Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rwanda Trip Part 3

Our third day of clinic was in Kayonza. It was much closer to Kigali than our previous clinic day (only 1 and a half hours, and those on much better roads). Africa New Life Ministries has an orphanage, school and medical clinic in Kayonza in addition to some other ministries. Our clinic was very full. We had a couple more people to help us triage patients, the entire evangelism team was able to help talk to people, and one of our nurses was able to help see some of the more straightforward cases. This meant people coming non-stop to the pharmacy area. Thankfully I had some help this day. Libby, the lady I mentioned whose suitcase of eyeglasses was stuck in the Kigali airport, was helping along with Pam. The few eyeglasses Libby was able to carry with her (including the ones around her neck) were gone by day’s end. I didn’t personally have a lot of interesting things that I saw, but the other clinic workers did. There was a lady who was 39 weeks pregnant that we were almost certain was having contractions. She didn’t deliver while we were at clinic, but it couldn’t have been much longer. There was a young guy who had a broken leg. We really didn’t have anything but Tylenol and Motrin for pain, so unfortunately he had to endure the long ride to the area hospital with just some anti-inflammatory medications. One of the saddest parts of the day was when a mother and her young child were informed that they had HIV. That was pretty difficult.

The road to Kayonza. This is about the clearest picture I had of this, but all of the hills throughout our drives were similar to this. Mostly leveled and cultivated by hand with basic tools.

There were lots of opportunities to witness to people in Kayonza. Everyone was so excited to have the Kinyarwandan booklet on the four spiritual laws. Several of the people that were saved in Kayonza couldn’t get enough of the booklets. They would just go around with handfuls of them telling their neighbors and friends. I think that is where I got the most joy out of that last clinic day. In reality, we only had 3 days of clinic. In those three days we probably treated less than 600 people. And really, some of the diseases that we treated will require long-term therapy that we could only initiate (with hopes that the clinics in the area will be able to continue after we left). But God will remain. The people whose lives were changed by His Spirit will be able to share Him with others. Those people who thought they had to try to be good or do good things to gain God’s favor were able to find out about Jesus. They now know He is the only Way, the real Truth, and the Life. And they couldn’t wait to tell others. Would that I were so bold and excited here, where I serve every day.

On Sunday we went to the church service at the ANLM Dream Center. They have an English then a Kinyarwanda service. I helped with a puppet number and some other teammates did a skit. The services were scheduled to last about 2 hours, but went a bit longer. I have always found that describing a worship service is one of the most difficult things to do. What I can say is that it was clear that God was present, and that I am glad and humbled to have been a part of it.

A picture taken during the Kinyarwandan service

That afternoon we travelled back to Kayonza to do skits and puppets for the children at the orphanage and share testimonies throughout the program as well. I probably hadn’t done puppet ministry since high school, and my arms reminded me of that. But it was so much fun. There were SO many kids there. I asked one teammate how many children she thought were there. To which she responded, “All of them.” I have always had a special place in my heart for children’s ministries, so this was another of my favorite things for the trip. After the hour of puppets and skits we brought out all of the kickballs, basketballs, and various sport equipment that our group had brought in a couple of suitcases. Needless to say those that weren’t participating in skits and puppets got their own arm workout blowing up all of the balls with hand pumps. This was followed with handing out about 1000 of the tracts and talking with the kids. They would each ask the four or five English questions they knew and I would say hello or how are you in kinyarwandan. Thankfully they all stuck pretty well to the script with their responses.

This is probably about a fourth of the auditorium where we had our program

Sweet girl holding one of the Kinyarwandan tracts. I promise the inside is not in English.

The next day was the saddest: the day we left for home. Several of us walked to the local market that was just a short walk from our guesthouse to buy some gifts to bring back home. Then we all left. Way too soon. I will probably just take up one more post talking a little more about some final thoughts and also about the group our church partners with in Kigali.

When You Have A Big Brother

When you have a big brother...

