Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Greetings! Sorry this post is disheveled and short....Tim will write the next one! I gotta do more homework! AHHHH.
So, this afternoon, the clinic was given a makeover. It was too costly to hire a business to paint the prenatal and waiting room, so we all pitched in to give it a bit of a needed it! So there's Tim doing his part while below is Jenn, Holly, and Laura hard at work. :)
We are going to be painting for a few days, so please pray that I get my homework done! It's been a doozy of an assignment, but I might just pull through.

We also have some very special visitors this month! My friend and former classmate, Elisabeth, from Switzerland, sent her two friends, Noemi and Cornelia here to see the clinic, hang out and stay with Tim and me! Then Lois' parents will come, too! Fun! And then.....wait for it.....wait for it....Our dear Uncle Bob and Aunt Syl! YEAH! So it will be a busy, but exciting month!
And then, here is dear 8-day-old Precious. This was at my third baby check-up with her and her momma, Bel. They are doing so well and as you can tell from the last picture on this post, she has grown so much in a week! Last visit I gave her that pink blanket and her momma put her in it for the check-up this week! I was blessed.
Below is Precious at 3 days old.....
In other news, Tim and I are heading tomorrow to find out more about Mordegai and his work....we would like to do what he's doing and his vehicle (Tim wrote about it last post and it's the red jeep-like thingy pictured) is up for sale! Since he and his wife are moving, they are having to sell the jeep. We are praying that Tim and I will be able to purchase it for Tim's water filtration journeys and to continue providing aid in the places that Mordegai developed such amazing relationships. Please pray with us that if it is God's desire, He will provide the finances to purchase and maintain a vehicle here for those purposes.

Thank you for all your prayers and comments.....and for sharing in our journey! We love getting e-mail and comments from home, so keep 'em coming! Be blessed.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pictures from the trip.

I tried to upload these yesterday so that they could accompany my story, but Blogger was acting up again. These photos come with a disclaimer. Due to my recent computer troubles, I am currently without my photo editing software. I tried using some free software to do a bit of sharpening. The pics looked pretty good while using the free program, but now that I've uploaded them, they look kinda lame and washed out. So I'm sorry that there is no detail in the shadows and that the colors look strange. I'm embarrassed to show these to you.

Stuck in the river.
Stuck in the mud.
One of our water sources.The view at the beginning of the hike.
Sacks of Clothes.
Mordegai explains the medicine.
The little church in the valley.
Flip-flop mayhem.
Observing the flip-flop mayhem.
Chad chomps on some sugar cane.
Mordegai gives the truck a quick wash in the river on the way home.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Yesterday was Thursday.

I've got another long story for you today. I've got some photos to accompany it, but they won't upload right now, so check back later today. I know this is really long, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. Be blessed!

Yesterday was Thursday. The day before that was Wednesday. Wednesday was a day of reformatting my hard drive and reinstalling a whole bunch of software. I was up until midnight because I wanted to get some work done on the rubber plantation proposal. Normally a midnight bedtime would not be worth mentioning. I mention it because Thursday morning started at 3:30am. For those of you keeping score at home, that's three and a half hours of sleep. I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. A fact that became relevant at around 2pm, Thursday afternoon. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

My early morning wake up call was not a result of a faulty alarm clock. I was meeting Mordegai at 4am to begin another of our adventures. Believe it or not, I was pretty chipper when I met the others in the back of his truck. Probably a little too chipper. I think I was annoying those who were still feeling groggy. Soon we found ourselves, 8 people in all, motoring down the highway in the dark towards the mountains. I shared the back of Mordegai's funny little truck with 5 other people and 5 large sacks of clothing that we were delivering to the poor.

One of the Philippines' biggest exports is bananas (it's hard to type "banana" if you're from Canada). As the sun slowly rose from the distant horizon painting everything pink, it revealed the banana plantations that line the side of the highway and seem to stretch into eternity. Crop dusters heralded the arrival of day. Banana plantations require a great deal of pesticides. In fact, they are sprayed by planes at least once a week. Thursday was crop dusting day. Those of us in the back of the truck spent several miles breathing through our t-shirts, trying not to inhale the potent chemicals that were being dropped on nearby fields.

