Malaria and life in Uganda

Our second day of clinic was eventful.  No time at all to tell you the stories.  I woke up with a monkey staring at me just a few feet away, which delighted me beyond words.  I made sure we bought more bananas at the market last night.  They are not here every day, but when they come, there are about 25 of them and they stay about an hour or until the bananas run out!  I love seeing the babies wrestling and sneaking closer to grab food.  Usuallly one is braver than the rest, and will have a banana between his feet while he eats another, and the others watch!

Lewis came to breakfast yesterday, and we had such an annointed prayer meeting with him.  Heaven was here, and I wanted to stay.  He prayed for each family that had donated to the mission, and for our nation to experience truth and justice.  His passion for God to save the nations was visionary, and we sat together in heavenly places as he prayed for us.  It cannot be put into words.

The funniest thing that happened to me at clinic was the temporal thermometer.  The Ugandan nurses have never used one, and they have no idea what a normal temperature is in farenheit.  (it’s 37 degrees celsius here).  So I had a patient with a fever of 105.7.  I immediately grabbed the malaria meds, gave her four with my water bottle, and asked who was with her.  She was too alert for that fever–I should have known, but I had seen many die in those circumstances in Swaziland, and I was a little panicked.  I prayed for her and asked her to remain in the room for a while as I moved on to other patients.  Then about five minutes later, there was another malaria patient–temperature 107.8 (which is incompatible with life).  I started laughing as I realized my mistake.  I was treating patients based on numbers, and I needed to get more focused on what I could plainly see in front of me, and it was NOT a person in crisis.  It has been too long since I have done clinicals, but it is like stepping back in time when I lived in Africa, and so wonderful to help the mothers and babies, and the elderly.  You should see their eyes when we put glasses on them and they can see!  We brought 2000 pairs of glasses.  What a blessing.

My big frustration is we need a dentist badly.  The broken teeth are painful, and nothing we can do.  I did see a dramatic miracle about mid day.  A man with a frozen shoulder came to me.  It was obviously an old fracture and he could lift his arm about waist high.  I gave him some gel to rub on for pain, and told him to call upon the Lord who would help him.  I prayed for him, and when I opened my eyes, his hand was in the air–I mean fully in the air!  He was grinning, and wouldn’t put his hand down.  He just kept saying the pain is so small.  Look at me!!  Praise God for His great mercy.

We saw 300 patients in two days, and yesterday, we inventoried the meds, went to the pharmacy, and then met with the pastors from Antioch alliance until dark.  An ambassador wants to talk to Art about the water filters.  They may have some government money to bring more for the villages.  We are setting up two systems at two orphanages, and they produce 10,000 gallons of clean water daily.  It’s incredible.  We will go to clinic at the Prayer Palace orphanage today, and tomorrow, Art and Judy will go to meet with government officials while George and I finish the clinic.  It will be intense.

Last night, we had a bug invasion.  I was totally grossed out.  It looked like flying termites, and they covered the balcony where I sleep.  Art and George helped me get my mosuito net up and brush them off the bed, and I shooed out the last few under my pillow before going to sleep.  George told us to put kleenex in our ears so they could not crawl in in the night.  This morning, there were bigger ones, but none got into my net, and by God’s great grace, I slept (with my glasses on so I could see them).  I quoted scripture and reminded God that He gives His beloved sleep, and I am His beloved.

We are off to the Prayer Palace orphanage for clinic today.  Breakfast came early at 6:00 a.m., we are trying to beat the indescribable traffic.  We tried to capture it on video, but it is impossible.  The Ugandans call it “the jams.”  There are many.

The opportunities are growing.  I prayed with Pastor John last night.  His church is struggling so much, and they are a few months behind on rent.  He has been given land to raise pigs.  He could get a sow and a boar for $500, and could be self-sustaining in a year.  There is room to grow food there.  So little money changes life for a whole congregation.  I  want to help, and the needs are great everywhere.  Clean water is a priority.  Art is a brilliant businessman.  He can see a need, and has the technical know how and ability to talk to the right people to get things done.  It always opens tremendous doors for witness and ministry.  God is directing our steps.  What an adventure to walk, no, to run, after His plans here!!!!!


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Clinic at Life Mercy Orphanage

I have six minutes to tell you about our first day of clinic, so I will attempt the impossible!  It rained hard yesterday, and we slid through the mud roads adding an extra hour to our drive time, and getting stuck in indescribable traffic on the way home!  But the time in between was glorious.  We saw about 175 patients.  The children are amazingly healthy except for ringworm and hookworms.  There were many who came from the village as well, and we have about 2,000 pairs of glasses which are a great blessing!  I am increasing my faith sitting next to Dr. George as the endless line of patients came.  His faith in prayer makes miracles seem every day ordinary.  An elderly woman with cataracts came in with help, and left describing the trees behind the building that she saw for the first time.  I prayed with Pastor Gordon for a 15 year old boy who had seizures daily.  We saw several with blood pressures that would seem to me to make life impossible.  We have a blood test for malaria, and several small children with fevers turned out to have malaria.  The test is specific for p. falciparum, the most deadly of the malarias, so I was so grateful to have the tests available.  Most of the children were completely well, praise God! and we gave them vitamins and  blessing.  I love to see them, and if I got over my head, I just passed them over to Dr. George, who smiled and prayed and either he or God took care of it!

