Saturday, November 12, 2011

Back To America

Well it is that time

I am going to back to America the beginning of next week for a visit.

It is so strange that I have lived here for a year.

Time sure does fly when you are having fun!

It is hard to leave here in Kitgum,

But I know that it will be good to see friends and family

Drink a few Starbucks

And have some rest and relaxation

Lord Willing I will return to Kitgum in February of next year

Please be praying that I have a safe trip

And all my stuff gets back to Oregon without anything getting broken! 


Can't wait to see everyone soon!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Me!!! Versus Him!!!

Just yesterday I was talking to my friend Hailey who lives down the way
We were talking about how it seems we are always busy
Yet when we try to tell people what has been happening
We can't really think of anything to say

"Every day is pretty much the same,"
I informed her
"Nothing much happens that is worth writing about"

Me and my BIG mouth
Why is it every time you say something like that
It always seems to come back to haunt you...

Well sure enough my words came back on me
That very evening none the less!!!

Here is my story
And I am sticking to it
Don't worry, no exaggeration here!
It is so good...
I don't need to exaggerate 

Last night
(as has been the norm)
The power was once again off
The solar was just set up two days ago
So I had a small lamp in my room 

Let me explain the lamp
Before I go any further
The lamp shade doesn't come off
And if you move it...
The light flickers...
Keep that in mind as it will be important later

Now for the weather
It has been really storming all afternoon
It had stopped raining
But there were so many clouds
That it was pitch black outside
Not even the moon was getting through that cloud cover

Now for the room-mate situation
I was all alone
Therese is currently in Kampala
So it was just me...

So there I was
In my bed
Watching "House of Flying Daggers"
(which as a side note I enjoyed... on and off through this story)

I had turned the lamp off
I was after all just sitting in my bed
Watching a movie
Why on earth would I need a light...

That is what I thought...

Then I heard it
Things moving around in the next room

My first thought
The wind

My second thought
I can't see a darn thing!
And to be able to see
I have to get out of this mosquito net to turn on the lamp...

Now you may not think that the mosquito net is that great of a protection
But when you have no idea what is outside
It seems like it at the time!

My next thought
Ok calm down
You are over reacting

(Remember that silly flying cockroach!)

So I climb out of bed
Turn on the light
And see... 

Thank goodness I was just over reacting

For my peace of mind however I left the lamp on
And continued with my movie

Then I hear it again
Rustling and...


Stick my head out of the mosquito net to see better
Still nothing
Does wind crunch???

It is 10 o'clock at night people
Give me a break 
I was a little tired

Still nothing
So back to the movie

I saw it...

And dread sunk in

It was big
And Scurrying!

What... asks my mind...
Could that be...

Then the truth sunk in



What does one do in this situation

I did what every self respecting Oregon girl does

I went and got a broom

And decided I was gonna hunt that sucker down and kill him!

Yeah, I was tired
But I couldn't hide in my net
Rats can eat through material ...
And nets aren't made of sturdy enough stuff...

I kept picturing myself waking up with my feet all eaten up...
Yeah it happens
At times like this I always wish I had watched less TV


I had no where else to go
I HAD to kill it if I was gonna be able to sleep

So I went outside with my candle
And found 
A broom
With a broken end

Thought I
"I can just stun it with the broom
Then flip it around and stab it with the other end"

Looking back I realize that thought probably came from the martial arts movie
I always feel like I could be an awesome fighter when I watch those movies

So picture me
Poking around with the broom
Trying the scare that sucker out
(By flickering lamp light no less)
There is a lot of stuff it can hide behind in Therese's room
So I was having a hard time finding it

So back to my movie I went
Waiting for the crunching
So I could fly out and be awesome
Bri Garrett
Rat Slayer

So this when on for about 2 hours
I would lay in my bed
And when I heard it 
I would fly out
I had it cornered twice
But the first time it rushed me
And I panicked

It escaped

Darn it...

The second time I was standing on the bed
Broom raised
Holding my breathe

I was SO gonna get that sucker


He went into hiding
And quit eating things

That's when it happened

The solar ran out


and I was all alone

In a room with a huge rat...


Where were the candles

Found those
Lit them

I was hunting rat by candle light

You have NO idea

At 1:30 AM
After chasing that sucker for 3 1/2 hours
I had to admit defeat
I lit a bunch of candles and put them next to my bed

I woke up twice
Once because that sucker was UNDER MY BED!!!


