Sunday, 31 July 2011

RAD-icle baptism

Last Saturday, many of the Kudjip family attended a baptismal service--for Priscilla, Josiah, and Lydia Radcliffe.  Missionaries and nationals walked together from the main station down to the Hydro Church.  The church sits along the river.  It is such a beautiful setting with the water running in the background.  The afternoon was pleasantly warm, so we sat on the grass outside.  Pastor Agus played the guitar and sang a few Pidgin praise songs.  Uncle Harmon lead us all in reciting the Apostle's Creed.  Priscilla, Jo, and Lydia each gave testimony to what God has done and is continuing to do in their lives.  We then walked a few more steps to the Wara Kane where Harmon and Pastor Philip baptized the kids.  It was such a precious time!
I thought I would share a few pictures of Pricilla, Jo, and Lydia... from the baptism and from 9 years ago when I first came to PNG as a medical student.  I can't believe much they have grown up!  (Please don't be mad at me!  Your very proud Aunt Steph just couldn't resist.)  

Cilla is such a beautiful young lady, outside and in.

I think Jo is about ten times taller than he was 9 years ago.

Lydia was just 3 years old in this first picture :).

"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
~ Romans 6:4

Rural Health

The Rural Health Services division of Nazarene Health Ministries is responsible for staffing, supplying, and supporting two remote health centers in PNG:  Imane and Sangapi.  Now when I say remote, I mean the ends of the earth.  Imane and Sangapi are located in what we call "the big bush."  There are no roads between these health centers and the outside world.  Medical supplies, staff, and emergency referrals travel in and out by plane.  When there are no flights available, people have to walk several days to get to a road that will take them anywhere.  For example, Imane is located in Morobe Province.  Lae is the nearest big city with medical facilities.  To get to Lae, one must walk 2 days to the main road, and the catch a bus into town.  Imagine doing this if you were sick or injured.  Or pregnant...

Catherine is the wife of the Nazarene pastor at Imane.  She was nearing her 9th month of pregnancy.  She had c-sections for her first and second pregnancy, and needed to have a repeat c-section for her third.  There just happened to be a plane coming to Imane to fly out the coffee harvest.  Well, things got a bit complicated with the plane.  Due to recent heavy rains, the propeller got stuck in the mud.  The pilot radioed his base, and a helicopter was sent to the rescue.  Catherine and her husband Billy decided to hitch a ride.  The helicopter took them as far as Goroka.  They caught a bus and traveled 3 more hours down the horribly bumpy Highlands Highway to Kudjip.  When Catherine arrived, she was evaluated by Dr. Bill in the outpatient department.  An ultrasound was done to confirm she really was 9 months.  But Dr. Bill found something else on the scan--placenta previa.  This medical talk translates to "placenta first"; the placenta was covering her cervix.  If Catherine had gone into labor back at Imane, she would have bled to death before ever reaching a hospital.  Thank the Lord for bringing to Kudjip!  The following day Dr. Jim did a repeat c-section.  She did a little more bleeding than usual and needed a transfusion, but overall did well.  Mama and baby did VERY well considering the alternative scenario.  Ten days after their arrival, Catherine and Billy and their new little bundle of joy were headed back to the big bush.  They didn't think they would be so lucky to catch a plane ride back home.  Instead they will take public transportation 10 hours over the bumpy road toward Lae.  They are going to visit friends for a few days, and then hike back to Imane.  Being that mom just had major surgery, they plan to take the walk slow and easy.  WOW, what a woman!

Sanguo is a member of Catherine and Billy's church.  She was also pregnant, only about 7 months.  Her water had broken just around the time that the plane landed at Imane.  Concerned about their church member and her baby, her pastors brought her with them to Kudjip.  Ultrasound showed that Sanguo was only about 31 weeks pregnant (40 weeks was full term).  The baby was too small, and on the edge of survival for PNG.  We started mother on antibiotics and gave her steroids to help the baby's lungs mature more rapidly.  I also diagnosed her with tuberculosis.  TB medicines will help her live longer and stronger, and also protect the baby from getting sick.  Two days later Sanguo went into labor and delivered her baby.  He weighed just 1800 grams, thankfully bigger than I had estimated on scan.  The baby was admitted to the nursery for oxygen antibiotics and supplement feeds.  Slowly but surely he has been growing.  Last week we celebrated his 2000 gram party!  And soon he and his mama will be on their way home.