It would seem that our truck resembled a banana tree. One of the planes was not satisfied with dusting us from afar, so it looped around and began dumping its load on the highway, directly on top of us! There was mass panic and Mordegai shouted from inside the truck that there was a tarp that we could use. Mass hysteria and 40mph winds are not good conditions for unfolding a tarp, but with a little team work we were able to pull that blue cocoon over us before the cancer mist completely enveloped us.

Within a couple of hours we were off the highway and had begun our assent up the mountain. We stopped at one village to pick up a pastor and his two children. The count was up to 9 people occupying the tiny bed of the truck. That was when the real adventure began. Last week I told you about some pretty crazy jungle roads. Those roads were like the I-5 compared to what I saw yesterday.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The problem really began with the absence of a road. In order to get our destination, we had to cross two rivers. No bridges. Just rivers. The road ends abruptly at the river's edge, and then picks up again at the other side. I volunteered to be the guy to wade across the river to test the depth. Mordegai would observe my path as I sought out the most shallow route. When he was satisfied that it was shallow enough, he drove through the river with everyone else still in the truck.

The first river was fine. Piece of cake. The second river was a different story. Again, I was sent out to test the depth. This time, the water was flowing above my knees. I estimated the depth to be two feet. The river was flowing pretty fast too. Mordegai decided to wade out and investigate for himself. His findings were the same as mine. Two feet. He waded back to the truck, and I waded to the other side of the river with my camera. I wanted pictures of this.

The truck made it about halfway across the river when Mordegai suddenly shouted "Get out and push!" I watched as the truck emptied out and people began to push. The engine sputtered and died, and the pushing wasn't getting them anywhere either. By this point I had put down my camera and was wading in to join them. When I reached the truck, Mordegai stepped out to reveal that the water was leaking into the cab of the truck.

We couldn't get the truck to move forward any more and the engine wouldn't stay running, so we decided to retreat and regroup. After a great deal of effort we pushed the truck back to the shore that we had started on and took a much needed rest. Mordegai went upstream to investigate a much shallower portion of the river. There was no road on either side of the shallow portion, but he decided that it was our best option. Having dried out a bit, the truck started up okay and he drove across the rocky shore to the shallow point and then drove across the river with ease.

"We should have tried that the first time!" he exclaimed. We had to drive through a field to get back to the road, but it was certainly better than just hanging around the middle of the river. We were tired and wet, but spirits were still high. The engine, however, was suffering from having spent so much time under water, and its work was far from over. It behaved strangely for the rest of the day.

The rain on this island is something to behold. When it rains, you feel as though someone has picked up the Pacific Ocean and dumped it on you. The effect of the rain on these mountain roads is rather hazardous. Large trenches are slowly eroded into the middle of the road. Very large trenches. Mordegai is a very skilled 4x4 driver, but even he seemed to be concerned on many occasions yesterday.

Some of those trenches were so wide, they were impossible to avoid. We would end up with one side of the truck in a trench, while the other side was still on the high ground. Many times the edge of those deep trenches seemed to be the only thing keeping the truck from rolling onto its side. A few times my weight was a helpful factor. When the truck was up on two or three wheels, my friend Chad and I were asked to get up onto the truck to sit on the high side in hopes that the extra weight would press the wheel down and help it to grip while everyone else pushed with all their might.

We were originally told that this trip would include a short one hour hike. Unfortunately, Mordegai had not anticipated that the roads would be as bad as they were. Those of us in the back of the truck had to be ready to bail out at a moment's notice. When he shouted "OUT" we would all spring out and run away from the vehicle, unsure of which direction it might turn. In fact, we learned to jump out the sides, not the back, because often times the engine would die because it was still waterlogged and the truck would begin to roll back down the mountain, threatening to flatten us underneath it.

With us out of the truck, the engine was able to climb even the most treacherous of terrain. As we stood beside it, it would suddenly get the grip it needed and go zooming up the hill, leaving us in the dust. Mordegai didn't dare stop it once it got going, so several times we watched as it disappeared around the corner, leaving us to climb the hill on our own.