So much for Bri Garrett Rat Slayer

The second time I heard him...
In the bathroom!!!
Let me tell you what
I FLEW across the room
And slammed the bathroom door...
Then panic!
He can get under the door...
So I ran and got a towel
And I rammed it under the door...
Then I pushed stuff against it so that he couldn't eat his way through

He tried though


First thing I did when I got up
Went inside and told Zane I had locked a rat in my bathroom...


So the REAL Rat Slayers 
(Zane, Julias and Mr. Ahnono)
Went out
And they killed him


Even Mr. Ahnono said it was a huge rat!
He was about 6 inches long (without the tail)
and really fat...


Africa! Come on give me a break

Why do these things never happen when the power is working?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Please Be In Prayer

Hey Everybody!

Please be praying for those of us here in Kitgum. 
Summer is having some health problems and is going to have to go down to Kampala and then fly to Kenya to see a Dr. there about this.
Here is a link to the McCourtney's ministry blog where that is mentioned

I would appreciate your prayers as I will be staying home and helping care for the children. 
I would also like to continue with their homeschooling 
Prayerfully Summer will only be gone for a week or so!

Your prayers are so appreciated!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

God's Sweet Tart

This is Quomo
At least...
That is it's African name

I personally like to call it
God's Sweet Tart!

Sorry I didn't think to take a picture of the inside
But I will describe it as best as I can

It is filled with large seeds that have a pulpy fruit around it
When you first put one in your mouth
It tastes like heaven
Or sugar

Then as you continue to eat it
That sweet taste turns sour
It is so good!
It literally hurts the more you eat :)

Love it...
God always does it best

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Most Recent Room-Mate

Meet Stan
As far as I can tell
He is some sort of lizard
(Although I am not an expert on reptiles)
Super cute
And if you look closely
He even has a Goatee!
And for the last month
He and I have been room-mates
Until today
When I FINALLY cornered him in the bathroom
And exercised my right to have him evicted
He now lives on the wall outside the courtyard...
I am sure that he will do well there
I even warned him to stay away from the two dogs...
They enjoy munching on those of a reptile sort
Hopefully he will do well in his new home...
He may find his way back to my room
In which case...
This whole process may start over again
I love my life!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Eden Christine

So I was looking back on some previous blogs that I had written
I realized that the last picture I had posted of Eden was this one
Which was taken 2 days after she was brought home

Looking back I can't believe how much she has changed
Here is a picture I took recently!
Doesn't even look like the same child does it!
Wow, God is so good...
Every time the McCourtney's bring a new child in the their family
I am reminded of what God did for me
He took me, broken and bruised by the world
and brought me into a new life with Him


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And Zane is off!

Hey Everyone!

Well, Zane is off to America tonight. There were a few mix-up's with his passport, but as always God is faithful and he will be able to make his flight. What a blessing for him to have the opportunity to return after four years straight in Africa. He will be flying out at 11 PM on the 14th from Entebbe and will be arriving at 11 AM on the 15th in Portland. Prayer for his safe travel would be greatly appreciated by all!

For those of you from Crossroads Christian Fellowship, Zane will be teaching there on Sunday the 31st so if you are wanting to hear what is happening here in the busy town of Kitgum feel free to go down. I know he is really excited to share about what God is doing and to hear from all of you who so faithful to pray for the ministry.

For the news here in Kitgum :)

The well is going extremely well! They hit a water channel yesterday and the water is coming much quicker now. They got 30 jerry cans worth of water out of it today so tomorrow they will begin plastering the walls. They have to begin plastering now because when they do hit a better water source a little deeper the plaster on the walls needs to be hardened or they won't be able to plaster that part and you run the risk of the walls caving in over time. To plaster the walls, one of the workers will be standing at the top of the well lowering a bucket with cement in it and the other will be plastering below along the wall. As you can imagine that is some hard work! I will try and get a picture up soon. I still can't believe how far they have gotten!!!

Homeschooling is going well. We have taken a break from Science this month and we are instead teaching the kids how to play football (soccer for us Americans). Lessons seem to be going well. Some of the kids still can't quite get their minds around trying to run, kick and aim all at the same time. There has been quite a few falls, but they keep on and that is all you can ask right!