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
~ Acts 1:8

This is probably a good time to put in a plug for the new Nazarene Health Ministries web site.  There are links to Nazarene Hospital, College of Nursing Community Based Health Care, and Rural Health Services.  The site gives some basic info about each division, recent news, and information on how to get involved and support the ministries.  Check it out!

Friday, 29 July 2011

King of the Mountain and other toddler games

The kittens have grown a lot over the last few weeks.  Eeny, Meeny, Miny, and Moe are now quite mobile, what I would call "toddlers."  They are jumping and pouncing all around the house.  They are still a bit unsteady on their feet and sometimes fall on over... especially with the help of Uncle Brutus' nose.  They were moved from the laundry basket to the laundry room, but soon learned how to climb the step and escape from the place that was supposed to contain them.  My house is officially a zoo.

The babies love to play all sorts of very fun toddler games.  "King of the Mountain" is Moe's favorite.  Mostly because he is biggest and always gets to be king.  

Uncle Brutus keeps them entertained with peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek.  (Unfortunately they aren't afraid of him, which may be a detriment to their future survival when they run into other dogs who are not quite so friendly.)  

The kittens have also started preschool.  Yesterday's lesson was how to catch a mouse.

Growing up is hard work!  Play time is followed snack and a bath, and then an afternoon nap.  

The kittens are so cute!  Good thing cat food is so expensive, or I might be tempted to keep them all :).  I am certainly enjoying them for now.

Speaking of nap... it is Sunday afternoon and time for one myself!

New dopplers for D-ward

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to three college students who were biking their way across America to raise awareness and funds for Kudjip Nazarene Hospital.  Taylor and John have been rejoined by Kevin.  They are now in Virginia and on the last leg of their incredible journey.  For the latest update, follow this link to their blog:  pedalingforPNG

They guys decided to use contributions to buy equipment that will help us take better care of the babies on D-ward.  Two brand new fetal dopplers were put into service on D-ward this week!  These little machines are like microphones to listen to the baby's heart beat.  The new models are especially nice as they have a digital read of the fetal heart rate.  The nurses previously carried around a big wall clock to monitor the time.  Sister Sylvia was blessed to tears!

Thanks to Taylor and John and Kevin, and everyone who gave to their trip, for the wonderful gifts.

Romania is going to Moresby!

Thanks for your prayers for our heart kids!

Great news from Port Moresby...  Maryanne has had her procedure, is doing well, and will be coming home soon :).  Walep flew down on Thursday and is waiting to see the doctors.

Of our five kiddos who were referred to Lae, one passed the screening.  Romania and her mother Sephora will be traveling on to Port Moresby on Saturday.  Romania will see the Operation Open Heart team next week.  Her mama is a bit nervous, as she has never been to the big city before.  Keep praying for Romania, Sephora, and Operation Open Heart!

I snapped a couple of pics of Romania and her family this morning.  

She loooooves to have her picture taken!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Pray for our heart kids

Well, this is it.  After months of emails and phone calls and doctors appointments, our "heart kids" (children with congenital heart disease) are soon to be on their way...

Maryanne has already left for Port Moresby.  She has a PDA--patent ductus arteriosus.  She should be having her procedure this week :).  Konde will also be going direct to Port Moresby.  I diagnosed him with pneumonia a few days ago.  Pray that his infection completely resolves so that he will be able to have surgery.

We have five other children who will be traveling to Lae to see the cardiologist:  Kenneth, Klara, Romania, Neola, and Isaac (baby of Sandra).  Those who pass the screening will fly to Port Moresby for surgery by Operation Open Heart.  Pray for the kids and their families as they travel.  And pray for the OOH team as they care for little ones from all over PNG!

Romania came for one more doctor visit before going on her trip.  Here she is with her parents and me and Dr. Becky.  Isn't she precious?

