Friday, June 5, 2009

The Lord gives, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord! Job 1:21
Lots of emotions, too many words to really even write. Above all else, I am resting in knowing sweet Happy is whole and rejoicing with Jesus, Oh thank you sweet Lord.
Yesterday I was sad and frustrated. Not sad that Happy was with our Creator, not frustrated that she had passed away - I know that was His plan for her sweet little life. But seriously. 4 months old. 4 pounds. 9mm hole in her heart. The doctors at the government hospital where treatment is supposed to be free for everyone equally, looked at her, looked at her mother, saw they had no money, and sent her away. Look at that sweet face. Sent her away. There is a heart surgeon there that could have fixed the hole. She didn't have to struggle so much. There is medication IN THIS COUNTRY that would have helped. Had I waltzed in to that same hospital with a baby in the same condition they would have treated her based on the assumption that I am wealthy. It is a bit overwhelming.
Yesterday I was tired. Not sleepy. Just plain worn out. I knew Happy for about 72 hours. Sure, I was able to help her for those 72 hours, to comfort her mom, to rock her to sleep. I fell in love with this sweet baby girl who barely had the strength to breathe but would clutch my finger with all her might. But why? Why am I constantly falling in love with people that I cannot help, people that are taken out of my life so quickly.
As I read my Bible last night after falling into bed, the Lord continued to take me to the miracles of Jesus. And something really stood out to me that I have never noticed before. The Bible tells us of Jesus magnificently raising Lazarus from the dead, healing numerous deathly ill people, and feeding thousands. What the Bible does not mention, but what must be true is that years later, Lazarus still died. The people Jesus healed were inevitably sick again at some point in their lives. The people Jesus fed miraculously were hungry again a few days later. More important than the very obvious Might and Power shown by Jesus's miracles is His LOVE. He loved these people enough to genuinely care, to do everything in His power to make it better. He entered into their suffering and loved the right there. We aren't really called to save to the world, not even to save one person; Jesus has already done that. We are just called to love with abandon. With EVERYTHING we have. We are called to enter in to our neighbor's suffering and love them right there. Maybe I did NOTHING but allow Happy to struggle a few days longer. But I did love her, and she now has a spot in my heart that is forever changed.
Today I am rejoicing in my sweet few days with Happy. I am rejoicing that one day I will see her again and I will be able to tell her how she changed my heart and taught me about Love. I have received countless emails and phone calls in the last few days from doctors, nurses, friends and strangers offering all different ways to help and all sorts of encouragement. What a beautiful example of the Body of Christ you all have been. I received several emails last night and this morning from different doctors that had been helping me, all telling me a bit of how Happy had changed their hearts and given them a stronger desire provide better medical care in Uganda. In a meeting with doctors from all over the world at UNC yesterday they had talked extensively about Happy and how they need to find a better way to get accessible health care to Uganda. Sweet Happy, you are paving the way for greatness. In 4 months you have brought about change, you have taught people, you have changed people, you have broken people's hearts. We love you sweet baby girl.
Thank you, sweet friends, for your prayers.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happy is with Jesus ...

This is Gwen here ... Katie does not have internet access right now ... Here is her message ...

"It has been a long day, Happy went to be with Jesus at around 4 this morning. I am devestated but rejoice in knowing that she is whole. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support. I will update tomorrow ... Love Katie "

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The last few days have been simply unimaginable. So much so that I can hardly type. Last week was pretty trying; I discovered that what I though was a nasty break out around my mouth was actually impetigo, a staff like infection that causes open sores that weep, then scab, then crack and bleed, all over the face. The good thing is that this led us to diagnose Jane's impetigo, which we had written off as bug bites that she had scratched and irritated (hers are on her legs and trunk). The next day our land lord let us know that she liked what we had done with her house so much that she wants to move back to Bukaya! We have until Novemeber to be out. The thought of moving my 13 children to another house is overwhelming to say the least, and much worse when you have open sores all over your face. The next night, our dog Entula gave birth to eight puppies. Thats right. 13 children, 10 dogs, 2 goats, 2 chickens, sweet Christine, our visitor Carell and I. Oh my. I actually wrote on my facebook Monday, "I have 13 children, 10 dogs, 2 goats and 2 chickens. My life could not be more crazy, or more full!"
I was wrong. God could have brought me a crying mother holding her 4 pound 4 month old baby girl who could hardly breathe. And He did. My dear friend and employee brought her sister Susan here yesterday with her 4 month old baby girl, Happy. At first glance anyone would have thought this little thing was dead, but upon closer inspection I could see her chest, barely moving in and out. We rushed her to the nearest hospital where they put her on IV fluids and oxygen. This morning we took her to International Hospital in Kampala, the biggest and most modern hospital in Uganda, though still lacking compared to what we are used to. After much testing it was concluded that little Miss Happy has a 9mm hole in the wall between the ventricles of her heart. This means that her heart can not oxygenate blood properly causing the left ventricle to fail. This causes extreme pulmonary distress which leads to very fast heartbeat, decreased appetite and poor weight gain. More here. Aside from all this medical gibberish, what I am trying to say is, we need HELP. We have admitted Happy in the best hospital Uganda has and this is not free (no health insurance here...) They have her on a feeding tube to increase her weight (she is too small to withstand the heart operation that would be necessary to fix the hole), oxygen, and IV fluids. They are hoping to keep her like this at least for a few weeks to try and stabilize her. This treatment costs $500.00 for three days, that is about $5,000.00 for the month. After that we will need money to proceed with the surgery, though I am not sure of the price. They may be unable to do the surgery here, in which case we would need to fly to Nairobi, Johannesburg, or worst case scenario, the US.
I try not to be frustrated by the lack of necessary equipment and medical care here, by the fact that a simple check-up when she was a few weeks old could have caught and prevented all of this. We know that although we can care for this baby, it will ultimately be the Lord that heals her. I look into her big, curious eyes and see the big plans He has for her life. So I ask first, of course, for your prayers. Pray that the Lord's mighty touch would strengthen Happy supernaturally as the doctors work diligently to stabilize her. That she would be at peace and free from fear and pain. That her mother's heart would be comforted with His peace that transcends all understanding. That the doctors would have stamina and knowledge and wisdom and courage. That the funds for all of Happy's medical expense would just fall from the sky; we know that He meets all our needs in accordance with His glorious riches. That doors would be opened, and God would guide our steps as to where we go from here. That people would see God work a miracle in little Happy's life, and that HE would be glorified above all else.

I am hoping to raise $10,000.00 for Happy's medical bills, to cover the costs of her current hospital stay as well as the upcoming surgery, wherever and whenever that may take place. You can donate via the paypal button on the side of this blog, simply write "Happy" in the note area. You can also mail a check to Amazima Ministries (info at side) with Happy in the subject line.
on the way to the hospital

sweet big eyes, wonder what all these doctors are doing!
all situated in her incubator for the night

Isn't it so like God that her name is Happy. Every time I talk about her I must use the word HAPPY, and it almost sticks in my mouth because this situation seems anything but. And I am reminded that God calls me to remain joyful. HAPPY. The JOY of the Lord is our strength and it is never fading. Thank you, thank you for that, Sweet Jesus.

And Thank YOU, in advance for your continued prayers and support. Updates coming soon....