Friday, February 28, 2014

it's the most wonderful time of the year...

Mango season is truly one of the most wonderful times of the year!  For 5 goud ($0.11) I can buy three mangoes in the village.  The kids are all convinced at this good price we should buy mangoes each and every afternoon!  Mangoes are a fruit that all my little friends love and something that is super refreshing after a long hot day.  There is nothing more fun than crowding into a small shaded space while sharing a bag of mangoes with the kiddos.  There really is no clean way to eat a mango so by the time we are done with the afternoon snack everyone is beyond sticky and bath time is mandatory.  It's always entertaining to watch as everyone tries to get the mango "hairs" out of their teeth. The younger kids give up quickly which means I get the "lucky" job of picking the mango hairs out of their teeth--it's a good thing they are cute and I love them!  This year while eating her first mango of the season Daniella lost her first tooth!  It was pretty traumatic for a while but she has since recovered and is loving the gap in her teeth!  Mango season brings with it lots of sticky hugs and kisses which I wouldn't pass up for anything!
Eating a mango is a GREAT way to get rid of the
loose teeth in your mouth!  Daniella lost her first tooth!

Sunday, February 2, 2014


"You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find you in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now 

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
in the presence of my Savior" 
~Oceans, Hillsong United~

I instantly fell in love with this song the first time I heard it.  Worship music is one of the ways where I feel the Lord truly speaks to me.  At first though, I couldn't get over the ending of the song "Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander."  If I was being truthful I'd tell you that's the last thing I really want, to be led into deeper waters.  There are so many days when I feel like the waves are literally crashing over me, and I can barely catch my breath, before another wave comes and pulls me under.  These are the moments in my life that I don't think I'll ever be able to forget.  Moments that have shaken me to the core.  

One specific moment was when I met a 19-month-old boy named Wonchel.  I remember how frail and lifeless he was.  How he looked at me and yet his eyes were vacant.  He had no energy and was barely able to stay awake during the appointment.  I remember watching as his mother removed layer after layer of clothing and I felt myself breaking piece by piece.  He weighed 12.67 pounds and was half way to being a 2 year old.  This little boy was hanging onto life by the tiniest thread.  Wonchel was quickly placed in our malnutrition program.  We sent him and his mother off with enough milk, fortified rice and beans, plumpy nut (peanut butter paste for severely malnourished children), and an appointment to return in two weeks.  None of this was "new" to me and yet this was one of those moments where, out of no where, it felt like a wave came and pulled me under.  For thirteen nights this little boy haunted me in my sleep.  I couldn't get the far off look that he had in his eyes out of my mind. 
After two weeks, his mother brought him to back to our clinic and it was instantly obvious that he had lost weight and wasn't doing well.  I watched as mom once again removed multiple layers of clothing.  I remember trying to hold back my tears as he was placed on the scale.  While mom was dressing Wonchel I talked with her.  I told her that I knew she hadn't given him the food we provided, and that I knew she wasn't telling me the truth.  She sat and fiddled with his little pair of red tennis shoes the entire time I talked with her.  Watching her fumble to put the shoes on his feet broke me, and caused me to kneel down in front of this momma.  I took the shoes from her hands and said "You will not need these because your son is going to die."  I took Wonchel from her lap and while dangling him in front of her simply asked if she loved her son?  If she wanted him to live? She wasn't able to make eye contact with me. She wasn't able to even answer the questions.  I took him and placed him right in front of her eyes and with tears in my eyes asked her to look at her son.  Look at how small his arms were, look at how he was barely able to hold his head, and look at how sick he was.  I told her that it wasn't up to me if this little boy was going to live, it was up to her.  I told her that I knew her life was more difficult than I could even imagine.  I told her that I loved her and that I knew God had a plan for not only her life, but for Wonchel's as well. I reminded her that He is a big God.  I remember watching as his mother walked out of our clinic and across campus.  I was drowning and I knew that there was absolutely nothing I could do for this little boy but pray.  And so I prayed both day and night.  I couldn't get the image of his shoes out of my mind.  These red shoes that were so new and yet would never be truly worn.

Two weeks later Wonchel and his mother returned to our clinic for another appointment.  I knew it was a miracle that this little boy was still alive.  His mother had a look of pride on her face when we weighed Wonchel and saw that he had gained 1.23 pounds.  I remember what it felt like to wrap my arms around this mother and to rejoice with her.  Week by week, this little boy gained weight, strength, and energy.  He went from a child that was barely able to hold his head up, to a child that was able to kick and scream in protest when he didn't want to get measured or weighed.  He went from a child that didn't have the energy to keep his eyes open, to a child that was able to sit, crawl, and stand on his own.  In five short months his body was restored right before our eyes.
Personally, I like to be in control. I don't want to be led "deeper than my feet could ever wander" because I know just how deep the waves can go.  I'm not ready to be pulled under again. And yet, I am so thankful that I serve a God that truly does lead me where I wouldn't normally go.  That even though there are, and will be, so many moments that I can't catch my breath, He is faithful. Ultimately through it all my faith will be made stronger.  Today, Wonchel graduated from our malnutrition program.  This little boy that stole my heart five months ago is now not only alive, but thriving.  
Click on the link below to listen to Oceans by Hillsong United!