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!