Sunday, September 30, 2012

Women's Retreat

Summer has come and gone....stress is still here...mentoring continues...ministry continues....and somewhere in the middle of that we try and find time for ourselves!  Not so sure when that happens, and I'm sure most of my readers understand that 100%.  It always seems like our time is not our own. We either are a mother, a wife, a teacher, a (whatever your job is), a cook, a chauffeur, etc. you get the drift.  Hence the name of my blog, "Missionary, Mother, Wife, Nurse". husband being the AMAZING team leader that he is realized that we (the ladies of Team Honduras) were looking a little frazzled.  He realized that most of us, if we had been attending a church in the States, would have gone on a women's retreat.  I attended our women's retreat EVERY year I was at my home church.  We didn't have anything of the sort - so he created one.  So, we are off for our second annual women's team retreat for the women of Team Honduras - this includes women who are not actively on the field (yet).  Example - Michelle Cain - who is currently in language school and will be joining us sometime next year (August...mas o menos) flew in today to join us.  Renee (another future team-member) currently living in the States was not able to join us - given the fact that she just had a baby 2 weeks ago - we are giving her leave this year - but next year....

So, we will be gone for the week.  Each of us have been given a topic to teach on.  We will have 7, 40 minute sessions where each of us will teach on an aspect our team leader has given us.  I will be teaching on Suffering.  I realized, while preparing for this session, that I've endured a LOT of suffering in my life.  From a very traumatic childhood, an abusive first marriage, my mother who passed away last year, I certainly feel qualified to teach on Suffering.  Why?  Because I "came out the other end" better for having been through it.  A couple of quotes I will be using for my teaching (hopefully none of my team mates will read this before we leave) are, "To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering."  Friedrich Nietzsche.  "God had one Son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering."  Saint Augustine.  "Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."  Helen Keller.  And one of my favorites, written by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a renowned author of many books on suffering wrote this, "The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.  These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen."

And finally - a quote to end on by Tennessee Williams:  "Don't look forward to the day you stop suffering, because when it comes you'll know you are dead."  Amen brother!  Our life is full of suffering, but how do you come out on the flip-side?  That's what makes us who we are.  

So blessings to everyone!  I'll be out of contact with you all for the week - no internet where we are going...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bible Study

4 1/2 years ago when our family moved to Honduras I found a local women's bible study!  Yes - it was lead by gringa women who were either missionaries, or Christian women who lived in this city.  Not knowing ANYONE else in town, it was a great opportunity to get to know other women, study God's word, and fellowship.  Through the years, I've grown away from this group because I'm looking for something more in-depth, and truly wanted to read some good books.  So, I moved on...I looked and looked for something that would fill that nitch.  I found it.  I found it in an on-line bible study.  The blessing of having a Kindle, I could download the book, follow along the study, engage with women all around the world on the internet!  It's awesome!  So I have stayed.  Through many different bible studies.  The current study I am going through is called, Unglued:  Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst.  Now, those who know me know that I am either 100% passionate about something, or 100% indifferent.  There's really not much middle ground.  However, in the midst of that, often times I find myself speaking out of hand and know...thinking first!

As you can imagine, living in a 3rd World Country, a different culture, confronted by poverty, severe lack of medical care (being a nurse that one hurts!), and children that are left to care for themselves, I get "passionate" a lot!  And...out comes that naughty tongue...before this bible study is right up my alley!

This week we've read through the first two chapters and boy have I gotten some great nuggets of truth!  The first chapter caught me with my favorite sentence of all time (at least for now) - "Imperfect changes are slow steps of progress wrapped in grace..."  followed closely by, "Progress.  Just make progress.  It's okay to have setbacks and the need for do-overs.  It's okay to draw a line in the sand and start over again - and again.  Just make sure you're moving the line forward."  Woah!  This book is speaking directly to me.  Then came Chapter 2.  "We won't develop new responses until we develop new thoughts.  That's why renewing our minds with new thoughts is crucial.  New thoughts come from new perspectives.  The bible encourages this process, which only makes sense because God created the human mind and understands better than anyone how it functions." 

