February 1, 2014I’m back at Namwianga after a wonderful furlough back in America. I am blessed that my cousin Emily is spending two months with me right now, too! We arrived smack in the middle of rainy season, so the days are either hot, hot, hot or wet and chilly. It’s such a beautiful time of year here when everything is so green and alive!
I think it will always be incredibly difficult to leave loved ones behind, so I’m grateful at least be able to come back to sweet reunions! Although I’d been receiving updates on the babies regularly, it was still shocking and fun to see how much they had grown and changed while I’d been away. Everyone had some new skill or another and the aunties were so proud to show me all of them!Unfortunately, I came home to a couple of sick ones as well. We got off the plane in Livingstone and drove directly to Zimba Hospital to check on one of our new babies, Chabilo. When she was discharged from the hospital, we brought her home with us for a week to get her a bit stronger. She is doing well now, though still underweight and frail. Please keep praying for her as we try to nurse her back to health. Donovan is another little one in a similar situation who could use your prayers for good growth and health.
Loveness, a 4 month old little girl, struggled for her life for two weeks, and she ended up dying last Sunday. She became oxygen dependent for no known reason, and we exhausted all resources available to us here to figure out what was wrong. It never gets easier to watch a child fight to live against all odds, and it is a hard privilege to advocate for them in the midst of it all. Our hearts are heavy still with her loss and as we await her burial.
I have always dreamed of having a place at the Haven to do language class with the kids, do therapies and tummy time and guided play time. Right now we make do with the spaces we find, but it leaves room for many interruptions and distractions for both me and the kids. I’m so excited to announce that I now have a special room to use just for this! It needs a lot of repair and renovation, but it will be so perfect and allow us all a special place to accomplish these tasks. We are starting on the repairs, but are already using the space for language class—the kids love it! They feel extra special getting to go somewhere different (albeit 50 feet away!). I’ll send some pictures when we get things done.
I was apprehensive about what my absence did for my Tonga, but it may have actually been the best thing for it! Stepping away was refreshing and resting for my tired mind, and I found I actually hadn’t lost anything (or gained anything probably!) while I was gone. I also came back with a renewed excitement and dedication to keep working on it. This month’s goal is to speak no English to anyone who can speak Tonga. You may think, well why aren’t you doing that all the time? In theory, I do. But the majority of people you run into can speak English, and they will lead with English. It’s easy to slip into responding in English, and before I know it I’ve missed an opportunity. As with most things, we’ve allowed for some exceptions. I don’t have to speak Tonga on the phone all the time (the network makes it hard enough to understand in English!), and I can speak in English to my Tonga teacher as we work on our lessons and clarify things. Also, if I’m really tired I don’t have to speak Tonga- just kidding! My ability to speak and understand Tonga is such an important piece of what I want to accomplish here, so I’d love your prayers for my ability, my stamina, and my intentionality with this mission.My grade eight girls are now in grade nine, so I now teach the grade nine bible study each Wednesday night. It was great to see all twelve of them again, and we actually added two new faces. This year we are studying what it truly means to say you are a Christian, a follower of Christ, and how that should change how we live. It’s extremely challenging material for me to study as well, so I am enjoying and growing from our time together each week.
Thank you for your continued prayers for me, Namwianga, our children, and the aunties. It was a true blessing to get to see so many of you when I was home, and I value the relationship we have. Have a blessed month!
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org