Friday, August 29, 2008

Goodbyes

We are packing and preparing to leave for Zambia on Tuesday.  I think the goodbyes this time are harder than ever.  

We found out two weeks ago that David's father, Jake Gregersen, has acute leukemia.  Because of other health conditions he is not able to take any chemotherapy or other treatment.  We spent the first part of this week in Searcy with David's parents.  Jake and Margaret are people of incredible faith, and our time with them was a blessing.  Jake shared this with us about his condition:  "I have my ticket; I just don't know the departure date."  Margaret is loving and tender in her care of him, and it was a joy to watch them.  David asked his dad to name one thing he was really glad he had done.  Jake answered without hesitation, "I'm glad I married your mother."  

We laughed, we cried, we prayed, we read scriptures, we told stories.  And we said goodbye. 

It was harder this time.  


Friday, August 22, 2008

A Little Chicken Humor

If you are seriously missing my chicken stories, here are some video clips for you.   Enjoy a good laugh knowing that the star of these clips looks remarkably like the one who rules the roost in our back yard at Namwianga.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sad News from Zambia

We received the following news in an e-mail from Malia Heroux, Consul at the US Embassy in Lusaka:

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of President
Mwanawasa.

Dr. Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, S.C. was a great man and a great leader. We
will all feel his loss, but most especially the Zambian people and the
other peoples of southern Africa whom he served so courageously and
admirably.

Our deepest sympathies go to the family, to close friends, confidents,
and colleagues of the President and to the Zambian people.

President Mwanawasa was highly regarded for the many improvements his leadership had brought to Zambia. He had worked hard to curb corruption, and his economic policies reduced inflation to single digits for the first time in 20 years. He was a professing Christian.

New elections will be held within the next 90 days. Please pray for the Zambian people as they mourn and as they elect a new leader.

Cancer Free!

I had my last radiation treatment yesterday (Monday).  This morning I had a follow-up mammogram at the Women's Imaging Center.  I left there and headed down the street to my family doctor's office to get a routine TB test.  I had just taken my seat in the waiting room when the office nurse came out with a huge smile and announced that they had just received a fax from the radiologist stating that my mammogram was fine and showed no signs of cancer.  We are rejoicing and praising the Lord.  As my Zambian student reminded me in a note last week:  Doctors treat, but God heals.   More later . . .

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reality Check

Sometimes it is easy to forget that much of the world doesn't have the things we take for granted. I received the following information from Ellie Hamby who is still in Zambia. She writes:

Church leader and ZMM translator Dominic Moonga reports that over 600 people arrived in Kanchindu the day after the medical mission left. Some caught up with the medical team in Mbole, then some in Simpweze, and a few even made it to Zyangale. It is our understanding that those who made it to Zyangale had stopped at Mbole after we left, then Simpweze after we left, and then finally to Zyangale where they got there in time to be seen. It is estimated they traveled around 140 miles to try to get medical care.

(Note: Some people who came to be served on the medical mission were referred for further treatment to the Zimba eye clinic about 40 miles from Namwianga.) Ellie continues: A family (elderly man, his wife, and daughter) arrived a few days ago from the Simpweze area. They had enough money to get to Namwianga but not enough to go on to Zimba. It was after dark, so I put them up in the Hamby Bunkhouse. Justin (our security guard) told me that when he showed them the room they had never seen a light switch and did not know how to turn the electricity on and off, and they had no idea how a key worked to lock a door. Sometimes we forget that so many of the patients we see lead an extremely basic life. We did take the three to Zimba the next day as we were going to Livingstone. The man told me that as soon as he could see he was going to read the Bible. They were very appreciative of the care we gave them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Update - August 12


It doesn't seem possible, but my radiation treatments are almost over!  August 18 is the last one.  I am still feeling great and having no side effects.  

Mark and Michele Broadway arrived back in Austin on Friday after spending a month in our house at Namwianga.  They have had stories to tell, and we have loved hearing all of them.  Here are just a few:

Dr. Richard Prather, the stateside superintendent of Namwianga and also a veterinarian, neutered our cat.  The operation apparently caused a feline personality transformation.  According to Mark and Michele, our once ornery and aloof cat is now warm and cuddly.  They think he was also very lonely without us and was ready to have some human companionship.  

The chickens are fine.  The guinea fowl are now all grown up.  According to the Broadways, the guineas fly out in the mornings and roam at large.  Then at night they fly back into the coop.  

The garden is producing well.  The people staying at our house had salad fresh from the garden almost every day.  

The beds are now out of the dining room and the dining table back in its rightful place.  

Michele taught my classes for me the last week she was there--one of the classes is pictured above.  The students wrote notes to me, and reading these truly warmed my heart.  Here are excerpts from some of my favorites.

Dear Madam,
We are really missing you in the college.  You have a heart of a mother to us.  May the good Lord be with you till we meet next term.

Beloved Madam,
Let the beauty that is in God recharge your spirit, purify your mind, touch your soul, and give you eternal joy and happiness.  I really miss you!

Madam,
We miss you and we know that by his grace nothing is impossible.  Doctors treat but God heals.  God be with you till we meet again.

Dear Madam,
I was really grieved when I received the message that you have breast cancer.  I opened the Bible and read from the book of Psalm 121.  From the word of God I realized that God is there for you.

Dear Mum,
You are so dear to me and your absence has really made a big difference in my lectures and spiritual life.  You're an inspiration to me.  I know we worship the true God who will show us the right way.  It is my prayer and hope that you will become well and back.  I miss you so much Mum.

Dear Auntie,
If I was an angel I would look after you 24 hours, but since I am only human I will always pray for your recovery.  You are greatly missed by me.  

Dear Mother,
Your absence physically has created a huge empty space both in my spiritual and physical life. . .  Get well soon Mother.  Africa and Namwianga need you!

What wonderful encouragement and motivation to get back to African soil and the work there!





  

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jason Update

video
Meagan also sent this video of Jason singing in both English and Tonga.  He and Bernard both call me Nana.  

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bernard's Goodbye

video
Mark and Michele Broadway returned from Namwianga this week and brought us photos and videos of Bernard and Jason.  Meagan made this video of Bernard way back in April when he was leaving with his new step-mom.  For new readers, Bernard is one of the Haven orphans that David and I fell in love with and kept at our house several times.  He has now gone home to his village.  

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Update - August 6

Only ten more radiation treatments to go!  Last week my oncologist ordered heavier doses of targeted radiation and warned me that I should expect side effects.   So far nothing has happened.  I'm actually experiencing less fatigue than in the last week or two.  God is good all the time.

We have been having some Africa experiences here in Austin.  During a Bible study last week the electricity suddenly went off for about five minutes.  Then the internet connection went dead on Sunday at the Broadway's house where we are living.  It came back on briefly yesterday and then went out again.  We had it repaired today, but it requires a password that we have forgotten.  We've e-mailed the Broadways (who are in our house in Zambia) and asked them to send it to us, but they're having their own issues with electricity and internet service in our house, so who knows when we'll be able to connect?  In the meantime we are using the wireless connection at the church building.  

We had a great weekend with fellow missionaries Don and Laura Oldenburg who came from Abilene to see us.  Don is almost finished with his radiation treatments.  Although he will finish ahead of me, he has more follow-up tests to get through, so David and I will be back in Zambia a few weeks before Don and Laura can get there.  It is always a joy to share our love for Zambia and our ideas for the future of the work with them.