Saturday, August 4, 2012


Today is Mrs Tembo's burial. She started out two years ago as a woman I barely knew. A guardian to some kids I was getting to know. She left as my friend.

I thank God she got to hold her first grandchild.

I thank God she saw her 3 sons baptised.

I thank God she saw Morgan turn from a stubborn and fallen boy to a kind and funloving man.

I thank God she saw that Wisdom's grades are some of the best in his class and he's going to pass with no problems.

I thank God that he sustained her just long enough to see her oldest son get out of the compound and get accepted to study medicine at University.

God is gracious.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Alice Tembo.

Yesterday we had gone to see Mrs Tembo. I had planned to bring the kids to see her today for the first time in two weeks, knowing the time was soon. We left the hospital at around 5:30 and she passed away at 7. No one knew until this morning because her mother, who had been with her at her passing, had no phone and no means of transportation.

Catie said she believed that for Mrs Tembo, seeing Maureen Fanny and I gave her peace knowing her family was going to be taken care of and it enabled her to stop suffering and let go. I don't know that I've recieved a greater compliment. I hope we are able to fill the shoes of mother auntie and caretaker to these children.

 The kids were prepared but are taking it as well as can be expected, and in fact Wisdom has run away. I am sure he needs time to process. Please pray for this family, pray for Fanny and Maureen as they spend says and nights caring for and being there for the family. Pray for myself as I try to find where I fit into this and how I can be of help to each one of these kids, Fanny, Maureen and the family. Pray for the ministry as we decide how to move forward with the kids and what to do next. Pray for Wisdom....

I see my Father's eyes.

Almost another month has gone by. So much happens in these months and it's weird sometimes to think about how I'm the only one who will know what is thought and seen and felt as each of these days goes by.

Mrs Tembo continues to go down hill. From the last time we visited her, she continued to deteriorate. In the middle of the night about a week ago, Nathan booked a cab to rush her to the hospital- knowing full well he had no money to pay for her car or the cab fare. The next day, the cab driver showed up at Curtis and Fanny's demanding that someone pay the fee. He was threatening to beat Nathan and then take him to the police. We paid the fare and dodged that drama but it was a stressful day for everyone. I am so proud of the man Nathan has become. He started university at the same time his mother has fallen so ill. He's juggling caring for his siblings, the stresses of starting college and all the worried and pressures and concerns of that and still manning up to care for his mother as well. I pray God blesses him for how well he is handling the weights that have fallen on his shoulders. Catie, Maureen, Fanny and I went to the hospital yesterday afternoon to see Mrs. Tembo. We were told she was in "critical condition" and it's clear as each week goes by that she is closer to the end. I don't handle these emotional situations very well, and I don't know how to look at such a young woman with family who needs her and know she is leaving them. I feel like the pain in my eyes is too clear to her and I don't want to cause her any more pain herself. This evening after work I will bring all the kids to see her- they haven't seen her since she was admitted because transportation is too expensive.

Catie, Fanny and I took Alex last week to begin his assesments for special placement in school. In the first hour and interview process we got all his forms. He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsey. The woman said it was good that we found him and brought him in because he is very advanced and will be able to do a lot if he is given opportunity. His hands are crumpled and shriveled but he can hold a pencil and write. His hearing is bad but it's there. From there we were given a 5 page packet of forms that have to be filled out- each in a different wing by different doctors or even different clinics/buildings. The hospital is like a whole town in and of itself so it was a full day of driving from building to building. We made appointments for eye exams, ear exams, psych evaluation and followups- (all made for different days a month from now how “convenient”). He was able to do physiotherapy that day because the doctor was available. She asked him questions and he was able to stand on one leg which he was VERY proud of and laughed for a while when we praised him with "well done, good boy". Very pleased with his performance! :)

We had to get some medical/physical stuff done as well. The hospitals policy is that all patients are tested for HIV routinely before they even see the doctor. I went in with Alex alone, as I was dragging him around by the hand most of the day and was in most of his interviews/tests with alone him while C and F waited outside so he'd feel comfortable but not on display. They tested him once, then immediately did it again. I knew that was a bad sign but then they said what I was dreading. HIV positive. He sat there smiling as he had NO idea what was going on... I was there alone with him and just held his hand while they finished up the paperwork. I gave him a wink and he attempted a wink back but it was more of a scrunched up goofy face.

Halfway through the day (and it was a LONG DAY) as we walked down long confusing corridors, something made him laugh and he did a little dance then just burst into laughter- of course it spread like wildfire and we all just stopped walking and laughed. None of us really knew WHY we were laughing but to see this boy with his big gums out laughing at whatever on earth was going on his head was enough to give us the energy to finish the day....

Through all this testing and bad news and diagnosis and a full day of waiting room after waiting room he found something to smile and laugh about and spread that laughter to 3 hungry, tired and irritated ladies... May God bless that boy every day of his life.

