Recent Updates

Here are my most recent updates. To see older stories and updates from previous trips, click on "Older Updates."

Argentina - First Impressions

Click to zoom the imageAugust 27, 2012

First impressions are always interesting.

Imagine waiting at the airport to meet two Americans who speak only English. You're depending on your teenage daughter to translate everything you want to say.  They are from a church you've never heard of, in a city you've never heard of, in a country you've never visited. Now suddenly in front of you stand two bedraggled gringos who've traveled all night.

First impressions can be dangerous.

Nestor loaded our bags in his jeepevyordiatota (Jeep frame + Toyota engine + Ford drive train + Chevy brakes + Fiat power steering). Over the next few days, numerous leaks and noises tested Nestor's patience and mechanic skills. At one point, our Argentinian hosts laughed heartily at the fact that we were on a trip with no direction (faulty steering) and no way to stop (leaking brake fluid).

First impressions can be exciting.

The main focus of Nestor and Patricia's ministry is in rural areas 4-5 hours from Salta. As the jeepevyordiatota bounced along dirt roads, we saw farmers with sheep and goats, a welder fabricating roof trusts for a school, men hunting doves with shotguns, and poverty. Lots of poverty.

First impressions can be heartbreaking.

Nestor and Patricia are quick to turn introductions into working friendships. Whether working with mothers or mayors, Patricia's engaging personality and Nestor's pastoral heart nurture relationships and draw people closer to God. Every household brought out fresh bread and matte tea to share. We talked and prayed and laughed. Medics will love visiting these houses in the future.

First impressions can be heartwarming.

When a small town government worker heard of our future plans, we suddenly found ourselves in a meeting with Mayor Norda Garcia.  After a long discussion, we closed the meeting asking if we could pray for him.  We asked for specific things to pray for. He asked us to pray for the community, for people to work together. We asked how we could pray for him personally and he joked that we could pray that he lose weight. Nestor and I prayed, with Ruth translating my English. When we finished Mayor Norda was quiet for a few minutes. "That was different," he said. "In the Catholic church no one talks to God personally like that." A few minutes later I caught him standing on the scale in the community health center. "One kilo less," he said with a grin.

First impressions can be impacting.

Today Nestor and Patricia barbequed a feast of meat for our final meal with them. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 3:05pm. At 1:30pm Patricia was just putting food on the table and Nestor was still changing the power steering hose in the jeepevyordiatota. South American hospitality dictates ignoring the time when a huge meal is placed before you (and this was a DELICIOUS meal). Jen's North American brain (not to mention airport timetables) dictate arriving at the airport on time. "The airport is only 5 minutes away," Nestor says with a grin. It takes an act of the Holy Spirit to keep Jen positive and friendly while insisting that we leave for the airport in 20 minutes. We arrive at the airport and check-in our bags 37 minutes before our flight. Nestor grins and points out a sign stating bags will not be accepted within 35 minutes of a flight.

First impressions can lead to lifelong relationships. We certainly hope they do here in Argentina.



See more Argentina pictures here:
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152063562000094.891375.658930093&type=1&l=61ee5d9c27
 

Peru - Our God is an Awesome God

Click to zoom the imageAugust 24, 2012

"Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." 2 Corinthians 10:17

On Saturday the Peru medic team sat around my kitchen table for our team debrief. As they told about their high and low moments in Peru, I was so proud I could burst. These medics have become mature healers and ministers. They love Jesus with all their hearts, and are committed to serving and loving His people everywhere. They are teaching me new depths of what God wants to do through each of us. I'm in awe of what God is doing through them.

We saw God heal people - through medicine, through prayer, through forgiveness, through spiritual heart change. It was very fun to join God in this work. As excited as we are, we want to make sure praise and honor and glory go where it is due.

All praise and honor and glory be to God in Christ Jesus, who heals and comforts and saves!
Thank you for your prayers. They were answered in ways we would never have imagined.


