Friday, February 29, 2008

February - Team of 37 Women

God is still in the miracle working business! Many things happened this past week when the team was here. First, they were so kind and generous to all of us, the children, teachers, cooks, missionaries, and staff. They touched each of our lives in a very special way! Twenty-two of our cooks gave their lives to the Lord at a brunch that the ladies had for them. Several of the team members shared their testimonies of hurt and despair and how God saved and delivered them!

We had several clinics while the team was here that they were able to participate in. Dr. Doris was a great blessing, as well as several other nurses that assisted in these clinics. On Thursday, one of the cooks brought in a limp unconscious child to the clinic. Thank God, Dr. Doris was there! She began to assess the child, and said that we needed to get her to the hospital ASAP. She thought that she had pneumonia, and, or, meningitis. She was burning with fever and having great difficulty breathing. The cook said that the child had had a fit (seizure) and that she was just watching the child for a friend who was at work in town. We couldn’t get in touch with the mother, and when we called the father, he said he was busy working. As we were trying to decide what to do, how to get her to the hospital, etc, I said to Dr, Doris, let’s pray. Doc pulled out her anointing oil and began to pray for this child, and I know that God heard our prayers! Within minutes the child was crying and coughing, and had come back to consciousness. Praise the Lord!

We finally decided to go ahead and take her to the hospital without her parents. It took an hour for the pediatrician to get to the ER. The father came to the ER to check on her. He was very upset that it was taking the doctor so long. He told my assistant that he thought he needed to get her out of the hospital and take her to a witch doctor. He explained to the father that the Lord had already touched the child and that the child would receive the medical care that she needed here. The whole time that we were waiting for the doctor, the little girl continued to have seizures.

A couple of days later, I heard that she was doing better and that they thought that she had swallowed some poison that had caused the symptoms. I’m not sure about that, but I know that God touched that little girl and that He heard our prayers and saved her little life!

Another miracle on Friday when the team prayed for a baby in Maphiveni that was 8 months old and could not hold her head up. A little while later, the mom brought her back in and she was looking around and holding her head up!! Praise the Lord, Jehovah Rapha, our healer!

Thank you team for working hard to make our class rooms/care points beautiful, and for being so compassionate and loving to the kids, and for allowing God to move and work in and through you!

After all of the good things that God has done, Satan comes in fighting with a vengeance. This past weekend, right next door to our house, there was a witch doctor graduation ceremony. My daughter, Gabby came in Sunday morning between 6 and 7 and asked us if we heard the drums and screaming during the night. Daran and I didn’t hear them, but I had a very restless night with terrible dreams that I was fighting against something all night.

As we woke up, we began to hear the drums also. Gabby said that they it all started about midnight with loud moaning and screaming noises that sounded like a female voice. Then the drums started. She said she was awake most of the night praying. Later, Daran was outside and the dogs were going nuts about something by the fence. Daran walked over and saw that they were slaughtering goats right next to the fence. There was a guy that looked out of his mind swinging a knife trying to cut our dogs. Daran asked if they could move the goats away from the fence and he locked the dogs on the other side of the yard so they wouldn’t get hurt. Roger, a Swazi that works with us at Children’s Cup, and rents a room on the side of our house, told Daran what was going on, that it was a graduation ceremony for a witch doctor. Roger had also been awake most of the night praying.

Daran immediately began to plead the blood of Jesus over all of us and our home. We had a family devotion time where we talked to the children about making a choice on their own for Christ, and that it might not always be easy to walk with Christ. We talked about how Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in prison in Acts for casting the spirit out of the fortune teller. We don’t want to hear about the persecution and suffering, just the victories, but we sometimes must deal with both in life. What a realization that evil is all around us and that we don’t fight against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities. It was a very sobering time, but also a time where we came together as a family unit in prayer. What Satan tries to use for bad, God always brings good out of it!

That evening, we invited our missionary friends to come and pray over our house and family. It was such a blessing to have so many friends come together and agree with us in prayer. It turned out to be a time where God spoke to us individually and as a family. God used this to draw us to Him, to teach us to trust Him and not fear. I am so grateful to have Godly friends that love us and that will stand with us through the difficult times, as well as the good times.

I truly believe that God is going to do great things in our lives and in Swaziland in 2008, and I feel so privileged to be even a small part of it! Please continue to keep us in your prayers every day. The battle is the Lords! Amen!

January - PePe and Banele

I know that I haven’t written for quite some time. It isn’t that nothing is happening. It is that so much is happening so fast that I am having trouble keeping up. Let’s start with PePe and Banele. I received a call one Friday that they were both very sick. I had seen PePe the week before and tried treating her with an antibiotic. Banele has had a terrible huge boil on his neck for a very long time, which was now an opened draining wound that would not heal. He was not eating, loosing weight, skinny as a bean pole, huge belly with ascites from malnutrition, and extremely weak. The doctor from Baylor had seen him the week before and sent him to be admitted to the government hospital. When I went to check on him, I found that he had not been admitted. The ladies in the community told me that these kids are left alone at night while the father works, and they hear them crying because they are afraid. Sometimes they take them to sleep with them so they won’t be afraid, but the father does not want them to help. Imagine being a child, alone, sick and afraid at night.

