Saturday, October 8, 2011
There has been a lot going on in the Jones family these days. Of course with a new baby that is usually the case. Ariella is doing wonderful and is growing big and strong. She even had her first round of shots:( Her brothers still love to take turns holding her and she is making lots of Kenyan friends fast. We have now had 2 local churches come over to our house to officially welcome her and bless our family. Their culture is very hospitable and loving toward new mothers especially.
We had the chance to go on the Samaritan's Purse ministry retreat at the beach this September which was a lot of fun. The boys and girl loved the pool and the beach. We were truly blessed by all the speakers, the time to relax and refocus. We left feeling ready to finish this first term in Kapsowar strong. It is amazing how soon we will be back in the States, this December. We are hoping to get to spend good time with family and friends. We do feel the Lord calling us to come back to Kapsowar again though and will be aiming to come back Lord willing by next July.
The w0rk at the hospital has been going well. I have enjoyed working in our new operating rooms. This picture was taken during one of my first c-sections in the new building, the same one where Vanessa had our baby.
I am learning more and more about how our cultures are different in regards to medical care. I have seen that in Kenya it is very rare that health care workers attempt to address spiritual or emotional issues with the patients. I recently had a mom whose baby was born premature and was really struggling. I asked the nursing student to ask the mother how she was doing with it all and she asked the mother only about how her body was feeling after the delivery. It is easy to neglect the soul and the emotions, but these are often what is most important in times like those. We stopped and talked about the whole issue with all the staff that day and it was a good discussion for everyone. I also encourage our visiting medical students and residents to take time during their medical rounds to pray with each of their patients.
As an update on our work among the Pokot we just returned from another successful mobile clinic among them last weekend. Big things are starting to happen. We had our ground-breaking ceremony for the clinic that we are starting to build. Due to many of our generous donors we are well underway for the fundraising of the clinic although it is not fully paid for yet. We had a nice time at the site of prayer and dedication then all took turns with the pick/shovels. Everyone is really excited and the community elders showed their support by bringing several goats each to sell and contribute the money. Construction started this week and I am told they are already almost done with the digging for the foundation. Praise the Lord! After the mobile clinic we had a showing of the Jesus film outside using a generator. It was a big hit. At one point it started to rain, but no one left and it stopped in a short time and never got too heavy. God was watching over us for sure.
The well for the Pokot has really struggled to get to water. The machine has kept on breaking down and the work is temporarily stopped. The lead man told me he needs to basically start a new hole and needed more money. I agreed to that plan and am asking that we all pray hard for a breakthrough especially before the dry season which is approaching again soon.
Back at home we recently celebrated Jude's 4th birthday with all the neighborhood kids. We had a lot of fun with all the usual games of 3 legged race, water balloon toss, etc. And of course the kids all got to have some birthday cake which is a big hit. Jude loved his batman backpack and is already planning what he will put in it for the plane ride home.
Thanks for all your love and prayers. Lots of pics this time since it has been a while since we posted.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
On Wednesday we reached the 38 week mark of the pregnancy. 2 weeks away from her due date. Showing no signs of her upcoming arrival. Kyle had been doing weekly ultrasounds and keeping a close eye on her throughout the pregnancy, but especially the last couple of months. She had always been a little small, but this week showed she had not grown since the previous week. He diagnosed her with IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restriction). We consulted Christina, the OB-Gyn that had been working with us here and recently moved back to the states and she also consulted her colleagues. It was decided that a c-section should be done as soon as possible. The stress of a normal delivery could be too much for her. As well as there is not a way for us to continuously monitor the baby during labor here at our hospital. So the c-section was scheduled first thing on Thursday morning. It was a whirlwind and a bit overwhelming, but we knew this was the best thing for her. We went to bed praying for God's protection. I knew it was going to be hard for me to sleep, but not this hard. Contractions started and I officially was in labor. We were off to the hospital at 3am ready to meet little Ariella. Dr. Rhodes performed the c-section, with Dr. Ces as his assistant. Kyle was ready to take care of the baby along with a visiting med/peds Dr. Wong. We were in the best hands. A prayer was said and the surgery began. She came out beautiful. No need for resuscitation. Strong and healthy. Tiny, but mighty. She weighed 4 pounds 10 oz. Which is what Kyle's ultrasound showed.