In case you haven't been following us on Facebook - here are a few pictures from the trip:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.429283300448507.95211.426099737433530&type=1&l=1c90e403a3


Peru - First Week (Robert's update)

Click to zoom the imageAugust 15, 2012

Just want to bring you up to date on events that happened last week when we visited homes. There's too much to tell you all of what the Lord did. All the healings and salvations and just the love that was poured on the people that we visited. So having said that, I'll just share a summary of what happened.


Being on the prayer ministry team at Vineyard Boise, I came to Peru assisting the Mission Medics team. Basically, when we entered people's homes, the medics and pastor that I was with would introduce
themselves and present medical advice and counseling as appropriate while I sat in the background. I would pay attention to their needs and concerns and at the same time try to listen to what God would have
for them. The Spirit often prompts me with what to say.

After all the medical attention was done, medication handed out, blood pressures taken, etc, the medic or the pastor would ask if they would like to receive prayer. We'd let them know that we believe the Lord
not only heals through medicine, he also heals through prayer. Every person we visited asked for prayer. We would ask the Holy Spirit to come, and we'd begin praying according to their physical, spiritual,
or emotional needs. Without getting into a lot of detail in all that God did this week:

      Headaches disappeared
      Vision was restored
      Hearing - an 88 year old man with extremely poor hearing now responds to questions from across the room
      A 10-year-old girl who had pain in her stomach was healed
      Lower back pain was healed over and over again
      One lady with pain on the bottom of her feet not longer felt pain after we prayed
      Knee problems vanished
    People who felt overall body pain reported again and again that they felt better after prayer
      We dealt with the spirit of religion, shame, guilt, abandonment, alcoholism, fear, and many other spiritual and emotional burdens.
      God showed me some visions for people. I was able to share them and watch God really touch people through my (his) words.
      And I saw 5 people accept Jesus as their personal savior.

Keep in mind, this was just the group of people I was with! We had 3 or 4 other teams each day. I have been so blessed being part of the Mission Medics Team. Thank you for all your prayers, the Lord has
honored them and heard them. I am looking forward to the week ahead.

Peru - First Week (Manaal's update)

Click to zoom the imageAugust 14, 2012


It's been just under a week, time is flying by!

It has been more than amazing so far.


THe first few days were difficult for most people, physically, as the altitude took a toll on many of us. Ed and Peggy's house is on a high part of Cusco and so naturally there are a billion stairs up between
our barrack bunk bed area and the main house... the first few days were funny to watch people pause 2 or 3 times to catch their breath then panting endlessly at the top, you'd think they'd run a marathon! It has been an endless source of entertainment.


As for daily stuff, we have been going out in groups of 1-2 medics with a translator and local pastor (and usually a few helpers from the church). We have been going door to door in the areas near their churches or surrounding more rural areas. It's been incredible! We have been warmly welcomed into homes, everything ranging from sheds to middle class apartments. Along side the medicine and preventative health teachings, we have been praying with every household. In many cases, they have been receptive to hearing more...and it's been a perfect opportunity to share the gospel, encourage them and see miracles happen. When i say miracles, i mean it... everything from people believing... to healings...no seriously... miraculous stuff. Its been crazy.

Sometimes it's also heartbreaking. We went to a house with a single mother who was raising three boys with muscular dystrophy... her husband heard that the degenerate gene was passed down through the mother and so he left her...Two of the boys were already bedridden and the third was on his way. Despite the lack of muscular function, they were amazing artists. They spent their days making perfect replicas of cars out of cardboard and pens... complete with moving parts, dashboard  etc... it was so cool. There wasn't much we could do for them medically, so we just prayed... we took a polaroid of them (to their great enjoyment)  It was frustrating, because although they were physically challenged, we wanted to show them they had value...then it hit Audra... why not buy one of those amazing cars? The look on the boys face was priceless...then Bruce bought one...then the pastor told them, if they could make more, we would buy more! It didnt heal their legs, but it showed them they had value...that they could support their family with a skill...and their mother cried. It wasn't about the money we paid for the cars...it was about the worth we showed them.

Those are the moments we love.

Peru - First Day (Audra's update

Click to zoom the imageAugust 7, 2012

What a day. We had the most amazing first visit today. We broke into groups and went house to house with local pastors in different areas of Cusco today.

