Our (dirty?) laundry…Not anymore!

Many years ago (30 now!) when we first came to Nepal, we were told by the Methodist church (our sending agency) that they would pay for certain appliances and necessary items for our home in Tansen.  This list included things like beds, table and chairs, gas cooker/oven, and refrigerator.  However – one item was not included – a washing machine.  At that time, I will admit that no one had a washing machine in Tansen.  That is one of the reasons we had a house helper – to wash all our laundry by hand.  I remember getting blisters on my hands from wringing out diapers during the occasional absence of our house helper, so when my parents came to visit us soon after Hannah’s birth, they brought a “mangle” purchased at an Amish store!  (For those too young to know what this is:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangle_(machine) That was amazingly helpful for our remaining 10 years in Nepal with kids.

During our almost 10 years in the U.S., I once again enjoyed a washer – but I still clung to the habit of hanging our laundry out on lines to dry as much as possible.

In 2012, we returned to Tansen and found that our househelper (same one as before) had aged right along with us, and doing our laundry by hand was harder for her!

So, when a family left Tansen soon after our arrival, we purchased their machine – a simple twin tub washer which you filled with water, washed, moved the clothes to the other tub which was a spinner, then refilled the other side with water to rinse, and then another spin.  It was a good system, but still could use quite a bit of water – even though we drained it into buckets and used it on the garden. It was also a bit time consuming.

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This machine was kindly paid for by good friend of ours in the U.S.  Because, our sending church still did not consider a washing machine as a necessary piece of equipment. Now – I do want to say that Global Ministries and the United Methodist Church are a great supporting agency.  They pay us a salary, give us insurance and support us in many other ways. We are so thankful for them and for many people who support us!  I just find this particular rule a hard one to understand sometimes.

We used to think that washing machines used more water than by hand – but that isn’t always the case.  People here run water from the tap the whole time they are washing – filling bucket after bucket of water.  Frustrating in a place where water can run short.

We moved to another house 4 ½ years ago, and got to use the machine left here – a front loader which was amazing!  It used so little water and was very efficient.  But – it was old, and leaked, and then – right after the lockdown started here – it quit.  So – we had no househelper (due to the lockdown), no washing machine, and no shop open in order to purchase a new one!  I “borrowed” other people’s machines who lived near us to get through this time.  No – I didn’t go back to doing our laundry in buckets.  (Even though we were remembering that way back when I used to wash our laundry by hand even on family vacations in Nepal!  I was younger then…)

So – imagine my delight this past week when shops opened up, and I found just the type of frontloading washing machine that I wanted!  We got our old machine taken out of our house (and had to remove the bathroom door in order to get it out!) and I scrubbed the long-neglected floor under that old machine to prepare to get our new one!  The next day, a “bokne manche” (a person who makes a living carrying things on their backs) was dispatched from the store in the bazaar to bring our machine to our house.  (That walk takes us about 30 minutes only carrying ourselves!)

They brought the machine to the house, and our workshop guys helped us install it.  (They also rehung the door!)  Now – I am so happy to be able to put the laundry in our new machine, and not have to run up and down the hill to where I had been using another machine (which was one of the twin tub types so it meant multiple trips per load).  Sometimes I go and watch our new washer work – just for entertainment! (Les has threatened to put a bow and ribbon on the machine and say that it is my anniversary/birthday present.  Actually – I am okay with that!) 😊

new washer

Life in Tansen goes on – and we are thankful for small mercies, like washing machines!  If you have the time, watch the “magic washing machine” TED talk.  I found it quite fascinating! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sqnptxlCcw

Thanks for your prayers. Thanks for reading this more light-hearted look at our life.  During these days of so many difficulties, we hope it brings a smile to your face.  We think of you and pray for you. Stay well!

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Needed: God’s Mercy and Grace

I have written this blog post at least 3 times – and it just hasn’t been right.  I find it very difficult to put my thoughts into words.  Please accept my rather rambling jottings as I try to share.

This is day 72 of our lockdown in Nepal.  For many, many days, the numbers of patients in the country stayed very low.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, the numbers started rising quickly, and now the positive count is over 2000, with 8 deaths.  On top of that, we actually got our first positive cases here in Palpa on Sunday evening.  Right now, we have 5 positive (but not sick) men in isolation in a small building just outside the hospital.  Our staff is helping keep an eye on things there.  In our isolation room at the hospital, we had one man die yesterday (but his test results haven’t come back yet) and another man waiting also for test results.

