Sunday, May 23, 2010

Urgent Prayer Request

About 3 days ago, Bill Rhodes, our surgeon here at Kapsowar, his wife Laura, and youngest son Jude were in a significant accident in the US that totaled their van. They were rear-ended by an 18-wheeler and from the details of the accident, it is indeed a miracle that they are alive. They are all okay and out of the hospital. Jude sustained a head injury but is okay. Please pray for their family as they continue to recover not only physically, but also emotionally. Please pray that their time together will be blessed and that they will take all the time they need and not feel pressured to return here.
Please also pray for us as we try to find coverage at the last minute. I know that the Lord will provide. Thank you for all your prayers!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My hairstylists

Part of what I love about living on the mission station here is all the kids that are around. I have to admit, sometimes the repeated knocks on the door for "sweets" can get old, but I love chatting with them on my way home from work. 3 of the girls have become regulars to my house and love to play with my "mzungu" (foreigner) hair. I reward them with 10 shillings (about 15 cents) and a piece of gum, a cookie, or a piece of candy. Today they decorated my hair with some natural embellishments - leaves from one of the trees in my backyard. They were very proud of their work, but sad later in the day when they saw me without my braids.

Me with Brenda (L) and her sister Chebet

Grace, Brenda and Chebet

Theatre Progress

It's amazing how much work was done on the new theatre while I was gone. It now has a beautiful roof, the ceiling is going in and there are even working lights. You can really start to see how great the new building is going to be. In addition to all of that, there are 3 men here from California who have given a large chunk of their time (almost 2 months) to come and help out (including one who just went home for 5 days for his son's wedding and will be coming back). They have made an unreal number of cabinets and shelving units, painted, and tiled the new floors. They have been such a blessing to Dave, our contractor, who is really feeling the pinch as he has to leave to go back to the US in just a few weeks. The neatest thing has been to see these men teaching the Kenyans new skills that they will be able to use long into the future. They have formed teams and are encouraging one another to work hard and do their best. It's amazing the reach that a building can have in this community.

Doing electrical work in the big OR

A view of OR 1 (left) and a storage room

The main hallway

The beautiful new tile floors

The staff entrances

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Opportunities to Share

While I was in the States, I had the opportunity to share with some special groups of people about the work that the Lord is doing here in Kapsowar. I just wanted to give a special shout out to each one of them.
My first Sunday in the States, I was able to share with 2 groups at once. My parents' small group gathered together at my friend Dee Kotschwar's house along with the board of Orchard Medical Ministries. OMM is a not-for-profit that was started to help support both long- and short-term medical missions. The board is made up of many friends and they blessed me greatly by providing funding for my trip home. It was a great night of food, fun, and fellowship as I shared pictures and stories with them and caught up with many people I hadn't seen in a long time.
While in Evansville, I also shared with Pastor RR's class at Bethel Temple. This was a wonderful surprise, as it wasn't planned much in advance. I also found out that they have been praying for me this whole time and many people were eager to share with me that the Lord had laid me on their hearts. What a blessing they are!
I was also able to share with my church in Indianapolis, Englewood Christian Church. They have been so supportive of my work here, both through prayer and financially, including raising money at Christmas for patient bills and new toys/activities for the childrens' ward. They were excited to hear about what is going on at the hospital and at my local church here, AIC (Africa Inland Church) Rorok. The church here even made a video greeting them, which they were happy to see.
Finally, I was able to speak at morning report for my former residency program at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. It was so great to see my former co-residents and all of my mentors that trained me. I think they were all interested to hear the differences between medicine in the US and here in Kenya and how challenging it can be without many much needed resources. I hope that some of them will one day come here to visit and experience it first hand.
I am so thankful to all of these people for how they have contributed to the work here and how they continue to do so. Your support means more than I can say!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Nina's here!

