Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Just want to send warm (literally!) Christmas greetings your way. We had
a lovely day. Last night we had a nice little gathering of most of the
white faces around - some were sick, and we had plum pudding and
cinnamon rolls. Then today we had a nice quiet Sabbath. We went out to
our normal branch Sabbath School and Cherise told the story of baby
Jesus. It was quite amusing as we haven't read it to her for a while.
She was holding up the My Bible Friends book, and this is sort of how it
went, "So, the lady was pregnant, and she had a baby in her belly."
..."And the baby was so tired of traveling in her belly!" Frederick was
translating for her so we were hoping he was smoothing it out a bit!! It
was really funny, but we were proud of her for trying. Next time we will
read her the story beforehand!

We had a good week. Gary and the other two couples (Kel and Josie, and
Jonathan and Melody) went to Moundou to get the container through
customs. The others needed to get some stuff for setting up
housekeeping, and I needed a break, so it worked out nicely. They we
able to get everything through customs and unloaded, including a vehicle
and get back about 12:30 midnight Tues night (really early wed morning).
Most of the stuff in the container is for the clinic in Moundou that
James is starting, so the whole thing didn't come here, they just filled
up the two vehicles and brought stuff back. So, our fridge and freezer
have arrived!!!!!!!! I am so excited! I really wanted to have at least
the fridge hooked up by Christmas, but since they weren't able to bring
everything this trip, not everything we need made it here. :-( Gary
tried anyway to rig something up and he really made a valiant effort, so
I appreciate it and I guess we'll have to go get the rest of the stuff
soon. The only problem is neither one of the hospital vehicles run very
well, so it's always an act of faith to start out on a trip with them!!

So, just wanted to let you all know that we were thinking of you today.
Hope you have/had a wonderful Christmas and Sabbath.

Wendy, Gary, and Cherise

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Waiting for heaven.

Exo with a bucket on top of his head.

On a sad note, Wed we heard that a little boy who lives across the
street from the hospital had fallen in a well and drowned. I immediately
thought of little Exo (I have no idea how to spell it, but that's how
you say it!). He is absolutely adorable and every time I go down to the
hopital if he is anywhere around, he is there to shake my hand and greet
me with a beautiful smile. Actually, sometimes he doesn't even want to
shake hands, but just puts up his hands for you to pick him up. He is
really a charmer and always brings joy to my heart. I was really hoping it wasn't him, but from the description it sounded like his family and
they said it was a boy. He has brothers though, so I still didn't know.
But yesterday, we went down to give our condolences to the family and
they confirmed that it was him. It really makes me so sad to think that
I won't see his beautiful smile when I go down there. I was very
impressed with his father though. Of course he is very sad, but you could tell that he has the comfort that only knowing Jesus gives and you
can be sure that when we get to heaven, I'm going to find Exo by his
beautiful smile and give him the biggest hug ever!

Exo (left) with Bezeel, a neighbor friend.

Exo's family with a student missionary from a year ago. Exo is on her lap.


So, we witnessed at least one miracle this week and I'm inclined to
think two.

First of all, we have been having a terrible time with the district
medical officer (MCD) here. He is really controlling and just seems to
try to make trouble. Two Congolese doctors (from very near where Gary
grew up, and speaking the same local dialect) were here and came to work
for a year, but they and James had been working on getting them
authorization for over a month and the MCD was doing everything he could
to prevent it. So, the hospital over in Koza, Cameroon has been without
a doctor since our friends the Shanks left 4 months ago. So, James took
them over there to work and they were welcomed with open arms. So, the
Shanks had left some stuff for us which will be really useful to us, and
James was willing to bring it back for us. James was on his way home,
stopping over in the capital to pick up the new docs and the van broke
down. Since the new docs were coming in that night, he had to get there
to meet them, so he left the van at a shop to be fixed and he went on to
the capital. Well, when Gary heard, we were sure without a miracle we
would never see all that stuff! So, we started praying for angels to
protect it and then Gary called our good friend and taxi driver in the
capital, Emma and asked him to go down first thing in the morning and
just be with the van. The border closes at night, and the van was still
in Cameroon, so he couldn't go then, but we would still do what we
could. He went early in the morning and of course he didn't know what
all had been there, but at least there was still stuff in the van!
Anyway, as far as we know it was all still there and they were able to
repair the van quite quickly and James and the new doctors, Olen and
Danae and their son, Lyle (almost 2) made it safely home. We really feel
like the angels watched over the stuff that night.

So, while we were praying for the van, I decided we should pray for the
container too. Several months ago, James shipped a container full of
medical supplies, etc and more than a month ago we had heard that it
left the port in Cameroon. We were also able to put some things in it,
but since we hadn't heard anything for so long I was starting to wonder
if we would ever see it. No one could seem to tell us where it was, and
James has had one that disappeared after arriving in Cameroon. So, I
prayed that it would be protected as well, and arrive here safely.
Within a day or two, it was in Chad! So, Thurs, Gary and James went to
start the paperwork and Gary is going back tomorrow to try to finish
that. Please pray for them that it will go smoothly and quickly and they
have some heavy, tricky things to unload as it is loaded with a forklift
and we don't have such a thing here!

Playing Pilot.

