The emotions of this week have barely begun. Gaby Masso's 6th grade "celebration" (which was really a graduation complete with band, choir, speech, certificates, and handshaking) had me fighting tears this afternoon. I was there with his mom in labor, after driving all the kids across Uganda when her water broke early and she, Michael, and Scott flew ahead on a MAF plane. I was the person who received and held him as Scott managed the delivery, and Karen did all the work. Now here he is in his bow tie, playing the bass drum, and getting ready for middle school. Then the news came that Liana made the wind ensemble for next year, and I made such a noise reading the text that I had to explain the whole thing to my hospital team.
The weekend was jam packed with sick babies on call, distraught parents, puzzling labs. And Alumnae games, cheering, food, guests. Dressing up for the Alumnae banquet, running in for emergencies.
Greeting former students, celebrating lasts.
And as if we weren't already emotional enough, Senior Sunday, with Small Group singing, four excellent and thoughtful talks, and a beautiful closing benediction.
In the midst of all this, the victorious "honey-smugglers" returned, 94 driving hours, 5200 km, Kenya through Tanzania to the Zambia border, then west and north through Burundi, Rwanda, to Uganda, then home, then east through Kampala, Sonrise acres for old times' sake, and back to Kijabe. Oh, and right in the middle, the huge crisis in Bundibugyo with the team evacuating. But we let Luke go see friends are are glad we did. The matter of 85 people dying is still stressful and important and impacting the future . . . but it didn't stop the reunions. Here he is with boys he grew up with, and our friend and former neighbor who cooked for all of them:
What a relief to have them home, safely, with not even so much as a flat tire. THANKFUL for prayers. And Caleb has better communication at his undisclosed location in SW Asia than he does in America, so we can talk and hear about his flights, the humvee driving, the Arabic practice, the heat.
And while all that's going on, Scott's had five call nights and I've had four in the last week. Yes, we're working as hard as we've ever worked. It is nearly 3 am and I just got home from a total foray of intensive care to try and save the life of a baby after Scott performed an emergency C Section: intubation, fluids, a ventilator, pressors, steroids, surfactant, sedation, tweaking this and that, trying everything in the book, stressful. Which is why I'm taking fifteen minutes to write and wind down. Baby of Maureen is still alive, and looked the best she had in her four hours of life as I left. When your baby doesn't move much for three days, you should come QUICKLY for help and then not refuse it when it's offered. It's been days of juggling scarce beds, evaluating super-complex patients, applying detective-work to the spate of infections we're seeing, tying up loose ends, planning ahead.
And today I put together my first scientific poster presentation. Because all four abstracts I submitted, research we've worked on here at Kijabe, were accepted for the International Congress of Tropical Paediatrics in August. Which I am sadly missing, but helping my team to present our data.
So the emotions of hard work, victories and losses, closures and lasts, goodbyes and hellos, distance and proximity, worship and games, massacre and evacuation . . . all of that in the context of sleepless nights and sheer exhaustion, made it pretty hard to get the email we've only had one other time in our 20, nearly 21 years of missionary service: our fund is in deficit. We know we need to get the word out, cultivate prayer, ask for help. And we will, soon. But it was discouraging and ironic to hear that our salaries will be cut, even as we're working harder than ever.
So, give us some grace if you bump up against our weepiness and weariness. Pray for Baby of Maureen tonight, a precious girl struggling to live. Think of Julia, one day from graduation. Rejoice with us that the wanderers have returned. And ask God to care for us and give us stamina to make it through this last week until we travel USA-ward for a month of college-settling and family-connecting.