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 real...so 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.