Later,I found out that the father had refused to allow the child to be admitted and he had been sent home on oral TB meds. I think that he was so overwhelmed with the care of these two that he just wanted to be finished with them. He did not want to bother with having one in the hospital and having to stay there with him. In hospitals here, you can’t leave a child without having someone stay with them constantly. There must be someone there to give there meds, feed them, and bathe them. When I went to the home and spoke to the father, he told me that the doctor said he would be fine. I told him that I did not agree and asked him if he would like for us to take them and find a home for them in another community. He said yes that would be fine, that he could no longer take care of them. So I told him to give me a few days to find a place and I would let him know.

So here we are a week later and both of them are sicker than ever. I had still not been able to find a place for them, but I knew I had to do something quick, or they were both going to die. I called the Ntombie at that CarePoint and told her to go and pack their clothes and meds, ask the father if he still wanted us to take them and have them at the CarePoint to be picked up. We took them to the government hospital in Mbabane so they would be close to us and we could take care of them. I called Sandra, one of the 'Cup missionaries who had told me last week that she would take them. I asked her if she was still willing to help until we figured something out. Neither one of us knew what we were getting into, but we felt we were doing the only thing that we could to save these children. God gave us peace that we were doing the right thing, even though we didn’t have a clear plan of what the next step was.

Banele was admitted to the hospital with severe malnutrition, anemia, and TB. PePe was placed on medications, but not admitted. They were both very afraid of being left alone, and did not want me to leave them. PePe did not want to be in the hospital because she remembers when she was in before for so long when she had TB. So, they were both crying, and I had to call for help to the 'Cup office to send reinforcements. We had to hire ladies to stay with Banele day and night in the hospital. I went daily to check on him and bring him food or whatever he needed. The hospital doesn’t provide enough nutritious food for someone this malnourished. He was always hungry and wanting something to eat, which was a very good thing, but it kept me running for food for him. I was just so happy to see him eat!

PePe stayed with Sandra. She was also very sick. She would cough so much and had so much phlegm that she would vomit. Her breathing was very labored. I knew I needed to get her to Baylor clinic on Monday and the only way to do that was to get a transfer letter from the government hospital VCT doctor. So I called him and asked if I could get that from him on Monday morning so that I could get her care transferred to Baylor which is closer to us and where we take the kids that are positive from our care points.

Sandra and I tried everything to get PePe to eat. She would only eat peeled grapes and a few bites of rice. Then she would start coughing and throw up. We were having trouble keeping her ARV’s (meds for HIV) down as well. PePe is very quite, and understood very little English, or so we thought. She started coming out with little phrases in English like. “go to toilet”, “go to office”, and “let’s go”. Sandra and I were tag team mom’s for her. I would watch her so Sandra could work, and Sandra would watch her so I could work. When she was with Sandra, she would cry for me, and when she was with me, she would cry for Sandra. If we wanted to get her to understand something, we would call the 'Cup office and have GuGu. Fikile, or Zinty talk to her. It was quite the emotional roller coaster for all of us.

On Monday we took her to see the doctor at Baylor clinic. They started her on antibiotic injections to treat her pneumonia. We were afraid that she had TB again, but the sputum tests were negative, which means that at least she was not very contagious if she did have TB. She began to improve slowly with the daily antibiotic injections, which were extremely traumatic for her. She finally started to have an appetite again, and she was raiding the refrigerator looking for food, which made us very happy! She liked coming to Auntie Teresa’s to play with Joelle and the Barbie dolls. She was getting attached to all of us and we were getting attached to her. I knew I had to find a home for them, and Sandra and I had to get back to work. We had been praying the whole time for the Lord to give us the right place for them. I had tried to find someone in one of our CarePoints that could take them, but it just wasn’t working.

Finally, I called a friend of mine who has an orphanage on a farm, she couldn’t take them, but gave me the name and number of a place to call that is very near my house. I didn’t even know that this was a home, but she spoke highly of them, so I called. Praise the Lord, they said they could take them, so we went to visit, and were very impressed. I had a peace that this was the place. God is in control, and He doesn’t lead us out on a ledge and leave us! Sandra and I took PePe over on a Monday morning, after explaining to her through interpreters what was going to happen. When she realized that we were leaving, she starting crying. It was extremely difficult for both Sandra and I to walk away and leave her crying, but we knew it was in her best interest to be raised in a Swazi home. I cried most of that day, but I knew that she was in God’s hands. After a couple of days we were able to go visit her and we saw that she is very happy and well cared for.

After two weeks in the hospital, Banele was able to go to the home as well. Every time I pass the home when I leave my house I think of them and pray for them. God is good and He cares for these little ones. Please keep them in your prayers. They are both doing so much better, but not completely well yet. Please pray that the father will let us keep them in this home where they are safe, happy, loved, and well cared for.