Cindy

  
Today Brandon and I (jme) Went into a village on home visits. We went with Cindy, who is in this picture. Cindy lives in the village and works for a ngo (non govt organization) in the town. She is a trained nurse. They have a health clinic, deliver food, help people get to dr visits, offer their facilities for the local school, and much more. I am inspired by Cindy’s story. When she was 15, her grandmother was 89 and very sick. She was the only one her grandmother had and she cared for her. 

People around her kept commenting on how well she was able to care for her grandmother. She said she wanted to know how to care for her people better. She wanted to know exactly which medicine would help and what it would do. So she went to nursing school. Now she cares for people in her own neighborhood. She tangibly shows the love of God to people right where she lives. She had a gift from God in caring for people but she also put in the hard work and sacrifice to get practical skills and training. She walks the mountains of her village and everyone trusts her and loves her. 

I believe God has our family on this journey to bring the love of God and medical care to people that couldn’t get it in their local hospital. But I’m so challenged by Cindy and her colleagues that use their gifts right where they are as well. She is there to see when they struggle and walks them through each day and can celebrate when they recover. She puts in the time and sweat to develop relationships that are much deeper than “hello, how are you.” 

 I can’t help but think of my friends who are using their gifts right where God has them. Two of my closest friends in Oklahoma are named Cindy too. And they also love on people around them and use their gifts where God has them. All three Cindy’s haven’t met a stranger and their smiles are contagious. If you are pregnant with a girl, may I suggest the name Cindy!!   
  

Prayer requests 

thank you so much for praying for us. We leave Thursday for Durban, South Africa.  The ship is in Durban doing maintenance on dry dock. Since we have kids we can’t board until dry dock is complete. Please pray for those doing the Maintenance on the ship. Also please pray as we transition to another home.  Pray for wisdom for Brian and me with parenting through a lot of change. 

Today Brandon and i (Jamie) visited people in a rural village. Brian and the girls worked on the base. I am thankful Brian did laundry and it even was warm enough for our clothes to dry!  

   
   

More pics

   Brian and Brandon went on a hike up a small mountain. Beautiful views. 
 Brandon the Warrior

   Brandon found a Reedbuck leg and spine. 
  Woke up Sunday to snow on the mountains. 
 We don’t have any toys in South Africa, so Jamie made the girls a doll out of clothes and a balloon. 

  Found a park with a trampoline!

Pics

   
The lady asked  jokingly “are you moving to Africa”. Why yes we are!

    
  Double decker bus in London
  
    
Flight #1, 9 hours. 2nd flight 11 hours. Both through the night. 3rd flight was shorter 1.5. Then bus ride to winter ton. 

Right outside our room

   
Playing on tree house at base

More South Africa 

We have been in South Africa for one week. It is winter here and really cold at night. We are staying on a Youth With A Mission base. Our team is unbelievably gracious with us. We divide up in groups each day either visiting homes of HIV/AIDS patients (over 80% of the population here has HIV), delivering food, or doing projects such as remodeling schools. We spent a few days painting some rooms that will be classrooms. 

South Africa is absolutely beautiful. The mountains are amazing and I can’t imagine what they must look like in the summer when everything is green. 

The kids have surprised us in their maturity. They have also had some real moments when they have realized their life has been turned completely upside down. Washing Maya’s hair when there is no heat and having her cold, thick hair to deal with is interesting. But I am learning that my “suck it up” attitude doesn’t really work, and I’m learning what is helpful to her. 

When we spent time painting a school, our kids played with the kids and had a blast. It was funny to watch them try to communicate. The school kids would just say “yes” to everything our kids would ask. It’s been a dream come true serving alongside our kids. 

On a more somber note, it was heart-breaking to visit the homes of the HIV/AIDS patients. Many patients are single moms, widowed because of AIDS. Sad to hear that most of their prayer requests are for food. They can’t take their HIV meds without food, and food is not a given. Again, over 80% of the population is HIV positive. Saw an 8-year-old boy with HIV. Terrible.  

  
    
 
   
    
    
    
    
    
    
 
    
    
   

South Africa 

I don’t know when this will actually post because we don’t have internet right now. But as I type this, we are in South Africa for two weeks completing our training. This is the practical portion of our training. We have had some hard times emotionally. And awesome times. 

As we were leaving the U.S., the group was praying. I can’t remember the specifics, but before that time I was frustrated with the kids. Exhaustion on everyone’s parts. I was praying that God would help me see Brandon’s heart. He was being so strong and “matter of fact” despite what we were feeling. I wanted to be able to actually see that God was working in his heart. All of a sudden he boldly prays out loud in the whole group (of about 30 adults) “Lord, help us remember you when things get hard and we miss our friends and family.”  God answered my prayer. Brandon has continued to share in our group times and pray for things that no one has mentioned, but have been important needs.  His maturity in prayer has been just amazing, to the point of moving multiple adults to tears.

A team is in Madagascar doing screening to find patients that we will be able to help. Brian briefly mentioned yesterday morning that the screening was happening but we didn’t talk about it again. Last night we were praying and everyone was praying for the people we saw in the village that day. Sad things in which there was no hope unless God intervened. Then Brandon starts praying for screening and some people we know on that team. Come to find out, screening was tough and our friends were having a hard time. I can’t help but believe God brought that prayer to Brandons heart.   I’m thankful I’m seeing his heart and that God is answering my prayer. 

London

We had a 10 hour layover in London after flying all night. Hannah was way too tired so b, m and Jamie went to see some sites while Brian hung out with Hannah and all 5 of our carry ons in the airport. While he was trying to help us find customs, we accidentally went out of security so he had to go back through with 5 said bags and a very tired Hannah by himself. He is a trooper!  Some friends on our team let us follow them around London. The double decker buses were fun.