Family News and Project #1 and #2 Updates

Our Family

Noah and Nathanael continue to amaze us as they still want to go to day care and school without much problems.  Noah was very excited after being able to ride a bike without any help and without training wheels after only two-tries and no falls!  I think riding his scooter every day to school has given him the balance needed.  Nathanael continues to babble and laugh.  The two boys are really starting to play together which is such a blessing to watch. (see video)

We are progressing with our language studies.  It is not easy, but it is coming (would appreciate continued prayers!).  We have some good classmates and teachers that are truly interested in our learning.  At the end of November (Nov 28-Dec 2), we have a whole week of testing to evaluate our learning and to see if we know enough to advance to the next level.  In December, we will be each presenting a devotion in French in front of the school for 15 minutes (would appreciate your prayers -hopefully no tomatoes thrown 😉 ).

img_0431The schedule here has been good for us (though balance is still a continual struggle) as we are not only spending time together as family, but are also getting some recreational time, such as handball for Noah, hiking for Fred, and running for Lydia.

Recently we made two day trips. The first was to Lyon, where we saw an amazing old church and an old Roman amphitheater. Next in Beaufort we visited a cheese factory (no free samples L), a beautiful dam, and a lot of Alp farmers and huts.  It reminded Fred of Switzerland. (See our picture page!)

img_0488On a sad note, Lydia’s 95-year-old grandma passed away on the 23rd of October.  It was not unexpected, but it is hard to loose someone you love.  We are very grateful for the 8 months we were in Madison and for the time Lydia and the boys got to spend with her.  Thank you God.

Project #1 – 20 PET CARTS TO TOGO

DSC07484StatusAlmost complete5 PET Carts are in Togo and 16 more are being shipped.  A list of potential recipients is being complied by Pastor J.

Overview:  The PET Carts are personalized energized transportation carts provided to persons in need (http://mobilityworldwide.org/).  The carts are made in the US and donated freely.  During our first 2 years in Togo we shipped and delivered 5 carts to people in need.  You can read their stories by clicking here (stories are at the end of the Newsletter).

Update:  In August with the help of Dr. G and Dr. E, 5 carts were shipped to Togo.  They have arrived and 1 has already been delivered to a patient in need.  (We hope to do a follow up story on him when we arrive in Togo.)  Presently, through a container being managed by Family A, 12 additional adult carts and 4 kid carts are being packed and will be shipped by the end of November.

Cost:  As the carts, themselves, are free, the costs associated with this project are related to shipping and customs.  To date our costs are as such:

Starting Project Account Balance $2,201
(Number of contributors: 1)
ABWE administration fee -198.09
Carts Container Costs
5 Adult CARTS Dr. G / Dr. E Shipping within USA 0
Shipping / custom to TOGO -289.91
12 Adult Carts and 4 Kid Carts Family A Shipping within USA -348.67
Shipping / custom to TOGO ??
Ending Project Account Balance $1,364.33

*Our cost is lower than originally anticipated.  Any unused funds will be rolled over to the next project

Future Project Modification:  The Togo landscape is one of rolling hills and poor roads.  The PET Carts are well suited for this environment as they are durable.  However, in certain areas, the PET Cart drivers end up requiring assistance either from strangers and/or family.  It would be really helpful if there was some kind of “automated assist device” on the carts that would assist the drivers and thus give them greater freedom.

bicycle-assistOne possible solution is to “mechanically dope” the PET Carts.  Mechanically doping devices exist for bicycles and aid the riders in allowing them to cover greater distance with less effort (http://vivax-assist.com/en/produkte/vivax-assist-4-0/vivax-assist_4-0.php)

We would love to investigate if these devices or something like it would be appropriate for the PET Carts.  As such, if you and/or anyone you know is interested in helping and/or heading up this project please let us know.  The task would include investigating what kind of assist device could be adapted to the PET CARTS at a practical cost.

Project #2 – Skilled Birthing Attendant (SBA) Training Program (Midwives)

DSC07971Status:  A proposal for a SBA training program has been submitted.  We are waiting HBB’s decision and direction.  Thus (contingent on HBB’s approval) we are looking for 112 people who would feel lead to give a one-time gift of $100 (or in whatever amount you feel lead) (for total costs see below).  If you are interested, please contact us (email: mail@fredandlydia.com).