So we had a great time with Alex and Emily here. I was very sorry that
they got burned, but we really enjoyed them! They decided that since
they were supposed to be leaving in about 2 weeks anyway that they might
as well go home. Emily has a really hard time with anything healing -
bug bites and everything just get infected and won't heal, so we were
worried about her big burns getting infected. They live with local
families, so it would have been very difficult to keep them clean and
covered. So, they scheduled to fly out Thurs afternoon.

Gary got back into the country on Tues night and came home Wed
afternoon, but when he got here he was burning with fever! We've had a
cold/flu bug going around and many of us only got it for about 24 hrs,
but then Kel had felt a lot worse and had it for about 5 days, or so,
and was still dragging. I was hoping that Gary would feel better by
Thurs because we had arranged for him to fly the girls up to the
capital. It would have been very uncomfortable for them to ride the bus
- it's quite bumpy, crowded, hot and dirty. Not exactly what they needed
before taking a 30 something hour flight home! Unfortunately, Gary was
still no better Thursday morning. We decided that I would go with him
and help him at least while we were in the air. I don't know how much he
actually slept, but he brought along his pillow and at least rested most
of the time. He just told me what to do and when to wake him up and we
made it there and back! So, we got the girls off, and headed home, we
didn't even leave the airport.

Jonathan (our other pilot) and his new wife, Melody, were supposed to be
returning on Wed, but they didn't receive their passports with their
visas in time, so they had to reschedule for the next week. It would
have been nice for him to be here to do the flight with Gary, but we
weren't really ready for them! On Sunday, I had told the boy living in
their hut that he had to move out (actually I had told him before that).
He thought that since Jonathan wasn't coming until Wed he should be able
to stay until then! I said, "NO, he is coming with his wife now, and we
have to clean this place up!" Ok, he would move tomorrow. Well, Monday,
Josie and I just went up and took brooms, etc and started moving stuff
out. He didn't put up a fuss, but he wasn't going to do it without some
motivation!! Anyway, it was really filthy and there was all kinds of
construction type stuff and whatever else in there, so we piled it all
in a container. I really wanted to set it up clean and nice for them to
come home to and then they could work on going through the stuff at
their leisure. Well, while we were cleaning, Josie said, "This place
really needs some paint on the walls." It is a mud brick hut and the
walls are just sand and cement plastered and no one has ever painted it.
I had to agree, though I knew it wasn't going to be an easy job. I asked
around and was told you can get paint in our local market, so I called
Gary who was still in France and asked if it was ok if we painted it. I
wasn't sure why it hadn't been painted yet, so I thought maybe there was
a reason! He said we could, but I could tell he thought we were crazy!
Anyway, I called Frederick and he was willing to go to the market with
me to help me find it. The guy only had two gallons which I knew would
not be enough, but I thought at least we could start with that and see
how much more we would need. (I really don't know what I was thinking -
why start if I didn't have enough!? But I really had no idea what enough
would be!!) So, we started working. The two gallons almost covered the
whole thing once, but the wall soaked it up as fast as we could put it
on! I wasn't really surprised, but started realizing that we would need
at least 3 coats. So, back to the market Frederick and I went. I had
seen some 5 gallon cans of paint as well, so even though I knew he
didn't have more gallon tins, I thought maybe he would have a big one.
Sure, enough he had one and it was a lot cheaper than buying it in the
gallon size. I was really thrilled. So, the next day I ran up to start
painting and opened it up. It didn't look the same and it was really
thick. I waited for Kel to come and he confirmed what I was afraid of -
it was water based paint - not oil based, like we had been using. Kel
thought maybe we could use it, but some of my walls have water based
paint on them and it just washes off. So, I didn't want that. So, I
called Frederick and he came and helped me take the paint back to the
market. Thankfully, we had also found out that Jonathan and Melody
weren't coming that week, so I wasn't as stressed because at least the
pressure was off a little bit! Frederick convinced the man at the market
to take the paint back and since Gary was coming back that day I wanted
my money back so that Gary could just buy some in the capital. They
usually don't want to do that but he did. So, we waited two days for
Gary to get back and then he didn't get paint. He went to the store to
get it just before coming home and they were closed for their midday
siesta! So, I sent Frederick back to the market to ask the guy to order
the paint - he had told us before that he could get it, but I thought it
would be faster to get it from town. It was good that we had a couple
days of break because Josie wasn't feeling well and since I had been
gone flying Thurs and we had had so many people here, things were a real
mess! So, he got the paint Friday afternoon, so first thing Sunday
Frederick and I were back at the market! He had 4 gallons. I had asked
for 5, but we would take what we could get. We really had to get to work
now, so Kel jumped in to help us. I don't think he was too excited about
it, but he was a good sport and we really appreciated his willingness to
help us! Anyway, we got the third coat done and ran out of paint and it
was still splotchy. I sent Gary back to the market to see if he had a
couple of pints at least - no luck. We were so close! I was really
discouraged. We were out of time and paint, and it was getting better,
but if we just had 1/2 a gallon more, I was sure we could have it
looking so much better. But what could I do - there just wasn't any more.