We are trying to get to clinic earlier today, as we got home so late, and beyond exhaustion.  I am sleeping WELL on the balcony.  I woke up to the red sky over Lake Victoria, and the chatter of my monkey friends, to whom I offered our last banana this morning.  We are eating avocados that are the size of small melons, and more pineapples!  Eric our driver just blew his horn in the traffic and shouted to the street vendor who brought us fresh fruits.  I rode with Pastor Steve yesterday, and since it was just the two of us, I talked him into stopping to get food from a street vendor.  Fried plantains are all along the road, cooked over an open flame, and they cost 15 cents!  There is no break for lunch, so I enjoyed plantains on the way to clinic, and have another hidden in my backpack for today!  Pastor Steve is here.  Love to all!

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A busy and blessed weekend

I want to tell you about our wonderful day in Jinja.  It was graduation day for 15 yooung moms who have learned to sew.  The drive to Jinja is about 3 hours, but pastor Steve was our driver, and darting around traffic jams is just a part of life here.  We arrived about 11:00 and there were a hundred or so people singing, dancing, and celebrating.  Pastor Gordon was dressed in his African shirt, and was leading the dancing.  He is a man so full of the joy of the Lord!

We began the ceremony with greetings from the American visitors, and prayers for the graduates.  I told them a ibit of my story of raising children as a single mom, and how God never left me alone, and provided our every need.  Then, much to my surprise, Pastor Gordon put a cap and gown on me, and announced that Professor Linda, the master seamstress of Kentucky, would present the diplomas!  It was pretty funny.  I was cold, so glad for the robe.  I showed them dresses I had made, and then presented each graduate a copy of the simple pattern so they could make them too.  Then, with all the pomp and circumstance of an American college graduation, we presented each graduate with a certificate.

George and I had brought a few baby clothes, and we gave them to the mothers, but it did not begin to meet the need.  I also had some crocheted and knitted hats, and we put them on the graduates’ babies and asked that they remain at the center for patterns.  We left 3 sewing machines here two years ago, which has made this program possible.  It was so exciting to see these young moms full of hope and joy!

Gordon had fixed a lunch for all, and it was the best food I have eaten since leaving home!  Fried greens, cow peas, boiled potatoes and pumpkin, matoki, and pineapple and watermelon.  We have bought avocadoes and pineapples at the market.  They are more than twice as big as the American varieties.  The markets are so beautiful, and the food so fresh!

It was a day of divine appointments, and we arrived home exhausted from the dusty long ride, and so grateful for our God who loves single Moms and the blessing of children who can change the future of Uganda.

Sunday morning, we split up.  George went to Pastor John’s, Art and Judy went to Pastor Gideon’s, and I went to Pastor Steve’s.  The worship here is loud, long, and free.  It is so blessed.  About 2 2/1 hours of song and testimony, then I spoke through an interpreter for about 45 minutes.  The people were so grateful and honoring.  I prayed for about 15 people, and as I touched them, I realized two had high fevers.  Steve says malaria is epidemic right now.  Clinic in the morning will be interesting.

We came back to the hotel around 4:00 and spent the afternoon and evening sorting the six large boxes of medicines we will be using the next six days.  We re going to Life Mercy orphanage in the morning, and will see all the kids, and also people form the community.  We have a lot more work to do to get ready for tomorrow, so I will leave this hurried note.  I am checking out the malaria tests, and packing medicines for the kids.

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Life Mercy Orphanage

We divided and conquered for our second day.  Art and George went to the pharmacy and ordered medicine for our clinics.  Judy and I wnet directly to the orphanage, and George and Art met us there.  The children were hard at work in the classrooms, and we were able to see the fruit of last year’s teaching.  The teachers are using curriculum that Maura and Cindy brought over.  All of those mterials are well organized in the headmaster’s office, and we were so pleased to see the books and other materials  that we sent earlier in the year on a container.

Judy is much better today, able to walk with minimal difficulty.  The new buildings are wonderful, and the banana plantation is full grown.  When I think back five years ago to the first time I saw the uncleared land, I just want to shout praise to God for His miraculous provision.  The children are all smiles and anxious to show us their learning.  I picked up a 5th grade notebook and leafed through it.  The math was elementary algebra and geometry, and the science was a clear explanation of thermodynamics.  There was also a unit on goat farming, and the different breeds and their care.  I was IMPRESSED!!!