Overview:  HBB suffers from a shortage of qualified OB providers.  The idea behind the project is to put together a training program for in-house skilled birthing attendants.  The program would train in house staff to handle the majority of the cases that come to the hospital.  This would not only deepen the skill set at HBB, but allow HBB to maintain a minimum of OB care that is independent of doctors.

midwives-for-haitiUpdate:  In the summer we were introduced to Nancy Brunk, a nurse midwife and CEO of Midwives for Haiti.  She has developed a program in Haiti that includes a French and English curriculum. It trains national nurses to become midwives.  She has offered it to us for free.

The program is described as “a rigorous 12-month training program for Haitian nurses to become Skilled Birth Attendants.” The teachers are supported by visiting volunteers (midwives and other medical professionals). The students are in the classroom, clinic and hospital. Upon completion, these graduates receive a certificate from the Haitian Ministry of Health and go on to work throughout Haiti. Since 2006, they’ve trained 95 SBA’s and these graduates make up nearly 1/3 of the total skilled providers working in Haiti.  In 2014, they provided skilled care at over 10,000 births.

Key Points of a modified Midwife for Haiti training program for HBB include the following:

  • 15 month program – 12 months of Midwives for Haiti curriculum and 3 months of HBB specific OB protocol training
  • 2 days a week of lectures (will include bible studies)
  • 4 students maximum per class
  • Based on the book “A book for Midwives: Care for Pregnancy, Birth and Women’s Health
  • Program is built on the 32 core abilities of a midwife as identified by the WHO and the International Organization of Midwives

Costs:  Estimated cost of the program, if approved, are as follows:

Starting Project Account Balance $ 0
(Number of contributors: 0)
ABWE Administration Fee 0
Startup costs (one-time costs to start the program)
Computer with projector -3,000
Support material for teaching -3,000
Recurring costs (Costs associated with each class of students)
Nurses Salaries while they attend lectures -5,000
Books -180
Ending Project Account Balance $ -11,180

 

Projects #3 – Exercise Equipment and Project #4 – Cervical cancer screening updates will be coming in the near future

Thank you so much for all your love, care and support.

God Bless,

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

P.S. Please see our updated picture, prayer and financial pages.

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Family Stories from France

Some more short stories as we get settled.

August 24th

img_0063Here we are France!

We have arrived in France and have settled into our “new home” for the next 8 months.  Our flight was uneventful, outside of “running” (as much as you can with luggage and kids) for our last connection. As we were boarding the plane, we got to meet and help another family, also coming to the language school.  Overall, the kids did well.  Nathanael slept most of the way, whereas Noah stayed awake playing games and watching TV.  Within a few days of being settled, Nathanael reestablished, to his parents’ dismay, his 5 am wake up routine!

Albertville, Our Apartment and the Language School

img_0151Albertville, which hosted the Olympics in 1992, is an old town with a population of about 18,000.  There are five small forts located within 10 km of each other, two of which we have already visited.  Albertville is located in the cross hairs of 3 valleys and is surrounded by mountains.

The language school has about 50 or so students.  All are missionaries and dedicated to going to serve somewhere in the world.  It is inspiring to see so many people choosing to serve God, and as such, to serve others in this world.

Our apartment, is a part of the language school and is a three-bedroom apartment located on the top floor of a 3 story apartment building.  The nursery for Nathanael is located on the first floor, and the language school is located in an adjacent building.

We have French lessons 4 days a week –Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  School starts each day with 20 minutes of devotions and/or worship.  Classes then start at 9:00 and run until 11:15. Afternoon classes start at 1:45 and go until 4:15.

Noah

Noah goes to, what is essentially, pre-k school five days a week, with Wednesday being only a half day.  We walk Noah to school in the mornings, which starts at 8:25; we pick him up for lunch at 11:25; he then returns to school at 1:25 and finishes at 4:30.

We got Noah a new scooter and he loves to ride it to school.  He is in a class of about 25 kids, all of which speak French except for one other “missionary kid”.  We are proud of Noah and thanking God that he wants to go to school in spite of the fact that he does not understand most of what is being said!  We are praying that he will continue to enjoy his school while at the same time learning the language and that he will make some friends.  We do not believe he has an easy task.

img_0099Outside of school, Noah enjoys playing with the other missionary kids here at the language school.  He and Fred have fun hiking up to one of the old forts.  Every Saturday (starting Sept 24th) we’re planning to take him to playimg_0124 some European handball (which will be a 45 min walk one way!).  We’re hoping he’ll enjoy it and that it will allow him to make connections and friendships with other French kids his age.

