Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jonnel Ken...DOB 11/24/08

Greetings! Thank you all for the comments on last post! I have an exciting (well, exciting to ME!) update on Cathy, my continuity from a while back!

Tim and I were having a leisurely evening basking in the joys of infant-dom feeding the wee Lady Bird around 9:30 pm when I got a text from Cathy. "Ma'am B, in labor na...I come to Mercy now." That sent me into the fastest change into scrubs ever known to man, the quick feeding instructions for Tim were laid out and I was off to meet Cathy in labor.

She arrived at 10 pm and was NOT smiling. Contractions were coming every 2 minutes and were lasting a good 90 seconds. This baby was coming soon. :) She didn't feel the urge to push, yet, but she was certainly wanting to moan and grunt a bit. Her bana, Arnel, came in looking like a deer in headlights....he had done this two times before,  but it seemed as though it was the first time again. He sat quietly next to her as I took her vital signs and did an internal exam.

All normal, baby was happy and ready to come, and momma was 7-8 cm dilated with a VERY stretchy cervix. She was progressing I waited for a contraction, I could feel her cervix dilate to 10 cm leading up to the contraction, then back down to 8 cm after the contraction...we'd be meeting her baby soon!

We prayed and I made her drink some water...she was not too pleased with me about sooner did she have a drink that her bag of waters burst with a giant POP! Thankfully I had gloves on and announced to my assistant, Jenn...."SROM" She came in just as I sat down to start delivering the baby's head....But Cathy was pushing fast...the baby's head came down so fast, I had to yell at Cathy..."Hinay, Hinay!!!!" Slow down! I had to hit her leg and Jenn grabbed her face, "SLOWLY OR YOU'LL TEAR!" She stopped pushing a bit and breathed her baby's head was a tight space....the shoulders weren't coming....the baby's head was turning a deep purple and the shoulders were just refusing to come out! YIKES!

I asked Cathy to push with all her might while I manipulated the shoulders into popping out from under her pubic bone...slowly the anterior shoulder popped out followed by the posterior..then Cathy stopped pushing...the end of the baby's body was still stuck inside her...we laughed a bit and said, "Cathy, one more push, your baby is ALMOST out." She gave a quick push and out came the rest of her new baby. I summoned her bana over to take a look at the baby to find out the sex...he said, "Ah..lalake."...A boy. 

Jonnel Ken, this new precious boy with a slightly square head came out with a full head of hair. We needed to administer oxygen as he was a bit purple still, but his cry was music to our ears. Cathy pushed her placenta out with little bleeding and managed to wash and go to the bathroom without any dizziness or problems. She's such a strong lady!

I got her situated in the postpartum area, got Jonnel bathed and clothed, gave immunizations, prayed again and said, "Goodnight, see you on Wednesday for your baby check!" Then I lumbered on home at 2:30 am, thankful to head to my bed....OR NOT!

I opened our LOUD fortress gate door and started climbing our endless stairs to hear from an angry husband, "OH THANK GOD YOU'RE HOME" followed by a loud shriek and scream from a small certain baby girl. I started to go a little faster up the stairs....Tim shared that little Lady Bird had been screaming since the time I'd left (9:45 pm) until now (2:30 am) and refused to be comforted...he was tired, frustrated and ready to be DONE. He said, "Just PLEASE, take her."

I quickly ripped off my dirty scrubs, hopped into a cold shower, slipped on some PJs and grabbed the Bird...she stopped crying, but was WIDE awake. Tim collapsed into bed and so, the Lady Bird and I had a slumber party in the guest room without slumbering until about 5:30 am when she finally fell asleep on my chest. I was ZONKED. She woke up again at 8 am for a feed and that was my cue to get ready to go to a meeting at the clinic with my director. With 2 hours of sleep under my belt, I felt like I could probably make it until noon, but then, it was OVER. 

Had the meeting, took Promise with me for her immunizations, and FINALLY at 2:30 pm, I got a 2 hour nap. Ahhh...sweet sleep! Thankfully, Promise slept those two hours, too....only to be roused to get in a feed and head to Doctor Estrella's place for another immunization. Poor baby. But she is up to date on her immunizations. :) She's almost 12 pounds now, too! All is well.

I am headed into another birth shift on Friday and have a new assignment due on December's a long one, but not as bad as the last. Tim is out today making purchases for the water project...things are going well in that neck of the woods. Here are two pics of Cathy and little Jonnel with me and Promise...

