Thursday, August 26, 2010

God at Work today

We went back to the clinic today with little Memory, the 8yr old girl who tested positive for HIV last week.
We went to her house to pick her up and she went inside to change into a nicer dress. She came out onto the step and was trying to reach behind her to zip the rest of the dress up, so I helped her and then told her she looked nice.
The dress was clean but it had a big tear across the sleeve. Her hair had been fixed into sections and looked nice, though when I commented on it later she told Fanny that it hurt her head. I think it was too tight.

They took 3 vials of her blood to get further tests done. To determine her liver function and her levels to know what type of treatment to start her on.
They had to take it out of her hand and her arm and she did not even wince or cry or move. I could not believe it. We tried to talk to her and get her mind off the blood being drawn. I had an extra cookie that I gave her and that seems to help.

We then went back into the doctors office and he said the results would be ready on Saturday. Then he told Fanny and I that the Director of the clinic wanted to speak with us.
We both though, "oh no...".

It is a small private clinic. And so we didn't know if he was going to be asking us alot of questions about the girl or what.
The director wanted to meet us and ask us about the orphan program and what we did. Fanny mostly explained it and then he said that his clinic is run on God's good will and that if we are helping the vulnerable he can not have a good conscience in making a profit off of us. So then he told us to make a list of the 11 children we are helping and bring that in to him. He will then make cards with each child's name and anytime they need to come in, with or without us, they can come and the clinic will only charge us what something is at cost value. The medicine direct at cost, and bloodwork/labs, only what it costs them to process those labs.

We told him thank you! And rejoiced at what God did for us and the children today!

As I was paying the bill in the waiting room I looked over at the TV and saw a nature show that was on. As I watched for a moment I noticed the beautiful scenery and the bears and knew it had to be something from Yellowstone or Montana. Once you have seen that beauty you can easily recognize it!
I looked back at the man attending to my bill and then slowly looked back at the TV and then back to the man.
It is hard to explain what I was feeling, as I stood there for just a couple of minutes. But I will try...

Last night I was having an especially hard time. Things here are just hard. I was missing my dear friends, and my 1115 Tatum Road house. ( Affectionately called Potato Road by Jackson)
We had some people over for dinner and we were mentioning places in America and that the most beautiful place we have lived was Montana.
Earlier in the day Emma found a little photo album we had prepared when we went to Ukraine of the kids and the bedrooms and our house. And then I saw the nice carpet...And the green grass and our house and it made me sad.

We have seen some amazing things here. But the day to day scenery and what I look at now, just doesn't compare. I used to look out my dining room window at the beauty of rolling hills, pastureland, sunsets. Peace and Quiet. Now I look out my dining room window and see some brown grass and a grey concrete wall. And on some nights we hear loud music from a local bar, dogs and other animals barking, cars whizzing past, and even this past week, two car wrecks late at night right on the road we live on. Not quite "peace and quiet".

But these things do not compare with what the Lord has given us to do here.

In Hebrews 11: 24-26 Referring to Moses it says,
" choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God...considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. "

We are getting close enough to the people here to "share" with them in their suffering and affliction. And that is a greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. ( or the treasure, beauty, convenience and ease in America)

So today my Heavenly Dad showed me this and reminded me again of HIS greatness and worthiness. It was a "God moment" as the phrase goes. Where I so clearly knew this was here for that specific reason and He was using it to encourage me.
And with a few glances back and forth to the beauty I saw on the TV screen and then to the face of a little girl and the opportunities all around me, I felt the "Peace and Quiet" once again in my heart and soul.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010



Scroll down and see the post. We had internet trouble and I was unable to move the post, because it is one I started 2 weeks ago and just finally was able to get it up.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Life changing day

Have you ever been with a friend, loved one or even a total stranger when they have heard or experienced a life changing event or received news that changed their life?
Maybe it was good news, something exciting that changed their life, their marriage, birth of a child, a new job offered...
Maybe it was something terrible. The death of a child, the news of infertility, the death of a spouse or loved one, loss of a job that left them with nothing...

This week I was with a little girl, 8 years old, and experienced news that will forever change her life.