Keep Emma in your prayers if you think about him. We had word from the village that he has been sick lately so when Zane returns Summer will head out and visit to check up on him and see how he is doing.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Little Bit About Everything!

Hey Everyone!

As always, sorry it has take me so long to update. I don’t know where the time goes! I have such good intentions, but one day I look up and it has been weeks (ok months) since my last update. So with no further delay :)

There has been a lot happening up here in Kitgum, Uganda. Sorry about the lack of pictures included here in this update. I haven’t been taking many, but I will get those camera batteries charged and get some posted soon!

Things at the farm have slowed in the building department, since it is planting season. Everything is done by hand and let me say that I am amazed at how quickly the people here can clear land, hoe it by hand and get everything ready. With the various farms that the McCourtney’s are a part of they have planted all sorts of things. We have been enjoying Casava which is AWESOME fried! I have even learned how to clean it, peel it, cut it and fry it :) The things you learn right.

The well that is being hand dug at the farm here in Kitgum is getting so deep! We were told that the water table is between 80 and 100 feet, and they just hit 80 feet a few days ago (and I repeat HAND DUG... WOW!). They recently hit wet sand so we are praying that means water is near. The people’s source of water here is mostly bore holes which have all been breaking because of the high demand. Having our own bore hole will be really good for the compound where we will be living once the huts are built. I can’t wait to move out there but it is God’s timing and not mine :)
Summer and I recently took a trip to Kampala to have pages added to our passports. It was the first time either of us had ever taken  public transportation. Let me say, there were a few moments in that bus when I was seriously wondering if I was going to be seeing Jesus a little sooner than I had planned :) All in all though, we were blessed with a safe trip there and back, Praise the Lord. Our trip was a lot of fun, but after two das of the craziness of that city, I was totally ready to return to the peace and quiet of our little town in Northern Uganda. It reminded me I am definitely NOT a city girl!

Emma (who you remember from previous blogs) returned to his family out in the village. It was hard to see him go, but his father was ready for him to return. We were a little worried that he would not make the adjustment back to village life with his family but we were pleasantly surprised. Although I wasn’t able to go with him, Summer told me that she was so blessed by his homecoming. His entire family came to see his return and she said that he was laughing and playing and that she really got the sense that he felt he was home. There is a woman in the village that will be checking on him every few weeks to make sure that he continues to do well and doesn’t start to regress back to the malnourished state that he was in when we previously took him in. As always, he is in my prayers, and if you feel so led in yours :)

Eden who is the newest addition to the McCourtney family has been here for one month. It is amazing to see the difference. Once again, sorry for the lack of pictures :) She has gotten fat and sassy! It is neat because since we have taken her in, her oldest brother (about 15) has started to go to church out in her village. It is amazing how the Lord really uses these children to reach the rest of their families.

All in all, I am daily blessed by the Lord’s provision for me here, and blessed by the fact that I am living here in Uganda! Too cool :) Hope you are all doing well.

In Christ
Bri :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our Newest....

Hey Guys!

Here is the newest addition to our family :)

His name is Nacho/Max (depending on who is calling him )

He is super duper cute and really sweet.

Zane found him in Kampala when he had to go down about a week ago and since he wasn't being treated very well decided to bring him home :)

I am stoked! Puppies are so much fun :)

Hope you are all doing well!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Introducing the Newest addition to the McCourtney Family!

This little cutie is Eden Christine McCourtney.

She is a rather sudden addition, but the Lord doesn’t always wait for our timing :) Here is her story.

About four days ago (yeah I know not that much notice) Zane got a call from one of the men out in one of the villages where they have been ministering. Elijah, Ethan and Eli (three of the boys that the McCourtney’s have already adopted) are all from this area.

According to David (the man who called) there was a woman in the village who had just recently died. From the description, it sounds like she must have had untreated malaria that went cerebral.

The mother left behind a little girl between the age of 1 and 2 who was still nursing. There was no family to speak of who could care for her. Because of the war that was fought in Northern Uganda for so many years, there have been many orphans left behind. Although the family tries to absorb these children, because of the sheer number of children left, the villages are getting to the point where they cannot take any more children.

