Saturday, May 30, 2015

trusting in your traveling

Traveling through multiple countries always has its worries. Will my bags make it? Will they stamp my passport? Will security take as long like it does in the USA? How will customs be? Will Nigeria let me in? What paperwork do I need out?
The questions flood my mind.
Then as I am being held up in the Paris airport, not able to check in or print my ticket because my flight is now closed- a man traveling to Africa with the CDC puts his hand on my shoulder & says… “it is out of our control. What is suppose to happen will happen. Sometimes these things happen for a greater reason unseen.” We began chatting about others things to pass the time.
Then the airline clerk said- “you are good to go. Now run to your gate!”
I thanked the man waiting in line with me. And off I ran.
I was reminded in that 5-minute period that I was not trusting Him completely.
That He was in control & He knows the bigger plan.
That He goes before me & behind me.
So quickly we forget.
I laughed as I, along with all the other passengers, sat for 30 minutes waiting on the plane to arrive.
Arriving in Abuja often brings it’s own challenges- so I was praying for smooth sailing & no issues in customs.
Hit with the wall of heat… I smelled Africa & smiled. It was so nice to be back. I had all my paperwork ready & at hand. I was the last in line & the only Oweebo (white person).
As I reached my turn, the passport control gentleman received my passport with a smile. “April. I was born in April. Were you?”
With a smile I said my mom was but not me.
“How long will you be with us in Abuja? Wait, where are you going to?”
I explained.
He stamped my passport.
And just as he was passing it back to me… “You will be kidnapped like the woman at the missionary place?”
I smiled- mainly because I could barely understand him, shook my head, then realized what he said.
“Oh goodness NO NO NO!!!”
He and the 3 other men around him all started laughing.
He said, still laughing, “enjoy your stay here April. And try not to get kidnapped.”
My luggage was waiting on me.- but now to get through customs. Long line… lots of people… oh look- a hole. I slipped in & the woman receiving me looked at my luggage stickers, opened my passport & said, “I was born in April. Were you?”
“No mamma, but my momma was.”
“Have a great stay in Nigeria.”
I was shocked at how quickly I got through. It took me longer to void and remember how to flush the toilets than it did to get through passport & customs.
Thank you Lord for the smooth transition.
I praised him as I sat waiting for Carmen to arrive.
How good a Father I serve. That He already went before me & was trailing behind me- watching over me & placing the people & things in my path as just what I needed.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fulani miracle

I often forget the impact of medical injuries or problems on the family unit as a whole. I have had very few personal experiences with this in my own family. But being a medical professional sometimes brings the curse (I find it to be currently) of loss of compassion or hope. Which then leads to not fully believing God to be Healer or Great Physician or miracles.
I liken it to an infantry battle plan.
The recon of the target area has been done… The education has been instilled in the healthcare professional team.
The target or objective is locked on & a plan is devised of how to obtain it… the sick or injured patient arrives at the hospital & the medical team enacts a plan to treat immediate needs & long term needs.
The plan is activated!
Sometimes the plan goes accordingly, other times it does not. And this is where we must patiently wait on the Lord to act… during the process.
Healing happens sometimes immediately but often it is a process. The impact on all involved is amazing!

The medical team at ECWA Hospital in Egbe Nigeria has been managing an 18-year-old Fulani man. I say man because he has his own family & works to provide for them & the rest of his tribe. He arrived in the Emergency Department as a trauma on Friday night- Machete to the head during an altercation. Unsure of the timing of the event, how much blood was lost, the method of transport, cleansing of the injury, cleanliness of the machete or the man’s head.
These questions and more raced through our minds.
Not knowing the extent of the brain injury due to lack of medical equipment, being in the bush, and going go surgery 3 times to evacuate clots, control bleeding, & decrease intracranial pressure- I watch this young man fighting for his life. Each day seeming to improve, He is alive by God’s grace & will.
So I watch the family, not fully understanding the extent of the injury or the impact long term it will have on the young man & the entire tribe- I am silent… asking God for a miracle. A miracle in the physical but also within each heart affected by this young man. Look at the heart impact it is doing on me. 
So, back to my original statement… I forget the impact on the entire family when a life changing accident has occurred.
For this young Fulani man… he is the livelihood of his tribe. He might even be next in line as tribal king. He is a hunter, provider, farmer, craftsman, young, strong, healthy, father, son, brother, husband, leader, & so much more for one small tribe in the massive world.
How far is too far? How much is too much for his treatment? Are we just racking up a medical bill for the family when he may not even make it through the night? There is no rehab, so how will he help his tribe any longer if he cannot function to full capacity? He will be more harm than help to a nomadic tribe.
After all these thoughts go through my mind & some verbalized, I am met with silence.
“Who are you to say when hope should stop? Who are you to say when life should end? Who are you to say all is lost? Who are you that doubts who I say I am & doubts what I can do?”
With a repentant heart I approach Him and He reminds me to ask Him for things. “Ask Me for miracles, to expect them, to do them because of My power in you.” So He places on my heart today, to share my struggle & His heart- the process of a miracle He is doing through one Fulani man that will impact more than we will ever know.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Mangos and Manna

As I lay in bed listening to the breeze rustling the leaves
crickets humming their evening tune
watching the sky turn dark because the sun is dropping below the trees
I feel all at once… peace… solitude…  joy… BANG!
What was that?!
I jumped up from my bed- slightly confused as to where I was- slowly going through the house- very aware of my vulnerability if there happened to be someone in the house.
The breeze picks up and they start to fall… mangos
Mangos on a tin roof sound like bombs going off.
My heart was racing & wait… BANG!!!... another hit… well, now I am awake & remembered where I was… Egbe, Nigeria.

