December 30, 2011

New Years

This year I seem to be approaching New Year's with a lot more reflection on the past and forethought for the year ahead. Maybe it's because I am getting older, maybe because I need to make some changes, or maybe because life has just been a little slower this year and I've had time to think. It seems I was drawn to ask myself some questions concerning my spiritual, physical and mental health. And then the list came together.

Here are a few things my heart tells me I need to make happen in the coming year:
  1. Consistent, longer daily times with the Lord.
  2. Experiment with more healthy cooking.
  3. Get regular physical exercise.
  4. Read more. Especially about things important to me.
  5. Make time and opportunity for important conversations with my boys.
  6. Learn some new skills like bread baking, crocheting.
  7. Do more scripture memorization.
  8. Continue "dating" my husband each month.


We had a wonderful Christmas this year although it did seem to go by way too fast.

December 3, 2011


Winter, or at least colder weather always seems to lend me time to do more reading than usual. I am one of those people that is in the middle of a couple of books at any one time. Usually one on the coffee table in the living room and one on my night stand. It all depends on my mood and interests for that day or week. It's very strange for me since I am quite organized in the other areas of my life but maybe that is why I find great joy in it.

Currently on my "In the middle of it list" is:
One Thousand Gifts
Monique and the Mango Rains

Once I am finished with these two...
  Kisses from Katie

I am so thankful that I can read. So many in this world do not have the honor of learning to read and I am grateful.

Beginning to Look Like Christmas Around Here

The stockings are hung...

The Christmas parade has happened...

The tree is decorated...

The Advent candles have been lit...

The homemade garland has been strung...

The snowman family is on display...

The African nativity is in it's place...


November 23, 2011


Tomorrow is American Thanksgiving. As I write the pumpkin pies are cooking in the oven. The house is filled with sweet smelling spices. The kids are bored. The Christmas music is playing in the background. Outside there is snow on the branches from a light, overnight sprinkling. It's the "perfect" holiday mood, right?

My heart is full because I have so much to be thankful for like always. We all do-ALWAYS! Just some years our perspective becomes more clouded than others and we focus on our heartbreaks, our dissapointments, our loneliness, our brokenness.We turn our eyes inward instead of upward.

I am remembering Thanksgiving 2009. It will always be so special to me. It was nothing fancy that is for sure. There was no holiday music, no cold weather ( if fact we were sweating like crazy), no fat, juicy turkey (only a skinny imported one from Brazil that cost a pretty penny), and no abundance of fancy decorations or elaborate spread of food. But there was thanks giving. We had driven out to our friends farm in the bush in Mozambique. They were still in the process of building there house built out of mud, straw and cow dung-yes, literally. There in the scorching heat with our Thanksgiving spread on a wobbly table under the canopy of a landrover we celebrated being together and being thankful that in the midst of a not so comfortable life we could celebrate the ONE that makes life worth living and life worth giving. Amazing!

So today I am thankful to know what true Thanks-giving feels like. Today I am thankful for all those friends I have that continue to lay down their lives daily for the ONE that makes giving thanks possible.

October 15, 2011

Grandma Sue

Each time I bend low to scoop up those silver pans that sit beneath my oven I remember her. Although they are worn, scratched and old they are seasoned with love. The tape there on the sides, nearly worn off now, marks her having been here on this earth. I don't want it to go away just like I didn't want her to leave. The pots sit across the kitchen stacked in a cupboard. Each time I feel the weight of them I remember her. How she was strong in her faith and sure of heaven to come.

For years now, I've held them dear. They've traveled the globe with me helping to make new places home. They've reminded when at times I had forgotten that I too will leave this earth and for now my faith is all that truly counts.

October 13, 2011

Being Emptied

It comes whether we find ourselves ready for it or not.

 It happens slowly but it's as though we don't notice.

Until suddenly, something in us awakens and we see it bursting forth and we find things all different.

Life sprinkles steadily to the ground to be absorbed, all rotten.
There is beauty in even this-the shedding of the old to make way for the new.
 It's shedding means life is full of promise.
It requires a stillness and a time of emptiness but life will come again. 
We are only emptied so new life can come forth in it's due season.

October 2, 2011


I am finding it hard to believe that it is already October. Although the weather is cooling down and the leaves are changing into beautiful colors and even beginning to fall. Time passes so quickly. In a month my first born baby boy will be turning 14. AHHHHH.....not so fast.

September 19, 2011

What My Boys are Made of...

Grass stained jeans.
Dirty fingernails.
Constant hunger.
Cardboard guns.
Saturday morning cartoons.
Bruises and scrapes.

