Monday, November 30, 2015

A long story...

If I told you that this season was nothing but good, it would be possibly the biggest lie ever. This season (meaning 23 June - 7 December) has been hard, awful, unbearable, incredible, stretching, amazing and invaluable. It has been a time of constant conflict. Loving the school, loving the clinic, but hating that I was so far away from the man God gave me. Loving the friendships and also struggling to have patience and love for those around me. Hearing God, crying on my knees while at the same time celebrating Him and His work. Being so excited for my future wedding and future life while missing him so much it affected my physical body.  Constant conflict.

During these few months I have studied harder than I have before, I’ve had to stand up for what was right (even when it was hard), I’ve had to run to Jesus when I have nothing left. I’ve fought the feelings of homesick and had to pull myself together when all I wanted to do was jump on a plane to Rwanda. I’ve mourned the loss of my grandfather - that alone was a interesting, difficult and stretching experience. The feeling that comes when you hear your grandfather is on his death bed and you will never see him again, that was tough. It made me to think back to the last time I saw him. Did I tell him that I love him? Did I tell him how much I value him in my life? Did I make the most of that visit, even though I didn’t know it would be my last? Trying to do my best to be loving and comforting to my family from miles away, while processing and mourning on my own - it’s an incredibly strange and difficult thing. With that on top of missing Eric way too much - it literally took the hand of God to keep me from changing my flight and just going home. Also, I got malaria. That meant about a week in bed, feeling to awful to do anything but watch movies, cry, sleep and vomit. Fun times.

I wish I could say things got easier when I went on outreach to Togo, but it didn’t. I loved, absolutely loved, working in the clinic. The YWAM Noepe family is absolutely amazing. But I missed home, I was just ready to go home. The internet connection was awful. In that nine week period, I think Eric and I had a quality connection once. Through this I learned that leaving your fiancĂ© after being engaged for two weeks is hard - duh.

The biggest challenge came literally two days before my team and I left Togo. On Tuesday morning, Ami came in for a pre-natal consultation. She was full term and ready to deliver any moment. Baby had a strong heart beat and was in a good position. As we finished up, I prayed for her and let her know to come back whenever she was in labour. Later that day, she came back - in labour. It wasn’t my turn on labour and delivery. But, when I couldn’t find any of my team or other midwives, I stopped by the delivery room to see if I could help in anyways. I walked in and saw three others from my team and two midwives. Ami was on her hands in knees, in agony. They room stank of sweat, poop and various other things. Everyone was sweating profusely. As I looked closer, I saw the problem - the baby was mostly out but the head was stuck. Somehow, baby had moved from his good position in the womb and became breach (when legs come out first, instead of the head). Because he came out almost diagonally, his chin was now stuck in moms pelvis. I quickly jumped in as three of us held her up and prayed with all we had in us. By this time, baby had been like this for nearly an hour and mom was exhausted. She was in absolute agony and becoming delirious.
We prayed, and prayed and prayed. We did our best to make her comfortable, we didn’t complain when she hit us, we did everything we could possibly do. Just when mom’s strength was gone, she gave one more good push and the head came out. Through all our tears and sweat we took a moment and looked that the baby - a handsome boy. He had probably been dead for sometime, but we felt for a heart beat, for breaths - for any sign of life. We found nothing. Members of my team began cleaning him up and wrapping him in fabric while the midwife began to clean up the mom, the bed and the surrounding area. Soon, everyone left with the baby, leaving just me and the midwife in the room. Ami grabbed my hand and pulled me next to her on the bed and just began to weep. As I sat there with her, her sweaty head on my lap, the tears came rolling down my face. I prayed over her while asking God why. I thanked Him for her life while incredibly confused as to why He didn’t save this baby.
This experience was probably one of the most traumatic things I have ever experienced. It affected me in a way I never expected. My heart broke, physically hurt, for this woman. This was her third child to die, in addition to two miscarriages. It hurt to think of what might be happening in her. She was physically and emotionally exhausted. She was broken, disappointed and I’m sure angry and confused. As was I. I told myself the cliche (but true) statements of “God has a plan”, “God is still good”. But I couldn’t understand why. I didn’t want to deal with it, because I knew it would bring a time of crying out to God that would be less than fun and easy. Finally, about a week later, I hashed it out with God. It took a lot of tears and a lot of yelling. But finally I gained peace and a concussion: God is good. God is God. I don’t need to understand why He does what He does. He loves that baby, He loves that mamma - passionately, furiously. He is good. Bottom line. I don’t need to know more.