One of the highlights of my time home was my visit to Ft. Wayne to see my best friend, Amanda Hubartt, and her family. Her kids have been like my nieces and nephew and I was present for the birth of her oldest (Violet, bottom left) and delivered her youngest (Edison). I was also at the airport when they brought Anara home from Kyrgyzstan. They are like family to me and I was really excited to see them. Even better was the fact that I would be getting there on Violet's birthday and Anara's followed 3 days later - and they had no idea.
As I was driving there, I got a call from Amanda saying that Violet had woken up in the middle of the night and told her Grandma that she had to call Nina (their name for me) in the morning to tell her she was 5. So, Amanda wanted me to know that she would be calling, but still thought I was in Kenya. So, she called and excitedly told me that she was still 5 and what her plans were for her big day. I told her that I wished I could be there for it, and she said she did too. About an hour later, I walked through their front door and the girls had the most confused looks on their faces. It lasted a few seconds, and then they screamed and ran to me. What a great reunion! Edison, 18 months old, wasn't too sure at first, but within a day, he was calling me Nina and asking for me when he would hear my voice.
Amanda and I had a great time catching up. It was great to be together again and feel like no time at all had passed. We went to the Ft. Wayne zoo, to an amazing ice cream shop (DeBrand's), shopping, out to eat - all of our normal activities. We also had good time to talk and share. It was a refreshing and encouraging time. We also benefited from her husband's new job at Vera Bradley :) I am blessed to have such great friends who I love dearly!

Practicing for a real African safari at the zoo

Playing the drums at the zoo

A yummy sundae for Vi's birthday

Me with the birthday girl

Anara rockin' out to the new Princess CD player I gave her

Super Eddie!

Amanda and I

Violet, Edison, and Anara at the girls' birthday party

A Blessed Time

I can hardly believe a month has passed since my last post, when I was getting ready to head home. I am now back in Kapsowar (after a very long 3 day trip home with many delays and missed flights) and have been back at the hospital for a week.
What a blessed homecoming it was! My mom, sister April, and new nephew Carson picked me up at the airport. It was so great for them to be the first people I saw when I got off the plane (though it would have been nice if Bethany, my other sister, and Dad could have been there too). It was a wonderful reunion and so exciting to finally get to see Carson, who is just about the cutest baby ever :)

Me with Carson at the Evansville airport

I spent the first week and a half in Evansville with my family (minus Bethany who was in the midst of preparing for finals and working in Indianapolis). It was a very restful time of hanging out, catching up on all the foods I miss while in Kenya (I made it to every place on my list) and spending as much time as possible with little Carson. I was so proud to see April coming into her own as a mother. She is doing a really good job and I know that she loves Carson very much. He is such a good baby and hardly ever fusses. He's pretty cute as well!

April with Carson after a bath - his least favorite activity

Sleeping beauty in his favorite spot

Getting ready for his first trip to church

Taking a nap with Poncho, the family dog

While I was at home, my mom had arranged for a special baby dedication service just for our family. Our home church does dedications once a year, on Mother's Day, which I wouldn't be there for. So, Pastor Dave graciously agreed to hold a special ceremony so I could be there. It was a really special time and great to be able to be there to hear April dedicate Carson to the Lord. I also prayed over both of them that God would be with them as he grows.

At the end of my time in Evansville, 2 of my mom's brothers, my aunt, my grandpa and 2 cousins came to visit. It was a good time together and good to be able to see some of my extended family without having to do too much traveling.

The last half of my time home was split between Indianapolis with my sister Bethany (among other things, see future post) and Ft. Wayne with my best friend Amanda and her family. It was great seeing Bethany and I was just sorry I couldn't have seen more of her. I am so proud of her and all she is doing. She just finished up her sophomore year of college at IUPUI, majoring in political science with aspirations of law school. She had a very busy year - including recovering from major surgery while barely missing any classes - and managed to get nearly straight A's. She also works quite a bit as a server at Buca di Beppo's (go visit her if you're in downtown Indy). We had a good time, though, doing our usual things - going out to eat and going to see movies. I am really praying that at some point she can come stay with me here.

Bethany and I (an older picture)

I am so blessed to have my family and to see God's blessings in their lives. When we first learned of April's pregnancy, we were devastated. It seemed hard to see how it could be a blessing. Now that we have Carson, a bundle of joy, I can see that God can work in any situation. He is already bringing my family closer together and I think he is helping his mom grow up. Please continue to pray for April - for wisdom and direction. Another praise is that my dad recently got a new job. He had been selling cars, a tough business right now, and was not very happy. He starts his new job in a week and is very thankful for it. Praise God for His provisions and His blessings! Saying goodbye was very hard, especially knowing that Carson will be walking by the time I return home. However, in the days of Video Skype, I'm hoping that he will still know who I am :)