May 31, 2013

The Power of Prayer

One reason medicine in Africa is a drawing factor to us is the reliance we must have on God's hand.  There are many times when medicine is not available or procedures are not a possibility, and all we can do is pray.  This has also been a tough thing because it stretches us and it is difficult when the answer is not as we pray or hope.  But we believe, and continue to believe, that there is power in prayer.  We want to share a few ways we have seen that very evident in the past few months and even just in this week.

A young woman became our friend right soon after we arrived at Karanda.  She helped Dontie out in the classroom and Luke grew very attached to her.  After a number of months, she and her family moved away.  However, we get to see her from time to time as she returns for visits.  Several months ago, she announced that she was pregnant with her third child.  Her two former pregnancies had been very difficult and her boys were both born prematurely.  With each pregnancy she has struggled with dangerously high blood pressure during her 3rd trimester.

Just last week, she came out with very high blood pressure and an emergency C-section was conducted.  Baby boy #3 was born early and very little (3 kg), but strong.  However, our friend started going downhill.  She began oozing blood inside and it wouldn't stop.  It is a clotting problem called DIC.  This is the same thing that happened to the mother of the little girl we wrote about a number of months ago who died.  DIC is a dangerous thing anywhere in the world, but particularly dangerous here where there is a shortage of blood and only whole blood is able to be given.  Our friend received 5 units of blood (mostly given by nurses and staff here) and she teetered dangerously close to death.  People surrounded her praying for her healing.  She is well loved here and she had great numbers of people who were continually bringing her before the Lord, asking for complete healing.  It was just this past weekend that she was in critical condition.

Today, I went down to visit our friend, and found her cuddled close to her little boy and smiling.  She knows she should not be alive, BUT SHE IS!  That is God and only God!  We spent some time rejoicing and thanking God for her life and the life of her sweet little boy as he grows stronger each day.   James 5:16 encourages us, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

The awesome thing is that prayer is not only for adults and "spiritual giants", but God's power is evident even in the answer to a child's prayer.  Matthew 18:4 says, "Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  Many of you know we have been struggling over the past number of months with continual outbreaks of abscesses.  Every one in our house has had them, and the treatment for them is painful.  Leena had a series of 3 on her face just at 3 weeks old, and had to have them cut open and drained.  Just a couple of weeks ago, little Christopher had one pop up on his stomach area and it got nasty overnight.  Unfortunately, he knows what it takes to get them better and he has become very fearful of them.  We prayed that night over his sore and he continued on in prayer, with all his heart, that God would heal it and it wouldn't have to be cut open.  The next morning, the redness had reduced in size and even though Christopher did have to squeeze it, he didn't have to go down to the hospital and have it incized.  Little Christopher continued to pray each day for healing, and within 2 days it was almost gone.  This was the prayer of a child!  We thank those of you who have surrounded us, over the ocean, praying for our healing.  Your prayers have touched us and as of right now we are all healthy.  Thank you for praying over us and know there is still power in prayer, even from the mouths of babes.

May 30, 2013

African Mother's Day and Vacation

This has been an exciting month getting to share our life here with family.  Christopher's mother visited us for just over two weeks.

 A part of her time here was over Mother's Day and what a special Mother's Day it was for Dontie.

After church, the women's group came to our house singing and dancing.  They surrounded Leena and Dontie in a time of prayer and blessing as a welcome to Leena.  There was a spiritual challenge given to Dontie as a parent and the pastor's wife blessed our sweet girl.  This meant so very much to Dontie to have the women share this special time with her and for Christopher's mother to experience it as well.  We then were invited to a traditional Shona meal at the home of one of the church ladies.  What a treat!

After giving Christopher's mom a good rural exposure to Zimbabwe, we headed off for Victoria Falls on a 12 hour busride!  Victoria Falls is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.  We stayed in a lodge that's walls opened up onto the gamepark like a tent and wild animals just wandered around in our "yard".

warthogs everywhere around the lodge

We were able to relax and also fill our time with fun explorations of the area around us.  Here are some of the animals seen on a safari that Christopher and his mom took for a day.

 A kingfisher bird

Giraffe with oxpeckers on his neck

Wonderful views of hippos

This is an area of Africa where there are many elephants.

A male kudu
We enjoyed learning about the Ndebele culture (the tribe of this part of Zimbabwe),

 and then Christopher bungee jumped off the third tallest jump in Africa.

After all that excitment, we walked the trail around the falls and were thoroughly soaked as the mist (which at points was like a rainshower) billowed up from the powerful falls.

We are so thankful to have the chance to get away and enjoy another area of Zimbabwe, making memories, and sharing them with family.

May 3, 2013

Under Construction

The past two weeks have been exciting around Karanda.  Our hospital has been dealing with water issues and shortages for quite some time now, and we were finally able to get enough funds to have a new borehole drilled.  The boreholes we already have not only provide water for the hospital and the staff living on the compound, but also for the community around us who come in to collect water.  So we have struggled to have enough even to make it through half a day each day.  We are hoping that with a new borehole, we will be able to meet the growing needs and have enough water to make it through the dry season (which has now started and lasts through mid-November).  There was much excitement as a truck with an air compressor on it and the drilling "rig" came onto our compound!

Setting up to drill. Check out the HUGE air compressor in the truck by the tree! It was very loud!

A few of the spectators.  This was before the great cloud of rock dust erupted and everyone ran screaming!

This is just a little bit of the rock dust that was all over the compound.

The other exciting construction event was one of completion.  The new Male Ward had its opening day on Tuesday, April 30th.

 This has been a project in the making since 1980.  It was a need that never had sufficient funds to see it to fruition, until now.  Back in 1980, the then used male ward started meeting its limits in occupancy.  This has been a continuing problem over the past 30 years.  There were many who were praising God as the ribbon was cut signifying the opening of a beautiful new building.

The nurses' station.

Spacious and bright rooms

Of course we had to have an opening ceremony for the boys' room so that they too could cut a ribbon!

In our house there is always something under construction, whether that is legos, train tracks, or some sort of boat made out of beds and toy boxes.  On this day, we were superheros saving the people of Karanda from bugs and imaginary bad guys!

Leena Grace is now 2 1/2 months old.  She keeps growing and fills our house with coohs and great smiles.  She is a joy to us!

We are looking forward to the numbers of volunteers and work teams scheduled to come out over the next 2 months.  This will keep our compound very active and exciting!  Keep praying that our lives will show the construction God is doing in each of us and that we will remain a work in progress.