Wednesday, July 23, 2008

 Precious Daughter,

I have searched your heart and examined your mind in order to reward you according to your conduct and deeds (Jeremiah 17:10).  Why do you fear what I have asked you to do?  There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out all fear, because fear has to do with punishment (1 John 4:18). Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  Yet not one of them is forgotten by me.  The very hairs on you head are numbered.  Do not be afraid:  You are worth more than many sparrows! (Luke 12:6-7)

.  If you trust me with all your heart and not with your own understanding, I will make all your paths clear and straight (Proverbs 3:5)  I know all the things you worry about but I ask you not to worry about your life and the things you need.  Don't you know I know you need theses things? And isn't life about more than that?  Look at the birds in the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet I provide for them.  Are you not more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:25-26) The treasures you want to store up on this earth can be destroyed by moths, and rust, or stolen. Instead, store up treasures for heaven where none of these things can take it away.  If you want to know what your treasure is, then simply look at your heart.  Because where your heart is, there your treasure will be also (Matthew 6:19-21).

At times, you look to the wisdom of this world and those who do not know me.  But the wisdom of this world is foolish in my eyes and is always brought to light with me (1 Corinthians 3:19).  So, do not let anyone deceive you with empty words, because God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient (Ephesians 5:6).  Do not be foolish, but understand what MY will is (Ephesians 5:17).  Once you lived in darkness but now you are light in me.  Live as a child of light and find what pleases me! Stop having business with the fruitless deeds of darkness, instead expose them! (Ephesians 5:8-11). 

With all that said, I know the road I am asking you to take is narrow and the gate is small.  But the broad road and wide gate, that is so tempting and most takes, leads to destruction and unhappiness.  Few will find true happiness and joy because it can only be found on the narrow road (Matthew 7:13-14)

I gave you a direction and purpose in life before you were even born (Jeremiah 1:5) I have called you by name to follow me (John 10:3). And if you don't, you will soon realize your life is worth nothing if you have not completed the task I've assigned to you- the task of testifying to my salvation and love (Acts 20:24).

When it all seems too complicated, too confusing, and just too hard to do, remember I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God (Hosea 6:6) It's really that simple.  Above all, know that you were created to love and need me and no peace will come upon your soul until you rest in me.

I love you sweet child and gave my life so that you could live. Trust that I have your best interest at heart.

With all my Love,


Your Creator




Since being here I have really searched out the truths of God.  I needed to rid myself of the doubts and fears I have of surrendering to the call on my life.  I know missions is a part of that calling. Since being here, I have been reassured that the life God has planned for me and my family is much more satisfying than the one I have conjured up.  It will bring joy and peace and comfort in the midst of uncertainty.  I have always felt a call towards missions since I was a little girl in GA's (for those who aren't southern Baptist, this is part of a program that starts as a pre-schooler and ends as a teen.  You learn all about missions).  Anyways, it all started then and has been confirmed many times in my life.  But while I was in college and Joey and I started getting serious, I thought of what this would mean for my family.  I didn't want to have those weird missionary kids who were home schooled and didn't know what McDonald's was!  But God is good, and he's shown me that my kids don't have to be weird and unable to relate.  I've had the opportunity to get to know these families and see that they are amazing people, true heroes of the faith.  Not only do their children relate and have fun, they are sweet and tenderhearted.  They will grow up having a deeper since of trust in God by witnessing their Mom's and Dad's living out faith and obedience.  I've learned they have a different understanding of life and love.  Kenya has been a time of sweet fellowship and getting to know sisters of my own heart.  I'm reminded that relationships and friendships that are grounded in Christ run far deeper than any relationship, no matter how long, that only has surface value.  Mostly, I'm just okay with knowing that I don't need to know how things will turn out, because even if I plan it still won't end my way.  I will take one step at a time and trust that my God is able to protect and provide and even pour out blessings on me and my family. 


Signing out from Kenya; a place that will always have a special piece of my heart and soul.  And to the sweet Kenyans who poured out their appreciation and welcome to our family; thank you.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Long Awaited POST!!!!