As I reflect on this precious daughter of ours I am so grateful for the Lord's protection and provision. He gave my husband wisdom and knowledge to watch her growth carefully. We had our trusted friend and surgeon, Dr. Bill, here to perform the surgery. And Dr. Ces to assist him. Our beloved Kenyan friend Thomas, the anesthetist to watch and care for me during the surgery. And of course Kyle, the dad and husband and doctor to care for Ariella. Laura was here to take care of Ariella's big brothers along with some of the nicest Irishmen I've ever met. It is no easy task to feed and entertain 3 anxious and adoring big brothers while they wait to meet their little sister. The minute we found out of her diagnosis and the scheduled surgery, word got out and we had so many praying for us back home. It was humbling and comforting to know so many were lifting us up to a loving Father who created little Ariella in my womb and was watching her every step of the way. So praise the Lord with us for this beautiful life. We are so thankful.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Recently we said "hello" to the Crawfords. These are our dear friends from our In His Image family, where Kyle did his Family Medicine training. Kyle had a blast serving alongside Kris.
And I was refreshed spending time with Nicole and their son. We spent many late nights playing games and just having a fun time. We prayed together and laughed together and had the sweetest of fellowship with them. They even blessed us with a date night and watched our kids as well as cooked us dinner. We are so thankful for their visit and hard work while they were here.
When we left Oklahoma we said goodbye to many aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents. When we arrived here we said "hello" to Christina. Christina quickly became Auntie Nina.
She has loved our kids despite their flaws and rejoiced with us in every triumph. She has recently hosted 2 baby showers for Ariella. The first was organized by my sweet friend Amanda and Nicole. I was touched that so many people are celebrating with us even though they are half a world away.
The 2nd shower was instigated by Christina and Kelly. This one was special because we had Kyle's sister Kelly there and our SP friends Mary Elizabeth and Gail in attendance. Along with them there were my Kenyan friends. This was the first baby shower that they had ever attended. I think they were quite curious what a shower for a baby would look like without the presence of water or a bath tub. It ended with them singing a sweet song of praise to the Lord for the blessing of life. How blessed we are to have Auntie Nina. On Friday we say "goodbye" as her first term ends. We are thankful for such a sweet time that we have had with her, but will miss her dearly.
Our next "hello" was to the Shoop family! The boys were counting down the days for forever. We couldn't wait for their arrival. Joey came and jumped in right away taking his dentistry skills to the Pokot people the morning after he arrived.
He remained busy in the hospital the entire time he was here. Kelly and I caught up on everything we have missed in the last year and a half. We did some projects around the house and we enjoyed watching our kids be reunited and play constantly for 5 days. The Shoops blessed the hospital with their presence as well as some presents. We loved every minute of their visit.
But with every visit comes a "goodbye". They were scheduled to leave in the middle of the night. The kids said their tired goodbyes before they slept for a while. When they were packing up Hudson heard them and came running out to hug them quite tightly and say a tearful goodbye. These are the moments my heart aches for the sacrifice I know they are making. I laid in bed with him and we talked. I asked him what his favorite part about their visit was. He simply replied when we went hunting for chameleons with Jonah and Hannah. It wasn't the road trip to Nairobi, or the elephant orphanage or even the Safari game drive where we spotted lions. It was having his cousins walking in the everyday of his life. To have someone enjoying and sharing his life here in Kapsowar. Life here isn't glamorous. It's quite simple, but very beautiful. We live in the middle of nowhere. A place to enjoy God's creation and His handiwork. Honestly there are moments when I wonder if we are doing the right thing by leaving so many loved ones behind, but then I see my kids learning lessons of sacrifice and service for the Lord. I see them living their lives with grace and love and joy in a culture that longs for the Light of the World to shine forth on their lives. And I rest in that.
So now we are waiting to say "hello" to water for the Pokot people. The drilling has had some hang ups and is going rather slow. Keep praying for that.
We are waiting to say "hello" to the new surgical building at the hospital as so many have labored to bring this vision into reality.
We are waiting to say "hello" to baby Ariella. She is strong and healthy. We've made it to 32 weeks. We can't wait to meet her. What joy she'll bring to our little family.
Join us in prayer as we are waiting for the next "hellos".