The Father died some time back and no one was going to be able to care for her. Basically, if she stayed where she was, she was going to suffer and most likely die. So the tribe made the decision that Zane and Summer were going to be given the child.

After prayer Zane and Summer decided to go out on Sunday (last night) to meet the little girl, meet with the tribal elders, and decide what to do about this little one.

In the village the elders met with the McCourtneys. The decision was made and little Eden came home to live with us. Super excited for the new addition and can’t wait to continue to share with you her progress!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Earth Bag Huts

Well it is that time again :)

Time to boot up the computer and write on my blog. When I was thinking about what you guys would all be interested in I realized that I hadn't written anything much about where I am soon going to be living. So here we go!

One thing that is very important to the McCourtney's is that we live among the people that we are ministering with here in Kitgum. It is hard to minister to a people when it appears we are living much better than they are. One of the ways that the Lord has placed it on the McCourtney's hearts to try and avoid this is to start building sandbag huts which are very similar to the local huts on some property that the Lord provided for them to farm on. Over the last month, the first of these huts has been being built. It is so amazing to see it going up and I am so excited that I was able to be here before it started so that I can see them start from the ground. The first of these huts is now nearly finished and one of the McCourtney's will be moving in to it this week. As soon as this first one is completed, the McCourtney's are planning on beginning their families huts, as the Lord continues to provide. Here are some pictures so that you can have an idea of what is going up on the property.
 This is one of the windows that has been built into the hut. It looks out onto the farm which is just beautiful. The sand bags are laid down first and packed together, and then a coat of mud and lime is mixed and smeared over for the "adobe" look. It is a little difficult to see, but the walls are just gorgeous!
 Here are Bismark and Charlie who are two of the men that have been working on the huts. Ephraim and Ethan are in the middle. They were wanting to go out and see "the farm".
 Here is a view from outside the hut. They are just finishing up the roof.
 This is a "raised bed garden" that one of the men just completed.
 The start of the "composting toilet". Although they have explained it to me, I am gonna have to wait to post pictures for you guys soon so you can see how that turns out! :)
 This is just amazing! It is a hand dug cistern. They are down to 42 feet deep and counting. Looking down into it is enough to make you a little nauseous. Fortunately they have built the small wall around the sides so Ethan and I were able to lean over it to see to the bottom.
The inside of the cistern... Yep impressive huh! It seems like it goes down forever. After seeing that I had a whole new empathy for poor Jeremiah and Joseph who were both thrown into cisterns in the Bible. Rough!

Anyway, I will try and be more faithful to keep you all updated on what is going on here in Kitgum. I am so blessed to be here and daily thank the Lord for His Faithfulness to me :) Thank you for all of your prayers !

Blessings from Kitgum,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Recovered and Rejoicing

Just wanted to thank everyone that has been praying for me and my health! Last Tuesday night I woke up extremely sick. The next day we went to the local clinic where I was tested for malaria. As we suspected I did in deed have malaria. Praise the Lord, we don’t live 100 years ago when there was no treatment for malaria. They gave me my pills and I returned home to rest and recuperate.

Now, a week later, I am thanking the Lord for my returned health! Even when I was sick I could see that the Lord was with me and protecting me from becoming as sick as I could have been. After three days I was feeling almost back to normal and a week later I am having a hard time believing that I even had malaria.

All that to say I am blessed  and won’t be taking my health for granted any time soon!

I am also thankful for all of you who were praying for me and for all of the encouraging notes that I received from friends and family telling me that not only were they praying but that they had been notifying other people to pray for me. I was even on a few church prayer chains! Praise the Lord for the Body of Christ and the power of prayer!

As always, I love and miss you all and hope that you had a blessed Valentines Day

To update you all, Emma is doing amazing!

He is walking and even starting to say words now.

His continued improvement blesses my heart!

Here is a picture of him that Summer took a few days ago at a Birthday party.

He is such a peach :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Good Ol' American Pass-Time...

We had been thinking and planning on it for several days...
The time had finally come...
We were going to gather all the children together for an epic event...
One to tell their children and grandchildren for generations to come...
We brought baseball to Kitgum, Uganda.

That is right everyone, we decided it was high time that all the kids learn how to play one of America’s favorite pass-times.

To prepare, we had traditional baseball food...


As close as we could get living in the middle of Africa...

So hotdogs were replaced with chapati’s (kind of a thick tortilla)

And soda was replaced by fruit punch...

