Monday, December 27, 2010

Bible Distribution at Princess Marina Hospital

Well today was Bible distribution day at Princess Marina Hospital. Every year Flying Mission staff and some volunteers meet at Princess Marina Hospital the day after Christmas to give Bibles to all of the patients. This year we had over 650 Bibles to give away! We feel honored to have had the opportunity to be a part of sharing the Word of God with so many people!

I probably spent the most of my time in the maternity wards since there were over a hundred women in there with their brand new babies! One of the women even asked me to hold her precious little girl who was just days old! She was the tiniest baby I have ever held…way tinier than Tristan was! What an honor it was to hold that new little girl and give her mommy a bible in her own language! It was definitely a bit of a shocker walking into the maternity ward…it is nothing like the maternity wards in the United States. Each room had about 14 or 15 beds squished together with barely any room to walk in between and then every spot on the floor that was big enough was another mattress. Every room looked full to the max! There wasn’t such a thing as private rooms…I have never seen anything like it. How spoiled I was to have had my own room for delivery and then my own room for recovery as well. I was pampered by the nurses and had constant help from them! Those women were pretty much on their own…plus had absolutely no privacy. It was a very humbling experience to say the least.

Jeff had the privilege of praying with one of the patients we gave a bible too. He was unable to use his legs but we were not told why. It was very sad. When he leaves the hospital how will he support himself? Does he have family to take care of him? Those questions have been weighing on my heart and mind but ultimately does he know our Savior? We can’t know these things but we can pray that the Lord will bless him and take care of him and bring him to an understanding of his Word! Please be praying with us that all of these patients we briefly met and gave Bibles to would come to know Christ as their personal Savior! So they can stop living in fear and live eternally with their loving God and Creator! Thank you so much! Your prayers are greatly appreciated!

Today while at the Bible distribution I became aware of a few projects that you guys could be a part of. As soon as I get a little more information I look forward to sharing these opportunities with all of you! I will be sharing about these projects in my next note =). Be looking for “Project Nappies”(their word for diapers here) and “Project Bible Distribution”.

Also a friend took a bunch of pictures today and as soon as possible I will post some for you all to see!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A note from Jeff

One of my on call days last week.

The day began nice and slow. It was about 10:30 AM on what was shaping up to be a very hot day in Botswana. I had been home for about 14 hours since my last flight had landed at around 8:30 the night before. Sarah and I had been able to enjoy a nice breakfast together and Tristan was playing with his new kitten friend. The call came in around 11:00 and within 10 minutes I was airport-bound. I arrived at our hangar about 10 minutes later and began the preflight. Jon, the Captain for this flight, arrived shortly after and began filing the flight plan and checking the weather for the flight. Once our medics, Patrick and Collin, arrived we closed the cabin door and started up for Maun. We were airborne from Sir Siretse Khama International Airport just over 50 minutes from the time of the call, our goal for every Mercy flight.

Jon took the 1st leg to Maun and within an hour and half, we were on the ground. Go figure, the ambulance was not there. African time is very different from US time and when they hear an hour and half, they expect it to take at least 2-3 hours. Oh, by the way, when I say ambulance don’t have in mind a nice United States ambulance with all the fancy life saving equipment inside. Think instead of a pickup truck with a covered back and AMBULANCE written across the side. Inside this ambulance was a lady and the tiniest baby I have ever seen in my life. Evidently she had needed an emergency c-section before the baby was ready to be born and only had the local clinic to do it. In the process she had lost lots of blood which can be very hard to come by in an AIDs stricken country, not to mention she was out in the middle of nowhere. Our medics started doing what they do best and got the patient stabilized and loaded into the airplane. We had brought a baby incubator as part of our equipment for this flight because we didn’t know the status of the baby, but it wasn’t needed. Despite being only 2.5 lbs, the baby was doing just fine and was sleeping soundly. But the mother needed a hospital so we fired up the King Air and departed for the closest hospital located in Francistown at about 290 miles per hour. It was my leg now and 55 minutes later I landed in Francistown where the ambulance was waiting to take mother and baby to get the help they need. I got to carry that precious 2.5 lb baby off the plane, hands down the best part of the flight!!! Thank the Lord for a safe flight!

After fueling we headed back to Gaborone and landed at around 7:00 PM. We fueled in Gabs just in case there was another flight that night. I walked in the door to our house at around 8:00 to the sight of a smiling baby boy! I’ll be honest, I don’t think that could ever get old. I kissed Sarah and was getting ready to give Tristan a bath when my phone rang. It was our Chief Pilot with another emergency flight to Maun. I laughed and said “Good one Tim”. “Sorry Jeff, no joke this time”. So 20 minutes after I had walked in the door, I was walking back out again for the exact same place we had been just 6 hours earlier! Sarah is an amazing girl and keeps a good attitude even though late night flights aren’t the most fun for her either.

