A Day of Worship and first day at St. Joseph’s

Jan 4th
Sunday morning in Africa. We are a distance from local churches so the plan was to lead children's worship at 2:00 pm this day. We got up and had a lovely breakfast. We went over to the children's homes to tour them and meet the children. We were so blessed at "Happy House" to meet the birth to 3 year olds- 16 of them.They were full of smiles and lots of hugs. We gave them stickers for their hands. One little boy found a sticker on the floor and went around to the other children to find out whose it was so he could return it to him. What a thoughtful 3 year old! Then we went to the special needs home. Many children with disabilities that may or may not ever walk or talk. Once again many smiles and hugs. They we very content with whatever their circumstance happened to be. It was very apparent that the "Mama's" are taking very good care of them. We hear the stories one after another of the poor health they were in when they came to the children's home. Now they are all well nourished and when they become sick they have access to health care.
Several have improved in health much greater than the Dr.'s ever predicted. Mama Lynn (founder of the children's homes says) "they leave God out of the equation when they give their prognosis." She joined us for the tour also. Then off to the "Rosemary House" where they have the boys 4 years -12 years. They greeted us with a welcome song. They were so fun to hear sing as they sing with all their hearts. We shared tootsie roll candy with them. They were delighted to have a piece of candy. After we had seen their home and interacted with them a bit they came to 2 different people and it was apparent they had something to tell us. They lead us around the back of the house where the boy in the wheel chair was. They wanted us to meet him and also give him a piece of candy. Then we finished our tour with the girls house "Laughter"  4-12 year olds. They were so sweet as they sang their welcome songs. We shared candy with them also. It was amazing as they also wanted to be sure we gave candy to 2 of the girls who were lying on mats on the porch who were unable to get up and come to us. These children have an amazing love for one another.
Dr. Mark examined several of the children but didn't find any who he felt would benefit from surgery at this time. There are several with cerebral palsy which is caused from trauma at birth. A reminder of the blessing of health care in the US and the low incidence of this disorder. We had planned to lead church at 2:00 pm which indeed we did. But the children's choir had been invited to sing at a church so they were gone at that time. Mama Lynn requested we lead again at 6:30 when they would be back. So being the flexible team that we are we said sure. We shared the creation story with them with actions. Prayed with them and taught them the VBS song "I want to be like Jesus". They were so much fun to worship with. We also shared the star sunglasses with them. At the end they were singing and dancing with their glasses on and it was so fun. Kind of makes worship back in the US pale a little in comparison! We had a late dinner and made plans for an early morning to be at St. Joseph for morning prayers.

Jan 5th
Breakfast at 6:45 or so…. planned to leave by 7:30. Our driver Freeman was not there when it was time to leave. After several minutes Gayle called St. Joseph to let them know of that we  would be late. They said they would send a car for us. As their car arrived we got a call from our driver. He had a medical emergency with a family member and had been at the hospital.  We were relieved he was not injured just delayed.
Arrived at St. Joseph. Dr. Mark was anxious to do surgeries but the patients weren't ready. Started with clinic. Dr. Mark and Dr. Philipo saw many patients today who had various injuries/conditions from arthritis, gout, carpal tunnel, really bad case of osteoporosis, back injuries, ankle pain etc…  they had planned for 3 surgeries today. One was an older woman whose blood count was too low to do surgery. The second was a diabetic who had a bone infection, she had a blood sugar too high to do surgery. They ended up with one surgery on a 17 month year old with an infected knee. It was very good they did this as the knee had much infection and they put in a drain so it could begin to drain and heal. Cheryl spent some time in the lab. She taught the lab tech how to use a blood glucose machine we brought for them. He was a very quick learner and obviously had used the machine before. He was grateful to get it. He showed her how to run blood tests on one of their machines and she helped run several tests for him. It was challenging mostly to read the names and locations of the patients that had been written by the dr. She had to ask for help with names several times. She also went up to the pediatric unit and observed a nurse starting an IV on a one year old. She was unable to get it on either foot or on one side of the head. The pediatrician tried also and was unable to get it. The child had been ill for several days. They decided to try some oral hydration at this time.
Cheryl and Sarah went to labor and delivery and got to hold a newborn born from a c-section today. A precious baby girl. New life is a precious gift in all nations. We got to visit with the Dr. who delivered the baby. She was very helpful and informative. We finished the day and headed for the Indian restaurant for supper. Unfortunately it was closed but we found a Chinese restaurant that was awesome.
At the end of the day when we arrived back Mama Lynn was awaiting. We had a nice visit with her. It was then off to rest for our clinic day tomorrow. 
Thanks for all the prayers said on our behalf. God is good, all the time.