21 April 2011

Change is Hard and a New Blog

In order to protect the littles that live in my house, it's been recommended that I password protect any and all pictures and identifiable information.  The frustrating part of that is that if I stay on blogger, I have to password protect the whole blog....so I'm switching to Wordpress, where I have the option of password protecting individual posts.

You can find that blog here:  www.ripplesfromrachel.com. You have the option there of subscribing by email.  I'm going to assume that all those who subscribed to my blog before would like to continue...so I'll input your email addresses.  You'll get an email asking you to verify by clicking on the link. If you want to continue receiving the emails, go ahead and click on the link...if not, you have an easy way out.  On a password protected post, you'll have to put in the password...so email me for it...don't be discouraged!

Now...I've become somewhat proficient at navigating blogger...and I do not understand wordpress at all.  That could be blamed on sleep deprivation and a host of other things, but...if anyone has any wordpress skills, please let me know! :)

06 March 2011

Right Now

Mandie's post very accurately sums up my life right now.... it's loud, chaotic, and I can't judge anyone's parenting skills based on my own.  And...it's a good thing that there were adults in the house yesterday more extroverted than I am...I couldn't handle the chaos and had to leave for a few minutes and go take a shower, just so I could get a few minutes of relative peace and quiet.

Yet...it's all worth it. Please see the video Mandie created from our day at the orphanage yesterday:

What is your role in being obedient to James 1:27, "to minister to orphans and widows in their distress?"

27 August 2010

you know you're in Africa when...

Life here is an adventure!  I have spent nine of the last twelve days with either the medical team or the dental team doing rural clinics.  The first five days I participated in the medical clinic and it was wonderful to be doing nursing again! I took blood pressures, temperatures, patient histories, gave injections, ran errands for the providers and on rare occasions, sat with one of the doctors as they treated patients.  It was a crazy week, but wonderful to be doing medicine and to be with people who love the Lord, love people, and are great encouragers. 

This week I spent a couple days with four pediatric residents who are working on a vaccine project.  The mornings were spent at the local project and during the afternoons they were patient with me as we made use of their hired vehicle and ran around buying shelves, groceries and other random stuff. The next two days I spent with the dental team.  I am now an expert in sterilizing dental tools, so if nursing doesn't work out for me...I have a back up plan.  The dentists were also kind enough to let me pull a few teeth.  I learned that molars take extreme strength (which I don't have) to pull and that I really appreciate dentists (like these) who really love their jobs.  I could never do it, but I watched their faces light up as they talked about their patients and the teeth they had pulled!

I am finally settling into life here.  We have a gas cylinder and I cooked dinner two nights ago.  It's nice to finally have the ability to cook and we're slowly acquiring utensils and staple items.  I met one of the doctors who runs the AIDS clinic here in Masindi.  He's very well connected and has promised to introduce Mandie and me to people at the hospital so that we can start working there.

For all of my irrational fears about transportation, how life works here, and learning the culture and language, I have been blessed with answers already.  I have the phone numbers for a couple of trustworthy taxi drivers and my house helper is a wealth of information regarding culture language and where to find things.  She spent one month in England and understands the difficulty of being in a different culture and has been gracious about cultural faux pas.  What a blessing!  The Lord truly has answered my prayers for being settled here!

Last but not least, I had two opportunities to share Jesus this week!  The first was with the van driver that the team has been using all week.  He has a Muslim name so I asked him one day about it.  We had a twenty minute conversation where I shared what being a Jesus follower meant to me and he shared that he had converted from Catholicism to Islam 10 years ago.  Please keep Herruna in your prayers.  I don't know when I'll see him again, but if you know me well, you know my heart is drawn to Muslims and I hope for more opportunities.  The second was at the dental clinic two days in a row.  Two hundred people came each day to wait in line to see the dentist.  I had a captive audience and was able to share with them why we come and offer these services.  It was a great opportunity to testify how the Lord has worked in my life and the lives of the dentists and why we would come around the world to take blood pressures or pull teeth.

Thanks for your prayers and your emails!  What a blessing you are to my heart!

oh...and you know you're in Africa when:

Your headlamp becomes the bathroom light.
Sleeping under a mosquito net is no longer elegant and classy.
The morning discussion during mobile clinics includes the quality of the latrines as compared to yesterday.
Someone says "hello" and you respond with "fine."

13 August 2010

Landing in Africa

After several days of trying to get on the internet, I finally succeeded! :) Internet and power are both things I will now never take for granted!

I made it to Kampala (the capital of Uganda) on Tuesday night with no troubles.  Mandie and I had smooth connections and slept a lot of the way.  Random funny moment of the trip: on our way from Amsterdam to Kampala we both fell asleep with our tray tables down.  We woke up to find a slip of paper with a man’s name and phone number on my tray table.  We have no idea who this man was so we decided to leave the paper on the plane when we got off.

Tuesday night we spent the night in Kampala with a family from Water Mission.  It was a good introduction to the country.  They live in a nice house at the top of a hill.  The stars were amazing!  I could see the Milky Way cloud better than I ever have.  It was beautiful!

Wednesday morning, Michael and Amanda (the couple overseeing the building of the hospital) and Mandie and I set out for Masindi with a pit stop to exchange money, buy cell phones, and buy lunch and a few snacks.  I had saved a set of plastic silverware from the plane that we used to make tuna sandwiches.  When we arrived in Masindi the power was out, but the bishop welcomed us and introduced us to our new house.  Mandie and I unpacked our small suitcases and lamented all the things that we forgot, but overall it was a good day.  Michael took us to buy water and a few other necessities.  We bought a couple packages of ramen, but returned home to find out that even if the power came back on, we have a gas stove and no gas to boil water.  Fortunately, we had bought two cans of tuna and so ate tuna again with a small bottle of wine that we had gotten from the plane.  Mandie had just enough power on her computer that we watched The Proposal.  The power came back on around eleven in time for us to go to bed.

