Dear Friends and Family,
I woke up in the middle of the night last night and started cataloging some of the *cases of this week*. This is Melissa writing so you know if I was thinking about the work at the clinic, it means I have been hearing a lot this week. As I thought about what has been going on, I felt a strong urge to pray for my husband. Would you pray for Jon and the entire team as they face another week of caring for the sick and injured? And pray that hearts would be drawn to Christ through efforts to bring physical healing, so many are so lost.
The week began last Sunday with a stillbirth. It was the second pregnancy for the mother, but her first pregnancy were premature twins who both died shortly after birth. She was heart broken as Jon and Margaret walked her through the delivery of her stillborn child. Another heart breaking case was a victim of a black mamba bite from Handa, who died within 40 minutes of arriving at the clinic. He left a wife and children. The worst of it is that we don’t know the condition of his soul, whether he had ever trusted Jesus in his life, because he was already unconscious when he came so the staff wasn’t able to share with him. Jon also saw a widow who is 2 months pregnant, whose husband died from a lightening strike just a few weeks ago.
There were some cases in this same week with happier endings: A woman delivered her baby on the way to the dispensary and had a retained placenta causing severe bleeding. She arrived in shock, but Jon was able to remove the placenta and she made a full recovery a few days later. She and her baby left the clinic healthy. The following day, another woman in labor turned out to have a breech, she delivered well without complications. Another young mother came for a pregnancy check up. She was diagnosed with HIV five years ago in her first pregnancy. Being in denial she has never taken treatment. After much counseling, it seems she has finally agreed to treatment until she delivers her baby but she seems to have no hope for the future. She is not married and has little family to support her. Our missionary midwife Margaret prayed and shared with her for an hour or so while she was here.
We have also had a 7 year old severe pneumonia case, who was admitted Friday afternoon and is responding well to antibiotic injections. Friday night a near drowning victim came; a 12 year old girl who slipped into deep water at the water hole in Lahoda where she was playing with friends. We don’t know how long she was under. We transferred her to the District Hospital after first aid, and have heard that she is recovering, asking to eat, but we’re not sure yet if she’s had any permanent brain damage.
As you can see, it has been a difficult week. Please ask the LORD to provide stamina, grace, compassion, encouragement and opportunities to share HIS story with people. This is why we are here and we are thankful for the calling he has placed on our our lives so we continue on in His strength and mercy. To Him be the glory!
At home, we have had several other *workmen here* during the day as they are building a small bathroom for our guests. It is an opportunity for me to hopefully shine the light of Jesus into their lives by blessing them in small ways like providing cold water for them to drink as they work in the hot sun and giving them chai and biscuits (tea and cookies) during a break time. It might be a bit odd for them to have a woman come and check on their work (not that I am telling how to do their job but just making sure they are following the plans) now and then but they take it all in stride and with smiles. It’s all about building relationships.
This building project is going on just outside the class room window so it has been a noisy week for Rachel and me. We have been migrating to different rooms of house trying to find a quiet corner for learning. One day we had two generators going at the same time at both ends of the house so there wasn’t a quiet corner to be found for a few hours! *Homeschooling has not been easy*. After one particularly frustrating math lesson, which I am ashamed to say, I did not handle well, Rachel says to me, “Mom, I know what the problem is. You are a mommy and you don’t know how to teach.” She was somewhat repeating my own words to her but she was so matter of fact. Last night as I was tucking her in to bed she suggested, again in a very matter of fact way, that since I don’t know how to teach, why don’t I just quit trying to be a teacher. Sometimes I wish I could. Please pray for me that I will stick with it and give it my all. It is the task that is set before me for the time being and it is my desire to be a living sacrifice as I serve my Lord and my family in this way.
We are in the midst of a second 6 week stretch without seeing our boys. We enjoyed camping together as a family along with another friend over their *mid-term break*. We also celebrated Drew’s 10th birthday which was a lot of fun. How we treasure these times together. I can’t imagine what it is like for many of our friends who don’t see their beloved children for three months at a time. My heart aches with the separation from our children. There is only reason it is worth the pain. There are lost souls who need Jesus and He has called us to reach them in this place. It is the hardest sacrifice I can imagine making but again, we continue on in His strength and mercy. He IS the reason!
Please pray with us as we look ahead to finishing up another 4 year term in less than five months. Yes, that’s right, Lord willing, we will be returning the U.S. for another year of *Home Assigment starting July 20th, 2014*. We are excited about reconnecting with our loved ones, that’s you! But there is much to do in the meantime. Some things are already in place. We are so grateful that we will be living in the same house we lived in 4 yeas ago. We are also hoping that everything will work out for our kids to once again attend Hershey Christian School. Some things we would ask you lift before the Lord are work for Jon and possibly for me and also for a suitable car for our family. We will also need to raise a significant amount of financial support in the next year to allow us to return to the work here in Tanzania. All of these situations are in the hands or our mighty God so we rest in assurance that He will provide in His time and way.
Please pray that we will stay engaged here until the right time as we prepare to leave. Pray that we will leave our friends and work here in Tanzania well and for the boys as they say good bye to friends at R.V.A. for a year. Pray for us as we re-enter life in America. The weeks leading up to departure are stressful as is the time it takes to adjust life in the U.S. again. This is a huge transition for us.
All for Jesus,
Melissa for our family
1) Margaret with one of the babies she delivered successfully 2 and 3) The new bathroom under construction
4,5,6) Camping during RVA’s mid-term break
7) Celebrating double digits for Drew, turning 10!
8) Rachel playing with her favorite puppy, Gracy, from Chica’s recent litter of five puppies who all have new homes now.