Monday, December 24, 2007

1 Corinthians 15:55

We received a text message Saturday morning at 06:42 from Peggy Dlamini, our teacher at Murray Camp. She had just gotten news that Sthembiso had passed away. Sthembiso was one of the volunteer cooks at Murray Camp. At a clinic Teresa and Rajni did last week at Makholweni, Teresa had commented on seeing Sthembiso and how absolutely frail and weak she was. Sthembiso had been on ARV's for six months. Here, you are not started on ARV's until your CD4 count is less than 200. To understand this, you have to realize that by that time you are already exhibiting major AIDS symptoms. For Sthembiso, being forced to wait to start ARV's didn't help her.

The good news is that Sthembiso is now with her Lord and Saviour. We met with her family this morning to offer what prayer, comfort and support we could. We offered some Emalangeni towards the funeral and coffin. She is survived by her mother (in South Africa) and father, grand father and at least one brother. She was in her mid twenties. She had three children, all of whom died before reaching their one year birthday.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Helpless II

While we were at the Maphiveni Christmas party, I received a call from one of our new teachers at the Fonteyn CarePoint in Mbabane. He was extremely upset, and said that one of the children had swallowed a metal object and was choking. I asked him if she was breathing and if he remembered the Heimleck maneuver that I had just taught them in class last week. She was breathing, but could not speak. He said that he did remember, but she was lying on the ground face down. I instructed him to stand her up if she was still conscious and try the maneuver. At that point I went to be alone and pray. I asked the Lord to please save her and not to let her die. I then called an ambulance to go to the CarePoint. The next call I received was good news! Praise the Lord! The metal object was out! He said that he couldn’t get her up off the ground, so he did back blows like we learned to do with babies, and it worked, the object came flying out of her mouth! I asked if she was ok and he said that she was crying because she was afraid, but she was fine otherwise.

God’s timing is perfect! This teacher was amazed that he had just learned about choking and was then able to use this knowledge for this situation. God is so good! I give Him all the praise, honor, and glory, for He has done great things! Amen!

We had a clinic today (20-Dec-07) at Mangwaneni in Manzini. We were trying to target the children, but they were bringing adults also. A woman came in leading a young man up to the chair. He could barely walk, from weakness and was going blind, as well. I knew what I was I was dealing with when they told me that he had only been this way for a month. I asked if he had been tested for HIV and they said yes and that his CD4 count was only 94. I asked why he wasn’t on ARV’s and they said that the place that they took him wouldn’t start him until he had a chest x-ray to check for TB. They said that they were charging R98 for the x-ray, and they didn’t have money to get it. I told them that they needed to get him to the government hospital as soon as possible to get him started on ARV’s. At that point I felt very helpless again. There was nothing I could do for him except give him some vitamins and some oral rehydration salts to help with the diarrhea. I pray that it is not too late for him to get the help that he so desperately needs.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Last week we saw a little boy about 6 years old, who walks like a little old man. He has severe pain with every step that he takes. His little joints are extremely swollen and painful. When obtaining a history from the teacher at the Lagoba CarePoint, she told us that he had previously been on treatment for TB. The teacher asked if this could be the TB attacking his bones. The doctor (Rajni) that is with me from the States said that it could be, especially if he did not complete the treatment, which it seems, he did not. This little one hurts everywhere that you touch him; his back, legs, feet, hands, and every joint. The suspicion when a child has TB is that there is a great possibility that he is HIV positive as well. He had also been attacked by a pack of dogs. He had a huge gash on the top of his head, and a bite on his thigh that had a bandage on it. We asked the teacher if she would talk to his mother or care giver about going with him for HIV testing this next week before everything closes for the holidays. The teacher did talk to her and she is willing to go if she can get off from work.

As the boy walked out of the room, Rajni said that she felt so helpless! I know that feeling well! If he were in the States, he would be in the hospital having tests run to see what is wrong, and he would have good pain control. Here, all we could do for him is place him on an antibiotic and some Ibuprofen for pain. Please pray for this little one, that we may be able to get him the help that he so desperately needs!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Maphiveni 2007 Christmas Party

Hot and sunny. Big difference from Saturday. Today we had around 350 children from our Maphiveni CarePoint for Christmas. The program was awesome: thanks to our own Dynamics kids, Celebration Church, Christian Family Church, and Gugu Dynamite (our children's pastor extraordinaire). The community turned out in force as well and had a good time. Face painting, jumping castles, tug-of-war, jump rope, balloons, necklaces, and a mini medical clinic. Christy was an angle all day!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Manzini Area Christmas 2007

Saturday was cold & wet. It has been raining for three days and Saturday wasn't any different. But the kids didn't seem to mind or care. We bused in close to 2500 children from all the Manzini area CarePoints. That translates into 5000 hot dogs and buns. Each dog slathered with tomato sauce & mustard. A lot of dogs!

A visiting team from Celebration Church in Georgetown, Texas helped with jumping castles, tug of war, face painting, and anything else they could find to put their hands to. Volunteers from Christian Family Church in Tambankulu and Checkers Community Church in Mbabane as well as from the local high school helped make the day a success and special for the kids.

The kids had fun and were ministered to as well. No one went home without having heard the true meaning of Christmas, which is a real reason to celebrate!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December 5

Blog entry 04 Dec 07

I saw the 15 month old baby girl in the hospital today from the Mangwaneni Mbabane CarePoint that we have been taking to Baylor for treatment for AIDS. Her 20 year old mother is one of our cooks at that CarePoint. She looked so helpless as she held the sick baby, and wiped her runny nose.

The child could hardly breathe. She was so thin and emaciated that it looked like her neck couldn't hold her head up. I thought, if this baby were in the States she would be in ICU. Here, they were only giving her IV antibiotics, no oxygen, no continuous IV drip, no machines, etc.

