Sunday, August 20, 2006

Unconditional love...

She approached me, her left arm dangling and her left leg dragging in the dirt. She stopped, and looked at me, a smile slowly coming from her face, the left side of which drooped from her stroke she had at birth. She waited, not too far away, but not too close either. I smiled back, and she came closer, her smile now wide and unrestricted, her eyes dancing. And then she collapsed. She fell to the ground, hitting the right side of her head, like she has done 10 to 15 times a day for years, her seizures barely controlled despite 2 medications. Teresa and I knelt down next to her, protecting her head the best we could, trying to make sense of who she was and what was happening. She began to awake after a few minutes, and sat up against the wall of the building, and that is when I saw the lumps, brusies, and her swollen eye from all the falls she had had. Her story was one of many that drained me of my expectations of humanity.

She has been like this since birth, cared for off and on by a mother, but mostly left to herself. 4 years ago, a man in her village offered to help adjust her medicaitons, feigning to know how to treat seizures, and lured her into his house where he raped her. Her 4 year old son is a child who comes to the Makholweni Mercy Center for food every day.

During the week that I was there, she would come to the Center everyday, sit patiently on the ground and wait for class to get out. She would come up to Teresa and I and place her arms around us, hugging and not wanting to let go. I had been teaching about "covenant relationships" with patients, and the need to look beyond our own distaste for the ugly, malformed, dirty, and sickening illnesses. It is that "covenant" relationship that is the foundation for the "unconditional love" we should have for all those who are "forgotten."

There was one man who violated her. But there is one bigger than him who gives "unconditional love", no questions asked...He loves her unconditionally, and I saw it in her smile.....may we be able to love like Him...always...

In all things, give thanks.


A Medical Safe Haven...

I am getting ready for the trip next month. I spent the week at Makholweni Mercy Center teaching, and watching the children to whom we have been entrusted to. I examined a number of children who were there and got a very good idea of what we are going to be treating: malnutrition, abscesses, rashes, vitamin deficiency, and unfortunately, the consequences of HIV. We have in place our medical clinic that will be ready for us to use when we get there. The Forgotten Children have a medical safe haven....

In all things give thanks,


And He will lift you up on eagles wings...

The moment was indescribable. Spontaneously, words were spoken, and prayers were formed. 15 teachers from the Care Points with outstretched arms, praising Him for what He was doing, filled the classroom with a feeling that came over me like I have never felt before. And this was just the first few minutes of the very first day of the Healthcare Workers training course. Over 5 days they learned basic anatomy, how to do a physical examination, common illnesses, first aid and CPR. They learned how to recognize a sick patient and how to stabilize, refer and transfer. By the last day they were able to do a full physical examination using a thermometer, blood pressure cuff. stethoscope, and pen light to exam the eyes, mouth, throat, neck, lungs, heart, and abdomen. The knew where all the organs were and how to palpate, listen to, and gently exam a hurting person.

In 5 days, these 15 lay teachers became healers. They will work with us when we go in October, and will be the healers that He has gifted to the Forgotten Children.

I was blessed by their love, their, committment, and their dedication. On the last day, they had me sit on a chair and they lifted me up above their heads as they prayed. I was overwhelmed, broken, and humbled. I was lifted up. I came to teach others how to be His hands, His servants. At that moment, I realized to whom I really belonged. "He will lift you up on eagles wings...." let Him take you were He wants you to go....for we are His always.

In all things, give thanks,


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Health Care Workers: Continuing Care for Others

I leave for Swaziland this Thursday August 3rd to spend a week training 14 lay people to become Health Care Workers, each responsible for the medical needs of the children at their CarePoints. They are teachers and helpers at the CarePoints. Here is the class schedule:

Day 1: 8am-12pm: The Body and how it works (lecture)
1:30pm-4:30pm: Anatomy lab: skills and projects

Day 2: 8am-12pm: How to examine a sick patient (lecture)
1:30-4:30pm: physical exam lab: blood pressures, stethoscope use, taking temperatures, etc.

Day 3: 8am-12pm: Common Illnesses (lecture)
1:30pm-4:30pm: case presentations of common illnesses

Day 4: 8am-12pm: First Aid (lecture)
1:30pm-4:30pm: First Aid skills lab: CPR, how to treat wounds, bandaging, stabilizing a patient, treatment of shock, etc.

Day 5: 8am-12pm: Cases (lecture): putting it all together
1:30pm-3:30pm: Cases: I present, they do all the work

By the end of the week they should be able to examine a patient, identify the illness and know what to do (refer, seek immediate medical attention, or give basic treatment). I gave the same course in Cambodia and it was very succesful.

Here are the students:

Fonteyn Carepoint
Laura Cass

Mangwaneni Mbabane Carepoint
Gugu (Precious) Lokotfwako
Abraham Dlamini

Makholweni Carepoint
Lindiwe Mngomezulu
Zandile Nkhambule
Ncamiso Mafuku

Madonsa Carepoint
Khanyisle Mdluli

Murray Camp Carepoint
Peggy Dlamini

Ka Khoza Carepoint
Ntombie Shongwe

Ngwane Park Carepoint
Sindi Mdluli

Zakhele Carepoint
Good Enough Magwaza

Moneni Carepoint
Phindile Mahlalela
Phindile Sukati

Mangwaneni Manzini Carepoint
Treasure Simelane

I ask all of you to lift these students up in prayer, individually and as a group, today and everyday throughout the course. It will be through them that the "Forgotten Children" will see His love.

In all things, give thanks.


It's coming along...

Here's another picture of the medical clinic that is going up. It's amazing how fast it is progressing!! I'll be there this weekend and will see it first hand!! I have the plans for the interior as does Daran, so it'll be just some fine tuning and off we go!! We are prayerful that it will be ready for us in October. As always, in all things, give thanks. David