Monday, January 30, 2012

3 down, 2 TO-GO!

Greetings everyone!  I can't believe it is the end of January already!  I have been here in Switzerland for exactly 3 months now and the time has flown by.  I am still attending class 5 days a week for about 3 hours a day and taking the rest of the day to study, build relationships, read, crochet, and catch up with family and friends.  

January 21st was my 31st birthday and although it was difficult to spend it away from home, my Swiss friends made it a wonderful day filled with cheese, chocolate, conversation, and lots of laughter!  A special thanks to my adoptive community group at sojourn who sent me wonderful birthday cards that they made themselves.  I was able to talk to my family via Skype, and my mom is arriving in Switzerland tomorrow so we can celebrate my birthday and her "I'm finished with Cancer treatment!" celebration!

As you can see, I am also busy trying to make hats for the babies in Togo (see the Crochet TOGO tab) and I'm trying to work on other things I (and you!) can make for some of the children.  If you have any ideas or want more information how you can help, please send me an e-mail (!

I have also started to look into ways we can improve the lives of the Togolese children outside of medicine.  This brought me to the subject of literacy, of course!  In the United States, 99% of people over the age of 15 can read and write,  compared to 53.2% in Togo.  Togo ranks 167 of 183 in literacy rates.  What better way to start to fight illiteracy then giving children books!  Currently I have started discussions with Scholastic® who has agreed to set up an account for me in which people and/or companies can donate money into the account towards the purchase of books.  I currently do not have all the details ironed out, so please continue to be in prayer over this project as we try and get it started.   If it goes through, we have to decide whether we have the resources to give to books away or if starting a library of sorts would be more beneficial and/or realistic.   

I am also quite close to booking my ticket to Togo.  I should arrive on either March 31st or April 1st.  Please be praying for my upcoming transition as I know these next 2 months will pass very quickly.   My time here in Switzerland has been a true gift from the Lord, in many ways, but I am eager to get to Togo and start the work I know I am called to do.  I appreciate everyone who has partnered with me with encouragement, finances, and prayer.   They are all gifts that can never be repaid and I pray that Lord will use all if exponentially to further His work, as I know He already has.  

Grace and Peace,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas, New Years, New and Old Friends!

Notre-Dame Cathedral.  Paris, France

I was hoping to write a Merry Chritmas blog, but failed.   I pray that everyone had a joyous time spent with friends and family, remembering that Jesus Christ is worth celebrating year-round!!  I pray that the time we take to praise the Lord for His gift of sending the Son doesn't stop just because Christmas is over!

Although I miss my friends and family dearly during this time of year, the Lord blessed me with some new and old friends.  I got to spend Christmas in Grenoble, France with some missionaries who I had "met" through e-mail and phone conversations a couple years ago.  There are also in language school as they prepare to move to Mali, Africa.  They invited me to stay over Christmas and we had an amazing time of fellowship, fun, and FOOD!  We spent a lot of time visiting Christmas march├ęs (outdoor markets with tons of stands selling homemade goods, crafts and amazing food!), watching classic christmas movies (like Elf!) and laughing.  It was a true blessing!

Some amazing friends from my home church, Sojourn, also put a fun video together filled with messages from friends who are part of community groups who have "adopted me" as a missionary.  It was an unexpected, overwhelming gift that I have re-played many times!

Then, on the 29th of December one of my best friends from Louisville, KY along with her parents, came to Switzerland for the week!  Although the trip started off with me over-sleeping, missing my train to meet them at the airport, and some American credit card issues.....the visit was amazing and we have stories to keep us laughing for years to come!!  It was quite surreal to have them here and I was sorry to see them go, but was so grateful for the time with them.  I was able to function as a mini-translator during the trip which was fun and helped me build some confidence using French in everyday life.

School starts up again on January 9th and will continue for me until the end of March.  I had originally planned to leave Switzerland in Mid-February and was quite determined not to extend my stay; but after several people advised me to stay, including the doctors in Togo, I decided that the Lord's wisdom was speaking through others, and my own pride of "finishing in 3 months" should take a back seat.   I know that the extended time hear will only be better in being able to speak clearly with my patients and their families in Togo, and it is a gift.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me and sending words of encouragement!  I just found out that my mom is coming to Switzerland for about 6 days on February 1st.  Please pray for safe travel for her.  We will be celebrating her completion of cancer treatment and my 31st birthday, so I think it will be a very sweet time together.

Press on in the faith
no matter the cost
for He will be waiting
when all else is lost.

Grace and Peace