The mother asked if we could help to transport her and the baby to Baylor tomorrow to get her ARV's. She was supposed to start the ARV's tomorrow, after going for a month for the adherence counseling. I wondered if it was too late. I prayed with her and the baby before I left.

When I got home, I called one of the doctors from Baylor to see if she could bring the ARV's to her instead of moving the baby from the hospital. She said that she would try.

05 Dec 07

I received a phone message from the teacher at the CarePoint. The baby died about 1:00 this morning. This young mother was distraught to say the least. Sandra and Jacci went to pray with her and find out what we can do to help with the burial. She asked if we could help with the coffin and food. We will gladly try to help with this. Please pray for this young mother, who is now alone.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

November Update

God's Grace

One day at clinic, I saw this young lady, 24 years old. She looked very sick. I thought, she must be HIV positive. She had a baby on her back, who was also sick. The baby was not hers, she said that her baby died last December. The girl had a very bad cough, sores in her mouth, difficulty breathing, and her voice was very hoarse. She said that she had been tested for TB and she was negative. She has also been tested for HIV, and she is positive, but has not been started on treatment. She didn’t go back to get the result of her CD4 count. She said that they gave her a lot of pills, but she didn’t know what they were for. I asked her to promise me that she would go back to RFM the next day and get CD4 count and let them see how sick she is, so that she may get started on treatment. She had tried going to Baylor earlier that week, but could not be treated there because she does not have a child which is HIV positive. She promised that she would return to RFM the next day.

I felt led to ask her if we could pray for her and if she knew Jesus. She said that she didn’t, so I asked her if she would like to know Him, and she said yes. We had her repeat the sinners pray with us and she accepted Jesus into her heart! Praise the Lord!

She has been back to see me several times, sometimes, better, sometimes worse. She is going to RFM, but she has not been started on treatment yet. I am trying to keep her infections and symptoms under control, until she gets started on treatment.


I realized today that my strongholds are worry, fear, anxiety, and helplessness. Satan feeds me these lies when I get down and weak. If I don’t stay in the Word, and seeking after my Savior, I believe these lies and fall apart in a heap of helplessness, and self pity. It paralyzes me to the point that I can’t focus or do anything. Everything seems too big for me to tackle. The truth is that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! If I choose to believe the truth, instead of lies, I can and will do all things through Christ! God, please give me the strength to trust you with each day! Everyday! I love you so much, help me to allow you to be my strength, and stop trying to be strong on my own! Your strength is made perfect in my weaknesses. I believe you and want to know you, want to glorify you, want to experience your peace, want to find all my satisfaction in you, and to enjoy your presence!

God Knows "T" By Name!

I have spoken in the past about a little girl at one of our Care Points who is 16, my oldest daughter’s age, but she looks and acts like a 10 year old. We will call her T to protect her privacy. She has started going with us monthly to Baylor for treatment for AIDS. Her mom is also positive and on treatment. They were both doing really well for a while. She had even started attended school again, which she had not been able to do in quiet a few years.

One day I received a call from the head nurse at Baylor, she said that they had to take her off of her ARV’s because they were not being given to her correctly or consistently. This is more dangerous than never started them at all. At this point we realized that her mother has a problem with alcohol and is incapable of giving her the medications correctly.

We found out that a lady who has a child that is positive that has been going to Baylor with us from another CarePoint was moving into the area where this little girl is. This lady and her daughter moved in with T and her mother. This lady has taken over giving T her drugs and making sure she eats, etc. Praise the Lord!

Unfortunately, T came down with pneumonia, and had to be admitted to the hospital. She could hardly breath that day, and had to be placed on oxygen while she was at Baylor clinic. When I got the call, I rushed to see her. I didn’t find the beautiful smiling face that I had seen the last time I saw her. Instead, I found a child that could do nothing else but concentrate on getting her next breath. We got her to the hospital, and after a few rough days, I went to visit her and I was greeted by the beautiful smiling face that I knew. She was discharged a few days later, and is now at home, finishing her last few days of school for this year! Praise the Lord!

I just found out today that another one of our little ones that we take to Baylor has been admitted to the hospital. This one is only 15 months old. I will go and visit her tomorrow. Please keep these little ones in your prayers! They are so fragile, but we serve a God who see’s and knows and cares!

Flat Tyres & Lumps

I have to give this praise to the Lord! Last Friday I traveled all the way to Manzini (30 minutes from where we live), and back, and then all over Mbabane, running errands and taking kids here and there. That night, Daran and I went to get a bite to eat and have a little time alone, while the kids were at the youth service. The Brennan’s even picked them up for us to give us more time! Anyway, we had a nice dinner, and Daran was following me home. We ended up having both cars since I dropped the kids off and went to the office to get him. I had a flat tire on the way home. I noticed that the car was driving funny and pulling to one side, so I slowed down and put my flashers on. Daran followed me to a place where he could change the tire safely. I am just so thankful that it did not happen while I was on the highway to Manzini, or around town, with the kids, or by myself. God is so good, He even takes care of the little things!

One more praise! A couple of weeks ago, I found a lump on my collar bone. Being an oncology(cancer) nurse, it really worried me. I told a few people and had them pray. I couldn’t get in to see the doctor for a few days, so I had to decide if I was going to trust or worry. I can’t say that I was trusting the whole time, but God is faithful! I saw the doctor, and she said that it was not anything to worry about. It looks and feels like a lipoma, which is a fatty cyst, which is harmless. She will check it again in January to make sure it hasn’t changed. The Lord reminds me that if I am going to trust Him more, I must know Him more. Lord, please help me to draw close to you and hold on tight!!!!