I was with Robert and Erik today. We sat down with a woman and her daughter who was complaining of knee pain and headaches, abdominal pain and arthritis pain in her hands. I went right into medic mode and began to give her exercises to strengthen her knee, and to drink more water for the headaches, and gave her ibuprofen for the pain. Then we asked if we could pray for her. As we did, God healed her. She sat there with her two long black braids, traditional Peruvian stiff- brimmed hat and exclaimed that she had felt an anxiety and tightness and now she felt lighter. She said that all the pain was gone, gone from her knee, gone from her hands, her stomach and her head. Praise God!! We continued to pray over her daughter and I watched elated as she sat there moving her fingers, making a fist and shaking her hands, then looking up at me with these eyes filled with hope and awe saying there is nothing, there is no pain.

That is how God chose to start our day. What a privilege that we get to see Him work.

The rest of the teams had great days as well, pray for Joanna who has a seizure disorder and we are going to try to include her in the clinic somehow. Pray for the single mother who is trying to raise her kids the best she can in a one room house, pray for the woman who is afraid to go to church because she cannot physically kneel and doesn't want to be disrespectful to God, pray for the construction crew who stopped working to have their blood pressures checked and listen to a talk about Jesus, pray for the woman who chose to take in the ten year old off the streets. These are the ones God placed in our path today. We look forward to tomorrow!

Peru - Preparations

Click to zoom the imageAugust 1, 2012

The Mission Medic outreach in Peru starts in a few days!

I came to Peru ahead of the team to spend some time with Garry and Pat and help them prepare for the team. Exhausting - (making purchases and running errands in Lima is not easy) - but I'm thankful for how smoothly most things are happening.

Praises:
Last night, we met with the Peruvian physician and nurse who will be working with us during our clinic week (the last week). We sat at McDonald's drinking coffee with huge amounts of sugar in it, discussing clinic plans, praying and laughing together. Both men have sweet spirits and I'm very thankful God put them on this team.

Today, as a side excursion, I met with Vineyard church leaders here in Lima. Ismael and Hilda De La Cruz started a church in their home and
have persevered through the years to develop a beautiful, active church. Their daughter Keila and her husband Rodrigo also work with the church. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with them. It turns out
Ismael and Hilda will be in Boise next month visiting an old friend. The world gets smaller every day.

There are pictures on the Mission Medics facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/MissionMedics

Boyd Family Cruise - Caribbean

Click to zoom the imageJune 24, 2012

I went on a different kind of adventure this week. My grandparents celebrated their
60th wedding anniversary by taking my extended family on a Caribbean cruise!

Ethiopia - Trip 2 Summary

Click to zoom the imageMay 8, 2012

When the Kansas City team arrived arrived last Saturday evening the pace of my trip increased dramatically! We traveled all over Ethiopia visiting Vineyard churches. We changed towns every night. We preached, we played with kids, we helps haul rocks for finishing a foundation, we taught spiritual principles, and we built relationships. In between activities I found myself withdrawing for a lot of quiet reflection time. It was nice.

I learned a few things personally.
  • God reminded me I'm doing exactly what I'm called to do - expanding the Kingdom of God through basic medical care and training around the world.
  • After 14 days of almost no internet access, I'm now convicted to set some limits for myself in the realm of data/Facebook/texting/e-mails. Especially on my mobile device. I need to clear time to think and process - e.g. less "on-the-go" Facebook and more "on-the-go" praying!

God is working on some good things for future mission medic ministry.
  • I built relationships with pastors all over Ethiopia and discussed future medic plans with the Ethiopian Vineyard national director
  • I was able to follow-up with the Shannons and Embracing Hope staff. The first day I walked into the daycare unexpectedly and was extremely pleased to see daycare workers washing the kids' hands with soap before their meal. I know this seems small, but hygiene practices have actually changed! Huge! Ruth (the nurse at the daycare) had lots of questions for me but is doing great. She is going to do some healthcare teaching with the moms tomorrow evening. Two of the children who were brand new to the program when our team arrived last month are now gaining weight, improving in health, and interacting, playing, and smiling. Yippee - it is amazing to see our work paying off!