The government decided to once again extend the lockdown until June 14, and the airport is closed until June 30.

When the first news came through here about the terrible death of George Floyd, we also learned of 2 young dalit (untouchable caste) men who were killed in a nearby district.  One of these young men had fallen in love with a high caste woman, and he and his friends were on their way (according to Nepali custom) to meet her at her home and then they were going to get married.  The hopeful groom and one of his friends’ bodies were found later by the side of a river.  The other friends had run for their lives. These young men had apparently been beaten to death by high caste villagers who were against an inter-caste marriage.

My heart breaks for those who have no voice.  The poor, the oppressed, the children. I pray for God’s mercy on us all and long for the time when we can care for and love each other better.

I know that many of you are also praying for this world.  I am thankful to so many of you who have loved and supported us and the people of Nepal for so many years.

I am attaching a link to a short video recently put together by our surgical team here.  Thank you, in the midst of all the chaos and need, for taking time to read my words, and to listen to this video. #stillinmission

https://www.umn.org.np/news/844

God Bless You!

 

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One who believed…One who was healed

It was 8 years ago today that we returned to Nepal to serve again at the United Mission Hospital, Tansen.  When we were applying to come again, we had to put down how many years we were willing to be here.  Les said, “10 years?”  I was quite emphatic in my response, “No way!”  And here we are – 8 years gone by already!  I am reminded again that it is good (for me) that God doesn’t tell me in advance His plans!

Last month I was privileged to visit the New Life Psychiatric Rehab Center for a Prayer service for the new building.  It wasn’t quite finished, but people were visiting and it seemed a good chance to gather and thank God for the work done, and pray for the future needs.IMG_3103

The building looks great – it will be wonderful to be able to house more people who are in need of care – those with mental illness or other problems who have no family to care for them, and no other place to get help.  Currently there are 9 clients in the facility, but this will more than double the amount who can stay there.

It was encouraging to see the animals being cared for, and fields and crops being raised and used to help create some financial support for the clients and staff.  It isn’t much, so there is still a big need for gifts from outside to fund the running of the NLPRC, but it was good to see the residents themselves able to do their part.

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I met a man there named Karka.  He had been kept chained up by his family, and was brought into the hospital with deep wounds on his wrists from being kept in bonds.  The bones were visible, and there was so much infection that one of the orthopedic doctors was sure that the hands would need to be amputated.

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Pun Narayan, who is the force behind this center, and also the head of the Pastoral Care/social services department at the hospital, didn’t want to see this amputation happen.  He prayed – and he believed that God could do anything – including the full healing of Karka.

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And it happened!  Yes, he has some scars to remind him of what he went through – but he has full use of his hands and is able to remember that God was the one who healed him.

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I am sure I do not have the faith of Pun Narayan.  I continue to be humbled by our Nepali Christian colleagues.  Even though they always ask us to speak at gatherings, lead bible studies, or teach them, I am constantly thinking that it should be the other way around.  I have so much to learn from them.

Please do continue to pray for the NLPRC – that the new building would be completed soon, and that the staff would remain strong and faithful in their service.  And pray for us to be humble servants willing to be used as God asks.

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Breathless

I’ve been thinking of writing the story of a man who came in struggling so much for breath, that Les and the other doctors didn’t think he would make it.  But as I typed the title, I thought it also described the start of 2020 for us…waiting for our visas!  Many of you know that the hospital agreement with the govt expired on Jan 15.  We did get a 6 month extension, however, that didn’t automatically translate into new visas for the expats.  As we prayed, sent documents to Kathmandu, and waited for word, it really was a rather breathless time!  Would we get to stay?  Have to go to a tourist visa and stop working?  It was unsettling!  But – thanks be to God, we all got visas stamped into our passports on Jan 15 – the day the old visas expired.  Last minute answer to prayer – but we are sure in God’s eyes it was just at the right time.  Please continue to pray for the hospital agreement which needs to be completed soon!

Our good friend, Steve, from Australia, wrote up his version of what happened the night the breathless man came into the hospital.  He is an anesthesiologist who spends a year in Australia working to earn money to support himself here for the next year.  He and his wife have been doing this for probably 10 years now (or more) and we are so thankful for them.  And we miss them when they are not here.  I hope you enjoy his version of events. (This does have medical terms and explanations, but I think the story is still interested to non-medics, too!)  After reading his, I didn’t feel I could say it any better. (Les thought he was spoken of too highly in this version – but I thought it was right on target!)