Tossing footballs.
Dirty, bare feet.
Lego creations.
Peanut butter and jelly.
Nerf gun wars.
Bicycles and skateboards.
Newfound acne.
Tree climbing.
Stinky socks.
Adventure books.

September 8, 2011

Spilling Sin

Again. Really, AGAIN?
The ugliness of my own sin makes me cringe to admit that it happens not so often
I watched them, those words of sin,
spilling from my wretched mouth.
Nearly as soon as they came tumbling out
 I longed to shove them back in.
To swallow them hard and to choke on them
if that's what it takes.
Lord, help me be a women of few words.
Help me season them with mercy and grace.
"Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious,
while the lips of a fool consume him."
Ecclesiastes 10:12

Romans...The Depth of His Great Love

If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago what my favorite book of the Bible was I would have said James. I don't know why...I am weird I guess. Not that James is so uplifting, really it is disturbingly challenging. BUT lately I have been dwelling and soaking in the book of Romans and I am falling in LOVE. I've read it many times before but isn't it like GOD to put you right where you need to be for a moment or a season.

I need Romans and I find it filling the depths of my heart with HIS great love. We, so undeserving, so sinful, so full of our own selfish, prideful flesh. Yet, He, so full of GRACE and immense love that He purposefully lavishes upon us. I know nothing sweeter and I am in awe of such a wonderful savior.

Getting Older

Today is my 38th birthday. Weird. When you are a kid you think 38 is SO old. Although I am "feeling" 38 more than previous birthdays (it seems so close to 40) many days I still feel like a kid myself. Honestly, there are those days that I look at my husband and boys and wonder how did I get here? How is it possible that I have been married to this man of mine for nearly 15 years? How is it possible that I have two sons in Junior High this year? Funny how life just sneaks by and you find yourself looking back wondering where have so many hours, days, months, years gone.

After Africa

You may have noticed that I changed the name of my blog from After Africa to Grace"FULL" Moments. I felt it was time. After Africa hung almost like a question in the air. Me wondering Lord now what? What is after Africa? I am not sure what the answer is honestly other then living in the moment which I am finding FULL of HIS GRACE which helps me be present with Him here, now.

August 24, 2011

One Simple Lesson this Year

Today marks one year since we left our life in Mozambique to return to the States. I can't believe it has been that long already. It has been a year of me trying to learn one simple lesson. I am a very slow learner. God knows my struggle. Being content right where He has called me to. I trust, because I know He knows. If I am confident He has called us to stay in the States for now (which I believe) then to be constantly thinking, dreaming of and hoping to return is not being content in the place I am now. It is a delicate balance to be sure. I do not want to forget Mozambique or those there or the things God taught me while there. I have fears of becoming the typical "American." I teeter on the edge of becoming consumed with things I do not feel are close to the heart of God. There is only so much Walmart, malls, restaurants can fill. There is always that longing deep within meant to filled by only Him. Maybe there lies the real challenge for me. Perhaps that is the real growing I need to do. Here, in this land of good and plenty, where I find it difficult to put off the things of the world, to not become distracted but instead remain focused on HIM alone. Resting in His leading for the moment. Not trying to be somewhere else. Not looking to a place or a person or even a calling to find contentment. But deciding in HIM alone, He is enough. Truly more than enough.

August 3, 2011

Stone of Remembrance...

JULY 22nd
The date came and went like it did every year.
Just another day to most but not in our family.
July 22nd marks the day that our youngest son, Nate, fell in a well in Africa and SURVIVED.
Not only did he survive, God rescued Him and then went on to heal him.
Like God commanded the Israelites in Joshua 4
His faithfulness and deliverance is always something worth remembering.

July 26, 2011

Who Would've Known...

Who would've known that all these years later, 19 to be exact, that I would still have her as my best friend. That I would still love her. That I would still cherish our chats. That I would still learn so much from her. That she would continuously point me to the cross and help me walk deeper in grace. That we would share our children with one another. That she would be the only one I completely share it all with, openly, honestly. That she would still inspire me to think outside the box and ask myself the hard questions.

Tonight, as I put her son to bed with ours I wonder at the hand of GOD in our lives. To bless us with children that can share memories and moments together, always to be remembered, much like when we met just as girls really. How did God know I needed her in my life? Of course, He knew because she is a gift straight from Him. I am so thankful.

July 20, 2011

Basking in Books

One thing I missed in Africa was books. I am not a huge reader but definitely like to from time to time. I also like my boys to read. Generally they read for half an hour every night before bed just to form that habit of loving to read. In our home schooling I am ALL about the books. Of course we follow a curriculum but it is full of literature because by experiencing great books we learn life.
Today we visited the library. Now we have done that already since returning from Africa but this library was different. We live in a small village, called Penacook which is truly part of the capital city of New Hampshire, Concord. We have visited the Penacook library, all two rooms of it. Seriously. So today we decided to take advantage of our status as living in "part" of Concord and went to the larger library there. It was wonderful. I love letting my boys loose free to roam in a library. I find it pretty exciting. The children's section that is. I love watching my guys explore and find books about helicopters, knights, medeival weapons, etc. It screams for me to plant us there for many school days to come in the Fall.