His toys become your toys....
I caught Kate dressed up in a Batman mask swinging her light saber around this morning. It cracked me up! She wants to be just like Ben. It reminded me of a picture of my brother when he was about Kate's age dressed up in a dance tutu. I really need to get that and put that on the blog : )

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Horrible!! That is the only word that I can use to describe today and the 4 year old check up. I had been warned but other mothers and by the doctor himself but I didn't really prepare myself. First off the only available time for months was at 2 pm on a school day for both kids. Not a good plan. But I figured I am super mom so I can do it (ha ha that is full of sarcasm). And it actually worked out ok. Kate napped in the car between school and the doctor and Ben watched a movie. Then came the torture. I had warned Ben we were going and it might involve shots. The minute we pulled into the parking lot he started crying. Ok you have to remember this is the boy that used to get shots and just look at the nurse. He never shed a tear when he got a shot for the first 2 years of his life. It just was not a big deal. But he has gotten over that in a big way. He cried the whole way into the office. Thank goodness for the iphone because that got him to stop. He did great with the doctor. He weighed 40 pounds and was 42 inches tall. I got to answer yes to all of those developmental questions (because that is every mother's goal). Well, except they asked if he knew his phone number and address. Didn't know he needed to know that. And what phone number do I teach him? We have about 4. Anyway I digress. Dr. P said he looked great. Only concerns are his eyes and speech and we are getting help with those so all is well. Then it was shot time!!! Oh my goodness. 5 shots!!!!! Lots of screaming and tears and then the nurse came in to actually give him the shots. I had to physically hold him down kicking and screaming. It was miserable. I was crying as well. I don't know who it was more painful for - him or me. But we made it through somehow. He then cried and carried on for several more minutes until a nurse offered him a sucker and then all was well. I also got him a cupcake and Granna took him to Sonic. After all that he is going to be wanting shots everyday if you ask me. Thankfully that is the end of shots for him until 2019!! YEA!!!! I already told Matt he is taking Kate to the 4 year check up! Here is my little man showing off his band - aids. Don't you love those little eyes peaking out from behind him!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Soccer Practice

To say Ben is enjoying soccer would be an understatement. He LOVES it!!! He gets so excited to go to practice. He loves getting to run around and kick the ball. I mean all little boys love to run and kick right? I usually work on Tuesday afternoons but my patient cancelled today so I got to go to practice. It was really cold and windy today. We are looking forward to warmer weather soon. And hopefully the weather will be good this weekend so we can get a game in! I got some good pictures at practice that I thought I would share.

One of his good buddies Jonah is on the team. They have a blast together. Ben is a defensive guy at heart. He wants to keep the other team from scoring. Unfortunately at this age they don't have goalies or defensive players. But Ben was practicing as goalie anyway!

Practicing those kicks! Team meeting! And Little Miss. She loves running around and yelling during practice. It was so cold and she didn't have a jacket. Thankfully Miss Hollie was prepared and Kate borrowed a jacket that was way to big. At least she stayed warm.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mondays with Kate

One of the biggest things that I worried about when we decided to have a second child was how in the world was I going to spend as much time with the new baby as I did with Ben. I had to realize that I was never going to be able to spend as much time as I did with Ben. He was the first and got the most attention. I also realized that the special time that I have alone with Kate has got to be really good quality time!! Our Mondays are our quality time together. Ben goes to school and I try really hard not to work on Mondays in order to have time with Kate (and also to get some things done). We do our grocery shopping together on Monday mornings. She loves the one on one attention while she is in the cart alone. It is a fun time. We also do laundry. This morning she was helping me fold it and put it away. She actually did a great job of helping! Then we got to play!!! It is so much fun to watch her play when Ben is not around. She doesn't have to worry about keeping up with him. She can do her own thing and is super happy! Today she strolled her baby all around the house. She has some crazy hair I know!! It is so hard to tame these days and we are just at home I let it go! And played with her doll house. We were both cracking up making the family do funny things. I love my time alone with my little girl. I hope she knows how special she is to me and how much I desire to spend the quality time with her!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yucky Weekend

It was a yucky kind of weekend around here. It rained the entire weekend. Actually it stormed the entire weekend and was cold and nasty. Just not the fun spring weather you want. Ben's first soccer game got rained out on Saturday so that was a bummer. We decided we needed to do something fun on Saturday since it was so nasty outside. We headed over the the local hands on science museum in town - Sci-Quest. We had never been before but Uncle Andrew and Aunt Kelly got Ben a membership for his birthday so we were excited to check it out. It was awesome!! We had a great time playing and enjoying all the exhibits. This was Andrew and Kelly's attempt to turn our kids into little science nerds and I think it worked!

