Monday, June 15, 2009

Praise for Belmont UM team arrival and prayers for sick baby

The team from Belmont UMC in Nashville, Tennessee arrived Saturday morning. They had quite a journey. Their flight out of the US was delayed due to a severe storm in their flight path, when they finally arrived in Jo'burg they had missed their connecting flight to Cape Town and found that none of their checked luggage had made it onto the plane. So they had to spend the night, a few hours actually, in a motel and after more mix ups they finally got on a flight to Cape Town mid Thursday morning. Luckily the airline put them up in a hotel on Wednesday night and gave them a voucher to buy some clothes since they didn't have their luggage.

On Friday, I drove to Jo'burg and about 5:00 PM Richard and I decided we would go to the airport to try and find out about their luggage. That was a very frustrating experience, but perseverance and faith paid off. It was nothing short of a miracle that their luggage arrived on Friday night's flight and that the airport officials finally allowed us in to see if it was all there. The even bigger miracle was that they let Richard and I take it with us. It saved us time and also allowed us to have the luggage packed before we went back to the airport on Saturday morning, and because we had the luggage we realized that we didn't have to bring the travel which is another huge blessing.

On Saturday, we met the team and then took over the Whimpys in the airport to get them a "quick" lunch before driving to Swaziland. Two of the women went to fill out the required forms to get reimbursed from the airlines. Over two hours later we finally left the airport. We were supposed to be at St. Paul's at 6:00 for a welcoming dinner with youth leaders from the Methodist Church of South Africa who had come to St. Paul's for a meeting over the weekend. We didn't arrive at St. Paul's until after 7:30. But the team ate, and I think they really enjoyed meeting the few people who were still at St. Paul's. We left St. Paul's around 8:30 for the drive back up the hill towards Mbabane to the Emafeni Christian Conference Center where they are staying. Thank God they gave me keys for the rooms on Friday because there wasn't anyone there except the security guards when we finally arrived. It was after 11:00 that night when I finally made it back home to Manzini.

Sunday was worship up at Lomngletjane. We filled the classroom. After worship they shared a meal with the community. The meal was cooked once again by Zitsile and her mom Maggie. They got up at 2:00 am to start cooking the meal. After the meal the group split into four groups and visited 5 different homesteads. We had bought food parcels for them to deliver to each family. Jeri and I went back to Maggies house to help her wash the dishes while the teams were visiting the homesteads, but the little bit I heard tells me it was a once of a life time experience. Praise God!

While visiting one of the homesteads, they found a baby very sick. The mom of the baby helped us when the team from Louisiana was here. She has twins. One is developing normally and seems quite rambunctious. The second one is quite a bit smaller and didn't seem to be doing real well two weeks ago. The woman came to church with only one of the babies. When the team took food parcels to the home they discovered the baby, Thepelele, was very sick. So I went to the homestead to have a look. The baby had been sick since Thursday and had turned worse. I took the mom (Bongiwe) and the baby to the hospital in Manzini. Since it was Sunday late afternoon, we had to go through the Emergency. Although I pray I never have to be a patient there, the wait wasn't much longer than we would have had to endure in the US. It brought back many memories of taking Christopher (my oldest) to emergency for high fevers, ear infections, etc. Scott's claim to fame was stitches. There were a few moments I thought I was going to break down and cry, but God gave me strength. The mom didn't know what was going on and was very concerned about her daughter. I was a little help in carrying things for her and just being there. The Doctors immediately put her on oxygen and they did their intake process. I kept trying to read over his shoulders to see what he was writing, but all that got me was being kicked out to wait with everyone else outside. After a while I was able to sneak into the treatment room and could talk to Thepelele, and helped hold her into a sitting position so the mom could put a little water into her mouth. She actually drank about 4 ounces of water over the hour or so which is a good sign. They admitted the baby. I still don't know what the diagnosis is. She is 9 months old but especially last night she seemed more like a child that was just a couple months old. She could barely squeak out a cry. I left the mom around 7:30 last night and am headed back this morning to check on them and see if they need funds to pay for anything.

Please pray for Thepelele (pictured below) and her mom.

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