Clear cutting is a significant problem on the island of Mindanao. Unlike in North America, the clear cutting is not being done by logging companies, but by citizens. I think they cut the trees to build their homes. The lack of trees leads to significant soil erosion. This leads to some very big mud "puddles" in the middle of the road. We got stuck in one that threatened to eat the truck and several of its passengers for breakfast. The harder Mordegai tried to get out of it, the deeper the truck sank.

Eventually, we had to use a machete to cut away a tree and get to the other side of the truck. We then lifted the back end up out of the mud and dragged it to solid ground about a foot away. Once the back end had traction, we stood knee deep in the mud and pushed the front of the truck while Mordegai tried to reverse the car. His wheels spun, flinging mud all over us. Then the wheels suddenly caught, and the car lurched backwards, nearly sending me face first into the mud.

When we finally reached the top of the mountain we had exhausted our water supply. We came upon a village that had a large concrete cistern of spring water. Now, I've been told a hundred times not to drink water when outside of Davao City. Ironically, one of my missions here in the Philippines is to bring filtration systems to these mountain villages so that their people won't get sick from the contaminated water. We had a choice to make. We could suffer from dehydration, or put off our suffering and get terribly sick the following day. Each of us chose the latter. I drank from the faucet coming out of that cistern as though I hadn't seen water in weeks. I didn't care about the consequences.

Once we had filled our water bottles and washed the mud off our legs and feet, it was time to begin our hike. The village we were visiting was at the bottom of a valley, next to a river. The hike down wasn't very long, but it took its toll on my feet. I don't have any decent hiking shoes, so I was wearing the sturdiest pair of sandals that I have. I've hiked with them before and they have always served me well. Unfortunately, they were wet and we were going down hill. With each step my feet would slide forward, causing the leather straps to dig into the flesh on top of my toes. We reached the village about an hour later, and by that point my feet were throbbing.

The purpose of our journey was to deliver medicine to a woman who was recovering from tuberculoses. A few months ago Mordegai brought this woman out of the village and into the city so that she could get the medical attention she needed. She has since recovered at an incredible rate. TB medicine is a six month prescription, so Mordegai was delivering the last three months worth. Many of you may remember that our friends Jenn and Joe were looking after a malnourished infant named Jaycee a few months ago. Jaycee's mother is the woman we delivered the medicine to. Jaycee wasn't in the village yesterday, but we are told that he is doing very well and that he is good and fat.

We also delivered several large sacks of clothing to the village. When I say "we" I actually mean the two Filipino men that we hired to carry the sacks on their heads. Mike, one of my fellow travelers, brought a big bag of flip flop sandals that he had bought at the mall here in Davao. Everyone had a great time trying on the clothes and the sandals. After those festivities, we ate lunch at the local pastors house. We had fun chewing on raw sugar cane. With fuel in our tummies, we started our trek back up the mountain. We had stayed in that village for less than two hours.

The hike up started out just fine. We were going up the hill now, so I was getting all new blisters, and the old ones weren't bothering me too much. For a while we were walking in the shade, so the heat wasn't bothering us and everything seemed to be going well. That's when it happened. I started this story by telling you that I got only three and a half hours sleep. At around 1:30pm, it was starting to catch up with me. I'm very out of shape as it is, and it had been a long day. But to throw in the added complication of lack of sleep was the perfect storm.

I started taking frequent breaks. Mordegai and a couple of young women (Mercy Maternity students) were in good shape and were able to got up that mountain with ease. Chad and I were having trouble and Manny's legs were cramping. I was seeing stars. I was getting chills, and it took everything in me to keep myself from falling backwards down the hill. I knew that we had a bit of a time restraint. We needed to get off the mountain before it started to rain and before it got dark. Oh, and I didn't want to die from exhaustion.

