In the female ward Esther’s phone rang. It was her older sister who had been at Esther’s bedside every day during her 3-week hospitalization. I heard her speak to Esther in Liberian English then ask, “howa you?” Esther, who one week earlier was fighting for her life, smiled brightly and answered, “I feel fine…I feel super!” Esther (not her real name) was admitted to ELWA hospital in mid December after she developed a fever and collapsed. Her sister told us that she had become increasingly weak over the past year and was vomiting frequently and losing weight. In the ER she was fading in and out of consciousness with a temperature that exceeded 103 degrees. Her blood work showed severe malaria and her HIV test was positive. After a week of IV fluids, antibiotics and antimalarial medication, Esther became increasingly alert and was able to eat. She was seen by the HIV counselors at the hospital. After gaining a clear understanding of her illness and the importance of taking her medication, she began anti-HIV therapy. Shortly after starting the medication, Esther became critically ill again, a condition brought about by the reconstitution of her ailing immune system. With diligent nursing care and continued antibiotics and fluids, slowly her strength returned.
Little C.K. is a one-month old infant who is pictured here on his day of discharge from the hospital. C.K. presented to the emergency room with sepsis and severe malaria. (One in twelve children in Liberia die before the age of 5 and the most common cause is malaria. This disease is responsible for taking the lives of nearly 4 thousand Liberians each year). Little C.K. had not fed well for a week and by the time we saw him he had a high fever and was barely conscious. After a week of aggressive care in the hospital he began to recover. He was vigorous, feeding well and gaining weight at the time of discharge. What this photo does not capture is the huge smile of relief on mom’s face. She realized that her child had come close to death and she left the hospital repeatedly giving thanks to God for saving her child.
It is a blessing to be here in Liberia, caring for patients like Esther and C.K. whose lives have been touched by the caring staff at ELWA hospital. We see infants with malaria, typhoid, diarrhea and sepsis, children who have been struck by cars, and adults with stroke, HIV, abdominal infections and tetanus. The intensity of illness and injuries here is a constant reminder of life’s fragile nature and the importance for our team here at ELWA hospital to continue to share Christ’s love with those that we serve.
We’re excited to share our family newsletter with you
Click here to read the latest edition and find out our departure date.
In our training last March we were reminded of the need to “say goodbye well.” There is no more important goodbye than the one we will say to Josh, our son. Last week I had the privilege of traveling to University of Colorado, Boulder where he was completing a physics internship. The two of us embarked on a 4-day backpacking trip in the Rockies.
Fried trout in the mountains is a delicacy that I will never tire of. Fourteen inch cutthroat and an eight inch frying pan…”Houston, we have a problem.”
On night three, after a particularly difficult hike that included 4 miles at 12,000 feet on the continental divide, we enjoyed one of the most picturesque campsites that either of us has ever experienced. We were perched high on the side of a mountain on a shelf which was made entirely of tailings, the rock that was left over from an 1890’s gold mine. We sat at the campfire until late at night making potato dumplings, chatting, and enjoying the amazing beauty of the Rockies.
Beth and I are incredibly blessed to be moving to Liberia with Bethany and Bekah, and we are very, very grateful for Josh, our “anchor” in the States.
Being born into a family doing cross-cultural ministry in the Philippines, I was very familiar with freighter ships, containers, and oil barrels. Before the wide use of commercial trans-Pacific flights, travelers could make reservations on the American President Lines. I can still remember those early days on the wide open sea for up to 30 days. I proudly carried my little white purse with the freighter ship’s American eagle logo. Back in those days, oil barrels carried our most precious belongings. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized most kids don’t feel nostalgia for these 55 gallon steel “suitcases”. One of my favorite childhood memories takes me back to those moments when we unpacked handmade quilts we had received from church sewing circles. Regardless of which continent we called “home”, these checkered pieces of cloth became lasting symbols of love and support.
Fast forward and once again, I am becoming familiar with freighter ships and containers. When we attended our two-week training back in North Carolina we had the pleasure of meeting many of the hard-working, detail-oriented individuals who spend hours preparing containers for shipment around the globe, all the while following each country’s requirements for port entry and customs. I share this video with you today as it has special meaning to us: it’s headed to our new home. We look forward to being “on the other end” to receive these precious supplies.
Please take a moment, give thanks, and pray for continued provision and wisdom for all those involved in this wonderful ministry. Beth
Recently I was at a train depot in Berwyn Illinois and saw this bench. I thought to myself, “Oh the stories this old resting stop could tell…” The bench has become a symbol for the current chapter of my family’s life: transition and waiting. Preparing for a home in a faraway land and saying goodbye to what is known occupies our days. Excitement and sadness intermingle. Thankful for the wonderful training we have received from SIM that explained transition with the analogy of a trapeze. We must let go of that first trapeze before we can fully grip the next. Sometimes we feel only the sense of the gap mid-flight. Then we are reminded of the richness and hope of each phase: past, present, and future. My mind finds peace gazing at the bench, imagining fellow travelers waiting and transitioning, thankful for the journey.
This is a compelling video by Cissie Graham, granddaughter of Billy Graham. Watch as she expresses her heart for Liberia.