We have a wonderful three bedroom, two bathroom house.  It’s way too big for just two of us, which means it’s perfect for visitors (hint, hint, hint).  Mandie and I were both feeling a bit lost last night so we ended up sleeping in the same room last night.  It’s a double bed, but now our goal is to figure out how to move the twin bed into the room and then we’ll just share….meaning, we have two guest rooms!

We spent Thursday going from shop to shop looking at things we need to set up our house.  We came home with trash cans, a frying pan, knives, oatmeal, scrub brushes and pads, a mirror, and a pan.  Slowly we’re getting equipped.  Now we just need a gas cylinder so that we can use our stove and oven!

This summer I've been doing the Beth Moore study on the Tabernacle.  I am a few days behind because of packing and travel, which was ended up being perfect timing.  The first morning in Africa, these are the verses that I read:

"Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right or to the left." Isaiah 30:21

"I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them.  I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains.  These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone."  Isaiah 42:16

"Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily bring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the L*rd will be your rear guard (italics mine)."  Isaiah 58:8

So many times in this process of moving to Africa, I have been reminded that this truly is a plan from G*d.  These verses above should be my theme for the year, in times of discouragement or culture shock or frustration.  I know that He has a plan and I know that His glory will be my rear guard! What a promise!  I didn't think culture shock would hit as quickly as it has, but arriving in Masindi and not having power or gas to cook with or any food, and not knowing the language or the culture, it hit....and these were good verses to remember.  Things have gotten better now that the power has come back on and I've eaten a few real meals! :)

The team arrives tomorrow with all of our stuff and I'm looking forward to having more than one skirt to wear!

Thanks for praying! I have felt so loved!  I'm hoping to be able to get online every couple of days, but if I don't respond right away, don't be worried! Life is just a little more complicated here than it is in the US.

02 August 2010

7 days, 2 hours, 58 minutes and counting

I have one week left at home. It's a busy week that includes spending time with people, shopping, sewing, and tying up any loose ends. I'm way behind on my emails and if I said I'd do something for you and haven't done it...you should probably remind me.

 I was using the foyer downstairs as my packing location, but then Robbie moved his apartment home while he looks for a job and now the foyer is his storage closet. So, I've moved my stuff into my room:

 So as time winds down this is my laundry list of things to do:
  • Purchase seeds for an herb garden
  • Buy Walmart out of toiletries
  • Find a black pair of scrub pants
  • Sew a lining into four or five beach cover-ups skirts so that I don't flash the world.
  • Find a skirt/dress or two that I actually like.
  • Finish packing and meet Mandie with my trunks on Thursday
  • Write thank-you notes
  • Sign power of attorney forms for my parents
  • Register for Moody classes
  • Find my brain (lofty goal...I realize)
  • Enjoy the week

For all you Jane Austen haters lovers, these are high on my packing list.

27 July 2010

13 days!

I leave in 13 days and have been overwhelmingly blessed with love and support. I cannot even begin to describe how thankful I am for those of you who have joined my support team, emailed me and called me to tell me that you're praying for me and love me.

Not only have I reached my support goals, but you have also given me nutritional supplements, shampoo and conditioner, medical textbooks for the clinic, and money for last minute purchases. The days are passing quickly, but in the last two weeks I've been able to see friends in Charleston, Hilton Head, and North Carolina and will be in Asheville this weekend for a cousin's wedding/Fuller family reunion. What a way to spend my last few days in America!

Seriously...I have to be the best-cared-for person leaving to go overseas ever!

Some of you have asked what I still need. So...if you're going through your closets, I need to expand my collection of long-ish skirts, short sleeve shirts that can be worn with said long-ish skirts, and scrubs.

And if anyone had a pediatric stethoscope and/or a good quality adult stethoscope not in use that you were willing to donate, that would be amazing! Both Mandie and I have stethoscopes, but they're only slightly better than isolation stethoscopes. These aren't needs...just "it would be nice ifs..."

Y'all are wonderful! I thank my God everyday for you....

Love, rachel

13 July 2010

Africa Here I Come!

It’s official: I bought my plane ticket!!! I leave August 9th for Masindi, Uganda! Yikes!

Last week PIONEERS Africa gave me permission to go! We worked up a contract between PI and Palmetto Medical Initiative outlining the relationship and so I’m moving forward!

My support raising adventure has been exciting! As of today, I’m at 90% for my monthly support needs and 100% for departure. I still need $150/month which means finding 10 people who will support me at $25/month!

Please let me know if you are willing to join my team, either in prayer or financial support! If you would like to financially partner with me, please visit pioneers.org/give. They have an option for monthly automated giving. My account number is 110942.

Please contact me: countingitjoy@gmail.com or visit my blog: http://smallripples.blogspot.com
* I'll be living in Masindi, just to the right of Lake Albert

Prayer Request
Please be praying for my arrival there and the staff I will be responsible for training. My inadequacy is a great opportunity for the Lord to show His glory. The vision of PMI is to create a hospital that provides excellent healthcare that is also eventually self-sustaining. When I started this adventure, I thought about the patients for whom I would care, but more recently, the Lord has given me a vision to see the staff of the hospital become passionate for the Lord and for His message. That may seem obvious, but Uganda is not among the unreached nations and some say the percentage of Christians is as high as 90%. I pray that the Lord will set apart the staff; that they would not just call themselves Christians because of their cultural background, but that they would be authentic followers of Jesus. Please pray for the first couple months as I assess their skills as nurses, as well as their spiritual condition.