Thankful for the library today.

July 11, 2011

A Day at the River...

We live near the river...

it's a beautiful place...

especially for hot summer days...

when you need to cool off...

or have some adventure...

so you can have a different perspective on things...

and see God's handiwork all around you.

July 8, 2011

The Statistics are Staggering...

Birth in Africa, Mozambique included, is a dangerous thing. I've always known this and been burdened wondering how and if I could ever make a difference. That is a question still to be answered.
I stumbled upon a documentary about Mozambican "midwives" or at least the closest thing to them. You can watch "Birth of a Surgeon" if you are interested. Caution: It could be considered graphic because of live birth situations. Unfortunately, they are not taught a more holistic approach but instead how to intervene in emergency situations. Don't get me wrong this also desperately needed because of the lack of adequately trained medical professionals and decent medical facilities and really the whole concept of medical care in the Mozambican culture.
Being somewhat informed I still found the statistics staggering.
1 in 9 babies in Mozambique will not live to see their first birthday.
1 in 22 women die giving birth.
Women in Mozambique have a 160% greater risk of dying during pregnancy or delivery than those in western countries.
250,000 women die every year from pregnancy and childbirth complications.
Sub-saharan Africa is the deadliest place on earth to give birth.
The population of Mozambique's capital city Maputo is over 1.2 million and there are only 7 obstetricians.
Most of the country does not have access to prenatal and obstetrical care.
It saddens me and sickens me. It goes so much deeper than just more doctors, more hospitals, more supplies. It goes to the root of women being not valued. It is the lack of care and knowledge given to women. 
To be honest I have been concerned for Mozambican friends of ours that are having babies. Two years ago our friend's wife labored for days and finally was given a c-section which I was amazed they were even doing in our local provincal hospital. I was also amazed that she and her baby survived-Praise the Lord! Soon after the birth her husband showed up at our door to give his announcement but also to ask for advice. The medical personnel had shared NOTHING with his wife about how to care for the baby or what to do in problem situations. Her family was not near her as she was living in a different area with her husband than where she came from so she had no one to ask or learn from. The father was worried about how he was ever going to afford to buy milk to feed his baby because the baby was not wanting to eat and he didn't know what to do. He was panicked knowing he did not have the means to fund buying tins of milk powder which to him meant his child was likely going to suffer and die. After calming him and asking some questions I came to discover that his wife's milk had simply not come in yet as it was still to early. No one shared with them that this is normal and not to worry. I encouraged him to tell his wife not to give up and continue and the baby will do well as she is created to feed the baby. I am happy to report that mother and baby both did very well and he is a growing, chubby little boy today. But I do wonder, what if the father had not come and received information. I believe he would have gone and bought a tin of milk and started the baby on it and then been left with a mother that could not offer nourishment to her baby and a baby that needed milk that he simply could not afford to provide. Heartbreaking!
Like I said earlier deep within me is a stirring to somehow, someway make a difference.
Pray with me as I seek the Lord.
I am very happy to report that this little one is about to beat the odds...
Graca Sara will be turning ONE in just a few weeks. To God be the Glory!

July 6, 2011

My Memorization Project This Summer...

             Deuteronomy 6:4-9     
“4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

All Kinds of Kisses...

It is 10:30 pm and my baby boy has just come to kiss me goodnight. It is not any ordinary, boring kiss but our special goodnight kiss ritual. Several months ago he and I designed our very own good night kiss. First it's the batting of eyelashes against one another (butterfly kisses), then noses rubbing (eskimo kisses), then cheek to cheeck, then rubbing chin against chin. Not sure where it really came from but everynight for months he has faithfully come looking for his special kiss. If I am honest there are nights that I have thought not right now or how about we skip just tonight but he is relentless and it takes only about 1.5 seconds for me to melt and remember that not long from now he will no longer come looking for my kisses. So, I will cherish this time and take each special one I can get.

I am not sure how it is possible that this boy is going to be turning 12 tomorrow. I can't fathom where the years have gone. What a treasure he is and I am so thankful that God chose me to be his mom. As long as he is giving out kisses I am determined I will make the time to take them.
Happy Birthday Baby Boy!

June 25, 2011

Let Him...

