Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas and an Update on Malachi

This Christmas was much more enjoyable than last year. Last year we all were gloomy with the homesick bug. This year we enjoyed a late lunch of goat, rice, chapattis (thick tortilla thingy), and sodas with the kids at Shalom Home. For dinner we ate impromptu breakfast burritos with the Williams. It is such a blessing to have people that we are close to to celebrate with, and do “life” with. We had a special visitor during dinner....a 4 inch creepy grasshopper, that created chaos which led to screaming leading to extreme laughter (at least for me).

The boys at Shalom are preparing the rice (all 30 pounds of it).

The goat....

The boys are very excited!!!

Can you find Samuel and Joshua?

Malachi Update:

If you remember a month ago we left Kampala, after a hectic medical ordeal with Malachi. Upon leaving we had 2 options. 1) We could go to Nairobi, Kenya for more testing or we could 2) wait for a month and retest his lab work to see if things cleared up. We choose the later. The "wait and see" approach seemed the best fit because we (doctors included) were all in agreement that it was most likely a virus causing havoc on his system and in his results.

The day following Christmas we drove to Lira, about 4 1/2 hours away, to get his blood retested. We were trying to avoid going all the way to Kampala as it is not an easy journey (12 hours) and is quite expensive. In Lira we had his blood tested for general things like white blood cell count (WBC), red blood cell (RBC) count, etc. We were hoping that all would come back normal. Unfortunately this did not happen. He is still anemic according to his blood, and there are some other concerns. However outwardly he is not showing severe symptoms that need immediate attention. He is having random fevers now and then, has a decreased appetite, and weight loss. He is also tired a lot of the time due to his anemia. The question now is to find out what is causing the anemia. It looks like something is causing his RBC’s to break down. It is possible that it will take several more weeks for everything to be normal from the previous virus, but the random fever, and poor appetite are a little alarming to us. These random fevers were even occurring before this whole ordeal. So we were left with more questions than answers. Now what?

We were finally able to consult with a couple doctors, and one is advising us to get a more detailed Full Blood Count that we had done before in Kampala with Liver Functioning, etc. Cody is going to take Malachi to Kampala to get some tests ran on Monday. Either way the tests turn out it looks like Cody and Malachi will travel to Nairobi, Kenya in February to meet one of the American doctors we have been consulting, unless we find something new that needs immediate attention. We would appreciate your prayers. Pray for wisdom, and direction.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Our Cuisine

Rather than doing a normal update, I thought it would be fun to share with you what our eating menu is like. After over a year of living here we have all gotten much more used to the food and the lack of variety, although I still have a way to go. Over time I have become more and more thankful for the food we have even during the times I am tired of eating it. God has taught me a lot about food while living here. My perspective has really changed, and I am grateful. Reading about the Israelites being in the wilderness brought a new level of conviction for me, based on my circumstances here. I've never really fussed about food until moving here. God had given the Israelites manna each day to live on. They started to grumble because they were tired of manna. I was/am very convicted by this. Here I am, complaining about the food I have and I am not eating the same food for every meal, not to mention the fact that I HAVE food, many people here don't. The Israelites were not looking to God and thanking Him for his provision, but were moaning about what they didn't have.

Here is what we eat during the weekdays:
Porridge for breakfast. This particular one in the picture is made of millet, but we also have some that is made from corn and soy. We add sugar to it and the kids really enjoy it. It is cheap, easy to make, and you can make it quickly.

Our lunch menu is mainly one of 3 things. Cooked cabbage with tomatoes and onions over rice or posho, eggplant with onions and tomatoes over rice or posho, and Skuma with tomatoes and onions over rice or posho. Skuma happens to be my favorite, it is similar to collard greens.

Beans and rice for dinner. We have really started to love beans and rice. There was a point where it was getting old (eating the batch of moldy beans didn't help), but we have learned to change them up and add different spices to make them taste different. They are cheap and super easy to make. After sorting them we just let them cook on the coal pot (like a camp fire) for 3-4 hours and they are soooooo nice.

Our weekend menu is much different. We make enough beans and rice on Friday night to last for lunch on Saturday to honor the Sabbath. For breakfast we buy fried bread from town, and then we eat out for dinner. This is a real treat because we sometimes have chicken and french fries. If not chicken, then beans and rice. Sunday we eat pancakes and I a make a homemade syrup made from sugar, cinnamon and flour. It is really appetizing. For lunch we will eat stir fry, spaghetti, soup (pumpkin soup is the favorite right now). We have also made some yummy bean burgers, and we can make tortillas, so we occasionally make veggie wraps or bean tacos, minus the cheese of course. But we use cabbage instead of lettuce and it is quite nice. Really there are a lot of options for us to make. We have learned to be creative and use the things we have. We can also bake some things on the stove top. We have made cakes, brownies, cinnamon rolls, and biscuits. Some things we can not buy in Kotido so when we are in Kampala we stock up on supplies such as spices, vanilla, cocoa and powdered sugar.

There you have it, if you thought we were suffering in the area of food, you are wrong. We really are not (even if you have heard me complain). We may not have as much variety as we did in the States, but we have food, and for the most part it is really tasty! The things I miss the most would be cheese and fresh veggies. However we are looking forward to the spinach and lettuce we planted. Hopefully we will be able to enjoy a fresh veggie salad!

Here is a picture of the bean burger with potatoes. They are really yummy but takes hours and hours to make, so we don't make them very often.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Happy Story

As most of you know we have been helping foster 2 babies whose mother's had died giving birth. They have been staying on our compound as we were helping teach a family member how to care for the baby. They have been here since the end of July.