Whew!  Heady stuff!  And hits straight to the core!  I can't even WAIT to see what is coming up in Chapter 3!  And I'll be honest - in my CRAZY/BUSY/INSANE schedule - doing an on-line bible study is RIGHT up my alley!  I love it!  I love the ladies!  I love the videos, interaction and everything about it!  It's been a TRUE blessing indeed!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kids Club

Por qué Dios nos dio el Antiguo Testamento?  (Why did God give us the Old Testament).  One of the catechism questions we are working on = #17.  What else are they memorizing?  The books of the bible - we are starting with the Old Testament, and they can say them all the way up to The Psalms!  It's been a blast!  And yes, that gives me an "excuse" to learn them all in Spanish as well - since I'm teaching them.  SO exciting to see the kids rise to the challenge.

gathering to watch the skit

Nubia showing her craft

working on their craft

forming lines for the relay game
The answer (by the way) to catechism question #17 is God gave us the Old Testament to show us path of Him sending us the promised savior.  The story from last week showed how a sacrifice was needed from the beginning (Adam and Eve) and all through the Old Testament - and the ultimate sacrifice was Jesus.  That being said, the craft for today was making a sheep.  They loved it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On Being a Nurse...

Someone who will cry with you
Someone who will meet your needs before their own are met
Being on time
Going to work even when your own child is sick
meeting people where they are
holding a hand
giving others a chance to be heard
feeling the hurt of others
having other people's bodily fluid on our skin, and don't think it a nuisance
being an encourager to someone who has lost the be...
listening to a mother grieve for her child
listening to a child grieve for their lost parent
giving a person a chance to be free from pain
working late to offer one last chance
going to work even when sick knowing others are worse off than you are
working with shin splints, sore feet, blistered feet
Being honest
a 24-hour job
a job that lives in our blood
until our last breath we still think of ourselves as what our job depicted us as....

Being a nurse
A gift from God
One I've done for 17 years, and will continue to do for the rest of my life

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I wonder...

At clinic today I had one of those moments.  One of those, "I wonder if that child was in the U.S. if they would have lived."  My conclusion is most likely, yes.

This woman came to me with her 8 year old daughter talking about non-descriptive "pains, and insomnia."  I dug deeper.  Something seemed not quite right.  Finally, I got from her that 3 months ago her baby died.  She was only 3 days old.  I asked her how she had died, and the response I got was, "the doctors told me she died because she was yellow."  So...the best I can assume is she had jaundice...a severe case.  I don't know if she was compromised in any other way, but there the mother sat, still clearly mourning, with tears streaming down her face and only knowing that her baby died because she was "yellow."  So, for the next 20+ minutes I talked with her, told her what I thought, let her know that it was NOT her fault, that if she ever had another baby, the odds were it wouldn't happen again and explained to her (most likely) how/why her baby died.

Today was one of those days...I wasn't there to help physical ailments (although I did send 2 people to the hospital, and and gave a lot of antibiotics), the primary reason I was there today - was to meet they emotional needs of one mother who had not had an opportunity to grieve.  We cried together, I prayed with her, gave her a hug and sent her on her way.

The other thing I did was a home visit.  I visited the family of Teresa - many who have come to Honduras know this sweet family.  Teresa's mother suffers from hypertension and diabetes.  Teresa called me while I was at clinic saying her mother was bad!  I told her - GO TO THE HOSPITAL!  She hesitated.  She wanted a confirmation that they truly needed to go.  After clinic - about 2 hours later - I was able to visit her home.  Her mother had suffered a stroke.  In the morning, she was walking, eating, talking.  Now I looked at her, the entire right side of her body was immobile, she was drooling, and on top of it all - her blood sugar had bottomed out.  I quickly started the process of elevating her blood sugar, and advised Teresa that her mother had a stroke, and she was quite sick, and needed to go to the hospital.

The outcomes, in both cases, may have been very different if they had been in the United States.  It's the level of medical care here that makes my heart sad.  I wait to see if Teresa's sweet mother will even survive this incident or not....

Please pray....