Thursday Maureen and I went to meet Fanny in Kabanana to check on a couple of the kids we are sponsoring.
We went to visit one girl who is 8 years old. She has been sick off an on for the past couple years. So this time she was vomiting and not keeping anything down for 3 days. Her mother took her to a local clinic and got some medicine but that did not seem to help. So we asked to take her to the clinic to get looked at. The idea behind part of this was to see if we could test her for HIV, without coming out and asking the mother to take her for an HIV test.
We first tried the local compound clinic and were there an hour being taken everywhere in many different offices but not accomplishing anything before we were taken to another office to ask another person if this was the right place to get a test.

A woman there said before they even test they need to do counseling. We tried to explain that this was for a child and an orphan so why did we need counseling before a test. The woman than became irritated and said she was being nice and doing us a favor to offer the counseling now because it was later in the day. At that point we said ok thank you maybe we will come back another day and then decided after that to go to a local private clinic.
We drove there and walked right in. The doctor saw her right away and asked many questions about her health and what was currently going on with her.
After discussion with him he checked her out and then wanted to do a HIV test.

He led us to another room where we went in and sat down and he pricked her finger and did the test. He mentioned that she did not seem to have much blood.
She did great. I later told her how brave she was and that I almost always get weak and dizzy and pass out when I have my blood taken. He then took us back to his office and we waited a few minutes until he came back in.

He said a few things and then said, the test was positive. She is HIV positive.

At that point, I did not know what to feel or think. We suspected she was, but there we sat in an office, this little girl sitting on Fanny's lap and the doctor told us news that would forever change her life.
He then went out to get some medicine and Fanny and I just looked at each other,not knowing what to say. Here we were to hear this news and the girl seemed to have no idea what was going on.

It's hard to know what to say.
I never expected I would be sitting across from a doctor hearing him speak the news that the test was positive.

Once we got her some medicine to help with the current situation, he told us to come back in a week to begin several test to determine her levels and liver function and things of that nature.

We then had to think through how to tell the mother. This child is a single orphan, (father died) but does have a mother.
So how do you tell a mother that we found out her child is HIV positive? Fanny and Maureen discussed how to tell the mother and as we were driving back Fanny said she was so glad that all 3 of us were going there together. When we got to the girls house, though the mother was not there and all of us had to leave so Fanny ended up having to tell her later by herself. Thankfully she took it well and said she was expecting maybe that was the case, she just asked that she be able to come with us the following week to the appointment. (To which we said yes).

As I got home and was telling James about the events of the day we discussed the sadness and soberness of this day.
The day that this little 8year old girls life was changed. And I was there as a witness to it all.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Throwing Food!

Grace has done very well this week. We have marveled at how smooth the transition is going (for now) and how she is feeling like this is her home. She has been playing with the other kids more each day and is now comfortable to be out of my sight for a short period of time. She played with the girls some outside today and then watched the boys building things with their legos.

She has enjoyed riding in the car and looking out the window and singing!

The last few mornings James has gotten her when she woke up and given her breakfast. (freeing her from the crib and giving food has been the "way in" for Daddy).

The first several days she was here after she ate her meals in the highchair she would hand me her plate but then take out a little piece of food that was left and hold onto it for a long time. If it was a piece of bread she would walk around with it for almost an hour just holding it. She tried to walk off with a bowl of oatmeal, that obviously didn't work so I took that away only after I had given her some crust from a bread.

I think it was her security. To know that this is still her food and she has something left. She still gets irritated and anxious and cries if her food is taken away and she is not done, or if she thinks she is not going to get something.
This is obviously part of living in an orphanage. We have heard that many times kids especially older ones will hid food in their highchair or their rooms, because it is a big issue.

Yesterday I noticed something though. Grace has begun to do what many babies do when they are done eating, and that is throwing food off the high chair and onto the floor. Throwing her cup onto the floor when she is done.

I can not tell you how HAPPY I am to see this.
Not for the mess on the floor that it makes, or the game that throwing the cup down then becomes.
But because this means something more.
This means that she is beginning to know that she will always have food here. If she is thirsty she can have a drink. That she doesn't have to fight for her meal, that it will be taken away from her or that there will not be enough.
I think she is learning that we will provide food and drink for her every day and as much as she needs AND as she wants.
This is reason to celebrate and throw your pasta on the floor!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lusaka Ministerial College Luncheon

Last Saturday we had a college luncheon for the students and their families.
The first term for the newly established Lusaka Ministerial College ended last Friday.