Tomorrow we are going to Jinja to attend the graduation of 15 young moms who have been through a job training program Pastor Gordon set up after receiving our sewing machine gifts.  They have also learned to knit and crochet, and I will spend an hour showing them the dresses I made.  Pastor Gordon took one of the patters to make extra copies for each of the graduates.  God is multiplying the gifts of past years, and the best is ahead!

On the way home, the van broke down, a loose wire on the battery, and the battery went dead.  Pastor Gordon and Steve invented “jumper cables” using barbed wire from a fence and a couple of metal tools.  Oh my goodness–it worked!  We got back to the hotel about 7:30, but in the traffic, Eric, our driver waved over a street vender and we bought bananas, pineapples, onions and avocados.  The fruit and vegetable market was a work of art.

I will be sharing the bananas with my monkey friends.  There were eight of them around the balcony where I sleep this morning.  It is a family, I think.  They were pretty brave to come so close when i had no food this morning.

My love to my children and grandchildren, and a very very generous church, who has made these many miracles possible.  We had brekfast with Grivas and gave him money to get food and matresses for the pastor’s conference.  Dinner is ready.  Chicken curry for me.

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Greetings from Uganda!!

Mission trips always begin with horror stories of cancelled flights and missed connections, but I didn’t expect it to start so soon!  Before approaching the ticket counter in Louisville, the agent declared our flight to Washington D.C. was delayed, which would keep us from our Brussels connection.  It took half an hour to reroute the four of us and our 13 checked bags through Chicago.  With smiles and apologies, they sent us off to security.  Our gate was swarming with long lines and hollow eyed people who had been there all day.  Chicago was experiencing severe storms, and we were booked on a 10:30 flight that hadn’t left yet.  It was 2:30 as we sat down and counted our heavy carry-ons.  We packed two water purification systems, shoes that grow for the orphanage, several computers, and other donations, cutting back our personal items to get in one more supply for Uganda!  At 4:00, we boarded the plan for a harrowing ride into the eye of the storm.

The bumps and jerks were indescribable, but I will tell you at one point I shouted out a spontaneous prayer, Lord, help us!  No one objected to prayer on that flight.  Judy laughed at me, but only after we were safely on the ground.  Chicago was a sea of shoulder to shoulder people.  After a day of cancelled flights, all you could hear was a sensory overload of unidentifiable foreign languages as we dodged among the bystanders trying to maneuver our way to a new concourse.  I thought it was impossible to make our connection, but I had forgotten about the time zone change, and we actually sat down for 20 minutes before making the Brussels connection.

After only 25 hours of travel time, we landed in Entebbe, Uganda.  Three vans were there to load our gear.  Twelve suitcases came up.  The last one missing was my personal clothing.  I watched as the suitcases circulated about three times, and then I spotted the red duck tape on my plain black suitcase!  ALL of our bags arrived safely.  Judy turned her ankle on the plane, and was unable to walk without extreme pain.  Two of the airport officials helped us with the wheelchair and four carts, and we headed for customs.  I whispered a prayer.  They could hassle us for  very long time, especially with computers.

The young lady helping us was named Lion–yes, I think it was prophetic.  She looked at the customs agent and said slowly and VERY authoritatively, “They can go.”  The customs agent waved us around the scanners and to the door!  We were done!

We stopped at a cafe for a small snack, and arrived about 9:30 p.m. local time at Lindsay Cottage.  My cot was already set up on the balcony, and I was in bed by 10:00.  I am told the monkeys will be on the veranda, but I haven’t seen them yet this morning.  I will buy bananas at the market to bribe them.  I thought we had a day of recovery scheduled to adjust to the time change, but we are headed for the orphanage this morning to set up for clinics.  I must get my suitcases unpacked, as I brought some of the school supplies in my carry on.

Praise God for His great faithfulness in bring us safely to Uganda again.  I enjoyed wonderful conversation with Pastor Steve about the blessings ahead as we rode the bumpy roads through Kampala last night.  I am anticipating the Glory of God today!

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Adventure in Prayer

Adventure in Prayer

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 

For several weeks now, I have set aside a few hours a week for intercession.  I have prayed aloud—John Bunyon wrote that such praying gives Satan a scourging.  I love a good fight, especially when I know I have the winning strategy.  I am starting to get what John meant when he wrote, And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.  (I John 5:15).  The winning is in the praying.  The things I have asked for—it suddenly makes sense to live like I have them already.  I was losing sleep over some very difficult problems in my business.  I tell you the truth—God has answered prayer and restored stability, overcome impossibility, and I have the petitions I asked for.  Tenants are doing things, paying their rent, and being responsible in ways I have never seen in my 14 years of landlording.  How else can I explain it?