All I could do was pray. I had never felt so exhausted in all my life. It was just a silly one hour hike, so I don't think it was the hike that was causing me difficulties. It was simply a lack of sleep. I prayed my way up that mountain. I won't say it was easy, but the Lord did give me a supernatural burst of energy. In fact, I wasn't even the last one to reach the top. I collapsed beside the truck and took a well deserved break. One of the locals brought us some water. I didn't know where the water had come from, but at that point I didn't care. As it turns out, I am writing this at six o'clock the next evening and so far I have felt no ill effects from the water. Thank you Jesus.

Soon the others joined us at the top of the mountain and we prepared for our drive back down the other side. Going down was much easier than getting up, so we made pretty good time. I was sitting on the spare tire for the whole bumpy ride, so I've got a pretty sore butt today. By the time we reached the highway it was dark again. We reached home at 7:30, just in time for Chad to lead our home group. Bethany was staying home to do homework, so I used that as my excuse for not going to home group. Really, I was just too tired and dirty and I wanted to go to bed.

When I joined Mordegai for his dental outreach last week, I found myself standing around doing nothing at times. I came home happy for the adventure, but not sure that I had ministered to anybody that day. Yesterday, I began to understand my roll. Mordegai was saving a life by bringing much needed medicine to the woman with tuberculosis. I helped him save that life. All of us did. If we hadn't been there to bail him out of all those crazy situations, he might still be stuck in the middle of the river, or spinning his tires in the mud. The woman wouldn't have got her medicine, and the village wouldn't have received new clothes.

Using the Good Samaritan analogy, I guess you could think of me as the mule that the Samaritan used to get the victim to the inn. One day, when the King says to me "I needed clothes and you clothed me..." (Matt 25:6), he may add " pulling that truck out of the mud and pushing it out of the river." I feel so blessed to be a part of God's great adventure. I can't wait to see what he has for me next.


"Precious Updates...."

Greetings! Thank you all sooooo much for the encouraging comments on last post. I was overwhelmed with the blessings and "congrats"....although, I must say that the TRUE congrats goes to Bel and her amazing delivery! She did all the work!

Here is our dear Precious at her first baby check up....she gets six of them and I have the privilege of getting to do them! She is now two days old.....and growing already!
Bel is doing fantastic, too. She is an expert mom and is all smiles about God's goodness to her through her healthy...HUGE, baby girl. I get to see them again on Saturday for her 3-day check up and I am looking forward to seeing Precious fill out even more and Bel continue to enjoy getting to know her new daughter.

Today I was "up" for handling or catching again in the birth room...we had a few labors, but many of them were sent home as they were only 2 cm. I am sure swing shift will have a few births! My patient, Mary Grace, labored until the end of my shift and I was disappointed that I needed to endorse her to the next shift.....she was REALLY wanting her baby out....I wasn't so keen on catching....I was just feeling bad for her that she had to wait and labor even longer for her baby....stinks when you have to labor through two shifts of midwives! No doubt she will be fine, though.

Tim headed out today with Mordegai on an outreach again and I am sure he will bring back incredible pictures to share. We were disappointed that the outreach we were both scheduled to go on for Friday was canceled, so Tim decided to go today! I will have him write the next post.

I have just started my next assignment and managed to pull out a high A on the last! YEAH! And an A on the exam, too! Praise the Lord! My next exam is November PLEASE be praying for me. This assignment is a BIG one!

The Lord bless you all and send us an e-mail if you have time....we love to hear what is happening at home!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Greetings! Today I caught a baby.

Yup....I'm now a midwife....kinda.

Maribel (also known as "Bel") came in at 10:55 pm on my night shift on Monday. The mother of three girls already, she knew this labor thing really well and began pushing to get the baby out around 4 am.

My supervisor, Jonna, and I had talked earlier in my shift about the possibility of handling one of the next couple of labors, but I was feeling rather shy....not at all confident and had just an overall sense of AAACCCKKK.

But I had asked God the night before to make it a quiet shift unless HE thought I was ready to handle.....well, we had 5 labors....three of which I did their immediate intake and then was passed to Maribel to be her midwife.

Maribel was so strong and REALLY quiet in her labor.....I imagine that three previous labors will do something to ya!? So she and her bana (hubby) labored together with me charting and checking her BP, temperature (she had a fever earlier), pulse, and fetal heart tones.....