Well, the new doctors were coming in that night, so I gathered up some
sheets, etc and we went down to make sure they had a place to sleep for
the night. They weren't going to be getting in until late, so we wanted
something to be ready for them. It's another long story, but there
weren't any decent mattresses there, so we got Jamie and Tammy's bed and
moved it over. Then when we were in their house Gary said, "Here's a
gallon of white paint if you want it". Yippee! I was so excited! It was
exactly what we needed! (Thanks Tammy and Jamie - I'm replacing it for
you!!) So, the next day we finished touching up the splotches in the
morning and started cleaning (carefully!) in the afternoon. By noon the
next day, Thurs we were ready for Jonathan and Melody's arrival at 1:30!
We had just enough time to make lunch before they arrived. I felt so
much better! And they were pleasantly surprised, I think!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I just wanted to write an ask you to pray for us - we've had a rough
day... It started out with Kel being sick. He was sick yesterday as
well. We've had a cold/flu bug going around and it seems to last a day
or so. Cherise had it first and then I had it Wed and felt a bit better
Thurs, but not top notch. Then Kel wasn't feeling great yesterday and
worse this morning. So, since Gary is gone, Josie and I were going to
still go to Dabgue and have Sabbath School with the kids. I can't drive
out there - the sand is really deep and so I went to pick up Frederick.
He can drive us and then translate for us, so that works out well. Josie
was excited to tell a story to the children and had felts picked out and
everything. So, I got to Frederick's house and we all got on and started
out, and he had only gone a short ways when he looked back and stopped -
the back tire was low. It had been flat yesterday and Kel and Lassimb
patched it. So, I don't know if the patch didn't hold or what. So,
Frederick's house is near the hospital so he told me to park it there
and he will fix it tomorrow. So I did, but since we were there I figured
we might as well go to church. I wanted to let Josie know though that I
wouldn't be back to get her, but I didn't have my phone with me, since I
thought I would be right back, so I didn't have their phone number. So,
the man who works for Rich and Anne was here and his brother is a nurse
at the hospital, so I walked to his house and asked him to call his
brother and have him tell Josie I had a problem with the motorcycle. I
didn't know how much Kel and Josie would understand, but at least they
wouldn't be so worried. Then Cherise and I went to church. After church
I stopped by a little apartment that the student missionaries are using
to hang out and cook food for the malnourished babies (they live with
local families) to borrow a water bottle and then we were going to walk
home. On the way out though I looked at the tire and it didn't look any
flatter, so I called Phillip (on of the SMs) and asked him to come look
at it and see if it would be ok for me to drive it home. I didn't really
want to walk home in the sun and I wasn't sure if Cherise would make it
the whole way. He thought it would be fine, so we just rode the bike home.

We got home and Josie was wondering what had happened to us. They
figured out we had a problem with the moto, but that was about it. Kel
was still resting and didn't want to come eat, so Josie was going to
take him a plate of food when we got done. We fixed a salad and were
almost finished eating when my phone rang. It was Phillip. He said, "The
girls were using the pressure cooker and it exploded and they got
burned. Can you come with some cream? Do you have any?" He said it so
calmly, I thought he was kidding. I knew he knew that my tire was flat
too though, so it took me a couple seconds to process. No, he wasn't
kidding. "Ok, I'll be right down." I told Josie and Cherise and ran into
the bedroom to get the silvadine cream. It is the best stuff for burns
and some doctors who were here last year left a whole container with me.
I knew just where it was too because I had this huge box full of meds
and toiletries and I kept needing stuff in there and it was a real pain
to find anything. So just the other day I took all the meds out and had
them all over the whole room. Thurs night I decided that I had to clean
all that up or I wouldn't get it done before Sabbath, so I knew exactly
where it was. Then I ran outside, grabbed the generator and compressor
from the shed and pumped up my tire. Josie ran and grabbed their tire
gage for me, which was a big blessing because I wouldn't have known how
much to fill it and wouldn't have filled it enough. Then Cherise and I
jumped on the bike and went. As soon as Cherise heard, she wouldn't let
me go without her - she LOVES those girls and she really is a little
nurse in the making. She loves to take care of people, so I didn't have
the heart to make her stay.

I drove as fast as I dared since the sooner you apply the cream the
better. Phillip was there to open the gate at the hosital compound and
said, "It's pretty bad - they are crying and stuff." I ran in and they
were just getting out of the shower. The phone was ringing and it was
Emily's father who is a family practice MD. I talked to him as I was
assessing the burns and Shadae (SP?), the English girl who is a med
student and I started lathering on the cream. Alex is burned on her
forhead and left side of her face and both shoulders. Her left ear was
bothering her the most and she can't hear well out of it (must have
damaged the ear drum?). But thankfully she doesn't seem to have many
blisters, so I'm very thankful for that. Emily is burned the worst all
under her left arm and shoulder and neck and spots on her back. She also
has some on the left side of her face as well. Her arm is quite
blistered, but thankfully I don't think she will blister on her face
either. Man, the poor girls! It is really going to hurt for a long time.
I don't think it will be serious as long as we can keep it from getting
infected, but it is going to be a rough couple weeks and they leave for
the US in just two weeks. So, please keep them in your prayers. They are
going to come here and stay with me after it gets dark - they can't put
shirts on very well, and we don't want the sun to get them any more as
well, so thus the reason for waiting after dark! They can cover
themselves African fashion and wrap material around them. Then I can
feed and take care of them and hopefully it will be cleaner than their huts.