But we called it good and everyone was happy!

Now for our field...

The pitchers mound and bases were marked by bright blue jerry cans laying on their sides...

A blue and a red bat were placed in the “dug out” a.k.a. the cement slab that goes around the house...

The baseball a.k.a. a bright yellow tennis ball courtesy of a nice road side vendor was moved out to the pitchers mound...

Teams were selected and lined up for the “rules” of the game...

The Pitcher, a.k.a. Summer, a.k.a. Mom stood up to introduce the various rules for this game...

Then out to the field one team went and the other team lined up in the dug out awaiting their turn to be “up to bat”. The Pitcher walked to her mound and I took my place behind the batter as the batting coach/assistant batter (for the smaller children) and also as the Catcher (my favorite!).

Everyone was ready.... The two 2 year olds and the 3 year old were sitting on the trampoline as our own personal “crowd” cheering us on. The players ranging in age from 4 year olds to the oldest who is 10...

We were all ready...

The Pitcher winds up and throws...
Swing and a miss, the game has officially begun!

As a side note, can I just say that it is awesome playing with kids who truly love one another... Even though most of them are beginning to become competitive, they were all cheering for one another and jumping up and down when someone came “home”.

Back to the game...

The kids LOVED it...

There were a few moments of confusion...

At one point one of the four year olds who was running to second base went and got the ball and handed it to the second baseman who promptly tagged him “out”.

The third-baseman ran “home” leaving the runner still standing on third confused as to why we were all jumping up and down screaming “run home! run home!”.

We had to pause the game mid-inning because Zippy the dog was chasing the chickens around the Pitchers mound... Entertaining :)

At the end of our time, we were only one and a half innings in. The sun however, was setting and although our field was wonderful, it hadn’t yet been fitted with our lights for night time playing so we had to tell the kids we would pick up the game tomorrow night...

The score currently stands at 3-1

But the game is young :)

Gotta love good ol’ baseball!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My life, Turned into a Horror film...

Ok, forget everything I just wrote about bugs... Most of the time, it isn't an issue and I really don't mind ushering a spider out the door if it has decided to make a home in the corner of my room or just ignoring the fact that there are ants making a trail down the wall.

Tonight however, was different...
Tonight I declared war...

Here is what happened and you can be my judge on if my change of heart is warranted or not.

It was a normal night.
Therese (my room-mate) was out in the courtyard speaking with a friend on the phone.
I was sitting in the corner of my room writing my last blog post.
Minding my own business.
Not bothering anyone.
The lights were out....
A candle was lit...
There was soft music playing...

Out of no where I hear a sound that will haunt my dreams for weeks... possibly years...
A loud humming of large wings flitting past my ear.

Now, let me just note that I am not exaggerating here... Everything I am saying is true and can be verified by Therese who was not present at the beginning of this retelling, however who was ushered into my "chamber of horrors" shortly after it began.

Back, to my story...
All I see in the dim light is a bug hitting my computer screen.
A flying bug in case you missed it.
The size (remember not exaggerating here) of a baseball (with its wings open)
I jumped up and ran to the wall to turn on the lights and find out what the heck just went past me...

My personal horror movie continues...

The lights... don't turn on...
I see the bug climb on the screen for a minute...
Then to my HOR-ROR!!!
It flies across the room and lands on MY RIGHT SHOULDER...

Have I mentioned it is about 95 degrees in my room and I am wearing a camisole...

Yeah, make that BARE SHOULDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Do you have any idea...
No, no you don't, you weren't there...

 I did not scream, because I didn't want to wake up the children in the house...

I had the reaction that you always yell at people in the movies for having.
"If I don't look at it, maybe it isn't really there"...
Yeah, yeah right...
I look, just to verify that it is there...
Sure enough, a bug the size of a small Buick is sitting on my shoulder
Slowly crawling up it toward my head...

I flung it off my shoulder and it flew to the other side of the room

So I did the obvious thing...
I got the heck out of dodge...
Or tried...
As always happens in these types of movies...
My door was stuck...
Not even the normal stuck where it won't budge...
The worst type of stuck...
Where it gives you just a little hope it will open by opening just a tiny bit...
Then sticking...

Therese who was outside the door asked what was happening, I responded...
I am pretty sure she is still laughing about it...