This season has taught me so much. I have seen God in new ways. I have heard Him speak life changing things. I have seen Him equip me to do things I never imagined (like getting A’s on every exam and delivering babies). I saw and experienced His love in such an unbelievable way. I’ve seen His character is permanent - He won’t fail. I’ve realized how He is such a good Father who gives incredible gifts. While this season has been so hard, awful at times and seemed pointless - it’s been a season for me and Jesus. A season where He’s shown up big time and set me straight. He’s shown me His heart in such a beautiful way. I can honestly say that at the end of this season: I love Eric more. I love my life more. I love Africa more. I love the Lord even more. And, I’ve never been more excited for the life that’s ahead of me.

If you would like to continue to keep up with what’s happening in mine and Eric’s lives, follow my new began The Path To Africa when I was praying and dreaming up my life in Africa. Seeing as I have been living in Rwanda for almost three years, I felt it was now time to start a new blog: one that just talks about my life as a missionary, Jesus follower and soon, a wife.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A call to action...

Tonight I got a message from a dear woman in Rwanda. She is one of the most amazing people I have had the pleasure of ever meeting. Anyways, she ended the message with the Kinyarwanda word "ihangane". And I didn't have a clue what this word meant, hey I'm still learning Kinyarwanda. So, I googled it. And if Google is correct, it means "to be patient". And this ministered to my heart in such a special way. Because, if I am honest, I have not been patient. Mostly in the area of finances.

Honestly, I am worried. I’m scared. I feel overwhelmed and have just the slightest hint of hopelessness. And the reason for it all seems so small, so simple and so minute yet like a mountain at the same time. Money. That’s all it is. Just money.

See, I just found out that I need to get nearly $3,000 by 10 September. That’s less than a month away. I don’t have that, nowhere close. In order to finish my school and do my outreach in Togo, I need to seemingly pull $3,000 out of thin air. But how?

I’m getting married next year. A wedding costs money. A wedding dress costs money. And then, it would be nice to have a house to live and food to cook for my husband. But, we don’t have it. I’m scared. I live on support, it’s not like I can just pick up a second job. He also lives on support because our Father has called us to the missionary life. And while at times it can be overwhelmingly amazing, it can, at other times be, overwhelmingly stressful. Especially in the area of finances. In a matter of only month, our financial needs will about double as we go from two to one but with two mouths to feed. But, how?

See, I know the typical answers, and I believe it. God is faithful. God will provide. He knows our needs. All of that is true. But sometimes, just sometimes, it’s hard to firmly grasp to that. It’s hard to hold so tightly to that that theres no room for fear, stress or worry. It’s hard to talk about my need with a smile and firmly believe it with every fiber of my being when I say “God is faithful”.

But even if I doubt. Even I have mental breakdowns. Even when I’m ready to get the cheapest wedding dress I can find, even if I don't love it, just because it’s cheap. And even if I wonder if I, if we, are doing things in the right timing…God is faithful. He promises to care for his children. He takes joy over lavishing gifts on his children. He tells us over and over to calm down, to not be afraid and to give it all to him. Why? Because HE IS FAITHFUL.

Something I’ve learned is that he is so faithful. And while I may freak out, cry and cry out to him, begging him to perform a miracle, he always does it. I just get this impression he has a big smirk on his face. Imagine a father and a young child. This child’s birthday is coming up. There is a certain toy that he just loves. He begs his daddy for it over and over and over again. And every time his dad just says “Oh? Ok.” and the father get’s a smirk. Sometimes he throws in a “Just wait.” Or a “I know what you want/need”. But what the son doesn’t know is that the father has already gotten him his birthday gift; that toy that he has been begging for. So every time the child begs for it, the smirk comes to the fathers face because he knows that he’s already gotten it for him. He knows, and he is so excited to give this gift to his son. But there is a surprise. Not only is the father giving his son what he has asked for, but he is giving him even more. Why? Because he is a father who loves to lavish gifts upon his children.

God has been showing me this picture lately. And sometimes that little smirk on his face can seem evil and flat out rude. But it’s a smirk that says “My daughter, just wait…it’s coming. And it’s going to blow your socks off. Be patient”  Ok, be patient. Got it. I am trying to be patient. But it’s rough. So rough. But yet I know, when he comes through, when he gives me that gift, it will blow me away…so I am patiently waiting.