Ethiopia - High-heeled shoes

Click to zoom the image    
May 1, 2012

I cleared Ethiopian customs for the third time in 12 months. Jerry drove me to their house in the slums, and I smelled the familiar smell of burning trash from the dump. I happily greeted Christy and walked into the room I'd be sharing with a couple of women from Michigan. And there they were. Sitting innocently next to a large suitcase. White, high-heeled sandals.

Who brings high heels on a mission trip to Africa?

The next day, I met the owner of the shoes. Kim is a dynamic, red-headed nurse from Owosso, Michigan. She's a successful businesswoman, confident community ambassador, and a spiritual leader in her church. I watched her draw on impressive reserves of strength throughout the coming week. But this was her first trip to Africa, and culture shock took its toll.

  • "Jennifer, did you see that old man squatting in that doorway?"
  • "I saw a malnourished baby with flies all over her face and it was so frustrating not to be able to treat her eye infection."
  • "The water was SOOOOO dirty, and they drink it!"
  • "Is that a donkey hoof just laying on the side of the road?"
  • "This traffic is horrible!"
  • "How can you stand that smell?"
  • "How do people live this way? It is inhumane!"

As Kim cried, I wanted to shake my head and judge her. Doesn't she know this is normal? This is everyday life for millions of people all over the world. I'm not shocked anymore. Why should she be?

But little by little, God used Kim to peel back my layers of pride and callousness. I started seeing the people around me as Kim saw them.

  • An old man, someone's grandfather, suffering in pain
  • A baby with a treatable eye infection suffering needlessly
  • Whole villages with no access to clean water
  • Trash (and yes, discarded animal parts) on the side of the road in a disgusting, overcrowded slum
  • Dangerous traffic
  • Horrendous smells of human waste and rotting trash

INHUMANE indeed. 

I'm thankful for years of perspective. I'm thankful for my focus in medical ministry so I'm not distracted and overwhelmed trying to meet all the other needs of the world. I'm thankful I no longer dissolve into tears at the sight of human suffering. Without this "thickened skin" I couldn't keep doing what I do.  But sometimes it is good to react. Sometimes it is good to remember that the world is not as it should be. Sometimes it is good to have a friend who's not afraid to wear white, high-heeled sandals in Africa.

"Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor 13:12-13 NLT

Ethiopia - Away in a manger

Click to zoom the imageApril 29, 2012

Today I sat on a wooden bed in a round mud hut in a rural village in Ethiopia. A partial (mud) wall divided one half of the hut from the other. Peering around the corner of the wall was the head of a cow. This head is attached to a very live cow, but he moved so little I had stare for a while to convince myself he was real. I threw him my banana peel and thought about how practical (and smelly) it is to have a cow acting as trash compactor and heat generator in your home.  I wonder if Jesus was born in a home like this. "Away in a manger... The cattle are lowing..."

The Bible stories and teachings I've heard all my life come to life here. An Ethiopian farmer doesn't need a Bible commentary to understand Jesus talking about planting seeds in good soil, walking an extra mile and giving up your only cloak, or washing someone's feet.

The Ethiopian churches we've visited are thrilled to have us here teaching and encouraging them. But as usual we're the ones doing most of the learning!

Ethiopia - teaching Vineyard church leaders

Click to zoom the imageApril 25, 2012

When I travel with the Vineyard team, my teaching topic is about serving the poor. Reaching out to the orphan, widow, prisoner, sick, etc. In many cases I'll be talking to a congregation made up of "the least of these" - but there are layers of poor and these churches still have a call to reach out in their communities. Vineyard churches in Ethiopia are very spirit led with amazing prayer ministries and expectations for God to move through prayer, but it rare to find a church practically reaching out to feed the hungry, nurse the sick, or take in orphans. I want to do more than exhort church leaders to "do something" because the Bible says so. I want to help them wrestle through HOW to reach out to those in need... even with limited resources. This is complicated by the fact that I'm from the USA and therefore seen as a source of money and programs. I have some good ideas for teaching, but it is always interesting to see which discussions and skits work and which don't. Please pray as God puts together this teaching.