So, I finally left them to bring Cherise home for a nap and we went over
to get the house key from Josie and she said, "The water has a funny
smell, have you smelled it?" I did think I caught a whiff of something
last night in the shower, so she gave me a cup - yep - we have another
rat in the well!! Thankfully Kel is feeling a bit better, so he and
Lassimb will try to find it before night and get it out and then we can
charcoal or bleach over night...Will this day never end??? I sure hope
this one is easier than the last.

Love to all,

Sun Morning update:

Well, I didn't get a chance to send this yesterday, so just wanted to
let you know that we got the bat (it wasn't a rat) out of the water
tower and while he was up there Kel cleaned out the muck too. Then we
let some water flow through it and then let it sit with bleach for the
night, so we will drain that now and then hopefully it will be good.

The girls came last night and were in much better spirits. I was afraid
they wouldn't sleep well and Emily was awake quite a bit, but then got
some good sleep toward morning. Alex took a while to get to sleep but
then slept pretty well, so that's a blessing. Emily's blisters under her
arm are growing and growing. I thought they would pop in the night...

Thanks for keeping them in prayer!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in Tchad 2010

Hi Everybody,

Just wanted to tell you we had a nice TG although our chief cook had
some problems in the kitchen :-/, but we left with full bellies, so I
guess it was a good TG. I bought bad flour - normally I smell it before
I buy it, but this time I forgot. It smelled like dirt but I decided to
use it anyway - bad mistake! It wouldn't bake. It was disgusting!! I
tried to make an "apple" pie with green pumpkin, but it wasn't green
enough, so it tasted like pumpkin! It was ok, but not too exciting. We
had some real potatoes, but then I made another pan of the fake instant
kind, and no one really ate them! We had gluten and gravy, cornbread
stuffing, which was ok, but it was a bit dry, then Josie made a sweet
potato pumpkin dish, and a friend sent her stuff for green bean
casserole and pumpkin pie. So, it was ok, but since the pie crusts had
the bad flour as well, and we thickened the gravy with corn starch, I
was a bit disgusted that after being in the kitchen all day it didn't
turn out better! But we had good fellowship so that was fun. Right now
we have 4 SMs, one girl was here before and she is really a character.
She brought two friends with her and one of them was a student of Aunt
Verna's in 1st and 2nd grade! (Aunt Verna, it is Phillip Sherwood.) The
last one is a girl from England, so she had her first TG in Chad! They
are a really good group and a lot of fun. The three of them are only
here until just before Christmas though, so we wish they had more time,
but glad to have them for now anyway.

There are also a couple of Congolese drs here who are from near where
Gary grew up, so they speak his African dialect, so they have had fun
chatting together. Unfortunately, we have a new district medical officer
who is really being a pain and won't give them licenses to work here in
Chad, so they are going over to Cameroon to help at the hospital there
for now, since they have no dr there right now. Our new drs for the
hospital here are scheduled to come in about 2 wks so we pray they will
not have the same troubles, but he is really being a pain and
unfortunately his brother is the head of parliament or something like
that, so everyone is scared to cross him.

Anyway, we had a nice Sabbath and now Gary leaves tomorrow for some
meetings in Paris. He will be gone for about 10 days, and Jonathan and
Melody will meet up with him in NDJ on his way back, so we are looking
forward to having them back again!

Guess that's all for now. Would love to hear about your TGs too if you
haven't written already!

Love to all,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A deep subject.

Well - it's a deep subject. I've been procrastinating writing this in
part because I didn't know the outcome and in part because I know I
can't accurately describe the work, energy, sweat, and frustration that
went into this project! (Also, I was hoping Gary would write this, but
he's way too busy!)

Two weeks ago this last Sunday Gary started drilling a well on our new
property. The hospital has a small "back yard" (as Gary calls it)
drilling rig and Jamie had used it a couple times, so we were hoping to
get a good well and get down to clean water. Jamie and Tammy were
leaving on Tues for the US so Gary said he would fly them up to
N'Djamena in time to catch their afternoon flight if he would help him
drill this well first. So, they got everything ready and Gary told me
that once they started drilling they couldn't stop, so I nievely thought
that by the time Gary left on Tues, we would have a well with pure,
clean water! Yeah, right - TIA: This Is Africa! They drilled all day,
got the bit stuck once, so had to take it back out a ways and then go
again. Night was a blessed reprieve from the sun, but everyone got too
tired and curled up under the bushes and went to sleep. By 1am Gary was
working alone - he didn't want to stop and risk getting the bit stuck
for good. I can't remember how deep he was; maybe 100-120 ft or so. The
ironic thing about drilling a well is that you have to have water to do
it. How is that supposed to work, I mean, aren't you drilling a well
because you don't have water??! Thankfully we do have a hand dug well
probably 50ft away, so during the day several boys had been kept busy
just bringing water, but now Gary was doing that too! Just as the sun
began to peek over the horizon Cherise woke up and we went out to see
what was going on. Gary was still drilling! I couldn't believe it! So,
we pumped and hauled water for him for a couple hours. He finally
stopped and came in to eat. Anyway, he kept drilling that day as well
until they ran out of drill stock (pipes that drive the bit down into
the ground) at 150 ft! He talked to a guy that has done lots of wells
around here and he said he would surely get good water at 65 meters - 45
more feet. So close, and yet so far! So...the reason you need water when
you drill is to put down in the hole you are drilling to bring all the
mud back up out of the hole. So, Gary decided if every couple of hours
we pumped more water in the hole we could hopefully keep it open (it's
possible for the sand to cave into the hole and then you have everything
stuck in there and you are in a world of hurts!) and he would find more
pipe in NDJ so that he could keep going.