Then around 4 am....she said, "Ma'am....utong!" That means, "Ma'am....gotta PUSH!". So I ran in there and my friend and senior midwife came in to assist....

Couple minutes later....GUSH....out came her bag of waters....slight meconium staining.....less than 10 minutes later and I was guiding her baby girl's head out with the instructions of my supervisor!

Then baby's head popped out blue and needing to be suctioned. Jonna prepared the suction machine and I caught the baby as all 8 lbs 12 oz. of her slid into my hands at 4:09 am, October 23, 2007.

She started to cry and Jonna suctioned.....I vigorously massaged her back to get her to turn pink and cry some more.....then we put the baby on Maribel's tummy to wait for the placenta.

Placenta came out at 4:13 and from then on....I did everything.....bathed the baby.....did all the postpartum checks, gave necessary injections.....until 8 am this morning when I was finally sent home. Whew. Long night.

The whole experience was a huge friend Serena charted the birth and did a great job....Heather was so helpful and gave me great advice, Jonna gave great direction....and Maribel was an incredible patient.....

But the part that blessed me the most was that this little girl laid nameless for 4 hours after birth! The parents, having three girls already, could not think of a name! After doing the baby check-up, I finally asked her one last time, "Have you found a name for your baby?" And she said...."You name her."........ME?..... ME? Whoa. That's heavy.

So I quickly prayed and I had been telling her mama earlier that this baby girl was very special to me because she was my first first handle....that made her very precious.

So, I named her Precious Grace. And that she is. Even her mama and dad liked it! So I got to name the very first baby I ever delivered. That's pretty cool.

God is so good.
Maribel and Precious with her

There's Precious long before she was named....she had just been weighed.....almost 9 pounds!
Serena and dear fellow midwives who helped immensely!
Yes...lots of charting to do after birth!
Check out #4!
And there is Precious....all 51 centimeters and 8 pounds 12 ounces of her! God is so faithful! I am humbled.

Reminds me of Psalm 139....think I will read that again. Welcome to the world, Precious!
Be blessed.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Up and Down

This photo kind of encapsulates my feelings over the last couple of days. Up and down, just like those hills. On Friday I joined my dear friend Joe on a little trip with a man named Mordegai. Mordegai is the man who takes me into Isla Verde, the slum that I have told you about. He makes frequent trips into remote villages to provide primary health care and dentistry. Normally he visits villages that can only be reached by a day long hike. On Friday he was making a dentistry trip to a small community that could be reached by 4x4. I was very eager to join him.

We drove north for a few hours along the highway, and then the adventure began. I was glad to hear that the "road" was dry enough for us to drive, so I wouldn't have to waste any precious calories by walking. Mordegai has this funny little truck that can go anywhere and do anything. He seemed very excited for the chance to put it into action. I thought I had seen some rough roads before. I have been on some of British Columbia's logging roads and couldn't have imagined anything worse. Those logging roads were like fluffy pillows compared to the road we traveled on Friday.

A few times, we had to jump out of the truck to hold it down and keep it from tipping over. At one point, several of us men were asked to walk between the truck and a cliff in order to prevent the vehicle from rolling down into the valley below. It happened so fast, we didn't have time to think about the fact that if that truck had begun to tip over, it likely would have flattened us and continued down the ravine.

After a very bumpy ride that would rival even the best of roller coasters, we arrived in a tiny little village. While Mordegai pulled teeth (over 130 teeth in one day), I spent time talking to a woman named Murli. She has been helping arrange these visits for Mordegai for years. I spent a long time talking with her about Impact Nations and the water projects that we will be doing around Mindanao. She has spent years serving these small villages and has an excellent relationship with them. I learned so much from her as she told me about how to go about ministering to these people effectively. I was greatly discouraged to hear about how much the local government can get in the way of truly blessing these people. She told me story after story of good intentioned church groups and NGOs that have invested in the community, only to have the majority of the funds end up in the pockets of politicians. I'm sure this is the same all over the third world.