Then my lights decide to work and come on...
My door decides to do what doors should do and opens
And I stumble out into the courtyard...

Then we turned to see this creature...
Oh yeah...
Its a flying...

They aren't supposed to fly...
This one however (from the size and the fact that it flies!) must have mutated...


I am so proud of Therese...
When she saw it she ran out of the room covering her head :)
However, unlike me who stated I would rather just sleep in the courtyard than go back in there...
She went and got the broom
And slayed my foul attacker...

I can now sleep peacefully...
Until... the next time...

Come on...

In America versus In Kitgum

Well once again time has gotten away from me. When you do basically the same thing from day to day, it is easy to get two weeks down the road without even realizing that the time has gone by so quickly! I guess that is a good thing though :) Time flies when you are having fun.

In that time however, I have been compiling a short list of things that amuse me in the difference between life in America and life here in Kitgum, Uganda. I thought I would share them with anyone that decides to take the time to read my rambling. So here we go...

In America it's a traffic jam if you are stopped in your car for an hour.
In Kitgum it's a traffic jam when you see two cars IN an hour!

In America it's called a weed
In Kitgum it's a vegetable

In America if your plastic starts to smell you throw it away and buy new
In Kitgum you pick the smell that least disturbs you (washing powder, bleach, porridge, coffee, peas)

In America you kill any bugs that dare enter your home
In Kitgum you just avoid stepping on them

In America if someone says you look smart you probably wear glasses and look intellectual
In Kitgum if you are told you look smart they like your clothes

That is all for now but if I find anymore, I will try and make a list to put up at another time.

2 John 1:3
Grace be with you, mercy, and peace,
from God the Father, and from the
Lord Jesus Christ,
the Son of the Father,
in truth and love.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beauty for Ashes

                                                                Isaiah 61:3
To give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.

This is Emmanuel (pictured right with his Jaja in the village). He is the little boy that the Lord lead the McCourtney's to through Joyce who works here on staff. Joyce had come to the McCourtney's and mentioned that there was a baby in a village neighboring her further north in Uganda who was doing poorly.

His mother had died of cancer a year earlier and since her death, he had slowly gotten worse.  The name given to him meant "bad chance". We are told that before she died, his mother wanted to kill him and even had a knife hidden under her pillow. Her reasoning was that once she had died, he would suffer, slowly worsening until he eventually died of malnourishment and neglect. Praise the Lord, He had a plan for this little one and her plans were discovered and thwarted.

Although the Father seems to have affection for the child, he is unable to keep him at home because of a second wife who refuses to allow the children of the wife who has passed away in her home. Instead, the three children were sent to the Jaja (Grandmother) house. She was unable to work in the fields and tie him to her back, so he was locked in the hut during the day to fare for himself. It would seem that possibly the mothers fears were coming to pass. However, it would seem that God had another plan for this young one.

One week ago, with the families permission, we brought him to the McCourtney's home to care for him between 6 months and a year, endeavoring to save his young life. He weighed 14 pounds at 1 year and 11 months old. He didn't inter-act with the other children, he could barely sit up and made no noise except to cry went set down.

What a change one and a half weeks can make! His name has been changed to Emmanuel meaning "God with us" and you would hardly recognize him! Pictured to the right, you can see he is standing on the side of a chair. He has been playing with the children, even smiling at them and is even standing up in the middle of the floor by himself. He will crawl to you from across the room when called and keeps eating and growing! Truly, God has shown Himself mighty in this small one and His name is being glorified through his continued improvement.

Joel 2:25

And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.

I look forward to keeping you all updated! I am betting, that in a week, Emma will even be walking! PRAISE GOD :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

And So It Goes...

Isaiah 55:8-9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I tried to keep this verse in mind throughout the following happenings :) Looking at the small picture, sometimes I cannot believe what happens in life, but I have to rest and trust that I serve a God who does. Hard to remember at times, but Oh so true...

Well, it was an eventful New Years Eve for me! Our trip out to the village to visit Esther was delayed by a day because of some work that needed to be done on the McCourtney’s Range Rover, so on Friday morning, we ate some porridge and then hoped into the truck to head out to the village. In case any of you have forgotten, I was accompanying Zane and Emma (one of the McCourtney’s staff) out to the village to speak with a little girls parents about them allowing us to take her into the McCourtney’s home for 6 months to a year, so most likely save her life as she is in the end stages of extreme malnourishment.