So, Tues he went to NDJ. It took him until Wed at sunset to find the
pipe, a way to thread it, etc and get back. So, Thurs he was at it
again. He finally got through a big hard clay layer and got into some
sand and it kept collapsing around the bit. So, in the water that you
pump into the hole, you can put this really snotty stuff to help lift
out the sand/mud, but Gary felt like it wasn't mixing up well enough, so
he thought my VitaMix would be just the thing! I wasn't quite so sure!
But, I was ready for this thing to be finished. I was like, what is this
stuff, I don't want to put non food items in my blender. He said, of
this is the stuff that they put in canned beans and stuff to thicken
them, it will be fine. Still doubtful I said, "So it's edible?" "Well, I
just said they put it in canned foods, so I'm assuming it's edible!" I
wasn't so sure that was good logic! I think they put lots of stuff
that's not edible in those things! Anyway, in addition to cooking for
whoever was working for Gary ever day (most people would only work a day
or two at most and then it was too much work for them - or maybe it was
the food!) Cherise and I got to be snot blenders! It was a HUGE mess!!
Two tablespoons of this stuff in the 2 liter blender would turn it all
to this thick snotty mess! And we blended up at least 40 gallons of the

I can't possibly remember all the problems we encountered and what
happened on what days, but eventually Gary got to what he thought was
good sand and he pulled out all the pipe and the bit. I thought we were
on the downhill slide now, but alas... Now we had to put the casing in.
It was going to take 17 pieces to get down to our 170 ft hole and it was
going nicely until we got to piece number 14 and then it stopped!
Probably because it was a hard layer, and we had a big bit on small
pipe, the hole was not perfectly straight. After trying and bunches of
guys pulling and hanging on it, they finally pulled it all back up. Now
the pipes wouldn't unscrew, because they had tightened and twisted so
much! Anyway, they finally got it out, cut the bottom piece to a point
and put it back down. They got to number 15 that time and there was just
no going any further! It was truly disappointing! He had worked SO hard
on this thing! But what do you do? It's 150 ft underground! So, there
had been another layer of water up around 65 ft, but Gary didn't think
it would be clean, so that's why he had kept going, so now he decided to
go back up and try that one. So, they pulled the casing back up to that
point and then filled in the hole with dirt. (This is all much more
complicated that I'm making it sound. Because we had gone so deep the
casing we had was too big, so while he was in NDJ Gary had gotten
smaller casing and had it shipped all the way here. He was worried about
dropping the casing in the hole as you screw the next piece on, so at
4am one morning he had gone to the hospital to weld up a contraption to
hang the pipe from a pulley. And I know there is other stuff, like the
drilling rig was falling apart and Gary had to fix it, but I don't
understand enough to be able to tell you about it and this story it
getting really long!) So, basically, we are at the first layer of water
and he put a pump down in there and there is water, but it will only
pump for about 5 minutes before it runs out. So, basically we wasted
over 2 weeks on this crazy well and we have nothing to show for it! I
know what business I don't want to go into!!

So, not much else has happened besides that! I did cut Cherise's hair
yesterday though! She has not been keeping it up in pony tails or
braids, so it's just been a ratty tangled mess, so I kept threatening to
cut it, so I finally did. It's about chin level and it looks really
cute! I think it's going to be a whole lot easier to keep up - I should
have done it sooner!

I went to Kelo today. That's where we get our packages and it's about 30
miles, but takes an hour by motorcycle to get there. Three SMs who are
here had gotten a message from the guy at the post office (through a
hospital worker) to come get their packages, so they decided to go on an
adventure. I decided since it's almost TG, I'd like to go to the market.
We've hardly been getting anything in our market for a couple weeks. So,
Frederick drove me on our bike and the other 3 hired moto taxis and off
we went. Normally it is a break neck, hang-on-for-dear-life ride, but we
must have gotten the slowest drivers in Chad! I guess one guy must have
been learning still because the girl who was with him said, "He can't
drive! I could drive better than that when I was 10!!" So, it took us
more than an hour to get there, but at least it wasn't quite so jarring
that way. So, we got to the PO and there were 9 packages and about 4
envelope size ones and some other mail, but only 1 of them was for the
kids! So, they were a bit disappointed, but went to the market and did
our shopping (there really wasn't a lot there either, but at least we
got cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados and green onions) and then managed to
get them all back between the 4 motos. It's always more fun with a box
digging in to you back and smashed between that and your driver who
holds your backpack on his front! And then the guys told Frederick that
he was going to fast for them on the way there! So, about 1/2 way back,
we left the others in the dust. I think Frederick couldn't handle it any
longer. I have to say that even though it is bumpier going faster, it is
more fun, and I was worried about getting fried! Anyway, we made it back
fine, and it was sure nice to have Frederick there to help us.