I did not complain the next morning as I was cleaning  off my orange stained hands from cutting all the mangos I picked from the deposit last night.
Mangos in abundance right outside my window
Mango trees are all over the compound & it was not until today that I realized how big the trees get & how much they produce.
Each morning as I stand at the window drinking my coffee, I see how many mangos have fallen overnight- I began to think of manna.
Manna- raining down from heaven- provision from God to feed His chosen people. How long did it take for them to get tired of eating manna? How many ways were there to prepare it or eat it?
Who knows, accept that they did complain about it.
Eating manna for 40 years…
I am suddenly placed in the reality of all my options. Even in a developing country, I am bombarded with options & abundance. And I am very grateful for it!
How often do I stand at the kitchen thinking… there is nothing in here I want.
How offensive I must sound.
We do not realize how good we have it in America. And even being an American in a developing country- I still have it pretty good.
I immediately repent for being so rude to Father & thank Him for His provision.
He truly knew what He was doing when He made each tree for its specific purpose. Who would have thought that even with a mango tree right outside of my house & eating mango everyday, this girl would not get tired of it.
Ask me in a month… we will see if the answer has changed.
Thank You God for being The Provider of life. For Your provision of everything I need- even when I may not know I need it.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Africa Update #1

 As I lay in my bed surrounded by my mosquito net listening to the cricket’s nightly song & the thunder cracking closer and closer, I think- “I have been immersed for 1 week & I’m loving it.” I am still getting adjusted to the time change & travel. The hospital looks great!!! So much progress has been completed & the hospital grounds are always busy- accept after it rains.
This week I have been observing on the wards, taking notes of things to teach, protocols to write, changes that may improve patent care, & areas of success & praise. ECWA Hospital has many needs & when I zoom out on the bigger scale of educational needs, I find myself very overwhelmed. I have been asking the Lord to help me focus on His priorities here & now. My list is plenty & with the guidance of the staff and nursing students, I have my educational list cut out for me. Please pray that I can bring forward all the information needed to assist & educate the nursing staff & students. The staff & students are primed & ready to learn. Truth be told- they are yearning for it!
We had the first ever-intubated patient brought to the ICU Tuesday night. The little old lady would not wake up enough from surgery to maintain her oxygen saturation. Carmen rigged a T piece for the oxygen tank & ET tube. I was very impressed at her adaptive skills before the surgery was even over. We brought her to the ICU staff & I was released to run the show.
I am amazed at how God has given me so much to work out His purpose. Who would have thought all the education I have received & situations I have been exposed to would have been made most useful in Egbe, Nigeria? He knew before I was born that the nurses of Egbe would need to be taught about ET tubes, oxygen therapy, weaning to extubate, extubation itself, post extubation, & emergencies created out of all of this. I praise God that everything went smooth & the patient did very well. Nothing seems to keep this 90-year-old lady down.

As for an update on Goodness-she went home today- still ill. The family as out of money to treat her & we were out of options & tests. She needs a specialty hospital. But more than that- for Goodness to live… she needs a miracle from God. I find myself wondering why or how God choses who is taken and at their specific time. I also find myself asking Him why Goodness was born here in Egbe & not in the USA where she could get the testing & treatment she needs. But that is all part of His perfected plan, unknown to me or anyone else. There are just some things I have to say- I don’t understand it but I accept that You Lord are in control, know the reason behind it, & the outcome.
It is such a pleasure to work with Carmen. I am so glad we are here together. I admire her steadfastness in the Lord & in missions. It is so wonderful to get to know her better as each day passes. She has her work cut out for her in the OR & teaching as well. Please pray that she rests when needed & for supernatural strength for each day.
Spending time with the expats here is great. Getting to know each family & why & how God called them to this area is so wonderful. Last night we had a missionary party & it brought back so many memories of spending late night game nights at the Marflaks house with the group of us. We painted toes & fingers with all the girls then played a card game called manipulation. I still haven’t figured out if I am happy that I won at a game named manipulation… but all the same, I enjoyed getting to know the ladies more & more. Their hearts for Jesus & serving in a far off country away from all they know amazes me hear day. They show love constantly & it gives me a better idea of how to love people every day. I am loving all the food I am receiving. It is in abundance or plenty as they say it here. I have been able to visit town, buy fabric, visit the nursing student quarters, run, visit the bread factory, prayer rounds in the hospital, & so much more. 
I will say I am looking forward to sleeping in this weekend, but even more so, I am looking forward to discipleship & playing with the orphans of Care Africa, hiking, going to big market, getting fitted for a dress, & meeting the ECWA administration board. There have been so many answered prayers this week! God is so faithful to me. Next week the director of the ECWA board will be here. I asked God to make a way for me to spend some time with her & give her some feedback & ideas on how to better incorporate the hospital & nursing school students for the upcoming classes. Well- God answered that real quick! She is staying in the room right next to me. Ask & you shall receive.
So now- please be praying His words & ideas to better the hospital & school come fluently out of my mouth, & that they fall upon opened & receptive ears.His ways & plans are so much bigger than I could ever imagine- and He has me here for a purpose. Lord- I ask that You use me as Your pawn in this ongoing game of chess & that Your strategic plan is played out to the greatest for Your kingdom & Your glory!!!!!
Thank you for your continued prayer & support while I am here in Egbe. I hope to convey what is going on half the world away & to give you a glimpse of what you are sowing into for the Kingdom of God.
God bless