We had his cd4 count (white blood cells) taken at another clinic yesterday- so now next week we'll take him to start on medication. Odds are we wont be able to bring him to the camp since it gets worse before it gets better. I'll miss his smile.

Two weeks ago, Derbi and Jayte (my puppies) got really sick. At first we thought maybe they'd just eaten something bad but they stopped eating and started vomiting blood. We brought them to the vet and they were dignosed with Parvo virus and immediately put on IV's and admitted for 4 days. I went the same morning we took Alex to the hospital to pick them up and we got out of the car and Fanny asked how they were. The vet said "no, come in- we'll talk"... and I knew. Derbi didn't make it. He said she had made it up until that morning and when they got there in the morning- she was gone. Jayte was happy to see us and so excited to leave but I bawled in the office. Some people here dont understand the way Americans feel about pets and it was clear that I was making the vet uncomfortable but there was nothing I could do. I excused myself to bring Jayte out to the car and come to terms with it. Derbi was my first puppy. I felt responsible for not getting her to the vet in time for her vaccinations.

I've been having grass planted (the whole yard was just dust when I moved in) and so I've had an older guy who was out of work come and plant/water the grass every day. He's a good man who has become a friend and he's extremely protective of me and my things. He barely speaks English so it's something of a comedy hour every time we try to communicate. It's a mix of english,nyanja nad hand signals but we make due. He's been together with the dogs since he came since he's there all day every day- and when they got sick he was really concerned. When they were in the hospital he asked every day if they were ok. When I came home with only Jayte he seemed genuinely sad for me. He told me he had a dog once that he grew attached to and when he died he was so sad. He said in his broken english "Madame, sorry the ka (small) white one is die. At least it should have be this one (pointing to Jayte). The other one was beautiful. Too bad." I know what he meant but I almost had to laugh at that.... Derbi was a beautiful dog and a rare breed here. Jayte is like a gutter mutt and his breed is a dime a dozen. And bless his heart he kinda looks like a drowned rat. But his personality is so great and hes a sweetheart.

So it's been a month again of a lot of ups and downs. I am so thankful to have had Catie Woodman here through all of it. She's given me a shoulder to cry on when my first puppy passed away, support as we deal with all this other stuff and shes been a great help in the ministry and great company at home. I needed her here. God keeps sending people here to help me cope and I feel underserving but so greatful that He cares for me that much.

My sister Johanna had her first baby on Monday after a long wait for this pregnancy then high risk throughout. It's been especially difficult knowing I wont see that baby until it's not even really a baby anymore.... and I really.... really miss my family right now.

My 26th birthday is coming up... so much more has happened then I thought I would accomplish by this age. I live in a foreign country and directly care for and am blessed to be a part of 45+ kid's lives plus their families. I was sure I'd be married and have kids by now or I would DIE but in fact I am stronger than I thought- dealing with life holding only the hand of the Lord and instead of 2 or 3 kids who look like me He's given me 45 kids who look like him. They have their Father's eyes.

I've been having weird financial “issues”. In the last two months I have had stolen from me or “misplaced” money on 4 separate occasions- adding up to almost 300-350 dollars. I am not sure why, but I feel that the devil is attacking me by financial means. I keep hearing of ministries closing because money dries up and it causes me anxiety, then I had money stolen from me or go missing one after the other- things keep breaking that need to be replaced... Money is tight anyway but these things make it tighter. I think God is teaching me to rely on Him and trust that He's got it all under control. Worry is something I struggle with and in the past few years specifically financial worry. I still believe with all my heart that God put me here in this country, this city, this ministry, this house and on this couch for a purpose. HIS purpose. I know He'll control every aspect of it including the financial so I pray for ease of the sin of anxiety.

Next week we have a 4 day camp/VBS for ALL our kids on a camp site an hour away called Ciyanjano. It will be a LOT of work but I am looking forward to the work and the fun the kids will have. We have a lot planned and Catie will be doing the arts/crafts and messages/lessons on the theme “Power Perfected in Weakness”.

Last night I am picked up Moriah Barr, who is essentially my sister in law (my sisters husband's sister.) I'll see how she's doing but she'll most likely come with us today to check on some results at a few schools, teach a class in the afternoon then taking the kids to the hospital to see Mrs Tembo. I hope I don't completely wear her out but she'll definitely get a taste of the work here and my life today!

There is so much more I want to say- so much I want to talk about. Protasho took a mock exam and failed. He came to me down on his knees saying “I am so sorry, Mommy”. All these little things that make up my day and hurt me or excite me or make me laugh or cry.... there is no way to properly convey them or get them all out there and no one has time to read it all anyway but just know that God is very much at work here- with these kids and these people I work with and relate to who have become my friends and family... God is doing so much more than I am able to portray here. We are too blessed.