So, that's all for now. Hope everyone is well and that you have a
wonderful Thanksgiving!

Love to all,

Saturday, November 6, 2010


We started out with a good day. We went to Dabgue for our branch Sabbath
School for the first time since being back. I'm not sure anyone has been
meeting there while we were gone - the woven grass roof structure that
we usually meet under has fallen down, so we just sat under a mango
tree. Our friend Franco brought his motorbike as well, with his brother
and our good friend Frederick, who speaks english quite well, so he is
often our translator. He has been doing some translation work of some
children's bible lessons, and he's really been a great help to us.
Anyway, the back bearing on Franco's bike had a problem, so we left it
somewhere and Gary went back and got them in two trips. (Dabgue is 4 or
5 miles from where we live.) So, on the way home, Gary brought Cherise
and I back and went back to get them, but Frederick and Franco's brother
had caught a ride back with a van that was going to the market
(Frederick doesn't live far from the market.) Franco was able to ride
his bike home then by riding up on the gas tank and driving really
slowly. Gary had just gotten back and we had changed and Cherise was
sleeping when Frederick called. He had gotten to the market and was on
his way home and someone told him his son had died. He still wasn't
home, but Gary said he would come down right away. I just didn't think
it could be true. Apparently the boy, Hans, who was between 2 and 3 yrs
old, had been a little sick yesterday but was feeling better this
morning, though he may have had a low fever. Unfortunately, it was true.
Gary stayed with him for an hour or so, and then came back and got
Cherise and I and we went back and stayed all afternoon. The only
problem was, the other day when Gary went to Ndjamena to Kel and Josie,
we lost our motorcycle key. We can not figure out what happened to it. I
got all ready to go to the hospital and couldn't find it. I figured Gary
had it, but no, he didn't. So, Jonathan's bike has some issues so Gary
took the ignition from his and put it in ours, so that was working, but
the only problem is, the gas tank is locked with the key as well, and we
were really low on fuel now! So, Gary ended up switching gas tanks with
Jonathan's bike before we could go back! Interestingly though, now our
charging system is working that we couldn't figure out, so if that is
the solution, maybe we can find out key now!!

Anyway, please remember Frederick and his family in your prayers. There
is so much death here, but that doesn't make it easier...

God Bless,

Sunday, October 17, 2010

a day in our life

May 28

So, after we found the baby with the head injury Wed evening and Gary went back and stayed until about 10:30 helping with that, he got home and took a shower and realized that we had a rat in our well. We started working on the well at 5:30 am and it didn't take me long to realize that it was going to be a crazy day, so I decided to journal it for you! I wasn't disappointed!

5:30 am - Gary called Jonathan to come help him try to fish the dead rat out of the well. They tried to scoop it out with a bucket, but that wasn't proving very effective.

6:00 - Gary thought I should run to the hospital before 7am when they have worship and lock the gate to get some bleach. He wanted a couple gallons, so I made soy milk to take down to my malnourished babies and tied a box on the back of the motorcycle to haul the bleach back in.

6:30 - At the hospital I checked on the baby with the head injury and he was sitting up and looked good. His head was quite swollen in places. I found out that my very malnourished baby who I had really tried to help for the last week had died during the night. Very sad, but we couldn't get her to stop vomiting, so what could I do? Another baby went home because it is time to plant, so the moms won't sit still, they have to get back and work.

Also tried to buy bleach. Had to wait for 15 min for someone to show up, and then they only had 5 liters left, so would only sell me one liter.

7:30 - While I was gone Gary and Jonathan got some guys working on some projects out on our property. I'm not sure what all was going on out there. They were pouring a post for the foundation of our hangar and the containers that will form the outside walls. At some point in here, Gary went to get another rope and told the guys to stop trying to get the rat because it was very bloated and he could see the stomach, but they didn't listen and proceeded to pop the rat, which promptly sank out of sight!

Cherise and I made and ate breakfast, but the boys didn't want to stop.

8:30 - Gary went back to the hospital to get a good rope. He was going to pump the water out of the well and then send someone down to try to find the rat, but he didn't have a good rope. He put a cargo net on the person for a harness. At the same time Jonathan went to the market to get nails for the forms the guys were building out at the project, so I had him get more bleach. He had to go to two different places to find enough.

Anne (our neighbor who now lives in N'Djamena) came over to ask me if we had some of their barrels which we do. We were storing food in them that we brought back with us to keep the bugs out. Well, they are going on furlough for a year, so are packing all their stuff, so they want all their barrels back! She was wondering when she could get two of them to get started.

9:30 - The boys are back working on the well again. Sent one guy down and he couldn't breath, so they hooked up the air compressor and pumped some air down in there. I guess it worked, I wasn't out there. But when they went down they couldn't find anything! Three different guys went down and found sticks, centipedes and rocks, but no rat!

I took the chance to read my bible while nothing crazy was happening here!

9:50 - I folded some clothes and started to put them away. Cherise came in and had been playing in the water they were pumping out of the well - gross!