All of you who know me know that I tend to jump in with both feet. I was a little nervous about going out in the village for the first time by myself, but I had myself all psyched up and had been giving myself a pep talk about it for a few days. I had an image of myself trekking through the bush of Africa in search of the sick baby and her family. Although I hadn’t gone so far to give myself an “explorer” outfit, I was pretty much imagining wading through the bush and waving to Indiana Jones as I walked through the wilds in search for Esther...

Needless to say, fortunately I am not here alone... Because rather unfortunately, I don’t speak the local language... and charades with 20 local Africans who think you are scary because you are one of the first white people they have ever seen isn’t all its cracked up to be... Zane provided a man named Jonah who went with me into the “bush” to seek out this little girl. So off we went, walking along the dirt road, toward the village...

May I say, I really enjoy being the random white girl sometimes! The look of surprise on peoples faces as I walk past their huts is worth the heat, mosquitos, and blisters I generally acquire along the way. So we walked... and walked... and walked... Note to self, next time someone comes from America, ask them to bring sun screen... Why I forgot this... I will never know. Should have been numero uno on my list of things to take...

Back to my story... Of course, all of the people who we were supposed to find and talk to about finding the family of the child had “just left” and walked “that way”. So we walked faster... Now in Africa, time is semi relative so I am not really sure when any of the people we were looking for really left but needless to say, we never caught up... So Jonah started asking around and we were pointed to the mother. I was so excited to finally have found her... she on the other hand was less than thrilled to see me... I won’t lie, when she refused to even greet me, I started getting a little nervous and was hoping that I was misunderstanding what Jonah was telling me, because this woman was NOT going to be easy to work with...

So off we go again to her hut to see the baby and explain to her why a random “Mosungu” as they call us is trekking through her village looking for her. Once we arrived to her little gathering of huts, she called the children over and got out a mat for us to sit on. This is when I got my first look at the child. She was worse than I had imagined (a reminder Summer McCourtney was the one who had seen her a few days earlier and this was my first time meeting her). If she has grown at all since birth, it has been so minuscule you wouldn’t even know it looking at her. She is a year old and weighs maybe 9 pounds. It tore me up inside just seeing her.

We explained to the mother why we were there, but she summarized her feelings in English. “I want it” (speaking of the child). Now, I am not this womans judge, and I did try to put myself in her shoes. She doesn’t know me and there is the possibility that my intentions are not good but Jonah was there as a voucher that I am not some crazy who is trying to take her child away. We were desiring to take her for 6 months to a year in which time her health would be improved and we would return her to her family in the village. At first, the reason she gave was that she feared to send the child with me. Then after I explained we knew she had many children who appeared healthy and we simply desired to help her with the child who was sick she informed us that if we really wanted to help we could take all her children... However, her other children were healthy and that is not what we were there for. At this point, at least to me, it was becoming more apparent that the Mother didn’t have any affection toward the child seemingly was only looking for what would benefit her in this situation.

God is faithful and He gave me grace because let me tell you, seeing the suffering of the child, it is hard not to react in anger that the woman was not even open to the possibility of allowing us to help her. I do not know everything that could have been going and ever circumstance may not have been apparent to me. Jonah told me that the decision was not the mothers alone and that the family would have to get together and make the final decision although they were not sure where the father was. Village life here tends to be very communal and decision like that are not individual but involve the parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.

Finally, after speak with her for 20 to 30 minutes, we left, praying that the family meeting would change the decision and they would choose to send the child with us... At this point, we haven’t heard anything back, but we are praying for the Lord’s will to be done and that He would do a work in the mothers heart, because she DEFINITELY needs Jesus. 

Please be in prayer for this child, because without help in the near future, she doesn’t have long to live.

*As a side note, on the way out of the village we passed the local “bore” hole where a large group of people were drawing water. I could hear their chattering and knew they were talking about me but wasn’t sure why. Jonah was laughing and informed me that they were all debating whether my hair (which has grown very long) was real or extensions... From what I gather, this will be in debate for a month or so, with people taking sides... awesome!

** Tomorrow I will try and write about the other child Emmanuel!

God bless you all and as always, I miss you :)