Nathanael

img_0157Nathanael goes to the nursery for eight hours on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  This had been going well until a few days ago, when he has started to cry as he goes to the nursery.  However, we hear that he only cries for a few minutes and then he is good for the rest of the day (not easy for mom to walk away from!).  The ladies in the nursery are very caring and enjoy playing with him -for this we are very grateful!  We are praying that God will continue to bless the workers and Nathanael in his time there -as for him we know it is not easy as well.

Overall he continues to do well and is very active!  He loves to do whatever Noah is doing from climbing chairs, to taking baths, to running around outside and yelling.  However, unlike Noah, Nathanael is fast to eat but slow to use words.  We hope he will start speaking more over the next few months.

Fred and Lydia

We are doing well and glad to be settling into a home and in to a routine.

Lydia has healed well.  The miscarriage was treated successfully with medications, and no further treatment was required.  And although we were and still are saddened by the event, we can clearly say that God used this time to his glory!  We have had conversations and discussions with people and have been introduced to people because of this event, and we can say without a doubt, they have benefited us and we them, we hope.  Though we would never wish for this experience we are very grateful for what God has brought about as a result of it.  In humility we are reminded of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Outside of French studies, and the socializing that goes on in a school, we are spending time preparing for our time in Togo.  We are excited, yet cautious, at the opportunity to go back.  Our prayer continues to be for a balanced life and God’s clear direction for us in the future.

Projects

As you know we have four projects on the go: PET carts, a midwife training program, cervical cancer screening program, and exercise equipment.  Over the next eight weeks, we hope to post individual updates on each of the projects!  At that time, we will let you know about each project’s funding and the opportunity to give IF you feel so led.

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

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Blog of Short Stories

So much has been happening that we are not sure how to tell it outside of doing it as a series of short stories.

August 23 French flag

Here we come France!

August 23 is just around the corner.  We are excited!  Our lives have once again been reduced down to 6 suitcases, 3 pack-sacs, and 2 kids.  Yes, there is still a wife/mother and husband/father too, and all of us, with all of our belongings, can all fit into a minivan, go figure.  We are heading to France for 8 months of language study at which time we will be making a short trip home to the US and then on to Togo sometime in May 2017.

crossA Loss

In August we suffered a miscarriage.  This has broken our hearts as we wish to continue to grow our family.  We are grateful and thankful for the support we have received.

“Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.” – John Piper, in A Sweet and Bitter Providence

Medsend MedSend Logo

We have been approved by Project Medsend!

Project MedSend is an organization whose goal is to “enable highly qualified and dedicated healthcare professionals to serve people in need around the world in the name of Christ”.  They do this by “awarding educational loan repayment grants to career healthcare missionaries”.  We have been truly blessed to have received a monthly educational grant that will pay for medical student loans over then next 30 months allowing us to focus our limited resources on succeeding in the field versus paying off loans.

The Medsend grant has been very timely.  While under Samaritans Purse, we were able to use project funds to make loan payments.  With ABWE we are not.  This grant gives us breathing room in an already tight financial situation and is very timely as we are making the final transition from SP to ABWE.  Thank you God, and please bless MedSend for all that they do!

IWU logoAn Award

Indiana Wesleyan University, of which Lydia is an alumna of, has nominated her for a “Distinguished College of Arts and Science Alumni Award”.  We, and very specifically, Lydia, is humbled in this recognition as we realize that this is not of our doing, but of Jesus Christ.  It is his example that has changed our lives and that we are following that is to be credited.

The Award is granted to an alumnus or alumna of the College who has exhibited excellence in serving his or her profession, community, church or alma mater in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

As we are unable to attend the ceremony, a slide show of pictures and a bio of Lydia will be presented during the home coming ceremonies in October 2016. “Go wildcats!”

HBB Project –> Training OB / Medical NursesOB nurses

Great progress has been made with this project with respect to training OB nurses.