Here are pictures of them when they came:
Akiar and his father.

Reema, who was just hours old when she came to our house.

The grandmother of Akiar, has been here for almost a month now and has been doing such a great job taking care of him. She has really bonded to him and it is such an answer to prayer. With her presence here and her exceptional care we decided the only we were offering the babies was physical needs. These needs could still be met but in the village, in their home. We thought it is best for them to be back in their village so that the family could all be together again. We talked to both of the grandmothers and they agreed.

It is a bittersweet thing to see them go. It was quite emotional to take them back to the village. Especially Akiar. The last time I had been there was in July when he was very skinny and his family didn't have much hope for his survival. They all think differently now. It is amazing how differently everyone is. Akiar, his grandmother, and myself.

You see his grandmother would come to visit him when he first came. One visit I remember sitting with her as she held Akiar. Tears began to fall down her face (rare in for this people group). I comforted her and asked her what was wrong. She told me she misses his mother and that life was harder because she was gone. She shared with me that sometimes she wished that Akiar would have died instead of his mother because he is so much work. From her point of view her feelings seemed justified. Her daughter was a great help to the village and her work was impeccable for the cycle of survival. I explained to her that children are a gift and that God has a plan for Akiar. I think she understands that now. She has seen how God has kept him alive, and that he is such a joy. His face lights up when he laughs and often times you will hear him giggling. In the last month that she has been here, I rarely hear him cry because she takes such good care of him. Meeting his needs. A transformation.

When we get to the village we are greeted by extended family. Many of them have not seen him in months and they are all amazed, and grateful. It was a joyful moment for me and I'm glad God let me be a part of it. I also got to see what a sacrifice the grandmother had made by staying at our home in Kotido with Akiar. She is the woman who makes sure everything happens in her clan. As she looks around she explained to me that while she was gone a lot of things didn't get done and people were not doing her job. In other words things have really fallen apart. My heart is happy that Akiar meant enough to her.

Here is Akiar with his aunt, if you don't remember Akiar means life in Karamjong. (He is wearing the same hat from the picture above (: .)

Here is Reema (Mercy in Kiswahili) in her village. Her grandmother is holding her.

A family member will be bringing the babies once a week to pick up milk and other supplies. We will still be able to monitor their progress, and see them. Please pray that God would use their lives for His glory and that we would use these relationships for His kingdom.

With the babies and there families gone it is rather quite around here. Although it is a well needed respite!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Last night during our family devotions Samuel volunteered to pray for our requests. While praying he remarked, "Thank you God, for the great life you have given us." I swallow hard and hold back the tears, and my heart echos his prayer. "Yes God thank you for this great life you have given us."

Going through the hectic ordeal with Malachi was really eye opening and gave me a deeper sense of thankfulness. In my worry and fearful thoughts I couldn't help but to be thankful for all the resources that were accessible. Especially the ability for Malachi to see good medical care. It may not have met the standards we were acquainted with in the States but compared to our neighbors in Kotido, phenomenal is an understatement. How could I be ungrateful? My thoughts kept wandering to the many mothers who have brought their sick, diseased, deformed, handicapped and dying to our gate for help. I was grateful because unlike many of these mothers we had the opportunity to get Malachi better health care and we even had options to go out of the country. Options. Not a word many people, especially these mothers we had seen, would even know.

Many times I also take technology for granted. It can truly be such a wonderful thing. Especially with the way "snail" mail travels here. I have a computer giving me the opportunity to email and to blog so people could know how to pray. And many friends and family were standing beside us. WOW. I am humbled. Many people all around the world were praying. Really? We are so blessed; God you are so good. While we were seeking God for answers I wanted to resort back to my old controlling self (okay I probably actually did resort back a time or two) of just finding a solution and "figuring it all out" but I could feel God wanting to take me to a deeper level of faith. Funny how I want to see His power and might but not with my own kids. He loves Malachi more than I do and has the whole world in His hands. I try to let go...while thinking of Abraham and what God ask of him in sacrificing Isaac.

I want to abandon that controlling mind. Abandon the self reliance. Abandon what makes sense and replace it with God's will. I don't want to follow what makes sense or what seems practical but I want to follow the voice of God and what he desires for our life. In the back of my mind I kept telling myself, "self, whatever the outcome of this situation I want you to glorify God." So He takes me deeper. Deeper into faith, deeper into His love, deeper into His presence, deeper
into Thankfulness.

I am always reminded it's in the pickles of life we get to see God's power. It is in the pickles of life we get to see God's miracles. The size of our pickles might be different but we all sometimes find ourselves in the same place. Times when we don't have the answers, when we have no where else to go. He pries our fingers from our will and replaces it with something extraordinaire. In surrender, face down on the ground looking up to Him (right where He wants us) we ask, "What next? Direct us God, for you are God and we are not!" We keep trying
to live this life thinking we have all the answers and resources and God continually says, "Nope" And our faith grows, and He is glorified. It only starts with a mustard seed. I know if you are a practical person like me none of this seems to make sense. Listening for the voice of God? Waiting for His direction? Let me tell you; I have learned God is not about practicality. Just read the Bible, or even the Gospels for that matter. Jesus, the son of God, God Himself came down in the flesh and was born in a barn. Practical? I think not. God, Your ways are higher than our ways!

And Here is the latest on Malachi: We are home in Kotido now. After getting another blood test it was more looking like a bad virus that would resolve itself. We will repeat the blood work in about 3 weeks to see if this truly is the case.