I have a new joy that is springing up in me.  Some of my happiest days have been spent laying on a warm Florida beach in December with my children.  It’s a calm, peaceful joy.  It’s the joy that shouts, “All is well!”  Now in prayer, the same joy settles over me, and it is a lens through which I am seeing life.  The pressures of aging, working, sickness, the unknown—my Father is working on all that.  I have tasted, and I see that the Lord is good.  And the taste lingers in my spirit after a season of prayer.  I delight to be with Him.

Prayer is giving me a deeper spontaneous gratitude in my heart.  God is loving my children and grandchildren, and working relentlessly for their good and their Godliness.  I see how He is doing it now.  Prayer makes the works of God clear.  The veil of confusion and uncertainty is taken away.  The angels attend to my every move; and the Spirit turns hearts like water.  You don’t believe me?  God told me so:

When one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. II Corinthians 3:16-17

He shall give His angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways.  Psalm 91:11

When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.  Proverbs 16:7

All of these things have happened to me in this prayer adventure.  The more I pray, the more I want to pray.  The desire follows the doing.  I think I recognized this first in a Charles Spurgeon book I read recently.  This man of endless prayer loved people.  He said, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”  Spurgeon lived out his belief that one man serious in prayer will change the world.  His belief is now a testimony—He changed the world through prayer. 

And I believe it too.  As Moses talked to God as a friend with friend; as Jesus communed with His Father as a family caucus; as David lay in the hillside overwhelmed in praise and revelation; as Job faced adversity in unrelenting prayers of faith, so I will pray, expectantly, fervently, righteously, continually.

God’s deliverance and faithfulness just in the past few weeks is enough to teach me to love to pray.  I will be faithful.  My Father hears.  He answers.  I already have the petitions I have asked for.

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Tell Me How To Pray

And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.  Luke 11:1

I went to a prayer meeting last night, and I came away feeling some despair.  This post may sound very critical or mean spirited.  Heaven forbid.  I want only to speak from my 60+ years of going to “prayer meetings,” and the fact that for decades, it seems to me that prayer meetings are generally prayerless.  I hasten to explain.

When I was a child, I remember kneeling in sawdust in an outdoor camp meeting and listening to a man of God pray.  Obviously he had spent hours in prayer, because the very air was electric with supernatural anointing.  He brought it with him.  It was all over him.  I focused my eyes on him though it was wicked to have your eyes open while praying.  Others prayed aloud too, but the prayer leader wasn’t distracted.  And as he prayed, the pray-ers who were gathered would affirm his petition and intercede for churches, for the lost, for healing, for city officials and school teachers who were called by name, for missionaries, for governments.  It was not unusual for these crowds of a few hundred to pray an hour.  A few times, they lasted well into the night, and I remember the deep, deep peace I felt as I fell asleep on the wooden bench to the sound of prayers.

When I was in college, I attended a prayer group for about two years.  There were about 25 people in the group.  We had a large chalk board in the room where we met, and we came at the scheduled hour and began to pray and agree together, and intercede.  The only “rule” was the only spoken words were to God in prayer.  If someone wanted to add a request, they went to the front and wrote it on the chalk board.  There were moments of silence in the group.  But mostly we lifted our voices together in intercession.  I witnessed many miracles in that prayer meeting, though I never spoke directly to some of the ones who attended.  I experienced the overwhelming presence and glory of God every time we were together.

I have read hundreds of books about prayer, and though Christians generally agree that prayer is the source of power and purity in all of life, corporate prayer as I have understood and experienced it has completely disappeared from Christendom.

Part of the problem may be my lack of appreciation for music.  The prayer meeting I attended last night consisted of extremely loud repetitious phrases sung by performers, most of which I could not understand.  When did music become chord progressions with only five notes?  Must one now play a steel guitar to pray?  Though I went to the meeting hoping to join others who are burdened to pray for our city and our nation, I found individual stations that were self-centered in the extreme.  Confess MY sin, stretch ME, find MYSELF, help ME get closer to God.  Good grief.  If you are going to come to a prayer meeting to intercede could you please take your spiritual shower at home and arrive clean and ready to intercede for someone besides yourself?  There is so much work to be done.  Is the church so polluted that God cannot find an intercessor?

And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.  Isaiah 59:16

And I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.  Ezekiel 22:30

These prophets lived in days of great spiritual darkness.  And there was no one to pray.  I woke up this morning longing to sit with the disciples as they approached Jesus in Luke 11:1:  Lord, teach us to pray.  I want to listen to men pray, whose anointed prayers make them seem bigger than life.  I want to sit in His Presence, and speak to Him as a friend of God, not as one lost in the darkness.  Silence the beating, vain repetitious music that accosts my soul.  I want to pray.

Lord, today, I have one request.  Teach me again how to pray.

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