Thank you for all your prayers and encouragements, we feel so supported. Keep praying, it's working!
Many blessings!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

As 'Promised'....

Greetings! So as I shared in last post, I commissioned Tim to catch his daughter smiling...and it should be noted she was smiling AT ME! So here's our Lady Bird at almost 3 months old!

Promise turns three months on Monday! To celebrate I am going to eat a piece of chocolate. Tim and I really know how to PARTAY!

In other news, Cathy, my continuity, has not delivered, yet, though her contractions are getting a bit more painful.

I finished that 80-page assignment and with some font changes, picture shrinkage and extended margins, I actually got it down to 59 pages to save paper and ink! I dunno if it can be read, but it's DONE! Praise God. And I have one whole day to spare before it's due!

I nearly got a job this week! Of course, I can't "work" for money here in the Phils because I am not Filipino, but the thought of working was actually pretty refreshing! You see, a patient of mine from way back in November of 2007 delivered a baby girl named Angel. Angel and her mama, Christine, have visited me in the clinic several times since then and last week, Angel turned the most celebrated age in the Phils....the BIG 1. Yes, the first Birthday is the biggest, most expensive Birthday of them fact, instead of baby showers, they have a crazy bash for the first anniversary of the baby's birth! Apparently we westerners have it so backwards.

Anyway, she texted me saying she wasn't going to have a party because she didn't have any money. I told her that she didn't need money for a party, just someone brings a cake and another brings some pancit (the Filipino Birthday spaghetti only thicker noodles and with veggies instead of sauce...umm, maybe not like spaghetti at all...). I told her if she would cook pancit, I would bake her a cake! She was ecstatic and she asked if I could bake her a chocolate cake....a MINT chocolate cake...oky doky.

So I baked a two-layer MINT chocolate cake with MINT chocolate fudge frosting and topped it with a Happy Birthday sign. She met me at the clinic to pick it up. I didn't hear anything for a few days, so I had hoped I hadn't poisoned her or offended her with my western cake-making skills...or lack thereof.

Then I got a strange text..."How much you charge for cake for Christmas?...My neighbors want many orders." Ha ha ha, I had to laugh. What a compliment! And a great idea for a ministry! Alas, I have a TINY oven that only cooks one round cake pan at a time and I am sure I would find trouble baking copious amounts of cake between assignments, clinic duty, breastfeeding and cooking for the fam! But hey, I thought it was fun. Christine was serious and somewhat disappointed when I answered with, "I will give you the recipe...tell your neighbors to bake their own!" Of course with a smile. So that's my silly little story for today....I am feeling a bit giddy and higher than a kite after completing this insane assignment, so please forgive me. :)

Tim says the water project has now delivered over 800 filters and with two new molds being built, the weekly filter manufacturing will increase from 36 to 48 filters! That's 2 more filters being made per day and Tim is feeling giddy at the thought of reaching their goal of 1,000 filters delivered in 2008. He is working with Toti on some ideas on how to get the project to be self-sustaining by next year. Exciting.

This week, Tim wrote up a great proposal aimed to reach full sustainability by February. With just $30,000. Canadian, the water project would no longer be relying on donations from the West. In fact, it will likely be profitable in 2009....all profits will be reinvested to grow the project further to other places on Mindanao. If you know of any benefactors or business men who would be interested in helping to reach this goal, you can download the proposal here. Small donations are welcome, too...every little bit helps!

So that's the news here...tomorrow I have prenatals and will be checking in on my dear continuities. Then I have an exam on maternal complications! Keep us in your prayers! Thanks for all the comments and encouragements. Be blessed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Miles and miles of brown smiles....

Greetings! I just wanted to give you an update on my patient, Cherry. She is currently smiling. :) 
Remember her due date by ultrasound was November 1? Well, I'd been feeling funny about her fundal height (size of belly) and the fact that she wasn't having any labor "42 weeks" she wasn't even having any Braxton Hicks contractions! She came in for induction on Friday, but I felt like the Holy Spirit said "wait" and I couldn't shake the fact that something was not quite right....