I was very excited to meet Murli and her friend Beth. I am certain that I will be working with them to bring clean safe drinking water to many of the homes throughout that mountainous region (pictured above). However, I couldn't help but feel discouraged by their tales of woe in regards to the crooked politicians that so often stymie the best intentions.

Yesterday, I again joined Mordegai for a visit to Isla Verde. As we walked through the slum, breathing in the scents of low tide, garbage dump, and outhouse, I was again overcome with the feeling that something must be done. The children hounded me more than ever for money. It seems that the only English they know is "Give me money!" They followed me through the entire village, pulling at me and hitting my pants because they could hear the change in my pockets. I wanted so desperately to do something for the children, but there were so many of them. I couldn't just start handing out money. Even if I could afford to give each of them a few pesos, what good would it do? I quizzed Mordegai over and over, searching for some way to minister to these forsaken people. Sadly, every one of my questions was answered in a way that made me feel more hopeless than ever before. Everyone I've talked to indicates that the people of Isla Verde cannot be rescued from their poverty mentality.

I've been in communication with a man named Todd. He is from Butuan, and is our contact for the upcoming JOC in April. He has worked with Habitat for Humanity, and studied the Isla Verde situation. He told me that having analyzed the situation thoroughly, Habitat believes that fault lines and seismic activity, the housing cannot be improved at Isla Verde. Instead, they would like to move the entire community to a location a few miles down the beach. Unfortunately, Todd says that so far the local politicians have made that impossible. When I asked Todd about changing their poverty mentality, he essentially told me that it can't be done.

Although I feel like I want to bless the people of Isla Verde, I can't seem to figure out how to do it. I'll continue to ask the Lord for simple small strategies, but in the meantime I will go through the doors that are open. Having met Murli and Beth this week, I think they will provide many open doors for me to minister to people around Mindanao.

Another possible open door is this whole rubber plantation thing. Impact will be making a number of project proposals to a large group of business men in Pennsylvania next week. It looks as though the rubber plantation will be included in that proposal. Please be praying that we see a major financial breakthrough (for several projects) as a result of that meeting.

So it has been a week of ups and downs, but God is sovereign. I know he has a great plan for this country. When I'm feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, I need only remind myself that though I'm only one man, I work for the God of the universe.

And now for some pictures. (By the way, these photos almost always look better if you click on them and view them at full size.)
Joe and Mike in the back of the truck.The truck.
The truck on the "road" in the jungle.Modegai pulling teeth.Some of the village children.Murli measuring blood pressure.Joe measuring blood pressure.

Friday, October 19, 2007

"Pooky Walnut Brazilia Jo-Jo"

Greetings! Pictured above is my dear continuity, April Lou. At 19, she was so nervous about having a baby. She was due November 22 and this passed Wednesday, I met her for a prenatal exam and discovered that she was having minor contractions. Concerned that she might be heading into labor early, I encouraged her to get an ultrasound immediately to make sure she was actually due November 22 and not earlier. At 34 weeks, she is not allowed to birth at Mercy Maternity as we are not allowed to handle extreme prematurity. We just do not have the equipment and supplies.

I came home from prenatals with an ear infection and head cold, tired and weary, Tim and I ran some errands......then at 4:30 pm, I got a text from the birth room....April was in active labor and needed to be transported to the hospital! Obviously she never made it to the ultrasound appointment.

Concerned, I hopped on a motorbike and told the driver to take me to DMC as fast as he could....well...he did....extremely fast ("pas-pas kaayo") and I made it in one piece to Davao Medical Center. She was crying and in full active labor. She was scared, but so strong and brave. We prayed and asked Jesus to help her.

I stayed with her in the emergency room for hours...she labored intensely, but tried not to make a sound to disturb the people around her! The place was packed with all sorts of crazy emergency patients and there she was - laboring for her baby in the middle of it all.

Sweating buckets and crying together, we hung out until they wheeled her to the delivery area....then they kicked me out saying I wasn't allowed to accompany her....I had to leave her to labor alone. I cried.

Then her boyfriend and aunt showed up and after filling them in on the situation, I headed home to wait for news.....

