Archive | April, 2011

New Life

23 Apr

This baby was prayed for and anticipated long before she made her entrance. A donated crib awaited his or her arrival.God heard the cries of my heart as I seriously wondered if this postdates baby would be healthy and whether her mother would fare well. Practicing midwifery in a foreign country is far different than in the US. Fortunately,usually things are normal and normal pregnancy is what midwives specialize in.
Pre and Postnatal care is provided by our clinic providers, but the actual delivery is left to a random provider in a public hospital. My client feared this. Finally I texted her that it was time to have this baby. She calmly responded it wasn’t time. Well, tomorrow it is time…I thought, and prayed that this baby would make her entrance before my cautious management became worry. Late the following evening, I received a call that contractions were regular and my client was headed to the hospital after some tortillas and cheese. I prayed with her, and she thanked me for making her feel calm and capable, even though I wasn’t at her side. Several hours later a healthy baby girl finally arrived!
Here she is!

This client was one of the few that continue care postpartum, and was the first to receive home visits due to her lack of resources and need. I was overjoyed as I was able to continue a tradition I began during my final births in midwifery school–a birthday cake complete with pink or blue embellishments and a candle. I had to improvise here in Tres Rios, with a large slice of tres leches and some sprinkles, a pink candle, and a much desired Spanish Bible!

Slipping away, changing gears and location

22 Apr

So much of my role involves talking, coaching and thinking.  Sometimes it is from my home office, sometimes in a wide variety of countries and conditions, but it always involves decisions, judgment calls, diplomacy and strategy.  That is why we love opportunities to completely change gears and draw on different skill sets and experience from years past.  Cathi and I joined the International Youth Group for their Spring retreat at La Cumbre, a camp high in the mountains (7,500 ft.) of central Costa Rica.  We weren’t leading, weren’t in charge.  We were just the nurses and for us it was a wonderful time of relaxation.

Anna came along and did her best to keep up with the teens.  The “Leap of Faith” high ropes was perhaps a bit too much for her though.

Ben plays guitar on the worship team and for the first time played his ukulele in public.

This high mountain “holler” is a destination for birdwatching afficianados to catch a glimpse of the Quetzal.  We were treated to a real display without even searching for it.

And of course, there was just time to be with my young girl and enjoy God’s amazing creation.

Work is God’s gift to us.  Yet even if we enjoy it we can recharge by doing something completely different for a time.  Time away can be an opportunity to get perspective on our “regular” lives.  Cathi and I love what we do and we love that we can take some short detours along the way.
There is a slogan by LG Electronics….Life’s Good.  It has nothing to do with electronics, but I have to agree, even when it’s tough, life’s good.  Thank God, not LG.


19 Apr

Although Brian and I have lived nearly five years of our life in countries where poverty, sickness, and hardship are prevalent, we have spent the majority of our lives in relative comfort with material possessions not found among the minority world. We have been frugal so as to save for our children’s educations, travel, and give to those less fortunate, and to missionaries throughout our married life.

Last month, one of my clinic patients missed a visit. She had faithfully come to prenatal checks without fail, and I attributed this to a need to work or entertain family from Nicaragua. The following visit I learned of the real reason. This mother, considered high risk for numerous reasons, now was jobless, which in this situation meant, homeless, and without money for transportation to clinic or the basic necessities of life. She and I had bonded over the months of prenatal visits, and I knew she and her husband were hardworking individuals. She was 36 weeks pregnant, and in a desperate situation. I drove her to the local supermarket, to buy basics to sustain and adequately nourish her baby in the last weeks of development. She put beans, rice, sugar, powdered milk, ketchup, tortillas, and oil in the cart. I urged her, and placed protein-rich eggs, four premade hamburger patties, and some chicken legs in the cart. I made a mental calculation of the items in the cart–this store did not accept credit or debit cards, so I realized only five dollars remained in my pocket. A bar of baby soap and a tiny pack of diapers would be useful. She refused a ride home, and I helped her with the heavy nonperishables, and asked several young men at the bus stop to help her on and off the bus. My thoughts ran wild, why did she not want to be driven home, would she continue to have contractions and go into early labor…oh why wasn’t I more insistent…?

This client was the first one I had ever given my cell phone number to. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, and torn by compassion during one of her first clinic visits(she traveled on 3 buses, 6 hours round trip to each office visit). Missed appointment number two. Finally, word from her via text that she had no money for bus fare, no food and little money from the odd jobs her husband found as he could.
Six kilometers from my comfortable home outside San Jose, in a corrugated tin room, with a bed, a broken down crib, and no refrigerator or stove, I made a home visit which humbled me. This dear couple, a modern day Mary and Joseph, awaited the birth of their child. Displaced from their family and familiar surroundings, they were desperate to hear the good news of the gospel, and needed the compassion of others to live. Following this visit, she gave me two pounds of green beans and zucchini and hugged me tightly.
Humbled beyond words.

Video greeting from Costa Rica

12 Apr

Dominican Republic missions and church planting conference

8 Apr
Two ReachGlobal missionaries and a missions pastor from San Antonio are working with our partners, Ministerios Bendicion in the Dominican Republic as they hold a missions conference and church planting boot camp.  Mike Gunderson from ReachGlobal is teaching alongside Rick Lowe from Wayside Chapel along with Clyde Porter as our ReachGlobal staff committed to this exciting partnership.  Pray that God opens doors for national church planters and missionaries.

Latin faces tell stories – an iPad experiment

8 Apr

Last summer a very generous friend who believes in the work we are doing gave me an iPad.  At the time I had no idea how much it would become a part of my work.  Today my iPad is pretty much with me everywhere I go and has replaced the heavy laptop when I travel.  One of the drawbacks though was that I couldn’t do video editing on the road with just the iPad.  When the iPad 2 came out the iMovie app also arrived but would work on mine….officially anyway.  But then along comes my son Ben who has made himself an expert in all things that begin with an i.  This week we installed iMovie on my iPad 1 and this is my first little video put together in a very few minutes.  It is just a photo montage, nothing fancy, but I anticipate creating more video blog entries as I travel now that the capability is in my hands.  Watch for more!