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Last weekend we took another trip down to the valley to see the Pokot people. God certainly was with us and the trip was a big success. For one, the vehicles made it safely there and back which is always a big blessing. The team all did great and we were able to see many patients and immunize children. I think the stories that struck me most this time were of 2 ladies. One of the ladies I saw in the clinic and after I had treated her medical complaints I asked her if she knew the Lord Jesus as her Savior. I was happy when she said yes and I asked her when she got saved. She said, "the first time you all came!" What a joy it was to me to see some of the fruits of the ministry. The second lady was a home visit that I did that night after the clinic. She was too sick to travel the long way to see us, but she had sent her son to come ask for help. I went with the Kenyan missionary pastor Stephen and we drove as far as we could then walked to her house. I found her very weak and in need of medication and fluids. I treated her and we prayed for her to be healed. The pastor told me that she had no real means of survival because her husband had married another wife and was no longer taking care of her. Her son was all she really had. We told him to come to the village where we were staying the next day and get some of the food that we had brought for them. I saw the boy in church the next day and he told me that his mom was already getting better. Plus the pastor said he will be looking after them. It reminded me of how in need the Pokot people are of a Savior. Join me in praying for them and helping in the ways God shows us.
One way God has opened for us to help them is the construction of a well. These people go through long periods in the year where there is practically no water. It gets very dry there and the people really suffer. I recently got in touch with another missionary that has been in Kenya over 30 years and now does drilling for wells. We also know that availability of water is a key first step if we want to build a clinic for them. So I have asked Samaritan's Purse headquarters for permission to do a well project and it is approved! We found out that the drill will be available by next week so we plan to get started right away. We will also install an electric pump with a generator because of the site where it is we will need to pump the water up a hill slightly so that it can flow back through gravity into the future clinic. The project will cost $10,000 and will be paid for 50/50 between us and a fellow missionary we work with here in Kapsowar, Dr. Christina Francis. The money for the well has already been raised last year by our generous donors so thank you and praise the Lord. We also want to build them a clinic and the final cost for that project is not back yet, but we trust the Lord will provide even if we have to build it slowly. I have been meeting with key interested people including the committee of community members that we formed so that their input will stay in the forefront. The picture below is of our first official meeting that we had underneath a tree.
I am really amazed at how God is moving in these projects. I will keep you all informed of the progress and post pictures as soon as I can. We appreciate and plead for your prayers.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
In case you haven't heard we are expecting our 4th child. For me this has meant the early pregnancy "funk". It includes nausea, vomiting, unpredictable emotions and pure exhaustion until about 20 weeks. I am now about 21 1/2. This hopefully explains the lack of posts on the blog. Sorry. To try and recap the last 2 or 3 months is overwhelming. I'll give you a few highlights and then get a fresh start. So here it goes...
~We have had visitors.
~Matt and Lindsey King came in February. They are a couple from In His Image almost ready to graduate. We had such a sweet time of fellowship with them as they served with us here.
~Kyle's parents came at the end of February to middle of March. It was nice to have the comfort of family around. We also took a much needed vacation to Lake Nakuru for a little safari. You can see the details of their trip on their blog at: www.travisandmarlene.blogspot.com You may actually see a few pictures of us if you have forgotten what we look like.
~Hudson turned 6! We had an awesome party. It was completed with Hudson standing on Jimmy the goat's pen thanking everyone for the best birthday he has ever had. And that everyone was welcome to come inside and play with all his toys as long as they wanted. Keep in mind there were about 30 kids in attendance. We are thankful for this little boy who continually teaches us the secrets of the Kingdom of God. He is such a gift to us!
~Kyle's cousins Craig and Lydia came for a long weekend after doing a fruitful ministry around Kenya with their church. The boys so enjoyed having a cousin to play with. And we did too!
~We got a washing machine! Woo Hoo! I've never been more excited about a household appliance in my life. The boys are definitely 3rd culture kids as it provides them with entertainment.
~We found out we are expecting a GIRL!!!! We are absolutely thrilled for this new addition! Jude and Hudson have named her and we agree with their choosing. Ariella Grace. Ariella means "lion of God". Which we think is quite fitting for a little girl born in Kenya in a house full of brothers. Yesterday Hudson asked, "Will our baby sister have brown skin when she comes out since she will be born in Kenya?" I told him, "No her mom and dad have white skin so she should too." Hudson says, "What happens when an American marries a Kenyan?" Here we go. The baby looks strong and healthy. Continue to pray for her. Pray she will stay in my tummy until term.
