Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dar es Salaam, Malaria, Open Doors

God is so good to us all the time.  I can't thank Him enough for all that He is doing, all that He is allowing us to do for Him, for all the prayer partners that are praying for us, for the support He brings to us through our friends, for healing and for safety.
Ubungo Hill Church Dar es Salaam
It has been a long month.  We left Kibidula on the 7th of last month and we will return the 6th of this month (tomorrow.)  God has been so merciful.  We have faced mountains of challenges and seen miraculous intervention from our Loving Lord!  
We were blessed to work with Pastor Twakaniki in his district and worked at the Ubungo Hill, Kibangu Juu and External churches.  We had OVER 600 people come to the churches for the health expos/health testing (and more than 1/3 were from outside the church and many religions outside of Christianity.) 
While at the first church we put ourselves up in a hotel and took care of all of our own food needs and other needs (transport, washing our own clothes, everything.)
Site number 2 Kibangu Juu Dar es Salaam
Health expo Kibangu Juu
Health presentations Kibangu Juu

Then Friday we were planning to go to Zinga, but our plans didn't work out so we ended up going to Kibangu Juu.  We stayed with Mama Chacha in her home with her helpers.  We had help with our food and cooking, and that helped us to concentrate more on our presentations and work.  We really enjoyed our host and the people we worked with.  We only had a couple of helpers at Ubungo Hill, but we had about 14 helpers at this church and it made a huge difference.  We trained them, and they did the work.  Then Helen and Mary helped with answering questions and giving health education about different issues.
The first Saturday at the second church Joshua threw up numerous times during the day, then he was okay.  
External Church Dar es Salaam

First day of Health expo out back of the External Church
External Church learning health principles

When we got back from Zanzibar they had put up this tarp for the health expo.

Our helpers doing various health tests
We moved to the third church (External on Sunday.  We had over 14 people volunteer to help with the health expo!)  We stayed with Tito and his family about a 10 minute walk from the church.  They were wonderful people, they took care of the cooking and even washed our clothes for us!   By the time we left his home, he was enjoying the healthy foods we ate and was encouraged to make good changes for the long term.
Then one week after Joshua's throwing up, the first Sunday at the third church, Joshua started feeling really badly.  He had a tremendous headache, muscle aches, and high fever.  With his throwing up the week before and these symptoms we started him in malaria medicine immediately.  
We had planned to go to Zanzibar to meet up with the Harnisch family that just completed a very successful campaign for two months there reaching out to those who were interested in the Truth from other walks of life.  Many people came forward asking for Bibles, and many have started studying to be baptized!  We wanted to get their teaching methods and any materials that they had to offer, and our trip was very worth the effort, even with a very sick child.  
While crossing the Indian Ocean between Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam

Monday morning very early Joshua perked up enough to make the two hour ferry ride (at 7 am)  across a short stretch of the Indian Ocean to get to Zanzibar.  The Harnisch family had just finished the day before and had two days before having to fly back to Cananda.  They had hoped to show us around Zanzibar see a few things themselves, and to share their experience and methods with us.  At 9 a.m. we arrived in Zanzibar.  Joshua's fever and diarrhea got to the point that most of the plans got cancelled. 
Two of a few sea stars (star fish) that we saw on the beach at Zanzibar

 We continued him on his medications, and tried to keep his fever under control.  He was up and in the bathroom more than he wasn't, it seems for a while.  It was a good thing there were two bathroom in the place they were staying or we would have been in trouble.  There were several times that he was a bit delirious and we all wondered if he would survive.  He was so very sick.  He had to be forced to eat and drink anything (which is so untypical of him!)  We were trying to keep him hydrated, keep his fever down, and keep him with energy to fight this thing.   He spent the rest of the day Monday, almost all the day Tuesday and a short time Wednesday resting and running to the restroom.  Wednesday morning, he was starting to feel better and we were to catch the 9:30 ferry back to Dar es Salaam.  Joshua was much better this time across the ocean and stayed awake for the entire trip.  We even saw a few dolphins for a very brief time.  By the time we landed he was starting to feel pretty bad again.  By Friday his appetite started to increase and he had enough energy that he went to the meetings with us.  He even translated for me because there was no one else there available to do the job.  He almost got through it, but had to excuse himself one more time toward the end.  By then Ellen was done with giving health counseling and she finished translating for me.  
Saturday was our farewell to the third church and we had a surprise visit from the conference president who had many good words to say about the work we had done and encouraged us to continue working with his conference and churches.  
Sunday a group of fellow missionaries and a guest arrived in Dar es Salaam.  We had made arrangements to ride back with them since Joshua was not up to a 9 hour bus ride with two potty breaks.  Our helper Ellen also had a death in the family, so she needed to return to her home for a period of time.  So all is working out with our schedule.  We will go home and get healed up, rested up and ready to continue this work in a few weeks if all goes as planned.
We got a room in town center (with a sit-down toilet and a/c!)  Honestly we might have had a couple of good nights sleep since coming here almost a whole month ago.  The heat and humidity, along with mosquitos, noise and lights had been a challenge.  So having a little cool and white noise has been a welcome relief.  I think we are all starting to feel a little more rested.  
We also took transport over to Family Hut Beach and took a few hours off away from all the noise and population of the city.  It was a very quiet beach and we only have a few interruptions of people wanting to sell us things.  It was a great time to have some quiet.  The person who runs this part of the beach climbed a coconut tree to get us some fresh coconuts.  The fresh juice (coconut water) was very nice.  It was a wonderufl time to listen to the sounds of the ocean, think about how big God is and how wonderful and magnificent He is and yet He thinks about and cares about each one of us.  I was praising Him for the work He is doing and for the many answered prayers.  We also got sunburned. 
Our shade at Family Hut beach

Joshua feeling much better and digging in the sand at the beach.
We had one bad run-in with a thief on the way back.  He was opening up Doug's backpack as we walked back to the hotel, even though I was just behind Doug walking, also.  Doug caught him and scolded him fiercely, and then I did also. Getting caught stealing can cost a person their life, we didn't want that, but we certainly didn't want him to think it was okay either. 
Tomorrow, we will leave at 3:30 am to go back home to Kibidula.  
I have heard that my cat has been seen far away from our house.  I hope he will return.  
We have to make a run down to Mago to take care of the salaries and paperwork there for Eden Valley Foster Care Mission, then it sounds like we might have some more health outreach and teaching starting to line up already.  I got a call from Pastor Twakaniki just a while ago about the next church that would like us to come here.  
We have heard MANY wonderful testimonies from many people who have learned and started putting into practice some very important health principles.  Having people drink enough water, teaching which food promote health and which ones cause lifestyle diseases, encouraging them to exercise and avoid health harming substances has been a real eye-opener for many.  Many people who were dangerously overweight had no idea that their weight was dangerous to their health.  Some people that were underweight didn't know that it could cause them to be so tired.  People were making changes and feeling better even withing 24 hours!  Some people were only drinking 1 cup of water each day!  Here in Dar even with drinking 3 liters (about 12 cups) per day, we were usually dehydrated.  
There were several people that said - I am going to do this.  I am going to really make these changes.  I will do it for a month and see how I feel (and they would come back after just one or two days and say how much better they felt!)  So we praise the Lord for bringing a little more light into people's lives and encouraging them in their health...  because as the body is healthy, then the mind is more healthy.  And the mind is where we understand God and His wonderful Love.  We try very hard to explain how much God loves us and wants us to be in health (3John1:2, Romans 12:1,2 and many more.)  And when we have better health we can be blessed and be a blessing to others. God is so good!    

No comments:

Post a Comment