"If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
-David Livingstone

March 8, 2013

October 13, 2012

A Chance at Life


Today it’s been two years. Two years since the day I was handed two tiny bundles wrapped in scraps of ragged old loungies. Two years since the night I, with little thought to the future, signed that paper agreeing to take responsibility.

And tonight as I lay beside him in bed and found myself whispering, “Mama wants you to stay.” “Don’t pick your nose!” “Did you go potty?!” I found myself smiling. Almost laughing. The irony of living this life that is such a far cry from anything I ever thought I wanted. . . And yet finding myself here and being so in love with it.
But what really makes me smile? It’s the thought of God knowing us so much better than we know ourselves. Gives me full confidence and joy in leaving an unknown future in the hands of my known God.

This day is special to me. More special than any other day really. It’s the day God took a tiny, sick and starved baby boy with what would appear to be scarcely more than a few breaths left and an uncertain girl, lost in life and only thinking she knew what she wanted and gave them both a chance at life. And that would be life more abundantly.
Tonight we’re thanking Him.


August 15, 2012

I love you


Jabez was finally down for his nap and I was at last down on my knees trying to connect with God before barging into a day full of overdue projects. . . He heard a one-sided outpouring of all the things immediately on my mind.
Soon I was in gear mode back in front of my computer, ready to jump into things, when I distinctly heard, “Did you take time to listen to me?”
Sigh. . . I really don’t have time for this. . . Not today. Not in the mood.
Honestly, I just really didn’t want to contemplate all of the things I was pretty sure He might have for me to think about right now.
I half-heartedly sat silent.
And then clear as anything I've ever heard, “My child, I love you.”

Just that. I love you.

August 4, 2012

life as it is


A simple update on what’s happening in our lives here in Thailand:

In May Kaygee came to live with us.
It was sometime in March or April when I was first told of a young woman who was severely crippled by arthritis. She was really in desperate need of somewhere to live as her current situation was a small and isolated bamboo room with only a hole in the cracked bamboo floor for a toilet. She is unable to walk and has only very limited use of her hands. Her parents are dead and she is unwanted by the rest of her family as they presume that surely she must have evil spirits to be so unfortunate. 
I really felt bad hearing of her situation and wished we could help, but honestly, I just thought that I had far too much going on at the time for it to even be a possibility and I didn't think my house would be at all suited and so I pretty much brushed the thought off.
But I couldn’t forget.
Through the the next several weeks at odd moments she would repeatedly claim my thoughts. I knew we had to do something. And anything was a step up from what she had.  
I went to see her just as a visit and she came home with me that morning.
Kaygee definitely brings joy to our home and we’re delighted that she’s here. She has a gentle, sweet spirit. Jabez adores her!

In May I also began teaching two days a week at the Thai school in Maesalite. I teach Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but Sunday night I begin to feel a depression coming on that builds through 2:30 on Wednesday when I then suddenly find that I feel free as a bird. I am most definitely not a born English teacher. But I'm fully aware of how good this is for me and we're starting to have just a bit of fun together. I can scarcely believe it myself.

As a side-note, there are few things more thrilling than standing in your classroom of forty 8th graders and listening to an enthusiastic rendition of Jesus Loves Me bursting out the windows and wafting through the campus of a very Buddhist school :)

 
Jabez will be 2-years-old at the end of this month. This toddler stage challenges me ridiculously, but he's so much fun. Honestly, there was a point (he was 5-months-old, ok? :) when I thought I might have this parenting thing together. Now? Most of the time I have no clue what I’m doing. It’s moment by moment, prayer by prayer.
I don’t think a day passes that I don’t stop at some point and just look at him not believing how I've been given so much. I feel blessed beyond measure. I am no longer a skeptic on love.