Of course the first thing we had to check out was Aunt Kelly's cell exhibit. Her group at Hudson-Alpha designed and put together this exhibit. It was really neat!! Ben did some xylophone playing!

Kate checking out "Aunt Kelly's" exhibit. Kate loved running around and exploring. A very rare picture of mommy on the blog!!! We were checking out the earthquake simulator which is why we all look a little crazy!!! Bubble fun!!

Ben's favorite thing was the giant operation game they had. He said he wants to be a doctor when he grows up! Sounds good to me. We all had fun building a dam in the river simulator!

Saturday night we braved the storms and went to Mema and Opa's house. We loved getting to hang out with everyone. Ben of course loved playing Mema's iPad with Uncle Brett the best!

Today has been full of church and naps! Those are the best kind of days. It is still yucky and cold outside. I hope the beautiful spring weather returns really quickly!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Special Pictures

Hopefully Matt will be back tomorrow with the next installment of the Rwanda trip. I am loving the updates. He is adding stuff on the blog that he didn't even tell me about so I have enjoyed reading along with all of you. Thanks to Facebook I have gotten to see some pictures from the trip as well. I just had to share a couple of special pictures with you all...
I love these pictures. I can just see the compassion and love in his face for these boys. Matt's compassion is something I have always admired (probably because I have almost no compassion at all). I know that through my amazing husband a little of God's wonderful love was shared with these boys!!

After he got home, Matt was explaining to Ben how he met little boys that didn't have mommies or daddies. This really hit home with Ben. He asked lots of questions and was really concerned about these boys. Every night since then he has prayed and thanked God for "a mommy and daddy that love me." What an amazing lesson for Ben to learn at such a young age. I pray that Ben has compassion just like Jesus and his daddy!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Things That Made Me Smile

So I caught myself smiling at several things today and I just had to share...

I woke up and walked into the living room and found this on the coffee table. Ben had been up early setting up his battle. He LOVES to play army men! He sets up these elaborate battles and they have war. He also makes "movies" with his scenes. He has them act out dialog and "shoots" a movie. I just love watching him. You can't help but smile.
Another thing that makes me smile. My sweet little girl's hair. It is getting so curly! I can't help but smile when I look at her. I have had several people ask me if I curl her hair. Um no!! I can barely get her to sit still to brush it. Could you imagine if I tried to curl it.
And the biggest thing that made me smile today. Hearing the garage door open when Matt got home. Because both kids heard it too and they went running to the door yelling "Daddy!!" I don't think there is anything better in the world. We then spent about 10 minutes doing group hugs. It was so much fun. Listening to their sweet little laughs was just precious. I pray that they know how much we love them and what a joy they are!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rwanda Trip Part 2

I know, I know. You all are really just following this blog for pictures of our kids! I promise to take up as few spots as possible. I thought it would just be two more, but it looks like it may run on a bit longer than that.

There are some things that I forgot to mention about our time with the street boys. One was that there was a question and answer time when we all introduced ourselves, said where we are from and then the kids could ask questions of us. Some of the questions were pretty mundane: what is your favorite sport, what do you do, and so on. Others were a little more difficult to answer: are there boys like us in America, where any of you street children. The most interesting question I got was, “Are you a giant?” To which of course I answered, Yes. They then proceeded to ask me how much I weighed, and I was truthful. Lots of laughs. In hind sight, I wish I had answered in kilograms instead of pounds.

Clearly a giant

That night we visited the Kigali Memorial Center (the genocide memorial in Kigali). I am surprised at how surprised I still am at the evil that exists in the world and how easily man can become entangled in it. I did well through most of the memorial until the last section that was called something like the lost generation. It was about some of the children murdered in the genocide. The most recent pictures of the children were on display along with descriptions like their names, ages, favorite foods, favorite toys or games, comments about their personalities, sometimes even their last words, and how they were murdered. I still tear up thinking about some of those faces and plaques.