I went back to her ultrasound ....yup...November 1, 2008 was her due date. I had already taken the ultrasound to two supervisors just to make sure everything was clear and I wasn't missing anything....but I still felt very reluctant to induce her. It's a good thing, too, because after showing the ultrasound results and Cherry's current prenatal information to another supervisor, a very big discrepancy was found! Apparently the new due date did not match a few small tidbits of info on the amount of amniotic fluid and the general size of the baby, so Ate Susan (my supervisor) called the ultrasound lab and had a very long, loud conversation with them. Though I didn't understand the speedy Visayan Ate was speaking, I picked up on a few words that brought me a LOT of joy...and a lot of joy for Cherry, too! "Discrepancy" and "mistake" were among the few words. :)

So after a long conversation with my supervisor, we sent Cherry back to the ultrasound lab for another ultrasound. Fortunately, they had her name and visit in their computer database and realized that the printout we received had been copied wrong! Her due date was NOT November 1, but January 11!!! Talk about a VERY BIG difference! She texted me with the happy news and thanked Ate and me over and over again for taking the time to check things out rather than try to induce her into labor! BOY, we were so glad we didn't! She would have been deathly premature! 

So now, Cherry is resting easy, her bana has since come back to her and she is motivated now more than ever to follow the instructions and advice of her midwife. And I am so thankful. 

My other continuity, Cathy, is due December 5 and is technically full term any day, she could pop. Please keep her in your prayers...that her labor would be quick and her delivery safe and her baby healthy! (And please pray that I have wisdom in managing her care!)

Meanwhile, the Lady Bird had one more 7-hours-without-waking-sleep last night and we're hoping that it will become a habit, though her daytime sleeping habits may indicate otherwise. She's is such a joy and is becoming quite the talker, though, like her dad, she is choosy who she talks to! She doesn't flash her grin for just anyone, either! Her little flirty half  smile makes me laugh and melts her daddy. It's amazing how quickly you begin to think how you'd ever survived without her! She has graduated to a bigger basin for her baths, as daddy dropped and broke the last one. She still loves her baths, constantly splashing and practicing, what looks like, the butterfly. She fights to sit up now and refuses to lay down...always wanting to stand up. I think she'll be walking before crawling...crawling is for sissies. 

As for Tim, he is out talking water with new contacts almost daily now. Things are moving faster and faster. It's awesome. He will give you another update soon.

For me, I am still pumping out this 80-page homework assignment on maternal complications, though I am reaching my daily homework goal and still finding time to eat Promise a bit and watch her discover her world. However, my neck and back have been reacting to the long hours in front of the computer and my herniated disk has returned. BUT, this too shall pass and God was faithful before, so I am certain He will be faithful once again.

We covet your prayers. Thanks for blessed.
PS. Sorry for the lack of pictures. I will commission Tim to take some for the next post! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Random Smattering of Anecdotes and Observations

A quick update on what be goin' down:

Last night Promise slept for a record 7.5 hours! It was the most uninterrupted sleep that Bethany and I have had in two and a half months. Lady Bird has been sleeping an inordinate amount of time lately, and she is often fussy when awake. She's sucking on her hand a lot too. Bethany thinks she's teasing. Oh, no scratch that, I've misunderstood. Teething. Yes, that makes more sense. Perhaps she's teething. I don't know anything about infants, but it strikes me as a little early for either teasing or teething. But what do I know. She is still fantastically cute.

As Bethany eluded to in her last post, I was away from her for a little while. I had to spend a night in a city called Prosperidad. It's a cool name for a town, but there is little to distinguish it from it's neighbors that bear less promising monikers. I was somehow hoodwinked into preaching for a Thanksgiving celebration at a little church in a barangay called San Jose. I'm not really a thanksgiving kind of a guy. Bethany pointed out to me this week that I am rarely heard brandishing words such as please and thank you. So perhaps there is some kind of tragic irony in having to prepare a pair of sermons on the topic of thanksgiving.

Thankfully, I don't know the way to San Jose. This left me with an excellent reason for inviting my friend Toti along with me, who knows this island like the back of his hand. Toti and I had a great time together. We shared a warped and worn mattress and stayed up late, engaged in discussions of our families, our past, and our dreams and aspirations—if Toti could have any job in the world, he would be a pilot for a commercial airline. As we lay on that antithesis of the pocket coil, blanketed by the sweet sounds of an indefatigable live band that fancied itself as the second coming of Guns 'N Roses, I was suddenly aware that our discourse was not on the subject of work and was left with little choice but to be impressed with myself. I think Toti was impressed too. Apparently I talk about work too much.