Friday, September 7, 2012

Therapeutic Touch

Hang with me here, this is a long post, but has some good nuggets in it. In nursing school we were introduced to the concept of Therapeutic Touch ("feeling" how a person feels by placing your hands above their body - not touching - and receive their "vibes").  Now, I'm not one of those people who disregard alternative medicine.  I definitely think there is a time and place for non-Western medicine, if you will. You can decide what you think either way.

One thing I DO believe in - 100% - is physical contact. MY version of therapeutic touch. Touching a person - recognizing that they are a person, and you want to reach out and connect with them.  I will also admit that at times I forget that.  In the business of seeing a lot of patients, my desire to reach them all, I sometimes am not as personal as I should be.  Most of the time I like to think I really try and connect with the person in front of me.  This time is theirs.  I make eye-contact, listen to them, and touch them.

Maria, a sweet 77 year old woman came to my clinic yesterday.  She was suffering from things I simply couldn't help her with.  As I reached out to hold her hand, we made eye contact, and just connected.  One suffering human to another.  I may not be suffering physically the same way she was, but I suffer from seeing so many suffering.  I suffer from the pangs of seeing children go hungry, babies born into a difficult world, children neglected and ignored by their parents.  This is the world I am in - I see it 100% of the time every day.

Maria and I "caught" in a moment
And as God would have it (imagine that) the ladies on our team just started reading a book by R.C. Sproul -  Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in the Christian Life.  In it R.C. writes, "I remember the story of a distraught father who was deeply grieved by the death of his son.  He went to see his pastor, and in his bewildered anger he asked, 'Where was God when my son died?'  The pastor replied with a calm spirit, 'The same place He was when HIS Son died.'"  Another area he writes, "God knows our limits far better than we do...The promise of God is not that He will never give us more weight than we WANT to carry.  The promise of God is that He will never put more on us than we CAN bear."

Mike caught me in this moment.  I didn't realize he was even there until I saw the picture posted on FaceBook and was caught off guard.  I had given Maria my undivided attention.  I can't empathize with her physical suffering, but I certainly can sympathize with it.  My sweet mother lived the last 10 years of her life with debilitating ailments until she finally succumbed to the final infection that her poor little body could no longer endure.  She was an amazing woman, and carried her burden of suffering that should be a role model for all!  And in that moment, I saw my mother, suffering things I couldn't even imagine, but I loved her with my touch and with my eyes and with my time.

So remember - touch someone.  Give them a hug - it may seem like such a small act, but it's one filled with the contact of one human reaching out to another.  A sweet friend of mine gave me a mug years ago because she knew how much I loved her hugs.  She just envelopes you in them - it's not just a quick squeeze, but one in which I felt wrapped up in the love she wanted to give.  The mug says "Free Hugs."  And I think of her every time I drink from it.  Who have you given a hug to today?  Who WILL you give a hug to today?

Monday, September 3, 2012


Madison "dancing at a disco"
I've been teaching at Madison's school for just over a month.  Selfishly, the reason I wanted to teach was to introduce Madison to acting and to Shakespeare.  My idea was to offer an after-school program for kids interested in drama.  What I ended up was offering an elective for High School 11th graders.  Her school teaches a "block" schedule.  What that means for me is Wednesday am one week I teach, and the following week I teach both Wednesday and Friday morning for 1 1/2 hours.

Some of the activities I have them do are to highlight the right side of the brain - so that's included drawing, miming, charades, and impromptu-acting in front of the class.  Some of her class mates have ZERO problem acting in front of their classmates, there are, of course, a few hold outs who just aren't overly interested, but are good sports and do it.

Carolina "terrified of the zombies coming"

The girls trying to come up with the "next story"
They are currently memorizing a one-act play, and then we will be planning/writing the Christmas play for the seniors as well.  This week I will be introducing them to Hamlet and finalizing it by watching Hamlet by Mel Gibson.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Peace Presbyterian Mission Trip to Honduras - August 2012

August 18-25, 2012 a 13-person short-term mission team from Cary, NC served with us in La Ceiba, Honduras. They worked in a English class, Kids Club, construction, a medical clinic and more.

Watch this 2 minute and 40 second video to see their great work: