Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Ojo

I just recently received the news from home that my dear dog Ojo passed away after miscarrying her puppies. She was a great dog! I couldn't have asked for any better. I am thankful to know that my family took such great care of her, and that she went down tail wagging. Life is hard, but I am thankful that the Lord is ever in control.
Ojo was my 11th birthday present. Her name is Japanese for princess. She was a great farm dog and a sweet heart... She was a joy to me and my family for many years... So many memories.... Thank you Lord for the wonderful gift you gave me and the time I was able to enjoy this special creature you made. I learned so many lessons from her... Help me to continue to trust that you have only my best interest in mind. Thank you Lord!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

And just when it couldn't get any better.... PUAH!

I had a VERY blessed morning in the Lord's house! I enjoyed the preaching (a message on the importance of Christ) and the baptismal service. I thought my day couldn't get any better! But.... it did... then it didn't... then it did..
Let me explain...

I arrived at the clinic where I volunteer on time... just as planned... when my friend and I arrived we heard howling and yelling. We looked at each other and stated the obvious... Labor! During change of shift, I was informed that I would be able to help this woman with her labor. She was 9cm in labor... birth could be soon. I went in to get vitals. She was shouting Agai! Agai! (ouch! OUCH!) and thrashing around on the bed. I quickly took vitals and tried to tell her to breathe with me "Ginhawa, dili utong, GINHAWA" (breathe, don't push, breathe). She wouldn't have it. She looked at me with scared eyes. This wasn't her first labor. She had another baby. Before, sometime... the baby died while only a year old. The Badjao don't keep tract of time. So this mother couldn't tell us how old she was, how far along this pregnancy was, or how long ago her baby girl had died. She also didn't speak English.
I sat at the foot of her bed and breathed with her. She hollered. I started to pray. She looked into my eyes as I prayed aloud. She nodded. She knew...
After that she calmed down immensely. She was able to relax. She breathed with me through the pain. Time passed. Her body decided to purge itself. Her heaving brought in all 5 or 6 Badjao women who had accompanied her. They started crying, scared and not realizing that this was a normal part of birth. My friend Brittany and I had all we could do to stop the sobbing and comfort the family that she and baby were still ok. Heart tones were good,.. the baby was still ok...
After much reassurance, the women settled back and returned to the waiting area. My laboring mother smiled... she knew I was there for her. She trusted me. She knew I cared. We may not be able to communicate, but  the look in her eyes said it all.
After about four hours of laboring, the midwife checked and saw that no progress had been made. This was very sad for me. The bag of waters was ruptured and still labor did not progress. We tried various ways to help the contractions to speed back up, any way for progress to occur. She was not interested. She laid on the bed resting, waiting. What was going through her mind? Was she remembering her last birth? Was she wishing that her other baby was still here right now?
No progress was made and she was not pushing effectively when she did have a contraction. Time to transport. I looked at Brittany who had been by my side all shift and we tried to hold back the tears. "She needed your support. You did all you could do." I knew her words were true, but it didn't make the process any easier. The papers were filled out... the ambulance was prepared....

Up she bolted. She looked at me fiercely, knowing that transporting to the hospital was inevitable. With a mighty howl she started to bear down. 2cm, 3cm head visible... She screamed. We prayed. We had the stretcher ready... In what seemed to be a continuous unearthly scream and steady push (she was completely unresponsive to the attempts to calm her, to quiet her, to comfort her) the head emerged...
The scream continued.... a minute later the baby was completely born.... (I will exclude all the details, but let me say that one minute can feel like hours).... She was silent. She knew... she did it.... it was over....

It was a learning experience I will never forget. Sometimes you can't communicate verbally, but there are other ways to express your feelings. I learned a lot about just being there and offering service as needed. You don't always have to be the one solving the problems, but the one willing to sit and pray and offer sips of water as needed. It was amazing to me how attached and protective you can feel after only spending a few hours with a laboring mother... And birth... is always... a MIRACLE!!!!!!

As I before mentioned, the woman was a Badjao. The Badjao often ask for someone else to name their child. I was given the honor of choosing a name. I gave two suggestions, and they chose the name Joshua (Jehovah is Salvation). So in honor of my little brother, here is a photo of Baby Joshua....

A special thanks to Brittany, for taking the pictures and being by my side through this emotional shift... you are a great friend! Thanks!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Joy in Serving Jesus!

In the midst of business, I was reminded of the fruit of the labor is sweet! This may be literally as well! Today my friend Brenda and I harvested pomelo that were ripe and hanging from the tree in our back yard! I then had the pleasure of using my knife to cut them open and we enjoyed the sweet inside (it is like a grapefruit) YUM!!!!!

 This afternoon we had a bridal shower for our Filipina friend Sylvette... We had a great time with games, merienda (snacks) and lots of fellowship!

After the busy afternoon, Brittany and I returned home to cook supper and do some work... We made pasta, sauce, and garlic bread sticks! Yummy KAAYO (Very Yummy!)
I will admit, I have been discouraged as of late... It has been hard as I am missing my family, my church, the first day of hunting season, Maine fall, and have papers due etc... But today the Lord reminded me that there is Joy in serving Jesus. If He wants me to be on the other side of the world... then for Him I will go... He is my All in All and in Him is true JOY!
On top of the good, quite evening, the Lord gave me inspiration for one of my projects that is due soon... I am so thankful that He blesses more abundantly than I could ever imagine!