I've just spent a week being purged of the Internet! It's been down since last Tuesday and I have had NO access to the outside world. But guess what? I made it! It only took a week to feel released of the chains of convenience-at- my- finger tips! The only disappointing thing is that so much has happened and I'm sure I'll forgot something good!
We'll start with tonight... we went to Janet's house (our house help) and had dinner with her family. I must admit that I was a little nervous about the whole experience but quickly felt at home with Janet's good cooking and hospitality. Bethany made herself at home and ran around the place. Kenyans have a strict policy to let their children do as they please and Bethany took full advantage of this in her home. She was demanding spoons, and rice, and walking all over the couch! It was embarrassing. But Joey and I had surprisingly good conversation and just enjoyed ourselves. Sometimes the cultural barrier can be hard to jump over but I had "prayed up" this time and the Lord blessed it. Last night we had a dinner for several of Joey's interns. I cooked them breakfast for dinner and they seemed to like it. My snikerdoodle cookies were not a hit, though. They seem to think that Americans like too many sweets. I couldn't argue.
Tomorrow we have a good-bye party and I can't believe the time has actually come! The party will have some traditional Kenyan food, ie goat intestines and Morsik (milky,sour drink with coal ashes). We have had such a great time but with ups and downs. The "ups" far outweigh the "downs". We will leave Tenwek mid-day on Wednesday for Nairobi and spend the night. Our flight will leave at 11:40PM on Thursday night. We have a dreadful flight schedule with a 6 hour layover in London! I hope Bethany is on her best behavior!
I have so much more to say but am a little overwhelmed with parting thoughts. I'll post a departure post (God willing) before we leave. Can't wait to get back across the pond.

Brooke B- Sorry it's late, HAPPY 1st ANNIVERSARY
Ethiopian families- CONGRATS on the court dates! I can't wait to hear about it more. I got some good shopping information while here and I hope I can get it to you before you leave.
Adrienne and Charley- congrats on being an Aunt and Uncle again.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tia Patrick, MD