It was nice to meet all the different pastors and their wives and children.
It was an interesting day. Lunch started at 1:00. We arrived a few minutes early and of course no one was there yet. About 1:30 maybe there were 4 or 5 out of the expected 80 people.
The kids were all getting hungry and so I put Grace on my back and walked over to the ntemba (little store) across the dirt road from where we were meeting. I found some biscuits and a few other snacks. I paid for the items and the woman said, "I like you". I told her thank you and then we exchanged names and I walked back.

When I got back the number of people had grown and so I went around meeting the pastors and their wives.
Each taking their seats in the shade in separate areas. The kids all were sitting around the table in the sun.
We waited 2 more hours before the meal that was planned for 1:00 arrived.

Men waiting

Ladies waiting

During that time James talked with the men, I tried to exchange a few words with the women but did not feel very successful at that. I sat down near a group of teenage girls and we talked a little bit. I kept checking on the kids and they were trying to get a game of "touch" (tag) going with the kids. They all just stared at them and when asked said no they didn't want to play.
So Ian and Caleb chased each other around. Some of the kids smiled and laughed a little bit. I had given them some biscuits (cookies) earlier and so I went back to ask them if they wanted to play. By now they all had been waiting at least an hour so I said, "come on don't you want to play". A few of the younger ones looked and half way said yes, so I got them to start playing and then some of the girls joined in. It was a tough crowd though, but I was so glad at our kids response and trying to get them involved.

Meanwhile Grace wandered around, but mostly wanted me to be holding her. So I put her in the chitenge on the back and the side. I know I was being watched by the women the entire time. And I was a bit self conscious of it as well. Not in an unkind way, but what else was there to do than to stare at the white women with the black baby on her back. Grace did very well for her first outing with the family. It was longer than we expected , and she ate a bunch of biscuits to keep her happy.
When lunch finally arrived while the caterers were setting it up James had each pastor introduce his family and then we sang a couple songs and then prayed and ate.

Pastors singing

Group of pastors

Some of the pastors and their families

Peter Banda

Gilbert Musonda
(This man was so sweet, when he came up to introduce his family, he said something about his wife and then leaned over and gave her a kiss. This is very unusual for Zambian culture as you will hardly ever see any physical public displays of affection)

Evans Nguni

Alick Phiri

Diamond Mumba

Emmanuel Chanda

While the children were in line first, almost every pastor came over with their wife and each wanted a individual picture of James and I standing with them. Pastor Chirwa was taking the pictures.
Then the men together then the women together. It felt so strange. After we ate, a few more came over and wanted a picture of James with their children. One woman just stood next to me and looked at me the whole time. That too was a bit awkward. I smiled at her and then looked away. I think this has happened to James a few times so he was used to it. Still new for me though.

It was nice to meet everyone. I think everyone was glad to be there and enjoyed the fellowship and the food. James said it was probably the nicest meal many of them would have had in awhile.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Welcome Home!

Today we welcomed GRACE ANNAMARIE into our family!

GRACE - God has been gracious to her in giving her a family and gracious to us in giving her to us. (and I have always liked the name)
ANNAMARIE- My dear grandmother that just passed away was named Anna. Marie is my mother's middle name ( who I love even more!).

We had 3 different offices to go to today and pick up papers have them sign off on them and give us a file. As each time went smoothly and relatively easily we thanked the Lord for answering prayer!
The first office today was the Magistrate Court to pick up the Commital order allowing us to bring her into our home and foster her to adopt her. As we drove away I read through the papers and was struck by a statement. The social worker stated that she is a child in dire need of care.

After lunch we left to go to the Social workers office and get the letter to take to the Orphanage.
We all waited in the car while James ran in to get the handwritten letter stating that we could take her home.

We dropped the letter off at the main orphanage and they called over to Grace's orphanage. They were told we were coming and to prepare her for leaving. When we arrived ( only about 10 minutes later) Most of the workers or the day were in the Living Room and Grace was sitting there on the directors lap in a cute skirt, shirt, socks that matched and shoes. I didn't know they provided her going home outfit and had never seen her or any of the other kids dressed that nicely. I had anticipated going into her classroom, finding her all runny nosed, wet and mismatched and taking her into the room and cleaning her up and dressing her in a new outfit.
By the time we arrived everything was done and we were only there about 15 minutes.
I had also bought cookies and candy for the other kids and so I gave that to the Director. I didn't see the other kids, they were in the back in one of the rooms.