At 1:30 am, I got a text on my phone stating that April had delivered a FULL TERM baby boy...perfectly healthy. I was overjoyed....and disappointed that I had to work the day shift the next day so that I couldn't see her until after 2 pm!

But....Tim and I raced to DMC after my shift with fruits and gifts in hand for April.
And here we are.....she is such a trooper! While her 7 lb muffin has no name as of yet, he is as cute as can be and she is grateful that the Lord sustained her throughout her totally natural delivery! She is tired, but so happy that her son is strong and finally here.

Needless to say, this week has been super, oober birth shift earlier this week was just the beginning of the buzz....

This little guy was born on my night shift on Monday....he has EXTREMELY strong lungs....and came like a torpedo out of his momma. He has the cutest dimples I'd ever seen on a newborn, so I took a picture of him only to realize that he had just changed facial expressions and the dimples disappeared. Alas, here's the handsome boy.

Monday's night shift was HILARIOUS! I was working with my teaching supervisor, Jonna, Ate Ermie, Josephine, and Jes. After transporting a woman right at shift change for extreme hemorrhage, we decided to spend some time caring for her baby girl. Somewhat orphaned because of her mother's loss of blood and need to be transported, we cared for this little one and even gave her a name.

Yes, because she was WAY bigger than a peanut (weighing over 8 pounds!) and had some serious anger issues (we understood under the present circumstances), we named her "Pooky Walnut Brazilia Jo-Jo".....then we called Naomi (one of the other students here who has two kids, one of which is still breastfeeding) and had her feed.

But that was just the beginning of a very bizarre shift. Soon after, we had a 16 year-old come in 2 cm dilated and in early labor, but because of her age and her expression of concern for labor, we kept her in the clinic to labor with us.

Wow....she was absolutely crazy! She labored as if she were going to DIE....beating her bana (husband or boyfriend....we weren't sure which it was)..literally BEATING and hitting and yelling at her bana who graciously catered to her every need. We were shocked and tried to comfort her as best we could.

But then she made a bee line for the door wanting to go home...yeah...wanting to go home in labor....not a good idea.

So after 6 hours of grueling labor and us midwives trying to keep her comfortable, our supervisor did another internal exam to see if she was progressing and would you believe it....she was only 3 cm! ARGH!

She was technically "my" patient (meaning I got to do all the checks and assist in the birth, but Jonna would deliver the baby), so I stayed with her as they inserted into her an IV and then transported her to the hospital only to find out there that she had rubbed a lotion on her belly that was to stimulate contractions! ! NOT GOOD! Her chances of uterine rupture were very high with the use of this lotion! Naughty patient!

Needless to say......they washed her belly and I think she may have needed a C-section....crazy.....

Anyways, never a dull moment here....just turned in my second homework assignment and then I have the big exam on Monday...please be praying....this one is particularly tough for me...all about the hormones and all the parts of the placenta....embryonics....that kinda stuff. Thank you for your prayers!

As it stands, I need only one more assist before I start delivering babies, but I am feeling like I might wait a bit longer as I have been humbled by the sheer responsibility of delivering a new life into the world. My teachers have been great and I am feeling more and more confident in the birth room.

Missing the Fall of Vancouver and my mom these days....but looking forward to a month of visitors coming in November....some friends of another student are staying with us for a week, then Lois' parents and then finally.....UNCLE BOB AND SYLVIA!!!! I am sooo looking forward to seeing our dearest friends ever. God is faithful to bring us precious gifts when we are in need.

Be blessed and please continue to comment! Tim's got lots to share next post! :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Timmy's Tale Part III

When in Ipil, I spent some time with one of Bonnie's sons, Joshua. He seemed to like me; he held my hand a lot. I felt very Filipino! When I shared Impact Nations' vision with Joshua, he became very excited. He, more than anyone else, wanted to see Impact working in western Mindanao. He was so excited, for two days he couldn't help but shout out "IMPACT!" in a staccato tone everywhere he went. He said it so much that his sisters started calling him "Impact". (By the way, if you're not aware of what Impact Nations is all about, I encourage you to check out their website. Specifically, I recommend you explore the Projects page and the Journeys of Compassion page.)