10:00 - Got one drum ready for Anne and then she also wants all the stuff that belongs to this house, since she is packing all her stuff, she will put it in their old house and use that as guest house if anyone needs to stay at the hospital or anything. So, this is sheets, towels, and kitchen things mostly.

11:00 - I started grinding grain for hot cereal. All the grains have had to be washed and then dried in the sun and then I grind them in my vitamix. Since we are using solar and we only have two small batteries, I grind a couple batches, and then wait 15 min or so for the system to recharge. I am making a mixed grain cereal - sorghum, millet, corn, barley (this one came from the US so I didn't have to wash it!), and oats. I would like to add wheat too, but don't have any clean right now. Anyway, I haven't tried it yet, so I hope it's good.

11:15 - Started working on lunch. Didn't happen. Anne came back over and had some stuff for us since she is packing and then we talked for a while. By the time she left two other ladies were here with sick babies. One has rheumatoid arthritis and we have been working with him for a while. He is doing quite a bit better. The other baby is very malnourished. I sent her to the hospital and she will wait for me there until I bring the milk down for the other babies and then I can help run her thru the system.

12:30 - Finally back to fix lunch. Got a really yummy pasta sauce fixed and realized I never started the pasta cooking, so we end up having to wait for that. By now the boys have given up on finding the rat, and they are hungry. They put quite a bit of bleach in the well and hope for the best.

1:30 - We finally all sit down and eat lunch although there are still interruptions. Jonathan has to go check on the work crew who should be starting to pour cement soon and need constant supervision to meet Gary's work standard! Throughout the day Gary is also making phone calls and sending text messages to coordinate the purchase and transport of a couple of containers from Moundou that he will use as walls for the hangar.

1:40 - The lady who comes to work for us in the afternoons arrives - she is supposed to come at 1:00. Since there is no water available yet, I just have her sweep and bring in water from Jonathan's well to wash dishes.

1:45 - Tried to finish eating quickly!

2:00 - Put Cherise down for a nap.

2:15 - Back to the hospital to check on "my" babies. The baby I sent down is there waiting, so I pay for a consultation and leave her while I go check on Eliane. She is a nursing student from the US and is getting some practicum time in, so needs a US registered nurse to supervise. She is almost done for the day, so not much to worry about with her. I run over and make my milk at Tammy's house. Thankfully she has the same soymilk maker that I have, and since mine is dirty and we haven't washed dishes yet, I decided to make it there. She is happy to help. When that is finished I run it back over to the babies and then find the other one who is finished with the consultation, but they don't want to hospitalize him. He is very malnourished and really needs to stay for a long time, so they agree to hospitalize him for me since I don't have a place for them yet. (He ends up leaving the next day. Supposedly the father came and said they couldn't stay. Not surprising since the women are the ones that do most of the planting, etc.) It takes a long time at the pharmacy to get all the meds, etc. They write everything down several times and they are never in a hurry!

4:00 - Run to market. I am out of peanuts which I also use to make milk for the babies and Gary wants more bleach. Only problem is that I forgot to get more money before I left to buy bleach, so I go to one Arab guy that sells phone credit, but also a little shop and he agrees to let me bring the money tomorrow - it's the African credit card.

4:15 - Home again. They have pumped water into the tower and we can use it again! I would sure feel better if they had found the rat. My phone beeps - a message from Anne saying that they are going to release the head wound boy. What? We really would like to monitor him for 48 hrs. Though when I was just down there he was standing up and walking a bit and it looked like the swelling was starting to go down.

Two ladies show up with their babies for milk. One lives nearby and her baby isn't malnourished, but sick and not eating and he will drink the milk so since I'm making it anyway, I've told her to come. The other one is very malnourished, but they have discharged him from the hospital. For now she is staying nearby as well.

4:35 - I brought the journal to the bathroom to see if I could catch up! I really hope things slow down now! It's really a hot and muggy day.

Jonathan has a bible study on our porch on Wed and Thurs afternoons. It is supposed to start at 4:30 but no one is here yet, including Jonathan! I spend a few minutes straightening things up out there. We are sleeping out there still since it is much cooler at night.

5:00 - Cherise and I take a shower. It is VERY bleachy - like my nose and eyes burn a bit! Cherise is very whiny and so I bring in some of Jonathan's well water to wash her hair and face.

5:45 - Feed Cherise leftovers while trying to be quiet since they are still in the bible study.

Gary is and has been outside talking to people and listening to all their woes.

6:20 - Cherise and I have worship quietly and brush teeth, etc to get her ready for bed.

6:45 - They bible study is finished so Cherise goes to bed. I set up her fan, music, etc. It's dark already.

Discuss a few things with Gary until somebody else shows up to talk to him. I try to send/receive email, but it doesn't work.

7:00 - Eat by myself, since who knows when Gary will be done.

7:30 - J&G finally come back in and eat. Then we clean up using Jonathan's well water to wash dishes.