Ethiopia - Trip 2 

Click to zoom the imageApril 22, 2012

I'm headed back to Ethiopia today.

Many people have asked me why I'm going back so soon... and here's what I've told them:

The training trip you prayed over last month was scheduled based on work schedule of a couple of my teammates. This trip is scheduled around a Vineyard team from Detroit and Kansas City. With four weeks in between, I decided to return to Boise and instead of staying in Ethiopia.

The truth is, I'm really not sure why I'm going on this trip. I know it will be a bit of a vacation for me. I'm not responsible for a team. I'll spend the first few days with the Shannons (the family we worked with last month). I'm VERY excited about this! Then, I'll join a Vineyard team and travel around Ethiopia visiting small churches. I'll have time to worship and pray away from my North American responsibilities. In the past, this type of trip has resulted in special relationships and new vision for future ministry. We'll see what God does!

The past four weeks at home in Boise have been a blur. I worked, I worked, and I worked some more. I also spent time with the Vineyard College of Mission school directors setting up this fall's schools, interviewed a few medic students for this fall, completed an ACLS certification, worked through the horrible "purchase airline tickets" stage of preparing for a medic outreach in Peru this summer, hosted a bunch of get-togethers to reconnect with friends, and even got a little yard work done! I'm looking forward to climbing on an international flight, turning off my cell phone and computer, and getting some rest.

How can you pray?

  • For safe travels, prompt arrival of all my luggage, and a smooth trip through customs (I'm hauling a ton of donated stuff)
  • For calm and rest as I try to take some "time away" to think and pray
  • For eyes and ears open to opportunities - both now and for future projects
  • For quick bonding with the team I'm joining
  • For wisdom as I prepare a teaching to give in churches

Answers to prayer

  • I was asked to bring a medication needed for one of the Ethiopian pastor's children and didn't have a way to get any. Only a few days later, that medication was randomly donated to me. I love when God works in specifics.
  • My parents came home to Boise on Friday and spent Saturday helping me get ready to leave. It was good to see them before I left.

Ethiopia - Home Culture Shock

Click to zoom the image    
March 26, 2012

Last night I stood at Baskin Robbins with a blank look on my face. The lady behind the counter was exceptionally friendly, commenting on my "cute shoes." I smiled and I decided not to tell her about the dirt, feces and filth those shoes had walked through over the past two weeks. Dirt I saw children playing in every day.

Confused by my silence, she offered to let me try as many flavors as I wished. I decided not to explain that I was overwhelmed by the options in front of me and would be perfectly happy with anything she decided to dish up. I decided not to explain that I'd been waiting two weeks for a good dish of ice cream. Not to explain that my "sacrifice" suddenly felt ridiculous as images of Ethiopian moms flashed through my head - moms who struggle to scrape together ANY food for their children. Not to explain that I felt guilty for eating ice cream at all. That I'd been traveling for 36 hours and was suddenly experiencing reverse culture shock. That I've traveled a LOT but still get surprised by how hard it is to change cultures.

I just smiled and pointed to the flavor in front of me. "Once scoop of this, please." Strawberry cheesecake. It was excellent.

We're home.
Hanna is back with her family in Dubai, the rest of us are home in Boise.

Travel was smooth, but it had the potential not to be. The agent in London had to rebook our United tickets for the London-LA and LA-Boise legs. Holly and Audra fought stomach illness and were thankful for exit row/bulkhead seats where they could get up as often as they needed to. Passport control, customs, and rechecking bags took an exceptionally long time in LA. Despite a three hour layover we walked up to our connecting flight to Boise just as they were starting to board. I'm thankful for your prayers asking God to smooth each step of the way. I'm also thankful for the the calm, experienced travelers on this team who kept a great attitude in spite of the difficulties.

