Sunday, June 27, 2010

"I now can be counted among the other women"

This past Sunday I went to Ward church (a church service held in the hospital with the patients and translated for them). Right now the vast majority of our patients are VVF ladies. These are women who have Vesico Vaginal Fistula.
Ok, for those of you like me who don't speak "doctor," this is a condition caused by abstructed labor, the the circulation is cut off in the blatter tissue causing it to rot away. This results in holes in the blatter, and constant leaking for the woman. Women who have VVF are treated as outcasts here. They cannot associate in regular society, because of their smell and the humiliation of being unable to control themselves. Many of their husbands leave them as well as family and they end up alone, hiding away. These women are barely considered women.
So, I was sitting in the ward for the service with these women patients and many crew also. We enjoyed african style worship with drums and local songs, and one of the day volunteers (togalese that hire on to help in different departments) gave a message. Then at the end, unexpectedly, they decided to have about six of the women who had been treated give their testimonies.
So for the next 45 minutes, I sat listening to their stories, with tears welling in my eyes and running down my face. In my mind I was seeing a picture of God's love play over and over.
These women had all been suffering for at least 6 to 8 years, living as outcasts, and now were praising God for healing them and allowing them to be women again.
One woman, I believe the last one to speak, got up to share her story. Hers stood out dramatically and again my tears came. This precious woman had been suffering from VVF for 35 years. Thirty-Five years! I heard myself quietly gasp at hearing this. She had tried many doctors to no avail. Finally, her husband left her. She continued looking for help until she had spent all her money in hopes of being healed. As I listened, I couldn't help but remember the story of the woman who had been bleeding, whom Jesus healed when she reached out to him.
So in the end this precious woman was living in a room in her father's house, he the only one providing or caring for her. She would rarely leave the house because of the humiliation. She had nothing left. Not even her womanhood.
Then she heard of Mercy Ships and there was hope again. She came to this big hospital ship as a last resort. There was nothing else she could try, she had resigned herself to living this way the rest of her life alone.
Now she has had the operation and it was a success. She is no longer leaking, smelling, or hiding. You could see the joy on her face, as well as the other women. She thanked everyone on the ship. and gave glory to God as they all did. She ended as many of them did, saying "I am so grateful! Now I have been healed. Now I can be counted among the rest of the women."
What a God we serve. He is a healer, a restorer, a giver of hope. I just keep thinking what an incredible love this is! How much he cares for these precious women. And what joy it brings him to see their lives and dignity restored. Just like the bleeding woman, Jesus' love and compassion has fallen again, on this VVF woman. And I can't help feeling such joy at how this time, He reached out for her. She couldn't reach anymore. Thank you for your love Lord!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Home and back again! :)

Hello Everyone!!
Ok wow, it has been way too long since I've blogged. So I apologize for the flood of news you will be getting. And I also apologize for how unorganized it may be. I just decided to give you a bunch of visuals and then explain stuff based off them. unfortunately I still don't know how to get this thing to load pictures in the order i want, its always a surprise how they come up. so it may be a little disjointed :-p hehe but I had fun with it so i hope you will too.
So just a quick overview,
I was able to go home for a three week vacation about a month ago (wow! it's already a month ago!). :) It was wonderful. I so enjoyed spending time with my family and friends and my wonderful man, Joey. ;) For those of you that may not be aware I am in a relationship, Joey is the incredible man God has put in my life. We have known each other for 6 years (met him on a mission trip to guatemala for 3 months) we have been dating for about 2 or 3 years, and we will be getting married. ;) Anyway my time home was very refreshing and relaxing, much needed. Now I am back on the ship! and right back in the swing of things, working with the dental team, and many other things. ;) It's been great to get back and see all my friends here again.
Okay, now for the pictures.....Enjoy! :D

Me and my sister, heather when I was home. I guess we were kinda cold ;-p

The family eating dinner out on the patio, dad must be taking the picture.
Dropping Alecia off at the airport. She was leaving for her 3 month mission trip to South Africa like the week before I came back here to the ship.

I love my sisters ;)

This is the view from the top floor of our dental clinic. That little tin roof awning is a little restaurant owned by a local lady. She and her nieces and daughters provide food for our day volunteers. They are the sweetest family.
This is where I work every day! Welcome to Round Point Clinic (it is right of of a roundabout, thats where the name comes from)
Loading up to go out for the day!
So last week a bunch of girls and I went away for a little self-created weekend retreat. It was a really great time. This is the first leg of our journey, 8 people in a 4 or 5 passenger car! ;D Me and Becca took our traditional place squished together in the hatch back. It's a tradition we started in the Dominican Republic ;) hehe

They definitely have rainy season here!
More rain! and that view you are seeing, all the cranes and stuff, is home to me. Its the port!
This is the gas station, I mean lake ;-p hehe
driving out of the port, we were not driving on road, we couldn't even see it. It was just rivers almost as high as the curb all around.
so me and my friend Karen from work, went to a birthday party for Dodgi's mom. He is one of our day volunteers at the dental clinic. There is a picture of him further down.
The party was so fun! Everyone was there, sisters brothers, husbands, aunts uncles, cousins, etc.! It was just great :D
This is Dodgies mom and dad along with a couple of the kids ;)
his mom's sister
so the women kept passing this cute little chunk around and I finally went over and asked to hold her :)
Eventually she fell asleep in my arms.

The Birthday girl! and the wonderful cook!

This is Gini our awesome coordinator for the dental team. She also double as babysitter for all the moms that come in with their kids :)

Marianne and Sandra (my roomy!) beautiful ladies!

me and the girls. The only two girl translators, Delali and Gado. They are awesome!

This is Justin and Dag. Dag is our head dentist from Norway.
Karen and one of the other dentists we had for a few weeks ;)

The screening lines every Monday and Thursday.

Making sandwiches for the patients! we have our own little factory ;) (Gado-left, Comfort-right)
I told you I carry water like an African! hehe Mowuli insisted on the towel, I usually do it without :-p
That's how you do it ;)
Never send me and Mawuli to get water.... ;-p

Our sandwich making factory!
The girls from the restaurant that bring food for our day volunteers everyday.
Gado. Isn't she just gorgeous!
Togo's independance day! Gado made me togalese :-p
So sometimes I get bored and just start playing with our colored tape (we use it to color code the instruments ;-p hehe) I wore this all day. :D
This is Dodgi! who's mother's birthday party we attended.
Me and the love of my life ;)
on the ferry at downtown disney.
All ready to go out! ;D Somebody cleans up good! hehe