Oh yeah, that’s right, just hand me my medical degree right now! Wednesday was so much fun. I had asked Dr. Duggar (no relation to Jim Bob Duggar and his family of 20+) ,who is an OBGYN visiting for 2 weeks, to let me know when he had c-sections on Tue or Wed b/c Joey was off and I could go to the hospital and watch. Well, Tuesday he forgot to tell me and had tons of c-sections. So Wednesday came and it was late in the afternoon and he had none. At 5:30 he told me there were two c-sections being prepped and I needed to hurry if I wanted to see them. So I quickly put on Joey’s scrubs and called Krista, b/c she also wanted in on the action, and was up there in no time. I got there just in time to see them start the incision. I had a wave of heat hit me when I saw the ladies white flesh and didn’t know if I should continue to watch. But I pushed through and saw the whole miracle of birth in the most unnatural of circumstances. It was a baby girl! The sewing up took a while and Krista and I saw another surgery taking place in the other O.R. We hopped over there and got to see some sort of colon surgery. It wasn’t too interesting and it looked like a scene from Saw. We then went to another c-section and it was another baby girl. We were so proud of “our” baby girls that we had to go and see how much they weighed and look at them some more, so we made our way down to the maternity ward. Secretly I was hoping my nursing student friends were still on the OB rotation and would let me watch a natural birth. Sure enough I get down there and see Alfred and Gilbert (national nursing students who I met with community health) and sure enough there was a laboring mother who was going to give birth within the hour. Krista had to leave at this point and I stayed behind. The babies that we had just seen were in a cradle behind this laboring mother but I was still told I could go see them. They were both healthy and one was 5.5 lbs and the other over 6 lbs, which is huge for Kenya. The nurse then asked if I would carry one to the nursery! Of course I would! The proud grandmother was waiting anxiously near the nursery and I got to show her the newest member of the family. Gilbert told me to hurry b/c the mother was going to push at any moment. This was her 4th child so she was expected to go quickly, I got back just in time. It was so amazing. The baby just came right out! The mother did so well, no screaming or anything. But as soon as the baby was out and she heard its first little cry I heard her speaking something softly to herself. It sounded like some sort of praise. It was really beautiful. Then the most amazing part happened, b/c of a nursing shortage they asked me to grab the sterile blanket and get the baby after the cord was cut. Gilbert also gave me the suction bulb and told me to suction and stimulate the baby! I felt honored by his confidence, but was not worthy of it b/c I had no idea what to do! Thankfully, Alfred came to my rescue. I finished watching the afterbirth and was able to “examine” the placenta with Gilbert to make sure nothing was still in the mother. By this time it was 8 PM and I needed to get back home. So, I’m ready to deliver if any one wants a home birth or needs a midwife! We’ll be a husband/wife team!
Bethany is doing well. She's become quite the little bossy thing. She has named her stuffed dog Emma in honor of her favorite animal at Tenwek. Emma is some sort of boxer that belongs to the White family. She looks ferocious but is a really sweet dog. Bethany instantly fell deeply in love with her and has given her dog Emma's namesake! Well, the Whites have a 3 (almost 4) year old little girl, Anna, that is a girly-girl if I've ever seen one. One day Anna was telling Emma to "SIT". Bethany paid close attention. And every day she will demand to her stuffed animal, "Sit Emma, SIT!" Then she'll throw it off the couch or bed and say "Down Emma, DOWN!” She demands for us to kiss Emma and sit, too!
I can’t believe we have less than 2 weeks at Tenwek. At times it’s felt like a long time but it really has been a short trip and it will be hard to leave Kenya behind. I’ve really loved the missionaries, the nationals and all the visitors who have been here with us. We ate at the Fitzwater’s tonight with the Gainy’s, too. It was a good time b/c we are like the “young” couples around here :) , that’s what everyone says at least. Tomorrow we are having game night at the Bemm’s, they are teaching us Settlers so we can whoop all the Greenwood peeps! We miss everyone and appreciate all the encouragement and prayers.

Monday, July 07, 2008

My 2nd Post

I had this weekend off after working the last 12 days straight and it was great time to relax and spend more time with Tia and Bethany. On Saturday Tia and I went out to a nearby orphanage and got to see how the kids are living and then play with them for a few hours. The kids were so full of life and so eager to play with us but what really stood out to Tia and I was that when the director was introducing them he did not know all of their names. In no way does this imply that he is not doing a good job with these kids but with trying to ensure that their basic needs are met he probably doesn’t have the time to truly invest in each one of them. It breaks our heart that these children and so many others don’t have parents that not only know there names but also fill their lives with the love and attention that every child needs and deserves.
On Saturday night we went and had pizza night over at the Bemm’s house (Chuck Bemm-pediatrician and his wife Amy and there four children Abby, David, Lydia and Hannah who they just finalized her adoption from an orphanage here in Kenya). It is so amazing to spend time with so many unique families who are letting their lives truly be used by God. On Sunday we went to church and then spent most of the day just relaxing and hanging out because it rained a lot here today. We did go for a walk during part of the day where I was laughed at some more for carrying Bethany on my back since men in this culture never carry the baby but it is all just part of God teaching me humility.
A big part of this trip for Tia and I was to continue searching for what God is calling us to do with the talents and blessings he has given us. Because of my inexperience as a doctor and especially as a doctor in the mission field I have spent most of time trying to keep up with the patient load and make the best decisions that I know how for the patients. Because of the lack of experienced doctors on the medicine and pediatric services I have been acting as the “consultant” which means that I am the one who makes the final decisions on the care the patients are receiving when I am on call. At times this has been overwhelming and I have spent a lot of time looking things up on the computer or in the medical library. I have also relied on the interns here a good deal. At any rate I have not really had a lot of time to process what God is teaching me from this experience and probably will not until we get back to Greenwood.
One thing I have definitely come to appreciate is the fleeting nature of this life. Being surrounded by people in the 20’s and 30’s dying from rheumatic heart disease, esophageal cancer, meningitis, AIDS, and many other diseases that are so common here has made me realize just how short life is. Even by becoming the very best doctor I can become I will never be able to eliminate the suffering and death in this world. It has added even more emphasis to the true reason for this trip or any other mission trip, to introduce people to “the only name under heaven by which men will be saved (Acts 4:12)” Jesus does what no medicine, surgery, or money can do by giving hope, purpose and comfort to those who truly need him. Tenwek is an amazing place where doctors and nurses are providing the very best care for patients with the resources available at a minimal cost, but the real ministry here is that no patient or family comes here without hearing about the One who created them, died for them and longs to call them his children. On a daily basis I see notes in patients’ chart where they have prayed to accept Christ because the work God is doing through the chaplains here. I pray that our family continues to realize the importance of spending this life on the things that truly matter and that through us more people will come to know our Redeemer.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday, Hudson!

HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY HUDSON! Uncle Joey, Aunt Tia, and Baby can’t wait to see you and give you a big birthday hug. Make sure to save some cake and ice cream for baby. She’ll be mad if you don’t!

I've been trying to post for 2 days now and trying to email people back but the internet has been unpredictable. I haven't forgotten about you! We've been pretty busy around here. Friday’s trip to the market was great. Krista did a good job driving and we brought along her helper, Rosaline, to come with us. The market is probably just 5-7 kilometers away and we parked in a gas station that had been destroyed by the post-election violence at the beginning of the year. I was surprised that the violence was so close to Tenwek. The market was interesting, they all sale the same things so I’m not sure how anyone gets business. Rosaline was laughing b/c all the nationals were asking her if Bethany and Anne Marie were dolls! Lots asked if they were twins. Anne Marie is in the pictures I posted earlier and they don’t look anything alike! Anyways, since Carol Spears graciously let us use her car we decided to go into Bomet and get some ice cream and chocolate after the market!
Joey had to work this weekend but only rounded each day until lunch time and then was on-call. It was pretty slow until the evenings then he would start getting paged. Saturday I went with some of the missionaries and nationals to Bomet for the first ever children’s outreach effort. When we got there we had to round up some kids and soon tons of kids were at the field playing with us. They were so much fun but so confused by dodge ball! They aren’t use to picking up the ball with their hands; balls are always kicked in Kenya! Jenny Roberts (career missionary) had a speaker come after the games. The children all sat quietly and listened to his bible story and even listened intently once split into groups. They loved getting the little paper flyers we gave out. I didn’t see any paper on the ground before we left. It reminded me of how our children can be so discontented with all they have b/c they have so much and expect so much. If this program would have taken place in America the kids would have started stirring and whining before the speaker finished the introduction. And those flyers would have been trash to be picked up later. But these kids had a great time listening and learning. They are so eager for knowledge and to be taught. 26 children and 16 teenagers accepted Christ! It was such an encouraging afternoon. We had balloons for a celebration and they were beside themselves.
This week is quickly going by too. We had dinner at Dr. Carol Spears house last night with some other visitors. I am so grateful to have met all the career missionaries and to listen to their encouraging and faithful stories of what lead them to the mission field. Carol has one of the most courageous and heart-wrenching stories of all. Click the titile to find the link to read her story, or part of her story. I hope you take the time and read what amazing things the Lord can do in a life that’s willing to trust and follow even when it doesn't make sense.
Bethany and I were going to hitch a ride into Nairobi today with some of the missionaries but decided against it. I feel kind of bad leaving Joey behind for 3 days until we would return. Instead we’ve planned to leave Tenwek a day early to spend some time shopping and checking out the capital city together. Friday we will have a big 4th of July celebration here. We’ll get to grill out and have a big party in the Kipaganga (party pavilion)! Then Joey has the weekend off. We plan to hike to Montego and visit an orphanage. I hope I don’t come home with 20 Kenyan kids!
We hope everyone has a great 4th of July and stays safe. We miss you and a grateful for your support and prayers.