The preaching went fine, but I couldn't help but wonder what the point was. I don't preach on a regular basis, and I am particularly unskilled at preparing a sermon. This left me fretting over my computer for several days. Add to that two days in Prosperidad doing my impression of a guy with good manners, I missed a lot of time from work. Not to mention having to be away from my family (I missed them so much) and leaving Bethany to take time away from her homework to tend to the baby. What's the point? I'd rather save some lives with a water filter than preach. To be really honest, the idea that somebody might have been blessed by my sermon doesn't even matter to me. I need something more tangible than that. Dysentery is tangible. A water filter is tangible. That is my world. If I have to preach, let me preach in that world. Does that make sense, or do I just sound like a total snob? Perhaps I am being too honest.

Bethany is making excellent progress with her homework assignment. She was worried that she would not finish in time, but if she continues to have days as fruitful as the last three, then I am confident that she will have no trouble keeping up with her class.

The truck had a disagreement with a jeepney on the weekend. Toti was driving, but he's okay. I wasn't involved. The jeepney came out the victor, while our truck is looking a little dejected. We'll be getting an estimate for the repairs this week. I'm hoping that the cost will be manageable. Our funds have gotten dangerously low for the water project. While I was busy preparing a sermon on keeping our eyes fixed on God's promises instead of our problems, I was given the news that I only had $500 left in the budget. Don't you love God's sense of irony? Sigh. Another $3000 came in on the weekend, so we're good for another month. And I've got faith that more will come in soon. Apparently I'm acting on that faith because I'm busy ordering more steel molds, which will increase our monthly budget considerably.

On Saturday morning, Toti and I went to a subdivision on the edge of town. We were meeting with one of our contacts who lives there. She had complained that the water that comes from her tap is safe to drink, but stains all of her laundry brown, and leaves her rice looking rather dirty. We sold her a filter, and if it solves her problem (it will) she's got three neighbors who want one too. It's looking like we could have a huge potential market for our filters, and they can afford to pay a premium price. If we play our cards right, we could very quickly build up a business in the area that would fully subsidize our work with the Muslims.

There have been a lot of power outages in our neighborhood of late. Major pain in the posterior. Why do they call them "brownouts"? It can get mighty warm in our apartment at high noon without any fans. Bethany gets annoyed because she can't get much homework done without the internet.

You may be aware of my aversion to Christmas. I want you to know that Bethany and I spent an evening together this week decorating the house for this most treasured holiday. Having reached the third -ber month, I could not deny Bethany this pleasure any longer. We had a nice evening drinking homemade eggnog (which made me miss Canada), listening to Christmas carols (which made me miss August), and enjoying the warm glow if the twinkling tree.

I met with the welder today. It looks like he can start building two more steel molds for me on Monday. That will put us up to eight molds at our Davao center, meaning that we will be making 208 filters each month. Plus, we are working diligently to get that Butuan manufacturing center started with at least two molds, and perhaps three. Also, I met with a colleague today who would like to build two molds and start an independent operation about 4 hours west of here. By the end of 2008 there could be 13 steel molds in total, which means a lot of filters.

Well, that's all I have to say about that.

That be one cute baby.Slums at the edge of a pond near Prosperidad.
Promise observed the Christmas cheer from the couch.Bethany is feeling jolly.
Oh, the merriment.Christmas is a plastic shrub and a glass ball.

Friday, November 7, 2008

there's no use crying over over-boiled eggs

Greetings. No exclamation point after that 'greeting'. Sorry. In the midst of feeding Promise, trying to do homework, transferring money to Tim on his way north of Davao, and trying to maintain sanity, I boiled the eggs for my prenatal patients for over an hour. Perfectly good eggs gone to sad. Kinda feel like a retard, but what's worse is the unpleasant smell. :) However, I made egg salad out of them and while they may give me uncomfortable unforgettable gas, they don't taste too bad. I wouldn't feed it to a friend, though.

Perhaps my saddened mood is because I am missing my family. As Promise begins her first holiday season, I am homesick, lonely, and too busy to be so. More than this, I am rather discouraged. I am fighting another battle with culture fatigue. Tim fights it more often than I do, but this particular culture point has got me itching to go home....

Remember Cherry? My continuity still hasn't delivered and I am supposed to see her tomorrow (hence what the eggs were for). I gave her money for a urine analysis, which she has not performed, yet, and though I questioned whether to give her money for the taxi fare and UA, I felt as though her safety and the care of the baby were more important than trying to keep my distance from her. You see, here in the Phils, if you're white and you give money for ANY reason, you become an automatic target saying, "PLEASE, take advantage of me!"