Somedays I am overwhelmed. Being a foreigner in my own land seems too much. Not feeling I belong but knowing it is where I am meant to be. I long to cross over that wide open ocean once again. To feel the red African dirt between my toes, with the warmth of the Mozambican sun upon my skin. I miss the lush green landscape. The sounds and smells that seem so familiar. The feeling of home.
How do I make sense of dreams and hopes that seem to be shattered, left behind, ripped from underneath. It is simple yet feels so trying. Life goes on, and I am glad it does because that is the way of God. He is forever making all things new. Even me, in my weakness and untrusting. Even my dreams in their shallowness and unseeing eyes. My hopes, I am learning, to leave in Him alone. Not in plans or places or people. Only in Him. My mind tells me that I need a plan, a way to proceed. But from deep within I can hear my spirit cry out who can know the mysteries of God and the best way is to let it be instead of trying to package it all up.

Let Him be my home. Let Him design the dreams. Let Him be my hope. Let it be, to Him.

June 11, 2011

Dreaming the Impossible...

There are deep dreams God has placed in the well of my heart. If I am honest there are so many times that I question will those things ever come to pass. I hope for them. But in a precious quiet time before the Lord today, worshipping Him, I was reminded to not focus on those dreams. My spirit was drawn to instead focus on the dream giver. He is worthy of all my trust and confidence. Not just for what I think He wants to do in and through me but for HIS loving tender mercy that He continually pours on me.

It's just a matter of time. It's all fashioned from the very fabric of God. I will wait. I'll be faithful. I was made for loving you.

May 24, 2011

Abiding with Him

John 15:7 “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
ABIDE…to remain, continue, stay, dwell, reside, continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship, to last, endure, sustain, or withstand without yielding, to await, to accept without opposition or question, to act in accord with, to submit to, agree to, to remain steadfast or faithful, to keep.

Blessed to Love Him...

This afternoon I called my husband at work. I nearly never do this and honestly expected that I would only be leaving a message on the cell phone as usually in the mechanic shop he can't hear it ring anyway. That was fine with me because I just felt the need, the longing to tell him how much I love him and appreciate him. Nothing unique, nothing life shaking, but just to build him up with words and love. The need to express how blessed I know I am to be his wife, his partner in this life. I was surprised when he answered the phone. I had butterflies in my stomach, excited and nervous all at once, telling him why I had called. How blessed am I to be loved by this man that loves me deeply and so well in every way he knows.

May 18, 2011

Loving Because He is Loved...

This is Manuel with his wife Laurinda and baby daughter Graca Sara.
He is so very special to us.
You see we first met this amazing young man when he was just a boy.
He lived at the orphanage where we served in Mozambique in 1997.
Each time we have returned to Mozambique we have reconnected with Manuel.
Each time our relationship has deepened.
He calls us mom and dad and we consider him our Mozambican son.
We are so proud of him.
He is walking strongly with the Lord.
He is motivated by God's love to love others, especially orphans.
He is unusual in a country of such hardship that he cares for others above himself.

These are some of the orphans he is currently loving and longing to help.
We know we must play a role but are unsure exactly how.
Will you pray for him?
Will you pray for us?
We can not sit idly by!
Can't we eat rice and beans one day a week so these little ones have something to eat at all? 
We are compelled by love from the Father.
We long to make a difference in his life and in these precious little ones lives.
How Lord, how?

May 16, 2011

Instilling Love

My boys are 13 and nearly 12 now. I can't believe it. Somedays I wish I could cuddle them still in my arms with their head resting on my shoulder like when they were infants and wanted to snuggle after just waking up from a nap. How sweet those days were. These days however are just as sweet. Instead of snuggling them on my shoulder (although I still do snuggle them quite often even if they will soon be taller than me) I find myself pouring love into them verbally, mentally, emotionally. They are looking for instruction in how relationships in this world work and I get the gift of filling them with love and assurance. I have the honor of teaching them that LOVE is worth the risk and that even when human beings dissapoint God never does.

My only regret is I do not take advantage of the opportunity enough and miss times of instilling love.

May 5, 2011

Being a Sender

I am living life on a different side of the ocean these days, different side of the world for that matter. It has been a slow process to re-integrate back into "this" life and honestly most days it has felt like we are alone on a deserted island with barely a life raft to grab on to. It is difficult to describe and difficult to understand I imagine. I am only learning how to process it all and keep from feeling like you are sinking and getting lost in the unknown. How odd it feels to be in "your HOME country" yet feel so out of place, so not a part, and so completely foreign. Processing through all of these emotions and transitions has made me that much more passionate about missions and supporting the missionaries. I know how they feel on the other side of the ocean when some days it seems that you are out of sight, out of mind. I know the stress you endure to live and function in a totally different culture. I know the pressure you feel to perform for everyone so they stay interested, engaged and supportive. It is not easy and that is why I am so excited to be a part of "Being a Sender." What a privledge to encourage, support and help equip missionaries to fulfill their God given callings. What a responsibility to love them well, stand with them in all things and do our part. I am honored.

May 4, 2011

Funny Things You Find...

So, today I was sorting through some files on our computer and came across some titles I thought were pretty funny.....
How to Butcher a Turkey
Fuzzy Little Bear
23 Questions to Ask Your Kids
Making Cheese
Africa Needs God
Ice Cream Thermodynamics
Human Body Art
Trauma vs. Illness
Preparing for Re-entry

April 22, 2011

Remembering the Suffering

I have been thinking and praying about something over the last few weeks. I've desired to truly observe "Good Friday" and take pause to contemplate and celebrate all that it means.  After talking with Marc, my husband about it I decided to move ahead. So tonight, I watched the movie, "The Passion", with my boys. They are 13 and nearly 12 now. Honestly, I hesitated when the idea first came to mind. We are pretty selective about what we let them watch, some may call it "over protective" which I don't believe is possible in most cases anyway, but that is for another day. However, I felt it was time for them to see and feel the sacrafice that Christ made on the cross, for me and for them. Obviously, they are growing up in our household, one of faith, but I sensed that it was time for the uncomfortableness and difficult truth of Christ's suffering to be observed more deeply. It was such a catalyst for awesome discussion and explanation. The pause button was our friend as I explained in different ways how He chose to walk that path for each of us, for the Father. We came face to face with ugly, sinful humanity....the same type we wear. We talked of Daddy's crown of thorns he discovered in the African bush that sat in his office in Africa. It became very real.

This Easter season seems somehow more sacred to me than years past. I don't know why. My tendency is to draw away from the religious celebrations and worldly interpretations to a quiet place. A place of contemplation where I come face to face with this GREAT sacraficial love on my behalf. Perhaps Easter Sunday will find me on the beach, quietly observing His creation, giving thanks in my heart for His grace that covers the multitude of my sins and for the power of the cross over death and sin. And I sure do wish that crown of thorns had made it's way back to the States with us as a reminder. I believe I could stare at it a thousand times and a thousand times be brought to my knees in a different way.

April 20, 2011

The Perfect Ending...

So, I finally realized a couple of weeks ago that our original website only told the story of Nate's well up to the point of going to Shriner's Hospital in Tampa for the first time and hearing that they could not do corrective surgery at that time. Shame on me for not telling the rest of the story sooner.

We had our second Shriner's appointment in June of 2008. Remember they had made it clear that he was going to have to have corrective surgery but they wanted to wait and do it in the future at some point. This put our life in a holding pattern as our original intention was to return to Mozambique as soon as he had recovered. Anyway, back to June of 2008. We went to Shriners and had new x-rays retaken which is the normal upon arrival at the hospital. We waited in the examining room until the doctor came in to share the results. She came in with a strange look on her face and excitement and confusion on her face all at the same time. She held the previous x-rays and the current days x-rays up for us to see and showed us the comparison. She was baffled because the current x-ray showed that his leg had been corrected. There was no longer a large discrepancy in the bone and unexplainably (to her) that leg was now healed. She even called another doctor in from the hallway to show her the comparison.We were so excited yet not surprised as MANY had been praying for Nate to be healed the whole time since his original accident. We boldly explained to her that WE KNEW HOW IT HAPPENED-GOD! She looked a little skeptical but had to admit she didn't know how it happened but that it had as she had the proof in front of her.

Nate climbing Cabeca do Velho (The Old Man's Head) Mountain in Mozambique - May 2009
Healing of Nate's leg opened up the door for us to return to Mozambique once again which we did in February of 2009. We will never stop sharing that God miraculously healed our boy. How great is our God? How fantastic that although we did not understand at the time of his accident or again when his leg did not heal correctly how God would receive the glory HE HAS and continues. His ways are far above our ways....and I would never change any part of Nate's well testimony because it has provided our family opportunity to worship and glorify HIM more and given Nate a living, walking (literally) testimony of God's great grace and mercy.

April 15, 2011

The Rest of the Story...Almost

October/November: Well we have decided after much prayer, seeking counsel and heart wrenching that we are going to leave the orphanage for the time being and go to South Africa to get a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon to determine what we should do next for Nate. We do not feel comfortable pursuing further treatment in Zimbabwe because of the poor living conditions, instability in the region and the limitation to Dr. Kitcat's experience in this area. So off to a doctor in South Africa. We will have to make the trip by car (one borrowed from a friend) through Zimbabwe which will be a challenge as there is no fuel available but we will carry extra fuel with us from Mozambique and should be alright to make it into South Africa as long as we do not have any break downs. The orphanage is going through some rough transitions right now and it looks as though we will not have a base to return to once we have left.

November 2007: We have been blessed to visit an orthopedic surgeon here in South Africa that was recommended by a friend in Mozambique. He is an amazing doctor. He works with a foundation that provides free care to missionaries. He examined Nate and agreed with other opinions we have received via email consultations that Nate's left leg needs to have corrective surgery. He took the time to explain the probable procedures and has offered to do follow-up care in the future if needed. He wanted to know why Nate was not yet walking without assistance. He removed the moon boot off of his right leg and had him right there in his office practice walking again without even his crutches. Nate was scared and excited at the same time but he did awesome. He has kind of become accustomed to his crutches so it was intimidating for him to walk without them. What a moment of joy for us to be able to see that he is going to be alright again. We have decided that we will return home to seek the needed medical care. So a few more days in South Africa and then we are off to the US again. Update....Returning Home We are off to America! We have applied to Shriner's Children's Hospital in Tampa, FL via email and Andrea's parents doing the leg work and now wait to see if Nate will be accepted as a patient. It would be an answer to prayer as we do not have medical insurance and they specialize in pediatric orthopedics. This is our best course of action right now and although we are sad to leave Africa we are ready for an emotional, physical and spiritual break. These last few months have been HARD. Not only dealing with Nate's accident and recovery but the turmoil at the base and being left in charge of everything has felt like more than we could bear but GOD IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL!

Late November from the USA: We have returned home but not without some drama. We made it onto our flight without a problem but both of the boys were very sick on the plane home. Micah had been sick for a couple of days and finally recovered mostly on the second part of the plane ride. Nate took a turn for the worse and has suffered from diarrhea and too much vomitting along with a fever etc. I thought he had malaria and began treating him but even the medicine will not stay down. So we took him to the ER where they admitted him because of severe dehydration and to rule out malaria. It turns out he just has a bad case of gastroenteritis and dehydration and is now on the mend. We have a praise and that is he has been accepted as a patient at Shriner's and will have his first appointment January 9th. His liver levels are highly elevated so we ask your prayers that those return to normal. The doctor says it could be a result of the malaria preventative medicine, him having had malaria in Africa and the dehydration. She is not sure how long it will take for them to return to normal.

We had Nate's liver levels rechecked. They have dramatically & quickly returned to normal. PRAISE the LORD! Thank you to the many that have continued to pray for him. We are grateful for everyone's love and concern.

January, 2008 Shriner's Visit: At first we were not sure that we were going to make it in time to the 1:00 appointment because of a 70 car pile up on I-4 in between Orlando and Tampa where we were traveling. The Lord protected us from being involved in the tragedy by us being delayed in having breakfast with Andrea's mom before leaving town. Once in the area of the tragic accident we came upon a helicopter on the highway, many highway patrol cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. We did not know what was happening but followed the signs for detour and the long line of traffic. Later while traveling along at a turtles pace we turned on the radio and realized what was happening. We were detoured and the 2 1/2 hour trip ended up taking us 4 hours but we are grateful that we made it safely and on time.

Once checked in the doctors xrayed Nate's legs, did a very thorough examination and then sat down with us for a consultation and to share their care plan for him. We were surprised when they recommended that HE NOT have surgery at this point. In detail, they explained why he can't have surgery now primarily because they can not determine how injured the growth plates are from the fractures on both legs. If they were to do surgery now they fear they could damage the growth plates permanently or they would correct something that will need to be redone again. He obviously has deformities in the bones but they need to wait and see as he grows if the bones are going to remold which is common at his young age or if the deformities are going to get worse. So at this point their care plan is to see him every four months for new xrays, an exam and to re-evaluate him. Only as they do this will they be able to determine if and when he is going to have surgery. Like I said before we were shocked but we are confident in their decision as they specialize in pediatric orthopedics, particularly growth plate injuries and leg length discrepancy. We are grateful that Nate does not have to go through surgery again at this point as we were unsure how he would handle it emotionally. He has been quite traumatized by his hospital experiences to date and needs a break.

SO what does this mean for us as a family. Well although our hearts long to go back overseas we know God knows best. Our hearts are learning to adjust and we must trust that His plan is better than ours. We have met with the director of Teen Missions and at this point we all feel it is best to serve here at the headquarters. It is a vital ministry, supporting the world-wide efforts going on and getting ready for the upcoming summer teams that will take hundreds of American and Canadian kids on short-term mission trips this year with the prayer and hope that they will catch the vision for world-wide missions. We will lead a team this summer and are currently praying about what team that will be. Until then, Marc will continue working in the maintenance department, Andrea will be teaching medical missions at the Bible school and going to work in the afternoons. We thank each of you for praying for us. Please continue to keep us in mind and in your prayers as we seek the Lord's leading day by day. We pray His will be done with Nate's healing as well.

March 31, 2011

More of the Story

Here is the next part of Nate's story through other email updates written in 2007.....

August 2007
Nate has been released from the hospital after two weeks and it looks like finally we will be able to go home to Mozambique to settle in in the next few days. We had only been in Africa 10 days when this accident happened so we are looking forward to unpacking the rest of the way and settling into ministry. We know things are not going to be easy with Nate requiring constant care but we also know that God knows that and all we can do is be GRATEFUL that he is alive and still with us.

Update: Well it has taken us over a week to return to Mozambique due to needing to wait to have our passports brought to us from Mozambique and to have our new visas granted. We are so grateful that Jeff & Libby Foster have allowed us to graciously stay in their cottage for free. It ss a challenge in Zimbabwe. The cottage was without power all day, every day. It returned between 9-10 pm so that is when we tried to cook food for the next day or else we would cook over the open fire outside. Marc walks about 45 minutes each way into town in search of food and things we need like soap, TP, etc. It's not an easy task as there was not much on the shelves in the stores and if there was something like milk or bread it was gone within seconds as the mob of desperate people fight for survival.

September 2007 
We managed to get back to Mozambique from Nate's doctors appointment. We are troubled by the fact that the doctor says according to xray that his left femur bone has slipped and did not heal properly. It has already formed new bone and is joined under the knee, not lined up properly which will cause problems in the future.

October 2007
We have gone to see Dr. Kitcat, Nate's surgeon in Zimbabwe. It was a longer trip than we expected it to be. We thought we were going in for a day, having his casts removed and then returning to Mozambique, but that was not to be. He removed his left leg cast only and has said we must return to him for at least a week in order for the right leg cast to come off and for him to be fitted with a "moon boot" (an air cast boot) and have physical therapy. He was pleasantly surprised about how much range of motion Nate had in his left leg although that bone did not heal properly. He can bend it about 85 degrees. We are not sure how much of that he will be able to regain if any but we are continuing to pray for God to heal him completely. We will return next week to have the other cast removed and see how that leg is doing.

October #2 We have returned to Zimbabwe. Things are going down hill here fast. Food is becoming increasingly more difficult to find and in some parts of town the electricity is off all the time now. We have decided to stay at a guest house in town instead of in Dr. Fosters cottage for a couple of reasons. The guest house has electricity almost all the time and is in close walking distance to town and the doctors office. We have seen doctor Kitcat and Nate has had his other cast removed and been fitted with the moon boot. He can still not bear weight on his left leg at all and walks with crutches. We have had a physical therapy session which basically only entailed teaching Nate how to walk on crutches. It does not seem we will be receiving any true physical therapy here so we have information from Marc's family via internet and will do exercises with him ourselves at home to improve some range of motion and build back his lost muscle mass. We are still praying about what we should do long term for his best chance at full recovery. We are so grateful for Dr. Kitcat but he does not specialize in pediatric orthopedics and the situation economically is declining rapidly here in Zimbabwe. Even the hospital is having to run on generators.

March 25, 2011

May We Never Forget

This is an email I wrote back in 2007. Wow, this brings back lots of memories and floods my heart with gratitude all over again. How easily we forget the mystery, treasures, and mercy of God. May our lives continue to honor and praise Him all the days of our lives. And to think the story got even better, but that is for next time....