In these two weeks we:
  • Taught hands-on diagnostic/triage skills to Embracing Hope Ethiopia leaders, including the Ethiopian staff nurse
  • Led two basic healthcare training sessions for Embracing Hope Ethiopia moms (~60 moms)
  • Led an all-day healthcare training session for Embracing Hope Ethiopia staff (daycare caregivers, cooks, and cleaners)
  • Screened all the children in the daycare and taught daycare staff to repeat this screening each month
  • Individually screened the moms in the program and answered their personal healthcare questions
  • Sent a team to Soddo to see the work our friends (Dr. Mary and Sophie) are doing there
  • Sent Holly to Bahir Dar to reconnect with her friends there
  • Talked and laughed and prayed and shared life with Jerry and Christy Shannon and their amazing kids.

Please continue to pray for the team as our lungs and stomachs recover from pollution and infections we picked up along the way.
Pray for the transition home - both time zone adjustment and culture adjustment.
Pray for the people you meet today. They may not have desperate physical needs, but they are likely struggling with something. Minister wherever you are, to whomever God places in your life.
And please pray for the ongoing work of our friends in Ethiopia. They are fighting each day to give hope and life to vulnerable mothers and children. If you are interested in sponsoring a child, I encourage you to do so through Embracing Hope Ethiopia: http://www.embracinghopeethiopia.com. We've seen first hand the powerful impact these sponsorship dollars are having in the lives of desperate women and children.

Ethiopia - Soddo (from Audra)

Click to zoom the imageMarch 20, 2012

Doug, Hanna and myself (Audra) made it back safely from Soddo.  It was a really great time to get to see the countryside and spend some time learning from Sophie and Dr. Mary.

The trip there and back was so smooth - I kept saying how I couldn't believe that nothing had gone wrong. This has been the easiest in country travel I have ever done.

We did check up on some of the moms last night and dealt with everything from ear infections to coughs and dog bites.  There was one woman in particular who has my heart.  She moved to Addis a few years ago when she was just 12 yrs old because she had Leprosy and needed treatment.  She received treatment but cannot go back home to her village due to the stigma.  While in Addis she was raped and now has a child who is in the daycare.  I began to explain to her that the Leprosy was stopped by the medication and that she will not spread it to her child, that she will be okay.  She began to cry, no one had told her.  The enemy uses themes to break us down, for her it was shame, the shame of this disease, the shame of not being accepted and then the shame of rape and the shame of a child out of marriage.  We were able to pray for her and not be afraid to touch her, we prayed that God would break through those lies and reveal to her how precious and loved she is. 

We are doing well, Doug finally got some sleep and is feeling better, but most of us are having some sort of respiratory issues, likely from the bad air.  We also learned today that one of our flights has been cancelled, no big deal, they should just reschedule us, but will you please pray that God will work out the details of that for us.  We will have to go to the airport to get it straightened out.  Holly took off for Bajadar on Monday to visit some old friends, please pray that her time will be rich with blessings from God, but also direction and clarity.  She will return on Thurs.

But God is good, the teachings are going well and the children are stealing all of our hearts.
Please continue to pray for us- God is here, there is no doubt, but we desire to be servants and make the biggest impact possible, please pray that He will empower us to do so.


Ethiopia - Oh the stories they'd tell

Click to zoom the imageMarch 18, 2012

"How can you handle traveling the world and seeing so much suffering?"

Shaking her head and tsking with her tongue, a co-worker asked me this the week before I left for Ethiopia. Many others have asked the same question.

From the window near where I'm sitting, I can see storks circling by the dozens. I'm told these storks are "Maribou storks." With a huge wingspan and long legs pointed straight behind them, they are huge and majestic.

Suddenly, I remember where I am. These majestic storks are circling above the Addis Abeba garbage dump. Small children are running along the edge of the dump, right next to a bulldozer that has been moving piles of trash from one spot to another all day.  Wait, the bulldozer operator just left and the children are now climbing on the bulldozer and sitting in the bucket. The operator just came back, shooed the children off the machine (they backed off mere feet), and drove the bulldozer further down the hill. The children are now digging through the refuge he unearthed.

And I realize these children are the lucky ones. They have enough energy to run. They have enough curiosity to climb all over a bulldozer. They were shooed away by a safety-conscious bulldozer operator. And they all appear to be older than five. Surviving beyond your fifth birthday is a significant accomplishment in this part of the world. If the storks could talk, I'm sure they'd tell you stories far more shocking than this.