You may remember from old blogposts my mountain village, Manykee? July would have been two years since I was there last. Sickness followed my last visit, together with time for training in Chiang Mai, and then Jabez came along. . . and diapers, hospitals, and days and nights that ran together filled the next year. 
But finally in June I returned together with a friend and a backpack full of medicine. We were happily greeted by a small crowd of villagers all eager for medicine for their aches and pains and various maladies. They have coaxed and begged me to come and live there once again, but I’ve regretfully had to beg out due to my other commitments. Happily though, in the last couple months we've been able to make quite a few visits. And I have assured them that I will continue to return with medicine on a semi-regular basis. These visits have done my heart much good. Up there in dim and smoky huts with simple mountain people I remember why I'm here and many of my semi-dormant dreams of mountain medical work have been revived.

I plan to, as God provides, build a small and simple clinic there in the village, where I can keep medicine in stock and also have somewhere to treat patients (as opposed to hauling everything in each time I come and treating crowds of patients in the squabble of a villager’s hut), keeping it open 1-2 days each week. I'm hoping that this will happen this fall and am super excited at the thought.

Some good friends who were here through June and July saw a good dirt bike as a definite need in order to continue our work in the mountains (especially during the rainy season!) and they went ahead and fundraised for one. I was truly blown away by the response.
Thank you to everyone who pitched in. . . We are absolutely delighted with the bike! 





July 29, 2012

I am a Christian



When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'."
I'm whispering "I was lost,
now I'm found and forgiven."


When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.


When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on.


When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.


When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I'm worth it.


When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.


When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, somehow!


-Unknown





May 20, 2012

Thought or action?



Read this:

"United Nations statistics show that as many under-fives die each year in Burma as in Sudan. More children in Burma are malnourished than in Somalia and Burma has more orphans than Afghanistan.
Educationally, half of Burma's children fail to progress beyond primary level.
 And yet Burma gets aid inflows that are 75 times less than Mozambique and 26 times lower than nearby Cambodia.
So while other countries debate how to deal with Burma's ruling generals in ways that can really bring change, children are going unheard, their needs unmet and their futures uncertain."
-Drum Publications

For thought? No, I think action.



May 12, 2012

even a cup



"And if anyone gives even a cup
 of cold water to one of these little ones,
 I tell you the truth, he will certainly 
not lose his reward." 
Matthew 10:42

Beautiful thought.
But it's not the part about the reward that catches my eye.

Even a cup. . . 
It matters.


Don't lose sight of the small in your aim to do the big.



* Picture borrowed.

March 24, 2012

Living By God's Math


* Originally posted 12-09-10

I just finished reading the little book The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson which someone gave me recently. (After hearing that I had named my little one Jabez they thought it vital that I should read the book.) This part of it really stood out to me. It's speaking about the phrase in his prayer, "...and enlarge my coast..." Seeing the first equation below, I realized how much I tend to think that way. I mean it makes sense. All of that should limit me, or at least influence what I do, right?
Or maybe not.

"Whatever our gifts, education, or vocation might be, our calling is to do God's work on earth. If you want, you can call it living out your faith for others. You can call it ministry. You can call it every Christian's day job. But whatever you call it, God is looking for people who want to do more of it, because sadly, most believers seem to shrink from living at this level of blessing and influence. For most of us, our reluctance comes from getting our numbers right, but our arithmetic completely wrong. For example, when we're deciding what size territory God has in mind for us, we keep an equation in our heart that adds up to something like this:

My abilities + experience + training + my personality and appearance + my past + the expectations of others = my assigned territory.

No matter how many sermons we've heard about God's power to work through us, we simply gloss over the meaning of that one little word through. Sure, we say we want God to work through us, but what we really mean is by or in association with. Yet God's reminder to us is the same one He gave the Jews when they returned from captivity to a decimated homeland: 'Not by might nor by power but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts' (Zechariah 4:6).

Our God specializes in working through normal people who believe in a supernormal God who will do His work through them. What He's waiting for is the invitation. That means God's math would look more like this:

My willingness and weakness + God's will and supernatural power = my expanding territory."


