Good Morning

August 26, 2009

This morning we slept in until 7:00 a.m.. For some reason Jonah didn’t wake up at his usual 6:30 a.m. time and Mark didn’t wake up at 5:30 a.m. being tired because he had been awake during the night with back pain (his leg wound is healing well btw, it started to look infected but we started putting charcoal poultices on it regularly and prayed a lot). I woke up to tiny taps on our glass window. Looking closer, I saw that it was a hummingbird trying to sip nector from our faded chintz curtains. Some of the birds that look like hummingbirds are very large here, maybe the size of a robin with long thin beaks. I don’t know if they actually are hummingbirds. The other day a bird like this was trying to sip nectar from a red sweatshirt hanging on the clothes line. Jonah woke up. “Mommy, I don’t feel very well” he said.  I went in to investigate. He said his waist hurt, probably because he had worn his belt to tight the day before, he suggested. I felt his abdomen, discovering his bladder was distended and took him downstairs to remedy the situation. What a relief that it was something simple.  All being well, I took him back up stairs to bounce on his sleeping Father. “Daddy, he said I put my “tancocks” in, did you put in yours, Daddy?” “Your what?” Mark replied. “My “tancocks”, Jonah replied, pointing to his eyes. It was good for a laugh. Laughing is good in the morning.

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A Miracle

August 13, 2009

We have just finished our 18 day Share Him Evangelistic Series!  The sermons, preached by three local Ethiopian young men in the Oromifa language, drew crowds of 175 to 225. The auditorium was full to standing room only most nights. There were many requests for Baptism.  There were many more adults interested in Baptism who wanted to study more and also those who said they were going to start coming to church. The series was also a blessing for local SDA’s who learned more about the Bible and felt revived. Many had never seen some of the pictures well known to Western SDAs depicting Jesus’s Second Coming and others, including beautiful pictures of other parts of the world. In addition, many of the pictures in each power point presentation were relevant to Africans as they were of different people and places in Africa. They enjoyed the lectures on topics such as Bible Prophesy, Creation, The Holy Spirit, Righteousness by Faith, The Sabbath, Health and many others. Some notes said “please continue the lectures forever, we want to learn more” and many were thankful for what they had heard.  One of the biggest miracles during the Evangelistic series is that for 18 nights it did not rain during the 60-90 minute presentations!  As it is one of the rainiest months in Ethiopia, we have rain intermittently every day and night. We were concerned at first, having the series in the auditorium, as it has a high tin roof which echoes very loudly when it rains, especially the torrential rains we have during this time of year. If  it had rained during the presentation, people would not have been able to hear anything but noise. But, praise the Lord!  It never rained once during the lectures! Five times, it began to rain during the singing and welcome, but each time there was an earnest prayer for the rain to stop and before the lecture began, the rain did stop. After 18 nights of this happening we are sure it was nothing short of a miracle. It is encouraging to see tangibly how powerful God is, and that He cares. But also, not only were the people able to hear the presentations, but it never rained immediately after the meeting while people were walking home in the dark. Since it is cold and many locals are not dressed properly for rain and do not have umbrellas or cars this was a blessing for their comfort.

Watch Your Step

August 13, 2009

Mark thought, “well this ought to be interesting” as he donned his new running shoes, some hiking pants, a long sleeved shirt and a rain jacket and headed out into the pouring rain for an early morning jog.  It was still dark, but Mark was not alone- Paul and Petra were meeting him for this run, the first since his wife Trudy (that’s me=) had forbad him to go jogging alone (s/p the recent theft of a camera from two medical students while out on an afternoon walk).  Trudy muttered something in her sleep about the craziness of going running when it is still dark and pouring rain as Mark shut the door.

As he sloshed through the mud at the top of campus towards the Gimbie Highroad, Mark realized that the pavement was no longer a road but a river, and hopped up onto the reddish brown Gimbie-dirt colored cement slab which runs alongside the road, covering a three foot deep trench for street water runoff. The trench was full of swirling Gimbie-dirt colored rainwater, trash and sewage. Mark’s rain jacket was no longer repelling water, but rather soaking it up as he strode along the ditch cover.  He was thinking “with all this rain, do I really need a shower this morning?” as the slab under him disappeared and he fell,  hitting first his left shin, then his right thigh soundly on the opposite side of the gap in the cement slab, and then sinking into the putrid run off. He climbed out, feeling as if he had been hit with a crow bar as he limped along home leaving a dripping a path of blood.

When Mark reached home, he showered and then told his sleeping wife he needed a nurse. Nurse Trudy arose to the task and had just finished cleaning the inch deep gash in his leg when seven month old Sifan (an abandoned baby girl she had been watching for a few days) woke up and began to cry. Jonah was still sleeping. Mark was sent to see Dr Priscilla who prescribed a Tetanus shot, a week’s course of antibiotics and then ordered him up onto the grimy ER examination table. As Mark undressed his leg, first his leather cowboy boots, then his clean white socks, and then unzipping the left leg of his favorite hiking pants, his mind began to wander.  He was thinking of how he had always been warned to wear clean underwear in case of an accident landing him in the ER. But now as he sat in this ER, he felt a spectacle because he had socks at all, and leather boots ,and pants that zipped on the side.  He glanced at the group of sockless Gimbieites gathered around in their muddy plastic shoes.  And, he felt a bit overdressed as he looked at the suture kit which was carefully being opened, to reveal ever so slightly rusty surgical instruments and a faded surgical drape laced with holes.  He wondered which hole in the surgical drape Dr Priscilla would choose to use as she sutured up his wound. After several stitches, Mark was sent home to put his leg up and slow the swelling. As he lay on the bed with his feet up, legs aching, he thought of all the work he needed to be doing, though he was glad at least that he hadn’t broken his leg.

A baby snake which was yellow dropped from the ceiling of the delivery ward during the night.  That is all the information we have on said snake, since the courageous housekeeper who killed it promptly threw it away. I’ve found Ethiopians are in general quite adverse to snakes- and with good reason, I think, in my snake phobic mind……there are said to be many varieties of deadly ones in Ethiopia……a whole cornucopia of sizzling, hissing, treacherous ones, and even aggressive ones like the dread Black Mamba…. Ok, I must say here before I get too carried away, that I have never personally seen a snake in Ethiopia yet, I only know that there is at least a two page list of poisonous ones here (I had done my research before we came, wanting to know what I was up against).  Anyway, the delivery room nurses were in a dither as they are sure that where one baby snake is, there are likely more nearby and their Mama. The nurses have asked Mark to get them out. Now finding a supposed snake nest in a false ceiling over a maternity ward packed full of women in various stages of birthing is not an easy task. One resourceful maintenance employee suggested spraying some DDT up into the false ceiling (yes, DDT is still readily available for spraying into false ceilings here=). Mark tactfully brought up the point that DDT might not be the best thing to have filtering down over newborn babies. But, one cannot exactly dismantle the ceiling over top the patients. It’s really a bit of a quandary. Mark has begun the task of hospital snake eviction by putting up new rat bait, hoping to remove the hospital’s culinary appeal for the yellow snakes.