And that brings me to the slightly uncomfortable part of this post. Asking for money. I am not begging, I am not trying to guilt you into giving, nor am I only posting this to get money. I am simply sharing my needs and asking you to pray with me.
So, as you know I have been studying primary health care in South Africa for the past two months.

And in one month, my team and I head out on our outreach. We’re going to Togo! I am so excited for outreach! We get to help people in a physical and spiritual way. I get to tend to the body as well as the heart. Guys, peoples lives are going to be changed! And I hope I am equally impacted by these two months in Togo!

However, outreach is not cheap! I need roughly $2,500 by 10 September (yup, I know it’s soon) in order to cover my outreach fee’s. This money will cover my flights, food, accommodation and any other expenses while traveling or in Togo. So, I am throwing out a challenge, a call to action, if you will.

Will you pray with me? Will you pray about giving towards my expenses? If 100 people each gave $25, my fee’s would be covered! Whether you feel led to give $5 or $1000, your donation makes a big difference.

I would like to challenge you to act. Whether that's an act of getting on your knees, or pulling out your wallet. What will you do? 

And to make this even easier... Donate now!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A little bit of life...

And here is a little bit of my life lately. Over the past seven weeks I have been overloaded with information, given up weekends and almost all free time in order to study. I have had near mental breakdowns induced by stress, anxiety, lack of sleep and going stir crazy. I have had the joy of getting to know my great team (check out the first pic below) and have had so much time to research wedding things on Pinterest. 

So, here are some pics from my life lately. About two weeks ago, me and some lovely people ran away to the ocean. It was my first time seeing the ocean in person! And not only did I see one, but I saw two - the Indian and Atlantic Oceans! The Cape of Good Hope is one of the southernmost points of the continent of Africa and were the two oceans meet. It was fantastic! 

And after this wonderful day, I was ready to get back to work. Which was quite fortunate because the last two weeks have been super intense! 
On a more personal note, I need prayer guys! 
In a not so wordy or fancy way of saying it, I need money. Smooth, huh? Well, it's true. For outreach, I need about $2,500 more. So guys, I'm asking you guys to pray with me! Pray for peace as I wait on God. Pray for people to be led to give. Pray for my time to get all the funds we need. We only have a month until we head for Togo to see be used in lives being changed! 
Thanks for your support! 

If you want to give, you can do so online:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A little bit of life.

If you have been up to date on whats been going on in my life, you know that it has been a great season. Great ministry moments, a visit from my family and friends from my home church and of course, getting engaged to an incredible man who reflects Jesus better than anyone else I have ever met. And, in the midst of those incredible blessings, I have been preparing myself to come to South Africa to study medical care.

The process to get to this school has been rough. Fundraising was slow, the visa process agrevating, fearing that I wouldn't be able keep up and do well in classes, and the idea of leaving Rwanda and Eric seemed like the hardest thing. And honestly, I almost gave up on coming multiple times. I kept pushing it back in my mind, instead of preparing to come. Soon, it was a week before my flight to Johannesburg and it became real - I was leaving Rwanda for 5 1/2 months. And soon I was on a flight to Cape Town, ready to jump into this new season.

But the crazy (and amazing) thing is this: I know I am exactly where I need to be. I've been in South Africa for about 3ish weeks now, and its been challenging. I already miss Rwanda, I miss my fiance (and, I really like calling him that! =D ), it's cold in Worcester, the food is different, class is intense, there are exams and homework - many things that I'm just so not used to. But yet I feel peace. I feel Jesus closer than I have in a long time. And I have a expectancy on the Lord like never before.

Guys, Jesus is up to something! This school may be intense and rough, I may miss Eric like crazy and  I may want to cry over the fact that I won't see him until December, but... I KNOW my Daddy has something up His sleeve. Maybe he'll show me during lecture phase, maybe he'll wait until outreach, I don't know. But already, I hear his voice. I feel him pulling me in while whispering "Just wait. Come!" And I am captive! I am ready to see what he will do! I am ready to be used, to be molded and to be changed by the Lord. He is so incredible!

On another note, enjoy these photo's...
The IPHC team! (L to R: Me, Meghan, Micah and Tutu). We built a tippy tap, a way to have running water for hand washing in a village setting. 

We had a bonfire! (Photo Credit to Meghan Brooks)

Myself, Luke - a DTS student, and Micah (Photo credit to Meghan Brooks)

The veiw in Worcester.