"And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou would bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thy hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested." 
1 Chronicles 4:10


"As God's chosen, blessed sons and daughters, we are expected to attempt something large enough that failure is guaranteed...unless God steps in... For the Christian, dependance is just another word for power." -Bruce Wilkinson


March 17, 2012


Tonight my heart is heavy. Heavy with thoughts of the pain in this world. Heavy with the picture of a tiny swaddled bundle with a tag on it waiting for the morgue. Heavy with the knowing that parents can abandon their own child. Heavy with thoughts of the healthy, dimpled, and cooing 4-month-old little girl that should be.
And, honestly, I want to ask why.
God, why did You lead this precious little one to my doorstep and to my heart when You knew she would die? When You knew that I would care and hope and pray? God? How much heartbreak is enough?
And I don’t know.
What I do know is that when you taste death and pain. . . this world is no longer a comfortable place. We long for home.
And I have to remember that I am not here in this world to shield myself from pain and the reality of that pain. I am here to embrace it and those in the midst of it. I am here to love - to serve.
I have accepted that the answers to so many of my questions lie – so safely - only in the heart of our merciful God. And I am content to leave them there. Honestly, I fear for what I, with my limited understanding, would do with some of those answers. . .
Now we see dimly. Someday we'll know. Until then I will remember in the midst of all this that this world is not my home.

 “This world is full of suffering, but it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
 –Helen Keller

March 15, 2012

No More Pain.



Moo Suh Ghey died this afternoon.

It means a lot to know that you have been praying so earnestly for a child you have never met and didn't even know. Thank you.

No more pain, no more tears, never crying again. . . . Praise the Lord!






Little to no change with Moo Suh Ghey. . . .

Still praying for healing, but that if this is not's God's plan He would allow her to rest.

Hopefully I'll know more this afternoon. I had Jabez with me this morning and it didn't take them long to herd us out of the PICU.



"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, 
neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: 
for the former things are passed away."
Revelation 21:4



March 14, 2012



12 hours later and Moo Suh Ghey is still hanging on.
The doctors are still extremely negative, but her heart rate has come up from around 68 to where it is now at 95.



Abandoned, but not alone


I arrived at the hospital this afternoon only to be greeted by some of the other patient caregiver's at the entrance to the ward. They told me that the baby had died this morning.
I did the only thing I could do - go in search of the parents who I knew wouldn't know where to go or what to do and who I didn't think would have the money to get home. After an extended search, I concluded that I wasn't going to find them and was ready to leave, when I had the sudden thought to run up to PICU just to double check that it wasn't a misunderstanding and she hadn't been transferred to PICU after all instead. They weren't there, and, once again, I was ready to leave, but something propelled me to go back to the ward again. I thought I would just see if anyone knew where the parents may have gone.
I walked in. . . and there was the baby. . . and she wasn't dead! On the vent and looking awful, but still kicking!
Apparently, we had a little misunderstanding. The baby hadn't died - the parents left this morning abandoning her.
That was almost more emotional for me than hearing that she had died. There are some things in this world that I will never understand. . .
I immediately let the nurses know that I would be responsible for her. They happily agreed and shoved a thick stack of bills into my hands.
Her doctor told me that Moo Suh Ghey went downhill last night, becoming unresponsive. . . Her chances really aren't good. Metabolic acidosis and possible spinal meningitis.
The doctor suggested that they won't initiate CPR if they come to that as she is abandoned. That ignited my indignation! I don't know if I think CPR for a child dying of sepsis is ethical or not. . . but it angers me that society would think her any less worthy of an effort for her life. Since then they aren't doing anything without first getting my consent.
They transferred her back to PICU this afternoon.
This seems hopeless, but I've seen too many miracles to lose hope.
Please keep on praying with me!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm keeping another evening watch beside another bed in the ICU,
praying while my hand cradles another small chest.
The doctor believes she's brain dead. They're trying another round of drugs.
Her vitals are creeping lower.
She's in God's hands.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Several hours later. . . . .

She's still hanging in there! And her heart rate has crept a bit higher.
Pray with me. . . . .