I have come into contact with this before with patients (even to those I hadn't given anything!) and those who said they were my "friend", but I was hoping that Cherry would remove my growing cynicism....I had hoped that by providing exactly what she needed for a safe delivery, that it would encourage her to follow my instructions and take better care of herself and her baby. Alas, all it seemed to do, once again, was to create a relationship where I am the giver and she is the taker. And so she is entitled to any wealth I have because I am a white missionary and I have all the money in the world....for this white midwife, money grows on trees, right?

Can you feel my sarcasm? Yes, I have more than she the grace of God's provision...not by my ability to generate or steal wealth. Yes, this time Cherry needed money and promised to pay me back in one year when her sister returns from Hong Kong. Gosh. Sometimes the plea for money is laced with flowery language saying how much I am needed. Other times it is full of manipulating sob stories that may or may not be true (often they are not). Tim usually plays my compass and keeps me from draining the bank account and giving it over to them. However, what confuses me is why not go to a family member or friend..? Why go to the white midwife volunteering in a clinic that you've known for only a month?

Please don't misunderstand me. I am not a Scrooge and though Tim and I are frugal, we are very generous with our finances. We love to give and wish we had MORE money to give.... We are just very choosy on how and to whom we give. After all, it really isn't our money we're's YOURS!

This situation comes after two weeks of apparent stealing at the clinic. Yes, despite our charitable presence in the community, our white midwives of the orange house next to the clinic were the victims of a break-and-enter theft....again. It is assumed that because we are white, if something is stolen from us, we have unlimited money to repurchase the item so that it can be stolen again and again....however, most of the ladies I know are on very tight budgets.

Giving my time, energy, advice, possessions, what little money we have and the better parts of my mind doesn't seem to be good enough....they need more or ALL my's never good makes it really hard to feel as though I am making a difference or being a blessing. I guess that's where I have to relinquish my desires and expectations to the Lord...again. I guess that's why it's so important to stay listening to the Holy Spirit to make sure I am being a good steward of the resources He has given me.

But I have to really sucks to be taken advantage feel like the only reason someone wants to be around you or texts you is because they want money...that flattery and a good sob story will generate all the income they want. And that if you don't provide, you're just a selfish, rich white lady who buys expensive perfume and spends all day in a salon....or so it just so happens that my last haircut cost me $3. And it looks like it, too.

Unfortunately, these events have created a cynicism that has built a wall up in me so that I don't allow any Filipina too close...I hesitate to invite them to my house for fear they will see how God has blessed me and assume I have unlimited wealth (the truth is, all that we have has been given to us!).

Now I know there are Filipinos out there that are different... Just a few posts ago, we talked about our trustworthy companion, Toti....he's great! But unfortunately, people like him are hard to find. I feel like such a turd for having these feelings and needing to protect myself....thanks for reading my struggle and rant....I know this season will pass

"Oh, Lord, give me grace and forgive me what You see...."

Be blessed.
PS. Here are the latest Lady Bird pics and me with my trusty sling...I never do anything without it! (Thanks Laura!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Procrastination, My Old Friend

Why do today what you can do tomorrow? This philosophy has plagued me for most of my life. Procrastination and I are blood brothers. I'm not sure when we made our pact, but I don't remember a time when we weren't on speaking terms. Throughout my existence I have repeatedly found myself at the bottom of a pit that Procrastination helped me dig.

I was often grounded as a child because I had failed to complete major assignments on time. In fact, there were times that I had not even started the assignment by the time the due date had rolled around. My customers were reportedly unhappy with me when I found time to watch my afternoon cartoons before delivering the evening newspaper. Cleaning my room was always a mystery; even though I was stuck in my bedroom with nothing to do but clean, I would somehow find a way to delay the inevitable.

Isn't it funny how we always expect to shed our character flaws each time our lives take a major turn? When I started university, I swore that I would become a better student. Silly me. I dropped out in the middle of my second year (unavoidable when one adopts the attitude of Why go to class today when I could go to class next week?). When I moved into my own apartment, I was determined to clean on a regular basis. But, alas, Why do dishes today when I could do them tomorrow? Somewhere in a Vancouver landfill, the mold is still clinging steadfast to my first set of kitchenware. Surely marriage is an excellent opportunity to improve one's self. And yet, even as I type, I notice several articles of dirty clothing littering the floor on my side of the bed.

