A lot has changed since our last newsletter: we finished our language training in Neuchatel, Switzerland; we spent 10 days in Madison, Indiana and we moved to Togo Africa. But some things are still the same: Noah continues to wake up around 5:30 or 6:00 AM daily!
We left Switzerland on July 4th. Yes, despite being robbed, we were sad to leave Switzerland. Overall, we had a good time in Switzerland. We visited family (uncles, aunts and cousins), learned a little bit of French, made some friends and were a part of an outstanding church with a great heart for God! We would like to thank La Rochette church and more specifically Diana, Carol, Hanni and Ronél for all the help and assistance they provided for us during our time there.
Following Switzerland, we spent 10 days in Madison, Indiana at Lydia’s parents’ home. We spent our time repacking for Togo, visiting family and friends, sorting through paper, shooting off fireworks and putting out fires (literally, thanks Dad!). We also visited with MAG church in Madison and with our old small groups at Grace Fellowship in Northern Kentucky. It was very nice to be back in familiar water after having been six months away.
On the night of July 16th after 20 hours of traveling we arrived in Lomé Togo with all of our luggage except our stroller. After muddling through customs and a short term VISA application, we were picked up by Dr. Michael and Cheryl Gayle. We spent the next 2 days in Lomé, applying for an extension for our VISAs, shopping, and resting. On the 18th we drove north (2½hrs) to Tsiko, to the hospital (HBB) where we will be stationed for the next two years. Our arrival was not marked with fanfare or a party, just a simple question, “What is your blood type?” There was a young pregnant lady in the hospital with a Hematocrit of 11 (normal >38) in need of blood. Lydia won and gave up two units.
We started working at the hospital after about a week of getting settled in. Our schedule for the month of August is a bit tough; the two of us are on duty (24hrs) on opposite days every other day except for one day a week. When on, we are responsible for either the OB floor and/or the whole hospital. We are presently focusing on mastering the hospital before moving up to clinic. The cases here are as varied as they get –hepatitis B, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, sepsis, mandibular mass, congestive heart failure, placenta previa, severe pre-eclampsia, hyperthyroidism, new onset atrial fibrillation, colles fracture, tib fib fracture, etc.
Noah is adjusting well. He is now close to 17 months and a bundle of energy. Up at 5:30 AM, he does not stop until 8 PM (that is except for his two naps). In the morning during the week, when his mom and dad are at the hospital, he is been looked after by our house help three days a week and by a couple of single missionaries two days a week. There are six other kids on the compound between the ages of six months and six years, two boys and three girls. The older boy and girls have taken to Noah and enjoy playing with him.
On site here at HBB there is pastor training. Every patient who is admitted will be visited and prayed for by a pastor. But it does not stop here. We as medical staff will also pray for the patients while doing rounds and administering treatments.
It is a humbling experience, with family bedside and as the patient is being resuscitated, cared for or in the midst of dying, to take a moment to pray: to ask God in front of family, the patient and the staff for help, wisdom and acceptance in the things that are happening. In losses, which are not uncommon here, it helps to share the burden, it displays publicly not only our inabilities, but our dependence on God and love from each other.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” Philippians 4:6.
Bakers Encyclopedia of the Bible states the following about prayer, “Prayer is an expression of sincere desire. It is not to inform God of matters that he would otherwise be ignorant of, and the validity of prayer is not affected by length or repetitiveness”. Bakers goes on to define four elements/types of prayer which are helping me in how to pray.
Praise: Baker’s defines praise as “the recognition of who God is and what he does. It is ‘giving God the glory,’ not in the sense of adding to his glory, which would be impossible, but of willingly (and where appropriate, publicly) recognizing God as God”. We praise God that He is all knowing and in all places.
Thanksgiving: Baker’s defines thanksgiving as “the recognition of God’s goodness in respect of what he has done for the one who prays, or for others . . . and for specific answers to prayer.” We give thanks to God for the opportunity to serve HBB in Togo through Samaritans Purse. We give thanks to God for the people that surround and support us.
Confession: Baker defines confession as “the recognition of the righteousness of God and his supreme moral authority, together with the personal responsibility of the one making the confession”. In confessing a sin we recognize a failure to meet God’s standard. We ask God daily for strength and endurance to overcome our complacency and pride, we are here because of him and not us.
Petition/intercession: Baker defines petition as “it concerns the one praying” and intercession as “it concerns others”. Baker goes on to say “Scripture never regards prayer for oneself as sinful or ethically improper. Prayer for others is an obvious expression of love for one’s neighbor which is fundamental to biblical ethics.” We pray daily for the HBB staff, that God will continue to support them and give them strength to continue their work here at HBB.
Prayer and Financial Support Update
Prayers: Your prayer support is so much needed and appreciated! Below is listed the concerns and decisions for which we would like you to join us in prayer:
- Wisdom, Insight, and Understanding –that God would give us this as we evaluate and treat the patients here, especially on the long difficult days and nights
- Settling in –from the simple daily things such as grocery shopping to figuring out how and what our role is here in the hospital
- Family / Noah – that we will be able to manage work, family, and life, while keeping God first in our lives
1. HBB hospital until June 2015
2. Check out our blog www.fredandlydia.com, and some of our stories
-5 minute interview
-We have started work
-Short Stories: Masses, Blood and Rodents; Thanks and Goodbye Switzerland
-A short story (Still a step behind) and a question (How do I believe)
A little about HBB
1. 50 bed hospital
2. Full service hospital with OB, Pediatrics, Adult Medicine, and Surgery
3. Catchment area of 500,000
4. Onsite nursing school and pastor training
5. Does about 650 deliveries a year, including about 250 C-sections
6. Managed by ABWE
Financial Support ($1200.00 a month)
1. 100% of support received
2. Donations: account #003916 http://www.samaritanspurse.org/medical/wmm-doctors/ or send to: Samaritan’s Purse, attention: post-residency program, P.O Box 3000, Boone, NC2860
3. Please note: US donor will get a tax receipt; Canadian donors are not eligible for a tax receipt (sorry)
Fred, Lydia and Noah