"Well, where do you begin recording the hardest last 5 days of your life. As most of you know and for those that don't we are sorry we have not had time, opportunity or energy to get ahold of you yet. This past Sunday afternoon, our little one Nate fell into a 20 m or 60 + foot dry well. We were visiting friends at Maforga mission with the American team from Teen Missions and having lunch at the directors home. The kids were all playing in the yard when we heard a horrible crash. Our first thought was that something large and metal had rolled into their truck. But within seconds kids were screaming and Micah came running with a look of horror on his face saying Nate fell.
Once we made our way around the corner of the building it became obvious to everyone that this was bad and that Nate had not just fallen but had crashed through some tin roofing that was placed over the opening to an old well and had fallen over 60 feet to the bottom. We heard him crying and moaning so our first reaction was that at least for the moment he was alive but we didn't know for how long. I remember seeing the look on peoples faces like there was no way he would ever come out of that hole alive.
Everyone first reaction was to pray. We had attended church on the property just a couple of hours before and the message given by Simon Mudiwa who is the coordinator of the work for Teen Missions here in Mozambique was that when bad news or bad things come our first response must be to pray and call out to the Lord. Thank you Lord for that word and your perfect timing. You see there was nothing else we could do except call out to the Lord and beg for Nate's life to be spared. It all seems to be somewhat of a blur as you can imagine but things moved quickly and efficiently. The Lord has made provision for every need in the situation. There happened and by happened I mean God ordained that there would be two nurses there with us that immediately started gathering needed supplies and making provision for treating him, some of the men began gathering ropes and vehicles to be used to pull him up.
A man from South Africa who we had just met immediately set to making a harness like rock climbers use to lower himself into the hole to get Nate. We have found out since he has never been rock climbing or tied those knots before but God moved his hands exactly as they needed to go in order for him to be lowered and for the harness to fit Nate to be brought out. The director Roy immediately called his friend, a pediatrician in Zimbabwe to make sure he would meet us at the clinic and asked that he get his friend Dr. Kitcat, the best surgeon in Zimbabwe to work on Nate. It only took a few minutes to get Nate out of the well and honestly we were scared about what we would see once he was out.
He was talking but mostly moaning and screaming. We had no idea how he had gone in and how he was going to come out. He was pulled out and placed on a board as a backboard. It was obvious he has fractured his right and left leg and probably fractured his left arm as well. There was blood coming from his nose and mouth. He was beginning to show signs of shock and we knew it would be a miracle if he survived let alone survived without any head injury or spinal damage. You cannot fall the equivalent of 5-6 story's without angels carrying you and survive. After what seemed like an eternity he was splinted put on a stretcher and placed in the back of a pickup with Marc and a nurse. Andrea, Micah and others rode in the front. We met up with Simon from Teen Missions with a vehicle that the strectcher would fit into on the main road as we raced to the border. It is an hour and a half drive to Zimbabwe's border.
Andrea, Micah and the director and his wife rushed on ahead to get visas as we know it normally takes 1 1/2 hours to get visas at the border. Marc, Nate, the nurse and Simon came behind. We cleared the border in record time and the van with Nate in it arrived just in time to go through about 10 minutes behind. We then went to the clinic where the doctor came, checked him, took xrays and established his injuries. He was unsure if he had injured his neck, back, head etc but dealt with what was in front of him. Nate had shattered his right ankle and snapped the left thigh bone right above the knee rotating the socket and making them completely out of line. He has dislocated his left elbow and apparently nothing else obvious. The doctors were most concerned about shock and as his BP fell all we could do was continue to pray and ask God to undertake for him.

Perhaps one of the most difficult things I have done in my life is to sit by his bedside listening to him groan and cry out in pain begging someone to please help him to make the pain go away. As a mother that is heart wrenching but all I could do was put him once again into Jesus' hands and beg for mercy. God was merciful beyond anything that we will ever comprehend. He has taken what the enemy meant for harm and turned it into a testimony of His grace and glory. The surgeon performed surgery on Monday morning. It took about 3 hours or so and helped to relieve his pain greatly. He has been drugged for the first few days but is now coming around and it is becoming obvious that he is his normal self. He has his sense of humor back, his rambunxious nature, and inability to sit still. He is in bed. His left leg has a full cast with a metal pin through it which they had to use to put his leg back in position. His right leg has a cast from his toes to his knee. His right arm is in a sling for three weeks. He will be in bed at the hospital for at least two weeks and then we are told it will be about another 8-12 weeks in casts. The doctor seemed reassured that he will walk again and be active without any trouble.

We say all of this to say we want to give God all the glory and honor for saving our boys life and for using him as a testimony to all of the doctors and hospital staff that hear us tell them it is only by God's grace that He is alive. They ask us over and over are you sure it was a 20 m fall. Yes, we tell them, God saved him. May we always give God the glory for each part of this event.

We are doing ok here in Zimbabwe. The pediatricican that first saw Nate has a small cottage that he has let Marc and Micah stay in free. Things are not good here as far as it is difficult to find and buy basic things like bread, soap, etc because of the crisis that the country is in financially. The doctors have been gracious to us and have been completely giving and compassionate. The first five days in the hospital cost 46, 000, 000 zimbabwe dollars. Because of the insane inflation that is about 266 usd. At the bank our money would only be worth 250 zim per 1 usd but everywhere else it is worth 180, 000 zim per 1 us. It is a crisis situation but at the present time we feel safe and know that we can trust the Lord for this part of this journey as well. We are able to receive US funds through Andrea's sister via Western Union wire transfer so that was a blessing as we had no US with us until this morning.
Please continue to pray with us for Nate's recovery. Please praise the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness to our family. May He be glorified through all of this.

With love and appreciation for everything,

Andrea ( and the family) "

Figment of My Imagination

Ok, so apparently the Spring I thought was so quickly coming and nearly here was instead just a figment of my imagination because this is what this past week has looked like around here. NOT Spring!