“My phone buzzed at 4.30am. My anesthetic staff asked could I come to the  High Dependency Unit (HDU) to help intubate at patient with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). ‘Dr Les had asked.’

 I had been deeply asleep and couldn’t put two thoughts together. Dr Les, however, is a walking legend who never asks for anything from anyone, and who can be trusted in that way where you just start assuming whatever he’s asked for is a good thing. The default position is trust and you can discuss it later. I was not in the position to discuss anything – I could barely remember my own name.

The temperature was about 42 outside and probably all of 50 in my bedroom. I fumbled about trying to dress in the dark and not wake Ana. I couldn’t find clothes, I couldn’t make my rapidly cooling body work, I nearly left without glasses without which not a single thing, near or far is in focus. I eventually left the flat and managed to negotiate the 2 padlocked gates, and 50m of downhill cobblestone that separate me from the HDU.

Every day for the previous week, we had had a one hour ‘class’ on HDU. There are only 3 of us in the hospital prepared to care for a ventilated patient, and we are trying to increase that pool, just as I am about to depart it for another 12 months. We have an old ‘home ventilator’, a Puritan Bennett LP6, from the 1980s maybe. While fancy touch screen Evitas have been donated and another old German machine has been donated, it is the LP6 that has outlasted them all. I have lost count of the number of successful snake-bitten patients we have seen through their paralysis with it. We jerry rigged a way to enhance the oxygen intake by attaching a reservoir to the air inlet. It did 5.5 weeks non-stop for Govinda the Guillain-Barré Syndrome patient. It’s proved to be a good choice for our setting – running on electricity not compressed gases, with dials, not electronic controls, with a simplicity and durability that suits our ABG (Arterial Blood Gas) free hospital.

The classes focused on the ventilated patient in our hospital: our protocols, our habits, our successes and failures, our budget and indeed, our LP6 specifically and how to get a healthy but paralyzed patient through the 2 to 6 days that they are ventilator dependent due to their snake bite. The first minutes of the first class were about ‘Who to ventilate’ and I had been pretty blunt in saying we didn’t have the equipment or staff for people who had bad lungs. In fact I admitted that we ended up giving most of our snake bite patients pneumonia anyway, despite them starting off with good lungs. Sure, there was room to change the rules, and the new mother I had ventilated just before the Dashain holidays for 3 days, was a good example. In her case she was badly hypoxic, but all other organs and functions were working well. She was previously well with no diseases – and she was a brand new mom. But the general rule was: Good lungs, single organ or system disease, and for learners: snake bites only.

Dr Les had been in those classes all week. The cold air woke my brain enough to wonder, as I skipped from torchlit stone to torchlit stone, why Les thought it OK to intubate and ventilate a patient with ARDs, and how he had become involved since he wasn’t on call anyway.

My phone rang again – ‘Are you coming?’ – and a few minutes later I arrived to see an older man, breathing like a train, hypoxic, cyanotic, with a good spO2 trace on the monitor behind him, a reliable trace reading 60%. He did not appear to be conscious, did not respond to my voice and had small pupils that were asymmetrical and sluggish. Surrounding him were the medical and surgical juniors on call, the senior medical on call, who was also an HDU class attender, and Les, and the junior anesthetist on call…plus a bunch of family members. He was not only breathing, but he was being bagged – somewhat synchronously by 2 of the junior doctors.

The history was that he was normally healthy and had suddenly become short of breath at 12.30am. It seemed to come out of nowhere – he had been fine the evening leading up to it. In a time-unconscious society, it was interesting that the family could name the exact moment it all started. He had been transported quickly to the hospital, en route, completely inconsolable and tearing his clothes off in the freezing cold air, desperate to breathe. He’d already failed CPAP, and now was failing being bagged in time with his breathing.

I felt a bit of a failure as a teacher. He didn’t look remotely like a patient I said was suitable for ventilation in our little hospital. His brain was not working, his lungs were not working, he was older and as for ‘should have a good chance of recovery’ – he appeared to have no chance. He didn’t look like someone who was going to last the night, or even the next hour. Add on to that a chest Xray that looked like a big heart with some early failure, his ECG a resting tachycardia to 130 with widespread ST and T wave changes – and current BP of 170/70 … I assumed he was dying before us. I suspected a big PE or an AMI. I suspected that an attempt to intubate him would see him die from his profound hypoxia turning into complete anoxia, while the tube was finding its way to the right place. I said: “No. He is not going to survive, and he might not even survive the intubation.”