It was my leg going to Maun this time, at least we got to change that part up a little bit. We were cruising at 26,000 feet that night and although it was clear, there were no lights below us as far as the eye could see. It’s an eerie blackness flying over the Kalahari at night and it still gives me an odd feeling when I experience it. But when I look up on those nights, the stars are brighter than any night sky I’ve ever seen. We dim the cockpit lights way down and experience God’s magnificence and glory in a way that few get to experience. I was filled with awe and a verse in Hebrews 11 was brought to mind, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed by God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible”. What an awesome God we serve who could create such beauty out of nothing! We arrived in Maun to a little boy not much older than Tristan. He had swallowed sulferic acid, commonly used in lead-acid car batteries. He had acid burns all over the outside and inside of his mouth and who knew what else internally. When I looked at him, I could see Tristan and my heart hurt for him. Again, we flew to Francistown and delivered the patient safely with his mom to the hospital there. By the time we got the airplane put to bed and got ourselves something to eat (as it had been since breakfast when we had all last eaten), it was around 2 AM. There was no way we were going to try and fly back to Gabs. We wandered into the FMS guest house in Francistown and passed out on the nice comfortable beds that were waiting for us. If only we would have known that at 10:30 the next morning we would be going BACK to Maun again for a lady who was in sepsis from blood poisoning.

We flew back to Gaborone after our final Maun-Francistown run late in the afternoon. After dodging some of the hugest thunderstorms I’ve ever seen, we made it back to Gaborone. I walked in the door around 7:45 PM after having been gone for the better part of 2 days, with people and experiences in my mind that I will never forget.

Thank you all for your support of Sarah and I! We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you!



This is my co-worker, Jon, holding the 2.5 lb baby. I managed to snap the picture right before we headed off to Francistown.
This is the mother receiving a blood transfusion in the airplane.
This wasn't from that particular flight but it gives you the idea.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My new word for the day...."Nnana"

Well Tristan is sitting nicely eating some banana puffs we brought from the States so here goes another note!

Yesterday Jeff had the day off work so we decided to do some fun shopping...or as we call it "Chinese shopping it". Chinese shops are little stores that sell a variety of things for very very cheap. They always have different things and we always enjoy finding awesome deals on things we need. So we spent the afternoon driving around to as many of these different shops as we could find. We found some great deals on a few things we needed as well as some fun little Christmas presents for Tristan. While we were in one of the shops a cute little girl walked in with her mom and as soon as she saw Tristan started pointing and yelling "Nnana! Nnana!". It was so cute and I figured she was about the age where little kids point and yell baby baby when they see a baby. So as we walked past I asked the Mother if that meant baby. Yes it did!! So my new word for the day was Nnana meaning baby! How fun to keep learning new words here and there!

We are really looking forward to officially starting our language study here! We just received an email saying the next beginners setswana class will be starting sometime in January. So starting January we will be going to a setswana class once a week. We are excited to get to learn more than just the greetings and few words that you pick up here and there. Please pray that we will be dedicated in our study of setswana!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tristan's New Best Friend!

Well I can't believe how long it has been since I have sent an update...I wish I could blame it all on the internet but even though the internet was down for over a month we have had working internet now for a few weeks. I am not a writer =) but hope to get better at keeping you all updated!
I wanted to introduce you to the new addition to our little family! A few weeks ago some good friends here found an abandoned kitten in their yard. It was stuck in their tree meowing one morning and they rescued it. He was very very tiny and probably to little to be away from his Mom yet. He was also starving which made him look even smaller. They called and asked if we would like him and we almost immediately said yes! I was a little nervous about doing the whole cat thing again...many of you know that we have had lots of not so good cat experiences. The idea of having a pigeon killer won out though! Plus kittens are just so cute... =)

He has proven to be a very helpful little guy! True he has had his fair share of the 3 accidents on our bed when we weren't paying attention and the constant meowing when we first left him outside all day. Oh and we can't forget the time he sprayed Jeff and the chair he was sitting in....still can't figure out why that happened...I didn't know such little kittens could do that. Thankfully the good definitely out weighs the bad! He has become an expert bug killer/eater! I dislike bugs very much so just that in itself is wonderful =). He has also started chasing and attacking pigeons but he is still much smaller than they are so has not become an accomplished pigeon killer yet. I hope he eventually scares them off! Best of all he has become Tristan's best friend! The first time Tristan saw the kitten he started giggling and quickly they became best friends. Wherever one is the other! I have been amazed at how gentle they both are with eachother. Of course Tristan is not super coordinated at 8 months so when he pets his friend it is more like hitting....but the kitten nibbles at his toes and play attacks Tristan like he is one of his sibling they stay about equal with any roughness. The kitten has never scratched Tristan even with all of the playing they do....we really feel lucky to have gotten such a sweet kitten!

We have not picked out a name for Tristan's little friend. Instead we plan on waiting to see if Tristan starts calling him something cute when he starts talking. We just call him kitty or kitten for now =). It will be fun to see what his name becomes =).

Here are a few pictures and there are lots more of Tristan and the kitten on my facebook if you want to see more pictures!

I plan to post/email more of our first experiences soon! Thanks for being patient with me =)!