They welcomed us in and told us to sit down. Saying what a happy day this was and that we had come to bring her home!

We both had to sign a paper stating that we were taking her and then that was pretty much it.
I am assuming a few more papers to sign in a few months when the adoption is finalized, but that was all for today.

They wanted to pray for her before she left. Two of the women prayed for her and the second one prayed in the vernacular language and very passionately. My heart was full and I cried.
One worker said this was her "baby". I found her in the bedroom sitting on the bed alone. Grace went in there to see her and I followed. I told her it was very happy but probably sad for them too because they do love her. Then she told me of the special attachment and affection she had for "Carol". She held her a minute and then walked out to the kitchen and closed the door behind her. Grace started crying for her. She came back out and said she was sorry and I told her no that is fine.
She held her again while we prayed and then the director took her from her, Grcae started crying and she said, "Come. Today we go". and walked her outside to the car to say goodbye.

As soon as we got to the car I pulled out the books for her to be familiar with them.

Then I picked her up and we put her in the car seat. I sat right next to her and waited a few minutes to see how she was going to do before I buckled her in.

We waved goodbye and drove away slowly

For most of the trip she stared out the window looking a little afraid and holding onto her cup.

We got home and I carried her in to the Living Room. Then the kids brought out things for her to play with and give to her.
They were so excited today!

Giving something to daddy

We gave her a special teddy bear. We told her we made it for her two years ago before we even knew her, but that it was for her. The kids also made her a crown with her name on it and put it on her head.

Caleb following her around

She was very happy to be eating. We put her in the high chair and gave her her food right away. She smiled and laughed the whole meal. When I thought she was done and asked her I took the plate off the tray and started to get her out and she started crying. She was not done. So I gave her the plate back and waited a few more minutes and then tried again and this time it was ok, but she took her cup with her and a piece of bread.

After dinner we gave her a toothbrush that she started chewing on and brushing her teeth with and then gave her a quick bath. She was hesitant to sit down in the water but after a few minutes she did and did great.

Then about 7pm I took her to her room to try and put her to bed. I held her awhile, sang, walked around ( don't have a rocking chair) and tried to get her to fall asleep. After about 15-20 minutes she fell asleep. I laid her down and she woke up crying. So I picked her back up and then I held her again. Then I laid down on Emma's bed holding her and she stayed asleep. I left her there for a little bit and then moved her to her crib. Success! She is now sleeping sweetly in her crib.

Wow. She really is here!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pictures from the week at CMC

Pastors Robert Elliot and Brian Borgman left yesterday morning to fly home.
They had a very full week and a half here. Here are some pictures.

During the week they were both teaching at the Copperbelt College. Sunday Robert preached at Central Baptist in Luanshya where Pastor Hakanyaga is and Brian preached at the church in Ndola. They flew back to Lusaka on Saturday morning and then went to the Agricutural Show, which is a major happening for the country, every year. They managed to see the President and experience some of the Zambian culture.

Sunday Brian preached at Emmasdale church where Issac Makashinyi is pastor and in the evening at Lusaka Baptist Church where Ronald Kalifungwa pastors.
Robert preached in the morning at KBC, where we attend and Conrad Mbewe pastors and in the evening at Mount Makulu Baptist Church where Victor Kanyenze pastors. It was a full day and week for both of these men. We know the Lord blessed their ministry at both the college and in the churches where they preached, but also to our own family and in our home. We were blessed with wonderful fellowship and encouragement. It was a delight to have them both here.
We can't wait for our next visitors end of September!

Copperbelt Ministerial College

Choolwe Mwetwa, Robert Elliot, Brian Borgman, Kabwe Kabwe

Men at Copperbelt College taking a break



Brian at Grace Baptist Ndola

Robert in Luanshya

Brian the following Sunday at Emmasdale

and Lusaka Baptist Church. They just moved into their new building. It is huge. We came it at the end which is why we were sitting way in the back and the picture is from far away.

Robert Elliot at KBC

With Victor Kanyenze and James

With Pastor Mbewe

With Pastor Kalifungwa