It was difficult to "pose" for a picture after going through the museum, but some teamates insisted it was a good photo-op
The day after we ministered with the street boys we travelled to Kageyo. You won’t find this city on many maps. It is a relatively new settlement. During the genocide that occurred over several decades in Rwanda, many oppressed people moved to neighboring countries. Many of those living in Eastern Rwanda moved to Tanzania. Sometime in 2007, the Tanzanian government required all Rwandan refugees in that country to return to Rwanda. Some of these families had left Rwanda as early as 1959 when the first genocide was taking place in Rwanda. Most of these families had no land or place to stay in Rwanda. The Rwandan government designated some eastern land (formerly part of a national park) for these families. This area, called Kageyo is now inhabited by more than 3000 Rwandans. Unfortunately, this land is VERY far from most places of employment, and was not developed agriculturally. And believe me when I say that the road there (at least when our crazy driver is taking it on) is pretty treacherous.
The road to Kageyo

Getting out to help move a tree that fell on the road to Kageyo
Our clinic day in Kageyo took place in a building that Africa New Live Ministries helped build. There is a physician that travels there occasionally, and from what I can tell, there are a couple of nurses that live in or near Kageyo that help to treat people as well. The drive to Kageyo took almost three hours, and with orders to return before nightfall, we didn’t have nearly as much time as we wanted in Kageyo. We also were down a nurse, so it was mainly just the physician diagnosing patients, while a few others could help with wounds. I know many of you are probably asking what good a pharmacist does on medical missions (I must say that I asked this same question myself before signing up). Essentially, what we worked out was for the MD to diagnose the patient and write for what medications (or class of medications) they would like for them to have and I would determine the dose, frequency and duration of therapy. For example, we think we saw a few cases of elephantiasis in Kageyo. Luckily, when I was looking at the dosing of our worm medicine, I remembered seeing dosing for this disease as well as the possible use of other agents to help. I am glad I updated the drug information software on my iPhone before I left. We saw somewhere around 110 patients and I probably did between 350-400 prescriptions that day. Not too bad without a tech and having to talk through a translator…
Some kids playing behind the clinic

My office
With each prescription I would hand out a track that went through the 4 spiritual laws ( in kinyarwandan. I didn’t have a lot of time to go through this with the patients, but some of our other team members did. Libby, for example, had brought one and a half suitcases of eyeglasses to have an eyeglass clinic for patients. The glasses, however, were held up with customs at the Kigali airport. Every day we were told we would be getting the glasses that day, but every day it ended up not happening. God apparently had a different plan for Libby this trip. In Kageyo, she led several people to the Lord. Libby was able to use her recent personal experience of losing a granddaughter to cancer as a way of opening into conversations about heaven and ultimately Jesus. Among the people that Libby was able to share and pray with in Kageyo was a professed shaman. I thank God for holding those eyeglasses at the airport so that Libby could help this man understand his need for Jesus Christ, and accept him as his Savior and Lord that day.
One of the girls we met in Kageyo carrying water

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring is Here!!!

Wooo Hoooo!!! It's finally spring!! Not only officially on the calendar but the weather as well. Not a cold day to be found in the forecast. I think it is time to put up the winter stuff and celebrate.

We had a wonderful weekend celebrating the start of spring. We were just so excited to be together as a family. Friday night we went over to my parent's house for dinner. My dad grilled out some amazing food and we all hung out on their back patio. I really think their backyard is one of my favorite places in the world. It is so peaceful and wonderful. We all just enjoyed being outside and of course some yummy grilled out food!
Kate loved exploring. It was her first time to get to check out their yard since she has been walking. She loved seeing all the neat things they have out there.
I just love the outfit that Kate is wearing!! Matt has some friends and coworkers that have a little girl who is a year or so older than Kate and her name is also Kate. So we get tons of hand me down "K" and "Kate" stuff. I just love it all. Something about this outfit was just special though. I love it. It is just how I imagined a little girl of mine looking like. Cute little ruffled pants with a monogrammed shirt and curly brown hair pulled up with a bow. It makes me smile!

Saturday was spring cleaning day around our house!! Matt did lots of yard work and I did lots of cleaning and organizing on the inside. I got both of the kids closets switched out for spring/summer (that is a huge job as I have a problem with overbuying clothes for them!!) We did take a break and go have some fun at Hayes Nature Preserve. We took a picnic and enjoyed the beautiful weather.
A rare good picture of both kids!! It cracks me up though because they both look like they are wearing 80's clothes. I didn't notice it until the picture. I promise it is all new clothes just the retro look going on I guess!
Ben had a blast jumping off the benches and climbing on things. He is getting so adventurous!
Matt and Kate had to get in on the jumping as well!
Sweet girl! We were all worn out after the fun adventure and all the cleaning!
Sunday morning we were all excited to go to church together as a family. With all the sickness and trips it seems like it has been forever since we got to do that! Such a blessing to go to church! I thought my little people looked so cute yesterday morning!