"There is joy in serving Jesus
As I journey on my way
Joy that fills my heart with praises
Every hour and every day

There is joy, joy
                Joy in serving Jesus              
Joy that throbs within my heart
Every moment, every hour
As I draw upon His power
There is joy, joy
Joy that never shall depart

There is joy in serving Jesus
Joy; that triumphs over pain
Fills my heart with heaven's music
Till I join the glad refrain

There is joy, joy
                                                   Joy in serving Jesus              
                                           Joy that throbs within my heart
                                               Every moment, every hour
                                              As I draw upon His power
                                                      There is joy, joy
                                               Joy that never shall depart"

Monday, October 22, 2012

Boat trip fun!

Here are some photos of the boat trip that I was able to go on. It was quite the day! I never though I would be on a boat someday that would take me to a tropical island and sea the world of "finding nemo" in person... Wow... can only partially describe it! Although I don't have an underwater camera so there are no pictures of those wonderful sights, I was given some pictures that Melissa took with her camera that give a glimpse into our day....
Brittany, Nancy, and I on the boat getting ready to leave

Leaving the harbor...

A long distance view of Isle Verde

A cool shot of the length of the boat

Tropical beach

View of an island we passed

Melissa and I... and some starfish! 
(yes Anna, they are alive...
 and Michael... no, they didn't bite me)

Thank you Melissa for sharing your amazing photos! I had a wonderful day enjoying the beautiful world God created under the ocean. I saw clown fish, lion fish, sea snakes, tons of coral, sea sponges, angel fish, sea slugs.... the list keeps going on! It was great! Thank you Lord for a glimpse at your AMAZING creation!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Walking the planks....

     I really don't know how to start this post, except by saying how the Lord has greatly blessed me. I am so undeserving for all the blessings He has bestowed upon me. I was reminded today of the bare necessities in life and how we have so much more.
      This morning I went with some friends to scout out a potential ministry opportunity that will be working with malnourished children. We went to an area called “Isle Verde” or “The Green Island”. A oxymoron as there is little green. It was again an eye opening experience. A population of approximately 15,000 live in this small area. There is also a group among the people there called the Badjao people, the sea gypsies. They live among huts built on stilts. The bridges that connect these houses are thin planks that span across the "ocean" below. There is no sewer system. No garbage disposal. Nothing, but the ocean below. This society lives with barely their daily needs met.
    That is where the opportunity we found comes in. There is a Pastor and his wife that live in the area who have opened their home to provide clinics to the people. They also have a program to help feed the hungry children. They provide food for the mothers to cook for their children to eat. One meal four days a week. I would have the opportunity in my free time to help these children by keeping them company, cleaning their nails, and potentially sharing Bible stories with them.
     I don't know how to explain fully how it made me feel. I cannot seem to find the right word... I felt- not just for their lack, but for my own selfish heart. How dare I take my life, my upbringing for granted! There was never a night I was hungry. Never a day I went unclothed. I felt burdened not just for their need, but for the need of all those who are blind to the way others live, not necessarily by choice, but because it is what they were born into.
    The pastor's wife told us with tears in her eyes about the burden she and her husband share for this place. She told how blessed she was because she had a roof, food, more than one pair of shoes. That she had a computer and internet. She had a phone, and touch screen at that. But these people she serves don't even have daily bread. One look at their small house that doubles as a medical clinic, food distribution, and pharmacy and one would think that they were in need. Yet, they live in a mansion compared to the Badjao who live literally right down the street.
    The people are so loving and open to us. The children mill around with wide eyes giggling at the puti  (white) girls who came to see them. Greetings were shouted as we passed through the village. So much physical and spiritual need, yet they are still smiling. In some ways they taught me so much. They taught me to appreciate what I have been blessed with. My brief time with them showed me how they are rich in their "poverty" and wealthy in their love.
   I pray that I will never forget and take my life for granted. I had thought that I was exposed to need here, but this experience showed me a whole new level. A whole new perspective of the need and the necessity of reaching out to these people, even if it is “just” spending time with these children, or providing maternity care.
    Lord, forgive us for all that we take for granted on a daily basis. Help open our eyes to the need of others. Burden our hearts Lord! Let us SEE! Help us as we walk the planks of life, precariously balanced and trusting you as we take the next step.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Make new friends!

This week the words from that little song came to me "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." So true! I have greatly enjoyed making friends with the Filipinas and other girls here, but have also grown to hold my friends back home closer to my heart.
This week I received two unexpected cards from home and some emails from dear friends. I appreciate the thoughts and prayers of all my Golden friends
My Silver friends are also a blessing! The Filipinas love to have a good time and are such a joy to be around. We made some wedding decorations and then they made a delicious lunch of fish, pork, rice and pineapple for Nancy, Brittany, and I. In my last post, I included photos of a few of us making doughnuts... well, this weekend for dinner, we made pancakes. It was so much fun to see the excitement that comes with their successful cooking skills!
Jamie and I
Besides the cooking, I have had more experiences in the prenatal clinic and the birth room. I will try to blog about that another time. For today I just wanted to thank all my friends old and new for being there and keeping me in their prayers! Thank you!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A little food fun!

 Life here in the Philippines is very different from Maine, but the Lord provides opportunities to still have experiences like at home. Last week Brittany and I were really craving some good pizza... so we went to the Yellow Cab to get some... It was a fun experience, and the pizza was pretty good... not as good as my mom's home made pizza, but good :D


So last week I wanted some Pizza... Last night I was really desirous of a delicious fall treat... Doughnuts! With the thoughts of a cool fall evening in my mind, I helped my friends make some homemade doughnuts... despite it being in the 80's here :D

Sylvette's first time making doughnuts!

Meet Melissa Owl :D

No biscuit cutter, so I improvised... plastic cup and half of a tea ball....

A fun way to spend the evening with friends! Just one of the many blessings the Lord has provided. I am so thankful for all He does for me! Praise the Lord!