Ministry is still going strong here in Kapsowar. We lost one of our Kenyan medical officers, which means Kyle is on call about 4 of every 7 days. Some nights aren't so bad and some are really challenging. He perseveres and serves the Lord diligently and with great joy. There is another outreach trip for the Pokot people scheduled for next weekend. Pray for them and the decisions about the clinic. Also we have no vaccinations to bring at this point. Pray we will get some by next Friday.
The boys are doing quite well. Hudson is closing his Kindergarten year. He is doing wonderfully. We are sending him to the local Kenyan school for about 2 hours in the afternoons. We pray he is a light to his teachers and classmates. A couple months ago he came home and told me about a boy who drew a funny picture of his face. The teacher found it and said he would be caned (physically punished). This is still a common practice in the schools in Kenya. His teacher asked Hudson what he thought and Hudson said to her, "I would really like to show him mercy. Please don't cane him."
Jude is growing more tender by the day and goes on journeys to Mombasa, Nairobi, Eldoret or El Dama Ravine almost everyday. He packs his backpack, finds some keys and sets off in the great outdoors for his daily adventure.
Isaac is a joy to all he meets. He never meets a stranger. Praise the Lord we got report that his lead levels in his blood went down. He is growing and talking more and more each day.
We are thankful for the blessings of these little boys who are teaching us new things everyday. We are grateful that they are a part of our ministry here in Kapsowar.
Thanks for your love and support! We are truly grateful. Stay tuned...more blogs to come!
Saturday, January 8, 2011
The first family I visited was a mother of a child that we treated in the hospital a little over a month ago for pneumonia. He had been sick, in and out of hospitals for several months. At our hospital he was treated and recovered well. Unfortunately, about 3 weeks after discharge he got sick again and this time they were not able to make it to the hospital before he died. When I found out about the news I was very sad for the family. I went with Charles, a chaplain that is at our hospital, to console and pray with the family. They were so gracious to us and their faith was astounding. The mother said that throughout all the times her little boy was in the hospital God taught her perserverance. Please pray with me for the family of Victor.
Mama and Baba Victor are on my left
Next I had the opportunity to go and preach in one of the staff's home churches about 2 hours away. We had a very nice time of fellowship with his family, pastor and friends. I stayed overnight for this one and I think I ate a full weeks worth of food in about 4 meals. They are very hospitable people. I had hoped to bring my whole family, but Vanessa was still feeling nauseous with the pregnancy. (If you are just finding this out, surprise! We first announced it at the end of our video Kapsowar Nativity Slideshow which we posted on youtube and linked on this blog.) Please pray for Killy's family and church, as well as Vanessa's nausea to go away.
Killy's Family at their home
The last community visit I went on was one that I have been wanting to do for a long time. I went to a village called Embobut. Now you have to understand that in our hospital some of the sickest, poorest people come from this village. Plus I was told that most of them are not Christians and there is a big problem with alcohol among them. So we planned a trip to take home a mother and her baby who was born premature here and did not have any money for discharge so she was just trapped at the hospital. Her husband had disappeared and no one from her family had come. With your support we were able to pay her bill and take her home. Well, turned out to be quite exciting. We first met with the chief of her village and talked about some of the issues they are facing. I was able to share with him some of my thoughts about their problems and included the gospel. I don't believe he was saved and he smelled of alcohol himself. Please pray for him to become a spiritual leader also for his community. Next we went to Tecla's home (my patient) and had a nice visit with her family, neighbors, etc. White people kind of draw a crowd there. We had fun passing out candy to the kids. Then I shared the gospel with them and asked for people that were ready to turn from sin and give their life to Jesus. We had quite a few young people and even the man that was introduced to me as the village elder. I told them the story of the 4 seeds except instead of birds I used chickens snatching up the seed since there were chickens eating corn all around us off the ground so pray with me that the seed that was planted there would fall on good soil. Finally, on the way home we came across Janeth who was in labor and in distress. The baby was not coming out in the right position so we put her in the car and drove the 1 & ½ hours back (with her making quite a few sounds in my passenger seat) and immediately did a c-section on her. Praise God that mom and baby are both doing well now. It is amazing to me that God sent us on this little trip and he had so many things in mind for us to do. Thanks for joining me in prayer for the people around us.
Meeting with Chief of Embobut
Giving out candy. Tecla is in the middle
Sharing the gospel. Village Elder in back