August 31, 2011

Things I learned on the African Mission field this last year...

• Keep the Gospel simple “This command I give you, Love one another.” People are so hungry for love. I saw the joy that I brought my sweet Mozambiquan leper friends and that they brought me…
• I realized I kinda like eating the fried white ants
• I saw it’s so key to not let myself get offended by others and to seek to be ‘un-offendable’ like Jesus lived. It may seem unrealistic, but it’s the Gospel. I can’t let those hurts rule my heart as it will eat away at me and I will miss the beauty in the situation.
• I learned we actually can love our enemies. The opportunity of loving and treating in the Nuba clinic the patients who were killing people in Darfur was life changing, yet strange, and hard to explain.
• I realized I really, really, really miss eating my Mom's bran muffins when in Africa
• I experienced the importance of being myself, being fully Catholic and praying for unity in the whole Body. I can feel how much unity in the Body is burning on God’s heart
• I can see my love for those with leprosy is so given by God and that He has a plan for me to serve them in some way at some point in my life.
• It was so cool to experience how ready God is to heal the sick, keep dying children from dying, and encourage people. And what a privilege this year to literally see the blind see, lepers cleansed, almost dead come alive and the lame leaping and hugging me with joy! God, you are so nice!
• I saw how generous people around the world are who donate $20,000 per month to help 800 Mozambiquan malnourished kids live healthier
• There are so many people around the world who have no idea that there is a God or people who love them so much. They are living in such suffering, fear, physical pain, bound to witchcraft and in utter isolation. I grew in compassion for these many tribes from so many nations who could be so much more happy and free if they had hope and confidence that God is greater than their fears and a ready help in their difficulties. I also realized more than ever there are so few Christians willing to ‘Go’ and reach out to Muslims and those who have never heard or seen the love of God. Pray for more courageous missionaries to go!
• I’ve learned that I’m not as physically strong as when I was in my 30’s which is quite humbling. But that doesn’t mean I’m not called to missions, just that I have to take care of myself and also trust God that He knows every hair on my head and if He calls me, He will provide and sustain me.

And lastly but most importantly…
• I learned to long for God to be my primary treasure… not the lepers, not my mission team mates, not my family or friends, not chocolate and icecream (though those are great things!) and certainly not the good works that I do. Him alone. Loving and worshiping Him with all my heart and resting in His love for me have to be my primary goal and aim.

What did you learn from your life this last year?
I'd love to hear!

Thanks from the Africans and myself for your prayers and donations this past year!

August 04, 2011

Laughter is the Best Medicine!

My fever would not leave. After 6 days of the fever and sweats, my legs and hands began swelling and everything hurt to move and my skin was mottled. Fr. Kevin and the YWAM team helped me to board the vehicle headed to Kampala Uganda…a lovely 12 hour drive at least.

“We’re just waiting for 1 more passenger then we’ll go.” Patience… Africans have a lot of time, not many watches. “Let’s go!” he said. The largest Indian man I’ve ever seen sat stooped over in the middle of the little 5-seater wagon, and I had already sat my bunch of sweet bananas on the outer seat I wanted. 3 people remained outside.

“We fit 4 in the backseat.” “How the heck are you going to fit 4 back here? This is a BIG man and I have BIG hips!” I said in my meek American tone. We argued so much that they gave me my money back and told me to wait for another car. UGH. The same problem arose in the next car until I forked up some more money to cover the ‘loss’.

After 30 minutes of driving, the little Muslim boy sitting next to me was holding his hat over his mouth. “”Inte cues?” No, definitely not, he nodded his head. “Stop! He’s going to vomit!” Just in time. I decided to take a pee break as the roads were more than bumpy. But… no privacy… and I couldn’t squat due to swollen painful joints. “What the heck… give them a show…swallow your pride.”’ I peed with a few people gawking… oh well, what else will they talk about at dinner?

Arriving in the transition point where I was to board a 30 seater bus, I stopped in a restaurant for chips and chicken. “Can I have chips and chicken?” “No”. Öh, what are those cooking outside?” ”Chips” “Can I have some?” ÖK”. “Chicken is there?” “No, no chicken.” Chips it is!
So, I ate my cold chips and watched Home Alone on the TV with a bunch of Sudanese and Ugandans laughing away… what a scene!

Boarded the bus. The conductor offers a prayer of protection. “God, please protect us and cover this car with your Precious Blood. Keep all the giraffes, elephants and rhinoceros’ and other large animals away from our path, O God. And keep all the bandits and thieves from boarding our car at any of the stops. And keep our driver awake…. In Jesus Name.” Now that’s a real traveling prayer!

I arrived safely, was taken the next morning to the clinic and attended to wonderfully and got on the right medicines, along with all of your prayers. By the next morning, I was noting a significant change and am on th road to recovery after having liver enzymes elevated to that of a person with hepatitis. They are now on their way down.

I’m now in transition back to the US for a long rest and with the intention of returning in early December to Sudan to work with leprosy patients and build up the YWAM clinic among other works.

Thanks for all your prayers and support! Keep them coming!