8:15 - I'm exhausted, so I head to bed, which still takes several minutes! We have to bring a chair with books on top to put the fan on and then put the mosquito net down and then take the quilt off the bed so that all the dust from the mosquito net won't fall on the bed! Gary is still doing something on his computer and I barely notice when he comes to bed.

baby update

May 28

So, I just wanted to update you this am. They baby made it through the night. His head is quite swollen and deformed, but he was sitting up and looked fine. I didn't look at him too closely since he started to fuss when I touched him, so we don't want that! Anyway, keep praying for him.

On another note, we have a dead rat in our well - again! We had one last year too. I thought the water smelled in the shower even the night before last. But we had just had a big rain and during the rain we smelled sewer! Gary finally figured out that the vent from our sewer was under water, so as soon as the water soaked in it was fine, but I just thought what I was smelling was something related to that. Then last night it still smelled, but we had quite a big rain yesterday evening as well, so I wasn't sure. Then when Gary got home from the hospital and took a shower, he realized what it was. So, first thing this am they are working on that, but had a local guy helping and Gary left for a few minutes and he popped the stomach so then it sunk! So, they pumped most of the water out of the well, Gary went to get a better rope and someone is going down in there to clean it out. I guess there's a lot of other gunk in there too. In the mean time, I am very thankful for Jonathan's well and we are bringing in water from there! I ran down to the hospital early to try to get some bleach and they would only give me one liter - they only had 5 left! So, Jonathan is looking for bleach at the market right now. Always something...

So, last night when we saw the baby, Gary asked who the father was, and he was right there. So, Gary said, "If you want to pick a fight, pick a man, not a defenseless child!" A guy nearby said, "he was only trying to beat his wife"! Well, he must have been trying to kill his wife because it was some serious force that hit the poor baby. So, Gary said, "Well, it's not good to beat your wife either! You will kill your kids like this!" The father never said a word, he just stood there obviously very angry! Then when Gary went back they weren't going to do anything for the baby because the father didn't want to pay. (I said, "Lock him up until he does!") So, the father was sitting there messing with a cell phone and talking to his buddies like nothing was wrong, so Gary went over and said he needed to go pay and he said he didn't have money, so Gary took the phone out of his hand. (The hospital has a system so if they don't have money they can pay with whatever they have and the hospital will hold it until they bring the money, or if they never come then the hospital sells it.) The guy said, "It's not mine". Gary said, "I don't care. Go get some money. Do you want a dead kid or a live one?" So the dad actually did go and get some money. It really makes my blood boil and I said last night that he will blame the wife, but that's not all - everyone will blame the wife! It is so frustrating. I really wish I knew how to help the women here, but it just really hit me how low people will go when they do not have Jesus in their heart!


These posts are a bit old, but I got lax about posting them, so still a story that gives a glimpse into the life of the people in Chad.

May 27
We were just down at the hospital and as we were leaving saw a group of
people coming in quite quickly. I didn't see anything since it is dark,
but Gary saw a child with a lot of blood. We kept going a bit, and then
he turned around to see if we could help. It is a baby I would guess
about two and he has at least a 3" gash in the back of his head where
his father hit him! The father was trying to beat the wife, but most
likely she had the baby on her back and he hit the baby. It had to be
some serious force as the skull is dented in as well, and it is all the
way down to the brain. The baby was convulsing already. The local guy is
supposed to be coming in, so we left and told them to call if they need
help, but there isn't much to do. They will need to clean it up and give
antibiotics and something to stop the convulsions, but the serious
problems will be when it starts swelling. So, please pray for the baby.
It is so sad and makes us so angry! I think the father will go to jail,
but probably just til he can pay a fine. And he will blame it all on his
wife for provoking him!


May 4, 2010

One year ago we were enjoying the last month of Kaleb's life. Of
course we never would have dreamed it at the time, and I guess that's
partly why I am writing this letter. There isn't much I wouldn't give to
hold him in my arms right now and bask in his presence, and I long for
the resurrection when this wish will be reality. So I just want to
remind you to spend time with the people you love - other things just
aren't more important. And also, we must always be ready; we never know
how much time we have left.

I also want to say thank you so much to each person who has prayed for
us, written encouraging emails, and supported us financially. We are
very thankful for all that so many people have done. We received emails
from people all over the world and it means so much to know people are
praying for you. We also are very thankful for time we had to be with
our families. It was very healing.

So, now we are back in Chad. It was hard to come back, but good at the
same time. Life here is very hard and we see so much suffering, That at
times it is hard not to get discouraged, so please continue to pray for us.

The money we received in memory of Kaleb is going toward starting a
nutrition center for the many malnourished children and babies here.
Right now we are looking at land to purchase and we have some One-day
Church buildings that we can put up quickly for housing and the center.
We have talked to the government authorities and received their
blessing, so we are moving forward. Even though we don't have the
building up yet, we are already working with a few babies here and
there. I found one almost two weeks ago now and begged the mother to
bring him so I could feed him. First he had to spend a week in the
hospital for malaria treatment, so during that time I made soy or peanut
milk twice a day and took it to him. It was a lot of work, and he is
such a skeleton, I didn't know if there was any way he could survive,
but so far he has. While I was at the hospital, I noticed another very
malnourished baby, so I started taking him milk as well, but he died the
next day. It is so sad and so needless, so I really pray we will be able
to make a difference for the children here, but more than just feeding
them physically, I hope that we will be leading them to the Bread of
Life as well.