March 13, 2012

MooSuhGhey Update

Moo Suh Ghey is re-intubated and back on the ventilator today. Initially my heart just sunk when I saw her, but - praise the Lord - I had a good opportunity to talk to the doctor. She seemed very caring and took quite a bit of time with me.
They think that she still has a good chance. It's the pneumonia (and sepsis) that she's truly battling and if she can kick that she should get better.
PICU is full up right now, but the doctor said that she will get the next available bed. I'm praying for that, she needs that care.
Please specifically pray for the mom. She was a bit besides herself today and insisted that she was coming home with me. But she is the main caregiver and that would never work. {Here in Thailand you are required to have a full-time caregiver to even stay in the hospital. The only thing the nurses truly do is give out the meds, IV's, and bandaging, etc.} She wouldn't listen and got down under the bed, starting to gather all her stuff. I had to be pretty firm with her and I ended up finally just having to leave.
Pray that they don't abandon the baby!

March 12, 2012

I went to see Moo Suh Ghey and her parents today. She really isn't doing well. I have never witnessed a child struggle so hard just to breath. . . She has barely taken any milk for the last several days and her little ribs are poking out.
Unfortunately, I don't know what's going on with her meds and tests as I haven't been able to speak with the doctor.
I asked the parents if I could pray for her before I left and they refused. That's unusual actually, even though they are Buddhist. I had to respect their decision, but of course that is not stopping me from talking to God about her!


March 11, 2012

Moo Suh Ghey

4-months-old, pneumonia, respiratory failure, sepsis, and seizures. . . .

Early this morning (Sabbath) I was called to come look at a baby. This little one didn't look good. At all. And I quickly decided that I would take her into the hospital.
The young, wide-eyed parents came from across the river in Burma. Their 4-month-old little girl, Moo Suh Ghey, had been sick for a month now, but, for some reason or another, this was the first time they had been able to bring her for care. She looked small for four months and had loose, saggy skin, she wasn't eating, had a fever, extremely labored breathing, loose sagging skin, and anemia. . .
At the hospital they quickly directed us to the ER and wasted no time in having her intubated and breathing for her. They told me that she was in critical condition and would need to be transferred to the larger hospital in Maesot an hour and a half away.
The ambulance pulled up and we waited and waited, but if finally roared away sans the small patient. Soon they came to tell me that Moo Suh Ghey was in too critical condition for Maesot and would be taken to Chiang Mai instead. Now I should explain that Chiang Mai is about an 8 hour drive away. . . and the only time I've ever heard of them transferring a patient by ambulance to Chiang Mai was when Jabez was critical with SJS. . . and that was from Maesot, not Metta. Once again an ambulance rumbled up and swung wide its doors and once again we waited and waited and waited 'til once again the ambulance lit off on us. This time they told me that they couldn't take a patient this sick and the Metta hospital would keep her for awhile instead and see what would happen.
All this time someone was standing pumping a BVM over her as they wheeled her religiously back and forth between the ER and the x-ray department. After what felt like an eternity (Jabez certainly agreed!), our 3rd ambulance lumbered up and (another eternity later) they informed me that she was headed to Maesot after all! Then commenced the long wait 'til they were finally on their way.
(One of these days I will be brave and actually take a picture so you can see what a Thai ambulance looks like!)
 I followed in the truck. The poor parents were overjoyed when I caught up with them just as they were stepping into the waiting room. They have never been to a city or a hospital before and I'm sure the whole day must have been traumatizing for them - minus their baby being so sick and all the tubes and machines sticking out of her. . . I wish I could have captured their wide-eyed innocence. They didn't so much as know how to open the truck doors and stood rather uncertainly in front of the stairs in the hospital trying to decide what such things were intended for. I made sure to escort them to the restrooms (in hopes of preventing another scene in front of the hospital), but when we found them locked the poor little mother just squatted down on the grass outside. . .
They soon had Moo Suh Ghey moved to the PICU and the nurse let me know that the Dx is pneumonia, respiratory failure, and sepsis, They have her on a ventilator and they were supposed to do a spinal tap this afternoon as she is having seizures as well.
Pray for little Moo Suh Ghey? And please also for grace for her little parents who look desperately tempted to flee back to their jungle. They are scared to be by themselves and had a hard time accepting that I had to leave tonight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Update:
I ended up spending the night in Maesot as, conveniently enough, the truck lights went out on me as I headed home. I was so glad to be able to pop in again ans see how Moo Suh Ghey was doing this morning. They had her extubated and transferred to the pediatrics ward this morning. That may sound encouraging, but quite honestly all it really does is alarm me. She is gasping for every breath with severe retractions and is receiving very poor care in the ward. I lived in that same ward for longer than a week and I know exactly how neglectful and uncaring some of the staff can be (specifically to those they perceive as ignorant). . .
Let's keep praying!


