Friday, August 22, 2008

If We Could See Beyond Today...

August 2008
Hello again from Cote d'Ivoire. I know it is easy to forget where people are with email like it is. Thanks for all your prayers for us. It seemed like the last letter was full of hard times and the puppies dying. We are still here battling hard timeswhat a depressing way to start a letter!
First the good news: we are all fine, in great health, and love each other. The chalk art conferences went very well with many saved and has boosted church attendance as well. We praise the Lord for all the decisions that were made. Now we are doing follow up and wanting to see growth. A new family has started comingman and wife and four kids, and we are excited about that.
I was able to get the school project finisheda huge job. I had all 12 grades laid out, trying to figure out who was coming and going out of each grade, what I need for the States next year, what to use this year, and what to leave here. I call that a brain-drain. But it is now all in order and inventoried, so I will easily be able to tell what we need to order in the States. Ruth graduated from high school, and I have yet to put together some pictures and information for her. I want you to know our beautiful daughter.
Dan was able to get the electricity back on. That cost us an extra $1000 that was definitely not budgeted. We are scraping the bottom, tightening the belt, and trusting God to take care of us. We THANK THE LORD for the electricity. Dan is trying to get an elementary school started at the church this year. Pray they can get the paperwork and red tape completed so the school can start up in October. We want to use it as a tool to reach more into the community and the parents and also, of course, help the kids have an education.
A man got saved on visitation last Sunday. It was so great
to go through the whole plan of salvation and make clear to him that you get saved by faith but that it is also a choice, and you must ask God to forgive your sin and save you. Just repent and ask Him for eternal life. He had been in church a long time, knew a lot, had been "serving"
God, but had never asked for salvation. He was mixed up with dreams and other ideas, and it was wonderful to see the light come into his eyes when he clearly understood the Gospel. Leading people to the Lord always makes living in Africa worthwhile. The harvest truly is ripe.
I probably should not be writing this right now, so then don't. It has been a hard summer and is almost over. Right now, the same woman who earlier had the horrendous experience in the hospital is back at the hospital. Her abdomen was completely distended, and they were able to drain out a liter of fluid on four different days. The symptom they are treating is ascites, but they have no clue as to what is causing it. There are so many causes. Here you can not just put someone in the hospital and trust the doctors to do something about it. I have been reading my medical books on all the causes, talking to a stateside doctor to get his opinion and advice, getting the medicines at the pharmacy and bringing them to her, making sure it happens, and bringing them food. I even went and scrubbed the bathroom that stunk so badly you had to hold your breath before you went in. Everything moves so slowly here, and no one works on the weekends or holidays. The patient just needs to be patientsmile and hang on until someone can figure something out. They are not doing all the tests needed and basically treating potential causes. I went from thinking chronic-active hepatitis, to just severe malnutrition, to liver flux, and now we are thinking tuberculosis of the abdomen. Meanwhile, we are buying and giving medicine for all of these; today we bought the treatment for TB, which will continue for six months. The woman is very skinny and could easily have TB. The old name for that was consumption, and that is what it looks like for sure. Pray much for her. She is still in the hospital, and I do not know what more we can give her. There was also an IV of albumin that Andy and Becky were able to have sent up from Abidjanthat was to treat the malnutrition.
Meanwhile, her two-year-old son is staying with us. He looks like the typical cases you see on TV advertising for malnutritionskinny
arms and legs and big belly. I have treated him for worms and am feeding
him well. Tomorrow I will get the TB test done for him. Becky and Andy Messer are helping out a lot with trips to the hospital (a friendly face and some food go a long way), and also are taking care of their three girls. Momma has been helping with the money side of things, and we are all praying. This is a family in crisis for sure.
Another meanwhile: Ruth's beautiful, well-trained, loveable dog, Angel, the white dog in the picture, seemed to have bitten her tongue and it got infectedshe had done this once before. I immediately started an antibiotic, but two days later (yesterday) she died!!! It has been so bad around here. How could a bitten tongue lead to all that? How come it went so fast? Could I have seen it sooner if I was not so distracted with this whole hospital thing? Whatever the case, she died, and we are all so sad and Ruth has been crying a lot.
I am sorry for this depressing letter. Pray much for us. We will be excited to see you in about a YEAR. We are looking forward to Ruth being able to do chalk art for you or at camp or for ladies' meetings. Dan is doing a lot of mentoring with the man we will leave as pastor here. Paul is doing great with his preaching and now lives on the church property. Dan helped him get a house built and electricity hooked up last Monday. Dan just had to run all the wire and the lightsnothing to do with the city this time. When I write that little word "just," it really means about five hours worth of work. Seth was able to help out and also have some on-the-job training.
Seth was able to preach last month, and it went well. We are looking forward to you seeing the kids and them being able to minister in camps, AWANA, or wherever God would use them as we travel. We now feel instead of it being just Dan and me, it is also Ruth, Hannah, Seth, and the others. We love each other and are a team. It is great.
As far as us coming to the States next year, if anyone (probably a church) has a 15-passenger van we could buy, that is what we will need. It worked quite well last time to drive a van and haul a small trailer.
Pray for us. Grow in grace.
Love in Christ,
Dan and Joan God can see. But we can't. And so we cling to Him the more.

No comments:

Post a Comment