I don’t like saying no, but we have been down these roads and the implications for the patient, the family, the next patient to land in the HDU, the hospital in general, the morale of the nurses and the 3 of us willing to look after a ventilator and the patient attached to it … no one gains anything except practice in grief. The medical on call had done the right thing I had taught in the ‘class’ – “the decision to intubate and ventilate is a big one and should be shared between a minimum of 2 senior doctors – this is especially helpful when the decision is not to ventilate – you don’t want to make that decision alone – share that grief.” So he was the one that had called the ever helpful Dr Les out of bed. I had also taught: “the anesthesia service is excellent and can intubate your patient for you in the HDU – they are on call 24/7” … which is why the junior partner of the anesthesia on call team was present  … it was her, that had called me. I guess at least some of the things I had taught were learned and being put into practice.

I trialed CPAP again and made the patient worse. I drove the O2 sats down to 40% with a good trace and a color that matched the numbers. I sat him up, put on an oxygen mask, the non-rebreathing  type with reservoir bag, and he returned to 60% with huge breaths, a very long expiratory phase, wheeze and he remained deeply unconscious. The sats didn’t fall and the medical on call told the family yet again he was not likely to live and we couldn’t ventilate him. I left and returned to my day off, as the sun was threatenSteve anesthetisting the horizon.

The next day I asked Dr Les how fast the man died – Did he make it to ward round a few hours after I left? Les said, he did not die, he in fact was about to have a trial off oxygen altogether! I went to the HDU, about 28 hours after I had condemned him to fade away without what I assumed would be a cruel and fruitless intervention, if he was to in fact survive its commencement; – and here he was sitting up in bed, smiling, with a healthy look, easy breathing on room air with saturations in the mid 90s.

If I was a failure as an HDU teacher, then I was an abject failure as a prognostician.”

Just a note to say that Steve is not only a great teacher, but also a great doctor.  He (along with Les) is but one of the doctors here who serve with a humility that never fails to touch my heart.  And – these doctors give thanks many, many times for God intervening to save those patients who we feel are beyond the help we can offer here.  To Him be the glory!!

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Snake Tale

It was a rainy night in early August in a village a couple hours north of Tansen.  Something woke the mom in her typical Nepali mud house – and when she looked over to where her 12 year old daughter, B, was sleeping, something didn’t seem right.  As she lit a lamp in order to see better, she was shocked to see a large snake wrapped around her daughter’s neck!  It was a Krait – and it had bitten her!.  The mom yelled for her husband, and they managed to get the snake off of her and killed it.  They realized they needed to get help as soon as possible.  Calling for an ambulance from where they lived wasn’t possible – so the father hurried out into the night and managed to find a vehicle willing to drive them to Tansen.  They started off towards the hospital.  Unfortunately, the car broke down after some way.  They got out and found another vehicle and continued on in the dark and the rain.  This next car ran out of gas…but the third vehicle finally made it to the Emergency Room at Tansen Hospital.  By now, this young girl was struggling.  The Krait is the type of snake which causes paralysis of the nerves – and it was getting hard for this girl to continue to breathe.  Within minutes of her arrival in the ER, she had to be put on a ventilator as she was no longer able to breathe on her own.  She was moved to the HDU (High Dependency Unit), where she was given multiple doses of anti-venom, and the prayers for her healing began.

Les was doing rounds the next morning with the medical team, and saw B on the ventilator.  Her face, neck, and breathing muscles were completely paralyzed from the snake venom.  This made her look unconscious, except that she was able to weakly squeeze a hand when asked to do so, and to wiggle her toes a little. Her mother, who had stayed at the bedside all night, was convinced that her daughter was as good as dead, and was quite despondent despite assurances that she would now likely recover.  As they were checking her, they realized that perhaps she shouldn’t be a medical (adult) patient – Her mother said she wasn’t 14 as her chart said, but only 12.  So – she was taken over by the pediatrician and his team of doctors.  She has had a long journey back to health – she will hopefully be discharged in the next few days from the hospital.  She took a long time to get off the ventilator, and then developed a pneumonia which required intravenous antibiotics.  However, we are so pleased that B has survived and is now thriving and almost ready to go home.  Her smile lights up the Pediatric ward and warms our hearts.  Her family will be able to return to life in the village – and won’t go with a huge debt over their heads thanks to the generous giving of so many friends from around the world who support the Medical Assistance Fund.  Thanks for your continued prayers for Tansen hospital – and for B and her family.b-snake-bite.jpg

