decide when he's older. Unfortunately- with his Cd4 count he will not make it to "older" to make that decision. She believes, and has brainwashed him also, that medicine is satanic, and HIV can simply be prayed away.

She is also asking us to tell her where he got HIV from since he is such a young boy (it was obviously mother to child transfer) and it is impossible to explain this to someone so far in denial. It was a very hard and emotional morning, to say the least. We left the home and went to the clinic to explain this to them and one of the counselors there offered to come and speak with her. We have an appointment on Monday to bring this counselor to her home. Please pray that she receives us and softens her heart.

Wisdom and Alice are both very sick, but Alice's pride is in the way of admitting she has this disease and finding help for her son. This is a huge burdon to us and such and emotionally taxing situation. Please pray that she will allow Wisdom to take medication, and even take them herself- and prolong her life so that she can better care for her children. (She is in her upper 30's and appears to be around 60.)

I know that God is in control of the situation. Please uphold it in prayer with me.

Monday, April 4, 2011


So, a childhood friend, Daniela Ando arrived on Satuday! She is a nurse and has come for the week to do some work in a local clinic.

I was unsure about getting to the airport so I enlisted the help of a freind but we were both running late and then we had to go through two police checkpoints so I was SO scared that we'd be late and she'd be there worried and confused but it turned out that we got there JUST as she was walking out so it was perfect timing. We spent the day relaxing and letting her get her bearings, and of course- catching up on the last 10-15 years!! I was feeling a little "off" but I thought it might be the excitement and business of running around and getting ready for her arrival.

On Sunday, we went to church and during the morning service I started to feel sick. I got up and sat outside for a bit, and then felt better but as soon as I went back in, I was feeling sick again. I just felt nausiated and dizzy. After the service, my friends Corry and Tickey escorted Daniela and I to a clinic near church to have me checked out but they were closed, so I decided to tough it out and we went back for a church lunch and evening service. On the way home, I knew I wasn't feeling right so I went to the 24 hour clinic (which happened to be the one Daniela would be working at) and asked for a malaria test. When I saw the doctor he ordered a slew of tests including blood and urine. Turns out I have malaria, as well as a UTI and my hemoglobin is extremely low which has been accounting for the dizziness.

I am really disappointed because this is bad timing with Daniela here- I wanted to be feeling 100% so I could be taking her around and spending more time with her and for her- but instead I feel like laying down all day.

Today was her first day of work, and I decided to take today and tomorrow off. This morning I woke up and did my laundry and then cooked breakfast and immediately started feeling awful. I had overdone it, yet again... it's so frustrating to be worn out from making eggs. I also took my pills (of which I have 13 per day to take.... 13!!!) before eating so I immediately got sicker.

I am really struggling with disappointment right now. I had so many plans of making this a great week for Daniela and being able to take her around places and spend time with her and I feel miserable. Honestly- the irritation is making me feel worse than the actual sickness. I keep trying to tell myself it's in my head but when I stand up and walk around my head starts to pound and my body just wants to sit. I know God has a reason for this and it all works in His plan, it's just far to easy to be angry that I'm sick!!

I plan to take tomorrow off as well- and Wednesday I will just have morning class with the boys, and then in the afternoon we will shop for some food. On Thursday, we plan to have a "Family Lunch" with all the kids and I am SO excited for it. Daniela will be coming along for the day and will get to see the kids and where I work. On Friday she leaves (SUCH a short trip!!) but she has already been a huge blessing and encouragement to me. I am VERY thankful for her being here!