They might tell you about "Anna" (name changed) and her two children. Anna sells potatoes beside the road. She has two children - six months old and two years old. Her husband left the family, so the family survives on Anna's meager potato income. Until recently, these young children sat in the sun beside the road all day every day while their mother tried to sell potatoes. At one point, they whole family's food for 48 hours consisted of 2 potatoes and the water they were boiled in. Her story is told much better here: www.embracinghopeethiopia.com

These children are now sponsored through Embracing Hope Ethiopia. They have a safe place to spend the day while their mothers work. They get two nutritious meals and a snack each day. They are gaining weight, learning to walk, learning to talk, and smiling. Caregivers pray for them and worship with them (African rhythms are learned early). Daycare staff now know how to give them appropriate medical care. Last night I watched these children smile with delight as they launched into their mothers arms to return home. "Anna" was grinning from ear to ear. A mother lifted out of the pit of worry and despair. A mother filled with hope.

"How can you handle traveling the world and seeing so much suffering?"

I see far more than suffering. I see hope. I see the world changing. I see Jesus at work. I get to be part of what He's doing. It is addicting.

Ethiopia - Update from Audra

Click to zoom the imageMarch 16, 2012

We are having a great time.  Yesterday we got to go to church and spend some time getting to know the Shannons and the area a little better.  They are such an incredible family, their kids are amazing.
Yesterday we taught a room full of almost 50 moms and their under 3yrs old kids.  It was a little chaotic at times but we were able to teach about some practical things like germs, hand washing and what to do about diarrhea.  It went really well.
Today we had a really awesome day.  We spent the morning getting to know the daycare, playing with the kids and loving it.  These children are so beautiful and precious.  There is one little boy, Solomon that particularly stole my heart.  He has cerebral palsy, but he also has a tremendous amount of Joy.  He cannot stand on his own but if you pick him up and hold him he gets so excited to dance and move, he kicks his legs and moves his arms, laughing all the while.  He has this giant grin that lights up the whole room.  He spends most of his time on his stomach because of the contractures. But I was able to spend some time stretching him, I laid him on my chest and stomach and was able to bring his knees up and stretch his neck and back.  He calmed and totally let me.  We sat and prayed and stretched and he smiled and laughed and laid his head on my leg.  What a sweet sweet child, and I felt the Holy Spirit very strongly while with him. 
The other kids were also amazing, so many different personalities in one room.  There was one little boy that was really sassy and a bit of an instigator, a little girl with these gorgeous green eyes and a shy grin, a wild man with almost blonde hair and a love that wanted to just snuggle all the time.

I had a really powerful prayer time while the kids ran and played and laughed, God is no doubt filling that daycare.

We spent the afternoon teaching Jerry, Christy and Ruth( nurse at the daycare) about initial assessments and physical exams.  We sat on the roof in the sunshine and listened and learned.  Hanna Shannon let us look in her ears, listened to her heart and pretty much anything else we needed to practice, she is precious. 

The sky here is gorgeous, we are pretty high in elevation and so the air reminds me so much of the feel of where I grew up.  Amazing that half way around the world can feel like home. 

The team is doing well, but Doug has been battling a cold for the last few days, feels like he is getting better, but would you please pray for him.  Also Joshua Shannon has been feeling under the weather so would you please pray for him as well.  Plus we just spent the day with 60 germy little ones, so pray protection for that. Please pray that we will be a blessing, that God will empower us to love these children with His love.  God is here for sure, but would you pray that He would guide us, that we would know when to speak, when to hug, when to pray, when to battle.  

Ethiopia - I'm off again!

Click to zoom the imageMarch 8, 2012

I'm leading a small group to do Mission Medic training in Ethiopia for the next few weeks. A few missionaries have been test-piloting the medic correspondence course I'm creating. This team will do the hands-on training part of the course. We also have a young lady who will train the local missionaries to work with traumatized children. And I'm sure God will surprise us with some other great things He's planned.


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