It was a great weekend of relaxing and getting things done!! It makes me excited for all this spring is going to hold for us!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rwanda Trip Part 1

Emily has been gracious enough to give me a few days to talk about the trip I took with some people from our church to Rwanda. Our church partners with a group from Kigali called Africa New Life Ministries ( I will probably have a separate post about ANLM and the ministry that they have in Rwanda. This was the third time that people from our church have gone on mission in Rwanda, but my first. It was really an amazing, life-changing kind of trip.

We arrived in Kigali late at night and met the Rwanda IMB missionary and our contact with Africa New Life. As an aside, we didn’t really do a lot with the IMB missionaries this time, but look forward to helping them with future projects with later trips. They are really making great strides in church planting as well as buildings and agricultural development/training for various villages around Kigali.

We arrived at the ANL Guesthouse, where we would spend our nights and eat our meals. I roomed with our missions director, which ended up being nice because we got one of the best rooms.

This is the guesthouse where we stayed

Our bedroom in the guesthouse

The wonderful view of the sunrise over Kigali. I got to look at this every morning!

There were three teams from our church on this mission: youth/evangelism, medical, and leadership. The leadership team led a conference for Rwandan pastors, some of whom drive as long as 2 hours every day to join the conference. At the conference they received instruction on pastoral care, English language, Biblical leadership principles, and Christian family counseling. One of the speakers even led a dinner banquet for Kigali young business professionals on one of the nights where young churchgoing businesspeople from Kigali had to bring at least one unchurched friend to dinner to hear about Biblical leadership principles. Of course the Gospel was presented at that dinner as well.

This is the only picture I have from the pastor's conference. You can't see him well, but the translator in the front of the room, Moses, was actually with me on the remaining clinic days.

I was, of course, on the medical team. Our first day was spent in preparation for the medical mission trips. On a previous trip to Rwanda, the medical team had bought all the medications beforehand. They ended up not getting them until the day they left, but found that it was surprisingly easy to get all of the medications they needed from local pharmacies. So we just took care of purchasing and starting to divide up the medicines that first day. We also did some touring of the facilities at the Kigali Dream Center (the main headquarters for ANLM), and attended the start of the pastor’s conference.

The next day was spent at the Kigali Dream Center ministering to the “street boys.” There are an estimated 3000 street children in Kigali, and another 4000 or so in the rest of the country. One of the ministries of ANLM is that every Monday and Thursday, they provide food for these street boys and a church service like time where they can sing, dance and hear testimonies from other street boys. We set up a clinic where we treated the boys for any wounds that they may have and then each boy got a worm medicine as well. ANLM is working on building a clinic at their Kigali campus which would allow for them or mission teams to treat for other things as well.

Everyone keeps asking me what my favorite part of the trip was, and that is a very difficult thing to answer. But if I am forced to answer just one specific time, it would probably be this day ministering to these orphan/street boys. They just wanted so much to be loved, that they would actively seek us out to hold our hands and give us hugs. Holding hands is a sign of friendship throughout Africa (I am told), and it is not uncommon to see two grown men walking down a street holding hands. This is merely a sign of friendship. These street boys were eager to hold my hand during the festivities. Some were just interested in touching me. They had likely never been this close and personal with a mzungu (white person) before, and they were interested to feel my hairy arms and curly, different hair. By making sure I held each or their hands if they wanted it, I was able to really form some sweet bonds with some of the boys. During the music time they would bring us out to dance. This became pretty exhausting, dancing for 15-20 minutes at a time, but it was hard to say no. Thankfully there are no videos of these “dances” that I am aware of. Sadly, since I was so involved interacting with the boys, I didn’t get any pictures on my phone with them. I know some other members from our team got some, and I will be sure to post some as soon as I can.
This is the room where we had clinic for the street boys, and the site of my horiffic dancing later in the day.

This is one of our team members with a sweet little boy. I will try to get pictures of me on this day sometime and post them on here

I am planning on having just one more post chronicling the trip, and then a final post talking more about Africa New Life Ministries and ways you can support them. I hope you find it interesting.