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Hope even in sorrow

We are so thankful for the prayers and responses to our last blog about the little girl born so very early.  We are sorry to say that she only lived about 4 days.  We don’t understand all of the ways God chooses to work – why He sometimes intervenes miraculously, why He sometimes slowly works over a long time, and why He sometimes seemingly doesn’t respond to our prayers.  But – we have hope – hope in God’s love for us and for all the patients who come to our hospital.  We have hope that these young, grieving parents will remember the care that was given to their little daughter, and hope that they will feel the compassion of the staff here at the hospital.

We also continue each day to serve with hope – in the face of so many sick people with so many needs.  This morning at church, we rejoiced to hear the story of a young woman who came to the hospital thinking she would need surgery – but when she was examined again, there were no signs of the trouble she had been having.  She credits her healing to prayer – and we know that many prayers are answered here each day.

We continue to teach others in hopes that they will continue the work here after we are gone.  Les just finished another ALSO (Advanced Life Saving Obstetrics) course – so now more moms and babies will be able to be saved in difficult situations.

Thanks again for your prayers – they are vital for us!  God Bless You!

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Prayers for a Preemie

Les was on call the other night – when he came home for supper, he asked for prayers for a lady who was only 27 1/2 weeks along and in labor.  We don’t have an NICU here – we have just a few incubators and lots of prayer.  Later that night, the call came and Les went for the assisted breech delivery.  After 55 minutes of ventilating by hand the tiny girl and praying constantly, she took a breath!  This little one weighed in at 1090 grams – just a couple of pounds.Preemie girl.1

Les took the above photo of the baby about 14 hours after she was born.  This is the first child for this young couple – the mom is only 20.  They live about 3 hours from here (by vehicle) out in a remote area of Palpa district.

Preemie girl

Today (above photo), the baby is on IV fluid and oxygen in the incubator – but she continues breathing on her own.  (We don’t have ventilators for newborns.)  She still has a long way to go before she is out of the woods.

Please pray for this little baby and her parents – for healing, strength, and that God would be glorified through this little girl.

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Giving Thanks

This morning I was in the weekly devotion/prayer meeting in the administrative department of the hospital, listening to our Nurse Supervisor talk about 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18. I was struck again by verse 18 – “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” In these past months (in which I haven’t written anything – sorry!) how many times have I forgotten to give thanks for whatever circumstance I have been in? We have had some wonderful “highs” in these past months – enjoying family time celebrating our oldest granddaughter’s 3rd birthday; watching Rachel (our oldest daughter) graduate with her Master’s in Social Work; celebrating Hannah (our youngest) getting her visa so she could go back to England to be with her husband; having Rachel here with us in Tansen for almost 2 months…Those were easy times to be thankful. Then there were the other times… watching Hannah have to wait 4 long months in the U.S. while Nathan was in UK; mourning the unexpected deaths of several hospital staff here; being discouraged over difficulties with visas; late monsoon arrival, along with floods and landslides; and just finding it difficult at times to balance living in two worlds – missing one while in the other! (U.S. and Nepal)

Being thankful at all times is not easy – trusting that God is good through the hard times and remembering that the good times are blessings from Him.

Les and I recently celebrated 35 years of marriage. It is hard sometimes for us to believe we have had so many years together! But – while we were in the U.S., we were so happy to be at the 75th wedding anniversary celebration for my great aunt and uncle. Now that is amazing! Truly a time to thank God for all those memories and experiences and life together – both the good and bad times. They have been married for longer than our hospital has been serving here in Nepal! This year, United Mission Hospital Tansen is celebrating 65 years.

We are thankful for you – thanks for your prayers, your notes, and emails, and for your support. We ask your prayers especially for the Hospital agreement with the government here which expires in Jan 2020. We know it is all in God’s Hands – but we know that your prayers make a difference! It is our hope that this hospital on the hill would continue to follow its motto, “We Serve, Jesus Heals”.

