Monday, October 30, 2006

What next....

There are times when we look at ourselves in the mirror and ask why we do what we do. Most of the time the answers are not what we want to hear: "because we want to". A few weeks ago, we made a trip to Swaziland on a medical mission. Not because we wanted to, but because we were asked to. He asked us. We didn’t question why, we didn’t ask how, and we never said no. We just did it. And for that we are thankful. We overcame hurtles, obstacles, and spiritual warfare. We brought in the “big guns” and He lead the way. It wasn’t even a contest. We won. Period.

Over 4 and a half days, we saw over 1700 patients, old and young, well and sick, newly born and the not so newly born. We prescribed over 7000 doses of medicines, gave out close to 500 reading glasses, and did a little minor surgery on a patient or two. And saved the life of a little girl who came to live in our hearts: PePe. All the patients were prayed with by the spiritual counselors, with many hearing the word, and all seeing His love. All in all, a good medical trip. All in all, a wonderful testimony to His healing power and grace. All in all, a reflection on why we do what we do. Because He said so, and we listened. I’m looking in the mirror now, and asking again, why I do what I do. I know He’ll be giving me an answer real soon….and I'll be ready to go....

In all things, give thanks…


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Missionaries Swaziland 2006


Nurse Teresa

Missionaries Swaziland 2006


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Medial Team Swaziland 2006

Nurse Kelly
Child Life Lori
Nurse Sara
Dr. David (me)

Medical Team Swaziland 2006

Dr. Micah
Dr. Erin
Nurse Aimee
Nurse Lisa

Swaziland Medical Team: 2006

Pharmacy gurus Don and Durrell

Photographer Syndy
Dr. Troy

Monday, October 16, 2006

Makholweni..the fifth day

The last day, and we saw 312 patients in the morning. The clinic was dedicated in the afternoon with speeches from dignitaries, and local African dancing...and the evening ended with a banquest at a game reserve with a roasted wart hog. The week was over. The team was blessed by the health care workers, who prayed at our feet. The feelings of humility and love were oeverwhelming.

There is so much more to see and do. This small look into what we did is simply that: a small look. We changed. For all that we did, more was done for us.

In all things, give thanks..


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Makholweni...the fourth day

Five hundred and one patients. Okay, let's try this...501 patients!! In one day, we saw and treated 501 patients at Makholweni where our new clinic is. The word "Makholweni" means "the place of the Christians" because of the numerous churches located around that area. The many children are left out to fend for themselves. This Care Point is just outside the city limits so it doesn't have access to many utilities and the development of the city. However many people settle here, in order to be near the limited job opportunities, and just outside the city to avoid the local taxes.

When we arrived, there were already about 100 patients waiting for us, and since everything had been so well organized by the Children's Cup team, we started off quickly. The pharmacy ran from the real pharmacy in the clinic, and all patients were seen outside. A few procedures, alot of infections, malnutrition, and more HIV came our way.

A young 6 month old infant was brought to us by her "gogo" or elderly caretaker, since the infant's mother had abondened her. The infant had severe skin changes from HIV and needed to be tested and treated. We did the best we could, giving her what she needed at that point, and hoping that her "googoo" would take her to be tested.

A young woman of 38 years, presented with complaints of stomache aches. Two weeks ago, she ingested crushed bottle glass trying to commit suicide. She had learned that she was HIV positive and was ready to die. I sent her to see a spiritual counselor, and heard that she came to Christ.

There was so much to do, and so many people to see. The heart ache was in the fact that we could do no more than what we were doing in the limited time that we had. We prayed that He would open the doors for us to continue our work there...more often, and longer...

In all things, give thanks..


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ngwane Park, Swaziland...the third day

There are apporximately 450 children at the Ngwane Park Care Point. It is in the largest urban community in Swaziland. It covers an area so vast, that children who come to this Care Point walk a long distance to get to it. And they came.

What an awesome day!! The weather started out cold and overcast, lending little doubt to the fact that we were in for another wet day at the clinic. Wrong. The weather by noon, was sunny with not a cloud in the and hot, a littel breeze, and a few clouds in the sky. We were blessed, content, and happy to be where we were with who were with. The children and the people of Ngwane Park.

As usual, eveything was in place or in the process of getting in place by the time we arrived. The tents were being put up, chairs and tables assembled, the meds taken to the "pharmacy", the spiritual counselors setting up and the Voluntary Counseling and Testing workers were there. Within 10 minutes we were seeing our first patient, and by the end of the day, we had seen 335 patients, all so different than what we saw yesterday, both in diseases, and spirutal openness.

There were alot of issues today. Several abscesses that needed draining, a house call for a woman who could not get out of bed, a couple of wounds that needed serious attention, a patient with a severe asthmatic attack, and a lot of other pathology. And Pepe came back looking great!!

The children came in the afternoon for their meals, and they danced and played, eating their only meal for the day, happy that love and grace was surrounding them.

There is never a better time to thank Him for our blessings and grace, than when we see how tiny we are in the great scheme of things...holding the hand of a small 1 month old infant with pus in her eyes, comforting the old man who is trying to catch his breath in between his coughing fits, looking into the eyes of a young women with 3 young children who tells you she is HIV positive and that she knows she will be dead in a year and she has no one to take care of her children...and could she leave them with us...

In all things, give thanks...


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mangwaneni, Swaziland...the second day

The day is cold, and rainy. We arrive at Mangwaneni already cold and wet. This is a community on the outskirts of Manzini off the road to Mozambique and is across the street from the city garbage dump. A high percentage of the people in the community are unemployed forcing them to scrap for food and clothing in the garbage dump. It is considered one of the poorest areas that we will visit and the orphan situation in this part of town is significant.

We saw Pepe again, the little girl with HIV and sepsis, and she is looking better. Another round of IV antibiotics and IV hydration, perks her up a little bit. We'll see her again tomorrow.

We only saw 250 patients today, most probably because of the weather. The atmosphere was different than any other place we have been to. There were lots of men and women with advanced stages of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. The children seemed sicker, and less happy. Simply put, there was a sense of evil in the area. We saw those who came, offered spiritual counseling, and cared for those who were sick.

Hope and faith were needed here most...He was needed here most...I hope they let Him stay...

In all things, give thanks...


Madonsa, Swaziland...the first day...

We departed for our first clinic at Madonsa, a drive about 30 minutes from the hotel. Madonsa is a community that is on the northeast edge of Manzini. It is a very rural place but because of its proximity to Manzini, it is becoming more urbanized. The community itself still has a very rural Swazi feel with most of the homes made out of traditional stick and mud structures. We arrive at the Care Point to find the tents in place and the medicines already delivered and ready for use. At 8:05am we begin to see patients and by 5 p.m. we have seen 438 patients. One woman who delivered a baby on 3 days ago is sent to the hospital with her placenta still in place.

Mission of Mercy and Children's Cup children are seen and treated. Eight medical examiners work side-by-side with the healthcare workers who were trained in August, fine tuning their physical exam skills. The day is long, and the weather is brewing rain.

A quick one hour for lunch and a devotional refreshes the team and by mid afternoon we encounter our first medical emergency.

Pepe, is a nine-year-old little girl who is HIV-positive, diagnosed 3 years ago and is on ARV’s. Her mother died of AIDS and her father is close to death right now. Over the course of several weeks she has been feeling ill and today she presents to the clinic with a temperature of 104, rapid respirations, and evidence of total body infection and pneumonia. Herpetic lesions in her mouth make it difficult for her to eat or drink. She is weak and dehydrated. We start an IV, give her fluids and antibiotics. After bringing her temperature down over three hours she is looking much better. We will see her again tomorrow and give her the rest of her IV antibiotics.

There was alot of praying going on in the spiritual counseling center, with local pastors praying with every one of the patients we saw. There was also a VCT (Voluntary Counseling and Testing) team that came who offered HIV testing and counseling to anyone who wanted it. 58 people got tested.

There is never a better time than now to remember whose we are...looking at the children we cared for, and hearing their stories, seeing in some the loss of hope, gives me pause to thank Him for directing us here...we gave medicines, we saved a life or two, but most importantly, we showed that by living with Him, anything is possible...hope never ceases...grace given freely...

In all things, give thanks...


Monday, October 09, 2006

And so it begins...

....October 5, 2006....Swaziland Medical Mission

Eleven of us left Phoenix for Swaziland, picking up two more members of our team in London. Alot had happened up until that point, and alot would happen between the time we left and the time we arrived. Three members of the team came down with illnesses, one needing surgery, flight delays, and lost luggage...but He prevailed as He always does, and all luggage arrrived, medical equipment and all, and health is slowly being restored. We were met by the Children's Cup missionaries, and off we go to a 24 hour safari to visist Africa before we start our medical mission. We arrive at the new clinic late Sunday night to get all the medications and equipment ready for our first day. We are ready...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

And they will come...

The "nurses station" is almost complete, waiting for our arrival next week. The medicines and the equipment have been ordered and will all be in place by the time we arrive. We have 5 days of clinics that we will be holding, going from one Care Point to another and using our new "clinic" on the last day. The team is ready: 4 doctors, 4 nurses, a child life specialist, a professional photographer and her husband, and of course my partner from MOM and his wife. We expect to see 1500 patients in 5 days give or take a few hundred. The team is experienced having traveled and worked together on several medical missions in Cambodia, so we should have little down time and be off and running quickly. As we get closer to our day of departure, I'll be giving all of you our itinerary so that you can get an idea of what we'll be doing and where. I hope to be able to post updates daily from Swaziland with picutres and all. There is much that we need to do, and much more that we are unaware of. We believe in His power, and His direction. We believe that He will show us how, what, and where to go. We are in for the ride of a lifetime....a ride that gets better and better every time.

In all things, give thanks...