We have, through Sister Kay, met via skype the founding member of “Midwives for Haiti”, an organization in Haiti, focused on training Skilled Birthing Attendants to offset the shortage of OB providers.  The impact of “Midwives for Haiti” cannot be understated as presently their grads make up 1/3 of the OB providers in Haiti.

They have offered there French / English curriculum to us and as such offset a lot of work making it possible to have a proposal to HBB sooner than later.  We are excited and will write more on this in the coming months.

PET cartHBB Project –> PET Carts

Life sometime is all about opportunity and timing.

Recently Dr. Gayle and Dr. Ebersol of HBB not only recognized a need but reached out to us enquiring about the PET Carts.  Interesting enough, this need corresponded to the timing of a financial gift specifically ear marked for the PET Carts.  As such and through them 5 PET Carts were shipped out to Togo.

We are excited and cannot wait to see who all will receive the PET Carts and to do follow up visits with the recipients when we arrive in Togo.  We will write more on this in the coming months.

HBB100_0833

Recently HBB has been focused on developing a vision and plan for its ministry over the next 10 plus years.  This plan which includes an expansion of the hospital from 50 to 75 beds has been approved.  We are excited at the potential of ABWE’s Hospital ministry in Togo over the coming years.

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

P.S. Do not forget to look at our picture page, prayer page and financial page

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We are leaving August 23, 2016 — June 2016 Newsletter

Lydia Edit 1Happy June!

Did we say we are leaving August 23, 2016 Read all about it in our latest Newsletter.  Our 2016 June Newsletter  is now posted.  Let us share with you what we have been doing and how God’s been working in our lives.  Go to our website under “newsletter” tab or click here.

Please also see our updated prayer requests, pictures and financial pages.

God bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

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The Kids . . . a singer and a dancer

Some of you have been asking how the kids are.  Well they are doing well.  Noah is growing like a weed.  He goes to preschool 1/2 day 5 times a week, he loves the Avengers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spiderman and Grandma and Grandpa.  He likes to run, kick balls and hit things with his bat.  Nathanael loves to walk and do anything his brother is doing except sleep between 2 and 4 am!  Attached below is a small video.  Hope you enjoy!

 

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

PS Please also see our updated prayer requests as we head into this new year and our updated pictures.

 

 

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Reflections and Preparations

It has been a couple of months now since we have made the decision to go back to Togo and a lot has happened.

Reflections

The biggest event has been the passing of a colleague, Todd Dekryer, from Lassa Fever, a less-deadly, but still deadly cousin to Ebola. Nothing more shakes resolve than personal loss and or something that becomes personal. We and/or our children could die in Togo! Talk about some sobering thoughts.

Arrogance and pride are strong motivating factors.  However, when you get shaken, pride and arrogance seem to loose there hold and are replaced by questions of purpose and meaning.  Purpose and meaning have sense only in the presence of something bigger than ourselves. For us this in Jesus Christ. Our purpose and meaning is to glorify Him, to provide an example of an “alternative” way to live, and to tell others through our actions and words that they are loved and prayed for.

We have been on the outside of the events that passed at the Hospital of Hope in Mango Togo but have been deeply shaken by the events. We are saddened by the loss, hurt for our colleagues who are going through this experience and resolved to continue along our path to join them in Togo.

Preparation

The preparation to go to Togo continues.

Under the title of tasks completed, we have renewed our US passports and have registered for language school in Albertville, France. We are in the process of confirming whether or not we need VISA’s as Fred and Noah hold Swiss passports.

Under tasks to be done, we are hoping to touch base with all our financial supporters over the next two months (April and May), to re-confirm their support and the timing of the support. We have to have all our support in and/or started by the end of May to ensure clearance from ABWE in time to start language school in September 2016. From there we have to get our immunization up to date and confirm airline tickets.

Under other tasks, Lydia has been busy studying for her medical re-certification exam ( May 7th -written exam and May 14th practical exam). Fred has been busy maintaining the house hold (cooking, being the “fix-it” man, a lot of yard work, assisting in the renovations of the church kitchen, volunteering at MAG church every Monday afternoon, driving Noah to daycare, filing taxes, and completing the first bible course).  If he ever trivialized the role of a home-maker, he says he was truly mistaken!

Other Stuff

But life has not been without “fun”.