If you are interested, here is a link to an article about our family and the Methodist Mission 200 year celebration.
https://www.umcmission.org/share-our-work/news-stories/2019/april/may-all-who-follow-find-us-faithful

Happy 3rd Birthday to our beautiful first granddaughter.

Congrats to Rachel on her hard earned Masters in Social Work!

Even the mountains appeared in monsoon to welcome Rachel to Nepal!

Flooding in the Terai area of Nepal

Huge rocks blocking road between Tansen and Butwal. One person died at this slide.

65 years! With hopes for many more years of service.

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Words and Water

Lately I’ve been stretched in my language abilities here.  I have never been as comfortable speaking in front of groups (in Nepali) as Les, and really preferred not to do it.  However, lately it seems that God has had other plans!

Every Monday morning, I’ve been going to the workshop (maintenance department) for their meeting and devotion time.  For a long time, there was a Nepali Christian who did a wonderful devotional each week, but he has retired.  Since then, one of the other staff has been reading a short bible passage, but not really doing any sharing or explaining.  So, I offered (in a moment of insanity) to bring a short devotional each week.  (They had asked me previously, but I had declined…)

Debbie with Workshop (Maintenance) staff

On Sunday afternoons, I had been attending a ladies bible study, and for a long time we just read a bible passage together and talked about it.  But recently, they needed more leadership, and again – in a moment of craziness – I agreed to use a bible study book on Abigail that I have and lead each week.  (The book is in English – I do a loose translation to get the discussions going!)

Bible study with another friend starting things off.

My prayer is that the words that I say will be both understandable, and will be glorifying to God.  But as usual – I end up getting more inspiration from the people attending these groups than what I offer.  Recently we were talking about how sometimes God surprises us by answering prayers we haven’t really even spoken.  One of the ladies shared about trusting God and obeying him and having a surprise following that obedience.

Many of you know that water is a problem in Tansen.  (By the way, this year we have had some good winter rains, so we are happy for that.  Thanks for your prayers!).  In Nov/Dec, when it was very dry, this lady was due to go to church on Sat morning and was leading the children’s class that day.  Just about the time that she was due to leave, the water started coming at their house tap.  This tap is shared among the people living in the house, so everyone has to line up with buckets, basins, etc in order to save the water to use for the coming days.  This lady filled a bucket, but then had to leave for church – realizing that she might not have enough water to last her through the coming days.

Kids carrying containers to get water from tap

Containers in line at the tap

When she returned from church, she found all of her buckets, basins, pails, etc, filled with water and waiting for her!  Turns out that her landlady had seen that she wasn’t there, and had taken the time and effort to fill all her containers so that she would have water.

It seems that when God asks us to do something for Him – he will take care of the other needs in our lives.  I pray that he will “fill” my language abilities as he filled this woman’s water containers!

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Don’t give up

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justice, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”
We are one week into the New Year – 2019 is rushing by as quickly as previous years have done. We have really enjoyed hearing from many of you at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thank you! The above quote was in one of the Christmas letters we received, and it has really stuck with me. We are so often overwhelmed by the needs around us. By the patients who don’t get well. By the struggles of families to feed and house themselves. By the hatred and anger that seems so prevalent in the world and throughout social media.
At our bi-weekly English service this past week, we shared the story of “The Other Wise Man” by Henry Van Dyke. It is one of my favorites, and it reminds me that Christmas isn’t the end of the story. And that not all circumstances surrounding Christmas were happy. We also looked at a painting of the Massacre of the Innocents – and remembered the grief of parents then and now who faced the loss of a child.
Here in Tansen, there have been several babies and children who have died while under care in the hospital. Les recently spent multiple hours trying to revive a newborn baby – but it wasn’t possible. It is devastating to us all – but especially the parents who go home empty handed. We ask ourselves – “Are we making a difference by being here?” We encouraged our gardener to get a needed operation (but not an emergency one). She was the 1 in 100 who had complications which now require more surgery and probably travel to another hospital. We ask ourselves – “Are we just causing more grief by being here?” We have multiple friends asking us for money – for children’s education, for needed housing, for medical issues….. We ask ourselves, “How can we ever do all of this? Will the work ever be done?”
Daily we need to remind ourselves – Do justice – in all the ways we can. Love mercy – for all the people we encounter. Walk humbly – knowing that only God can make a difference, and being thankful when He chooses to use us in a small way.
We are not obligated to complete the work – but we cannot abandon it! Keep the faith! Happy New Year.

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