Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Akou is Home

August began bitter-sweet when on the 10th, one day before her 4th month birthday, we sent Akou home to live with her family.  The day was much anticipated by her mother who had sat attentively at her bedside for 122 days, awaiting the fate of her premature little girl.  She had more than doubled her birth-weight, was taking all of her feeds by bottle and no longer had any reason for an IV.  As I celebrated with her family and the hospital staff, I realized that this little fighter had become a part of our family as well.  Gathering around the scale each day, holding our breath to see how many grams she had gained or lost, became part of our morning ritual.  We were all united in hope and prayer that the Lord would somehow provide care that was beyond our resources…….and He did.

 Akou left the hospital weighing 1320 grams.  Her lowest weight during her hospitalization was 630 grams.  She was never on a ventilator, never received any IV nutrition and left the hospital requiring only 3 medications (2 of which were vitamin supplements).

Although I am sometimes sad to look in the corner of the Pediatrics Ward and see an empty isolette, I am quickly reminded that the emptiness is a sign that she is home and thriving.   While we often have empty beds in the Pediatrics Wards due to death, the Lord, in His mercy and grace, chose to show His power through Akou.

 As I have previously mentioned, infants here don’t get named until the family feels confident that the infant will survive.  Initial names are given that are based on the day of the week the child was born (Akou is for a girl born on a Wednesday).  I had often asked Akou’s mom when she was going to give her a name.  Often she would just smile and shake her head.  So naturally, when I saw her a few days after she was discharged from the hospital, my first question was “What is her name?!”


I’m not sure if she will ever be anything but Akou to me.  But in the Old Testament, Ruth was a symbol of loyalty, kindness, and redemption—what a true testimony to what God has already done for her in her life thus far!  Please continue to pray for Ruth and the future the Lord has in store for her.   Thank you for being a part of her journey and interceding on her behalf in prayer.  Let us praise the Lord together for what He has done so that His glory may be known in many nations today!

Grace and Peace


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mes Amies

Stories from the medical mission field are often about the people whom we are trying to serve in the home country.  But there are many players involved that help make the work here possible: the national workers, long-term missionaries, support staff, and short- termers.  

I was blessed to live with a short-term missionary, Amanda, for my first few months here in Togo.  She is a Physicians Assistant from Wisconsin who quit her job as a Neurosurgical PA to come out and help the team here for 4 and-a-half months. Despite having a fiancĂ©e at home and a wedding to plan, she gave her heart each day to the patients here at HBB, sharing the love and peace of Christ.  Affectionately known as "Mama Amanda" in our house, she proved to be the most responsible person in the house, despite being the youngest! Not only that, but she became such a dear friend and blessing to me during her time here. One can never under-estimate the power of listening ear, an encouraging word, or just someone to laugh or cry with.   She taught me fun lessons, like how to make homemade bread and yogurt (which I’m now addicted to!) as well as more serious lessons like how to listen and take time with patients regardless of how long the day has been.   I will miss her greatly, but know that the Lord has other plans for her life.  I know that she will be spreading the Good News of the Gospel no matter what country she is in, but pray that we will be able to meet again soon this side of heaven.

Having fun being silly with Mama Amanda in the chair!

Our Togo team was also blessed to have 9 students from Master’s College in California come out and volunteer for 6 weeks.  The team took on the daunting challenge of re-organizing our storage house of supplies, which was LONG overdue (they even found a few items that were older than the hospital itself!).  They were also able to follow the medical team in the hospital and tackle many personal projects for various missionaries.   The team was an amazing encouragement, always joyful while they served in less-than-glamorous ways.   Please continue to pray for the team as many of them have expressed interest in future overseas missions.  There is a lot of time and distraction in-between college and getting to the mission field.  Pray that each one may follow the call that the Lord has for them.

Master's Team girls, Amanda on my right, Rhonda on my left (hospital midwife), roommate Susanna next to Amanda

Last, but not least, my dear friend Monika who I lived with in Switzerland, was able to come out and stay with me for 3 weeks in July.  The Lord had blessed me beyond what I could have expected through our friendship during language school.  Her willingness to share her life and home with me made my time in Switzerland a time of fellowship beyond just attending language school.   When she told me she was coming to visit, I was overwhelmed by her continued support in my journey.  She was able to experience a lot of “firsts” while in Togo, especially in the areas of foods! And despite coming for vacation and relaxation, she was a huge help in the area of translation at the hospital and nursing school.   The visit was a true blessing from a friend who had already been such a vital part of my journey in getting to Togo, and it was exciting to get to share the ministry with her.

From Left: Susanna, Amie (my roommates), Monika and Me in Lome, Togo

Please know that so many of you are a huge of the ministry here, even though you are far away.  Many of you sacrifice finances, time, and energy in supporting me here in Togo and it doesn’t go unrecognized.  I never feel alone here because there are so many of you praying for me, sending e-mails and encouragements constantly.  Your involvement makes my ministry here possible, so thank you!!

Grace and Peace