So when I moved to the Philippines, I was once again confronted with my weakness. Would this be the moment in history when I would finally start acting like an adult, and end my tumultuous relationship with Procrastination? Well, yes and no. I believe that I have taken major strides to distance myself, and Procrastination and I are more like acquaintances now, rather than the best of friends. Oh sure, he still comes calling on a regular basis, but I'm much less likely to answer.

What has led to this breakthrough? Procrastination has always had the potential to annoy my teachers, my parents, or my spouse. Apparently their exasperation was never enough to motivate me to get the job done in a timely fashion. But things are different now. People are counting on me. Not to sound too dramatic, but lives hang in the balance.

Last week in our newsletter, I mentioned a village that has been transformed by our bio-sand water filters. This community has watched as several children die every year from diarrhea, a direct result of their contaminated water source. There are now 42 families that are sharing 4 bio sand water filters. The community health worker has reported that there has not been a single case of diarrhea since the filters were installed. What if I had procrastinated, and waited an extra month before getting around to delivering the filters? Would another child have died?

The stakes are just too high. Now, I'm not telling you that I'm totally cured. It is still a daily struggle. There are always things competing for my attention. Tasks that are perfectly legitimate, yet not high priority, may find themselves cutting in line and reaching completion before their time—right now I'm supposed to be working on a budget proposal, but I felt like writing words instead of numbers so the budget has been rudely delayed. And yet, when push comes to shove, I'm getting the job done.

I recently met with one of my contacts here in town who told me that his organization would like to begin manufacturing filters in Butuan, a city in the north eastern corner of Mindanao. He informed me that he had a man who wanted to make filters his full-time job. Immediately after that meeting, Procrastination came by for a visit. I had a choice. Was I going to once again welcome in my old friend, or was I going to tell him to take a long walk off a short pier? By the grace of God, I was able to resist the temptation to come home and watch television or some such nonsense. Instead, I spent the rest of that afternoon (when I wasn't caring for Promise—family always comes first) making phone calls and sending emails and text messages, making arrangements to visit Butuan and get things started.

We made our trip to Butuan on Saturday. The trip takes about five hours when carrying three filters. We left at 4am so that we would be in Butuan for our 9 o'clock meeting, so we were able to enjoy the sunrise along the way. We spent about four hours with our old friend Rinel, who had received training from us earlier this year. He is so excited about working with us, and I can tell that he is truly committed to making this new endeavor a success. I was able to make a presentation to a group of church leaders who are now very excited about the possibility of providing safe water to the remote communities where they are planting churches. Rinel worked with Toti and I to demonstrate the bio sand water filter to a large group of pastors and parishioners. After lunch, we were back on the road and arrived in Davao just after dinner. Yes, it was a long way to go for a meeting (similar to driving from Vancouver to Portland), but it was certainly worth it.

I'll let you know how things develop. We are still in the planning stage, and we need to find some funding to get Rinel a couple of steel molds to make the filters. But it sounds like the Lord has provided a team of welders that will be able to provide some free labor, so that's very exciting. My hope is that by December we will have a two man operation in Butuan that will be able to provide a couple of filters a day to an area that has been too far away for us to reach. They will be a micro enterprise operation, so it should be fully self-sustaining.

I was in another meeting last week with a local organization called Tricom that works with tribal people in the province of South Cotabato. It would have been easy to treat the meeting as a simple introduction, and leave feeling thankful for the new contact. After all, I'm plenty busy with this stuff in Butuan. But again, I felt the intense urgency of the need. We were able to make plans, and Toti will be visiting one of their communities next week, bringing filters with him. We will be in another of their communities later this month, and we are already talking about starting several small businesses to help with distribution. We are also in talks with one of the local governments that Tricom works with, hoping to secure their support.

Why am I telling you all this? I'm afraid it sounds like I'm patting myself on the back. I assure you that is not my intention. I guess I just wanted to encourage you. Each and every one of us has at least one major character flaw that has plagued us for years. I'm not sure what yours is, but I want to tell you that you can beat it. When God gives you an assignment, and you suddenly find yourself with purpose and vision, there is an abundance of grace to overcome your issues and just get the job done. You still must make the choice daily to flee from temptation, but it's definitely getting easier for me. After all, Why do tomorrow what I could do today?