Saturday, February 16, 2013


Driving past the airport conjured up a memory of a conversation I had two weeks ago with Nana.  It was the day before we were going to take out her catheter.  She had been through this multiple times in the past few months, each time another disappointment.  I told her, "we are going to take out your catheter tomorrow,"  I'll never forget her response..."If I go home dry, then I'll take you home with me, but if I am wet then I'm coming home with you."  Nana has been here since November; she has seen 4 different surgeons, and had 3 different operations by 3 different surgeons to try and close the hole that causes her to leak urine. Before coming to us she has tried 2 other times to close the hole, to no avail.  Her last surgery was in January, and to the glory of God she is dry! 

What were you doing on Valentine's day? Was it filled with romance, roses, and chocolate (all very good things, mind you!)?  I didn't get to enjoy those things this year, instead my day was filled with inexpressible joy from a lady that has captured more of my heart than I knew existed. I got to make true on my promise to go home with Nana if she went home dry.  Myself, and a few others drove her to her village to reunite with her husband, whom she hasn't seen in over 3 months.  Nana is one of the fortunate ones whose husband has stuck by her side while she tries to get healing from this terrible condition.

The whole car ride there was filled with excitement, giggles as she looked out the window at the passing scene, and a little sadness at the thought of leaving us. She sang us songs about how well she has eaten over the months, the quality of our towels (yes the kind you bathe with), and how the white people love her! I am going to miss those songs that I can hear all the way from my room a deck above.

As we drove up the road to her village, family and friends came running up to the Land Rover, excited to see Nana home again.  The best part was seeing the look on Nana and her husband's face when they saw each other for the first time in months, and the tender embraces that ensued.

This Valentine's day far surpassed all the Valentine's that I've had in this life. I can't imagine being able to top it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Just yesterday I made the decision to return as VVF Team Leader with Mercy Ships in January of next are a few moments that happened this week that helped sway me:

 Every day at handover the nurses gather together in a big circle. A few weeks ago a patient or two started joining us. Then something amazing happened. Every day a couple more join us, to where now there is 6 or 7 ladies interspersed between the nurses.  They bow their heads with us when we pray, and today for the first time one of the patients actually prayed out loud with us! I had my head bowed and eyes closed listening intently to the prayers of the nurses; first a prayer in Dutch, then a prayer in French, and then, to my surprise, a prayer in Susu, the local language.  My heart was filled with joy and awe at a God who is doing amazing things.

It’s like a constant slumber party on the ward.  It has the vibe of 20 girls having a sleepover. They like to lay in bed, chat with each other from across the room, and giggle unceasingly.  I am surrounded by constant hair braiding, and nail painting... I love it!

 You’re never too old to sit on someone’s lap.  Today at worship time I peaked around the corner to find a 60+ year old patient sitting, like a child, on the translators lap! It was such a sweet moment of embrace, and comfort.  Everyone needs to be held in loving arms at least once in their life, it was probably hers.

 The dress ceremony.  A time of utter joy and celebration, rejoicing and fun. The joy is infectious, and spreads to all...even those who are not dry. It’s an amazing phenomenon.

The amount of back rubs and head rubs I get on an hourly basis. I have the unfortunate requirement of sitting in front of a computer most of the day. BUT that does not mean I don’t get love and attention every time one of the ladies walks by my desk. Inevitably they stop, rub my back for a bit, and keep on moving.  Awesome.
 The ladies. period. end of story. I love them---they’ve captured my heart.  I know there will be new and different ladies in the Congo, but I know I will love them just the same. There is something special about a lady with VVF...God has blessed them for sure.

On another note, I get to accompany a patient home to be reunited with her husband on Valentine's day!! How sweet, huh?!  Except, no mama-papa business for them--strict doctors orders!