Joshua was very interested to hear about the projects that Impact Nations has started in India and will soon be starting here. I told him about our interest in micro enterprise and that's when the shouting started. You see, Joshua also has a vision for providing a steady income stream for their ministry to the poor while also providing jobs in a country that is currently suffering from a 40 percent unemployment rate. Joshua dreams of rubber.

The Filipino government recently gave Bonnie 140 hectares of land. They have already planted some durian and rambutan trees (those are local fruits, stay away from the durian). But the real money is in rubber. As Bonnie and Joshua began to tell me about their vision for a rubber plantation, I began to envision the possibilities. I was interested enough to request a meeting with an expert in rubber plantations. On Thursday, we delayed our departure from Ipil so that we could meet with a man who could give me specific numbers on expenditure and income in regards to a 50 hectare plantation. He gave me so many numbers my head hurt. I'm going to share the big numbers with you, just so can share in my experience.

The bottom line is, it would be very expensive to plant 50 hectares of rubber trees. The cost (are you ready for this? I wasn't.) would be approximately $115,000 USD. That's a lot of money. When we did the math and came up with that number, it was easy to feel discouraged and hopeless. I had told him we're into micro enterprise. This is way out of our league.

Then we crunched the numbers in regards to income. After seven years, the entire crop is yielding fruit. Once that happens, you can expect 50 hectares of rubber trees to make you an approximate net income of $112,ooo USD each year. By the 20 year mark, the trees are producing twice as much rubber, which means you can expect to make twice as much income. Work that out over the life span of a rubber tree, and your looking at over $6 million over a 40 year period. That's a lot of money on this side of the planet.

When I got over the initial shock of the size of the investment needed, I began to think of the possibilities. Joshua and his wife have 4 children, but they also house 12 orphans in their home. So between Joshua and his father, they have rescued 29 orphans from the surrounding mountain villages. (I met another of their pastors from a different city who has 2 orphans in his home and would like to have more, but can't afford it. I wonder how many of Bonnie's pastors are caring for orphans.) Bonnie oversees 152 churches and 23 bible students, and he is expanding his property so that he can train even more pastors. They do all this with very little income. Imagine what they could do with $112,000 a year. Imagine how many orphans could be rescued. Imagine how many drug addicts could be saved.

Anyways, I'm still struggling with the whole thing. Some days I see the possibilities, other days, I think "where on earth would we ever find $115,000". Whatever the case, it was so encouraging to meet men with such a huge vision. I hope to spend more time with them in the near future. In fact, they just called me yesterday to ask when I would be joining them again. I'm entering a pretty busy season, but I know I will be making other trips across Mindanao some time next year. Hopefully next time I can bring Bethany.

We left Ipil on Friday morning and drove back to Bonnie's place in Dipolog. They hinted at the possibility of me staying for through Sunday so that I could preach at their church. But I was missing Bethany so much that I really just wanted to get home as soon as I could. I pretended I was too dumb to pick up on their hints, and instead asked if there was an overnight bus to Davao. I was able to catch a bus at 1am and sat on that bus for 15 very long hours. I got home by 4pm Saturday afternoon, which surprised Bethany, who didn't expect me 'til late that night.

I'm so glad I went. I learned what it means to lean on my heavenly Father. I improved my preaching skills. I made new friends, and my eyes were opened to new possibilities. I will leave you with a whole bunch of snapshots. I put a brief description above each pic.
Bonnie's HouseThe pool, with cabins and huts (classrooms) in the background.The proposed Bible School/Orphanage/Conference CenterThe work in progress.JoshuaRubber SeedlingsRubber being tapped and collected in a coconut shell.This isn't a very good photo, but I took it as we drove by.
The green hill in the background is the proposed site for the rubber plantation.
A four year old orphan at Joshua's home.
I prayed for this little guy because he has a bad heart.
One of the orphans at Bonnie's house.
Okay, that's that. Sorry for the long read. Be blessed!