Noah and Nathanael both had birthdays in March. Noah is now 4 years old and Nathanael 1 year old. We celebrated their birthdays on March 19th with a small party that included friends locally and from Indianapolis and Grandma and Grandpa Childress.

DSC09695On March 13th we participated in a Missions Conference at Gibson City Bible Church in Gibson IL. We had a great time in fellowship with the church family, two other missionary couples and the Banner family. There is one thing we often note and that is the love, support and encouragement we have received from people. Thank you very much!

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

PS  Do not forget to look at our picture page, prayer page and financial page.

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Thank you . . .

12728960_10208617286450608_7658140327934469575_nWe wanted to share with you the life and testimony of one of our friends and colleagues, Todd DeKryger.  He had worked on the southern hospital in Togo as a PA and surgeon for many years.  Along side him was his wife and 4 boys.  A few years ago he had a passion develop for opening a second ABWE hospital in the northern part of Togo as a continued outreach to the Togolese and a growing Muslim population.  They had opened the new Hospital of Hope in March of 2015 with a lot of hard work and prayers.  He and the doctors there have been working a lot of long hours since the opening.

At the beginning of this week we heard that he had fell ill and was hospitalized and was having surgery for further evaluation.  At that time we began to share his story on Facebook and ask for prayers.  Shortly after that he began to decline and there was a lot of prayers for him making it to the airplane to get him to Germany and a bigger hospital.  Less than 24 hours after arriving he passed away.

Todd’s wife, Jennifer, wrote a letter after his passing that summarizes Todd’s life and passion and the peace and joy that only God gives.  Please be in prayer for their family and for the Togo mission team that’s left.

Jennifer’s letter this morning:
Today, Jesus called Todd home from the work he was doing planting and harvesting in Togo. In the mystery of His will, God chose this day to reward Todd with the unequaled joy of heaven. This is the promise of God that we as believers cling to through tears and pain. Todd poured out his life as an offering to God in Togo. I know that Todd would similarly encourage us who remain here for a little while longer to also be faithful in our service to our King (Philippians 2:17). Please continue praying and ask Jesus to bring comfort to William, Grant, Luke, and Drew. Ask that His Spirit would provide peace that is beyond the knowledge of this world. Keep praying that the boys grow strong in their knowledge of God’s Word so they can live out the legacy that their father has given to them. Also, pray that our Father in heaven would send more workers like Todd to the beautiful fields of Togo where the harvest is so great!
My heart is overwhelmed with unspeakable grief – for myself, our boys, our extended family, our spiritual family and the Hospital of Hope team. I cling only to the gospel and the certain hope of our salvation through Jesus Christ. I long for the men, women and children of Togo to know the Savior that Todd served so faithfully. Even in my pain, I am confident that our sacrifice – that Todd’s sacrifice – was worth it. I believe that the great commission is a cause worth dying for. And in the midst of my grief, I fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

Also see a video showing Todd’s passion and vision:

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Dad’s new toy (Nathanael’s first steps)

It is sure awesome to watch a child grow.  From Noah’s first steps, to him learning numbers, the alphabet, and now the sounds letters make.  Now it’s Nathanael turn.  At 4 days shy of 11 months he is making the decision to take his first steps.  I think he is as fascinated at walking as his parent are watching him.

Psalm 127:3 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

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We are going to Togo! – 2016 February Newsletter

DSC08476Happy February!

Did I say WE ARE GOING TO TOGO!  Read all about it in our latest Newsletter.  Our  2016 February Newsletter  is now posted.  Let us share with you what we have been doing and how God’s been working in our lives.  Go to our website under “newsletter” tab or click here.

Please also see our updated prayer requests, pictures and financial pages.

God bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

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The origin of Ice Cream! and Season Greetings.

Noah continues to be a joy for us.  The other day it was his friends and him that taught us the origins of ice cream (see video below).

Outside of that, just wanting to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We have one more interview, one more Togo Presentation and a handful of CME (continuing medical education courses) to-go.

By the 11th of December we are hoping to be back in Madison, Indiana for some extended down time and careful / prayerful consideration of our future.

We want to say a sincere THANK YOU to all –  family, friends, those who listen to our Togo Presentation and those who interviewed us for possible jobs despite our uncertainty.

Our present prayer is that HIS direction becomes very clear!

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

 

 

 

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