Friday, March 23, 2012
Into the Yonder
Off we go . . . about to head out into the yonder . . in this case possibly wild and blue, certainly hot and dusty. In two more hours the kids will finish their second term of this school year, and we will pile in the car to drive to Uganda for a meeting with all our team leaders from Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, and Burundi as well as our mission executive leadership from the USA. Then on to Sudan (by air) for a five-day visit to our Mundri team, and more importantly, Acacia's home. I guess the song is playing in the back of my mind for a couple of good reasons. One, I have never driven across Kenya and Uganda without Scott, including navigating the border crossing with four kids and a vehicle. And two, Caleb got the much-awaited call last night (via Grammy!) that he was appointed to the United States Air Force Academy. This is a huge answer to prayer that creates a hundred more prayer needs. Mostly that he would hear clearly from God if this open door is the one he should step through. It is a high honor to be appointed, and particularly from Virginia via Senator Warner, one of the most competitive paths in the country. So we are proud of him, of his determination and hard work, but want him to make a free and informed decision. Which is a tall order for someone who turned 17 less than a month ago. So prayers appreciated, for Caleb as he thinks and prays and hears (we hope) from other schools in the next week or two. And for me as I drive, to be alert and safe and protected from the multitude of African road hazards. Meanwhile a part of my heart stays here at Kijabe. This week I had another four-death day, but unlike last week Mardi was there to take over for the last one. My heart is weary, and the prospect of almost two weeks without having to tell a weeping parent that their child is dead, without having to agonize over whether to stop CPR, whether to continue ICU care, well, that sounds good. But where your treasure, there your heart, and having invested a lot of hours and sleepless nights recently I will be praying for these little ones. Join me. This is Baby Faith being wheeled up to ICU Monday night after I intubated her and stuck a needle into her chest to relieve a tension pneumothorax. And this is her twin sister, Esther, who has even worse lung disease from prematurity. Their father paid for the last vial of surfactant to be found in our pharmacy, and I had the agonizing task of deciding who should get it. It would have been a half-dose for one baby . . but was a quarter-dose when I split it between them. How can you choose? But the next day we were able to obtain another vial from a hospital in Nairobi, for $800 instead of the usual $200. The parents could not pay, so we used our Needy Children's Fund donation from a recent visiting doctor and his wife (thanks, you know who you are!!). That's a lot of money on one baby, but I believe it saved her life. So far. She is also now in ICU with her sister but both are improving. It's a tenuous road, but pray that Faith and Esther live. This is a long-in-waiting dream starting to unfold in this picture. Our senior nurse Seraphin and I spent Tuesday helping the government Paediatrician and Nurse from Naivasha district hospital learn how to use CPAP in their nursery. This relatively simple technology could save many babies' lives. Thanks to missionaries before us who had the vision to set it up at Kijabe, we are now trying to help other facilities as well. Once a week my neighbor comes into nursery to perform hearing tests on the babies at high risk, who are near discharge. Here she is testing Nadia the sweet little abandoned baby. Pray for the Kenyan red tape to be cut through quickly so Nadia can move to the excellent Naomi's Village nearby where other neighbors care for orphaned children. We are saying goodbye to this year's group of interns. Here is Ndinda who works in nursery with me and makes a mean pizza, at a goodbye Scott organized for his OB team on Tusday. By the time I return from Sudan our new crew should be settling in. That's a big transition that needs prayer as well. And lastly, a happy goodbye. Baby Brian, our third survivor in a month with gastroschisis (problem in his abdominal wall with intestines spilling out) on his day of discharge Wednesday with a VERY HAPPY mom. Praying for more happy endings like this one that help us soldier on through the heartaches. Thanks to those who pray so faithfully, for our work, our kids, our family, our survival. We would appreciate special prayers in the next week that we would bless (encourage, uphold, listen well to, strengthen) our teams across East Africa.