March 7, 2012

Sometimes it's the smallest things that make the biggest difference. . .

I was probably somewhere between my study of the zona glomerulosa and the zona fasciculato (but I can pretty much promise you that what I was really interested in was zoning out), when I glanced up to see several (white!) people walk in the door of the internet cafe where I was seated. Pleasant looking people.
An older lady walked by, glanced down and smiled a little smile at the paramedic textbook beside me. She turned around, walking by me again, and it was obvious that my book had caught her eye. She whispered something to her friend who headed my way.
They were from Austrailia and her son was a paramedic. Which explained everything. I briefly told her of my medical work here.
"God bless you," she said as she prepared to follow the others out the door. And then she quickly reached to retrieve something from her bag and placed a small koala bear in my hands.
"I give these to people all over as a small token to remember that I pray for them. Put it on your backpack and remember that someone in Austrailia is praying for you."
She walked out the door, leaving me with a big smile on my face and warmth in my heart, thinking of what this world would be like if everyone chose to care like that.
Sometimes it's the smallest things that make the biggest difference. The endocrine system didn't seem so tedious anymore.

March 1, 2012

For those who like pictures. . .

 Somehow the uploading process seems to have distorted these slightly. . . Oh well.




We love mud and dirt!



The wedding of two of my friends, Thara BledtJaw and Tharamu WaNayPaw.







We are very, very mobile!




The kind of things we drag back from the States. :)

One of God's many blessings in my life. . . I will write about it sometime.











February 28, 2012

Driving me to Him. . .


Can I just be honest here?
The only word I can truly use to describe my state of mind and body over these last few weeks would be weary. Weary of physical imperfections and challenges… weary of always having more than I can do, never quite accomplishing that to-do list… weary of my overwhelming imperfections as a mother… weary of whining and diapers, and never completely quenching all these needs… weary of the challenge of relationships... weary of what from this end feels like never-ending study… weary of interrupting “distractions” from what I deem (and rightly should be) my priorities… weary of people asking from me… weary of not having complete answers….

I have slid down from my “mountain-top experience” of gratitude and adoration into real life, my life. And I look and see that it’s quite a bit of a mess.  
Yet, there’s beauty to be found in this mess. God is all through this. 
Me being here is all about God. Jabez being in my life is all about God. All our surrounding circumstances have been placed by God.  These “distractions” are some of God’s very favorites… and how they have blessed me.

It’s not always about thrills and feelings and overwhelming gratitude… Some days you are weary and used-up and you push each foot in front of the other and you plead for the grace for another act of service. And in this you live your life to the glory of God. Maybe even greater glory than when you breezed along with your heart aglow with the very palpable presence of God?

So often we pass by love ‘cause it sure does look like work. . . .

There is beauty here through the days when I feel weary and it’s not easy. Beauty in the moments that I, in pure survival mode, drop to my knees, or catch a few sentences from His Word, or find myself asking for grace and forgiveness - again. Beauty in this constant action that drives me to strive to be up long before daylight searching my heart and His Word. For it’s in my weakness that I feel my need of Him. My inadequacy drives me to Him. My emptiness leads me to be filled. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. That’s beautiful.
I will embrace this weariness because I thirst to be filled – all filled – with Him.

February 23, 2012

All for us

Next time you're tempted to throw your own pity party?

Go read Isaiah 53. Read it slow. And then read it again.

...all of that was for us.