"May he strengthen your hearts..."
~ 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Sodom and Gomorrah

In our ladies Bible study, we have been working our way through the book of Genesis.  It was my turn to lead the study this week.  We were ready for chapters 19 and 20--Sodom and Gomorrah.  Hmmm... gloom and doom, fire and sulfur, death and destruction.  Not the kind of stuff inspiration is made of.  It is amazing the treasures that the Word holds when you spend time in it, when you dig deep.  I really was inspired!  I thought I would share a few of my reflections with you.

Sodom and Gomorrah were two cities in the plain of the Jordan.  We won't dwell upon the specifics.  Let's just say the people who lived there were bad, REALLY bad.  They were so bad, in fact, that God had decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and all of surrounding towns and farms and villages.

There was a small light in that dark place.  Abraham's nephew Lot and his family lived in the city of Sodom.  2 Peter 2:7 says that Lot was "a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men."  Nogut God destroy the good with the bad.  The angels warned Lot to take his family and leave the city immediately.  So they quickly packed their suitcases and hopped on the next bus out of town, right?  Well, that is not exactly how it happened.  The scripture says that Lot hesitated.  Was he worried about leaving his friends behind, concerned for their lives?  Perhaps he was thinking of his home and possessions, where he would take his family from here.  Or just maybe Sodom had started to influence him instead of the other way around.

When Lot hesitated, God had mercy on him.  The two men took Lot by the hand and led his family to safety.  They instructed Lot to run without looking back.  They were to escape to the surrounding mountains.  Lot was not entirely fond of that idea.  He requested to settle in one of the small blink-and-you-miss-it kind of towns that was also in the valley, probably not too far from Sodom and Gomorrah.  But it was still too close to home.  His wife couldn't resist the urge to look back and she was turned into a pillar of salt.  

Lot didn't stay in Blink-and-you-miss-it for long.  The scripture says that he was afraid.  Did the people of the town blame him for the destruction of the surrounding cities?  He took his daughters and moved to the mountains as God had originally directed him.  Unfortunately the damage was already done.  His daughters had been influenced by the evil that had surrounded them for so long.  You can read that part of the story at the end of Genesis 19.

We have all had a Sodom and Gomorrah or two or a bunch in our lives.  The obvious parallel is that Sodom and Gomorrah represent sin.  Each one of us was born a sinner.  God has called us out of that life, to leave the valley of destruction behind and move to the mountains.  Perhaps we struggle other less obvious Sodoms and Gomorrahs:  temptations, complacency, bitterness, or just something that is less that God's will for our lives.  We hesitate to leave what we know behind, to give up what is comfortable.  We somehow convince ourself that Blink-and-you-miss-it is good enough.  Or we don't have the strength.  But the Lord is merciful, and He has something so much greater in mind.  He wants to lead us to a life of glorious freedom.  We only need to take His hand.  Hold tight!  Don't compromise.  Don't settle for less than what God has for you.  Run--run as fast and as long and as hard as you can--without turning back...

"But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called..."
~ 1 Timothy 6:11-12

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Pedaling for PNG

I've got a story to share about three really cool young men:  Taylor, John, and Kevin.  These guys are college students who just wanted to spend their summer serving the Lord.  So they decided to do something special for Kudjip Hospital.  

The boys made a plan to raise both funds and awareness for the hospital--by biking across the United States.  WOW.  They started from Oregon the beginning of June.  According to their latest post, they are somewhere in Wyoming.  They have camped, stayed in churches and random apartments along the way.  And they are telling people about Kudjip Hospital wherever they go!  Things were going quite well until Kevin injured his ankle a couple of weeks ago.  Bummer.  Taylor and John have continued the journey without him.  Please pray for these young men as they make their way across the country, for health and safety and encouragement!

For the fund raising project, they picked two pieces of equipment that we needed for D-ward.  These will help us take better care of the babies, before and after they are born!

Fetal dopplers are the machines that we use to listen to the baby heart beat while mom is in labor.  We currently have two of them.  The one on the ward is seriously on it's last leg.  The cord is loose, so every time you go to check a heart beat it comes out.  I have one that I am holding in reserve in case the bad one breaks altogether.  Two brand new dopplers will be on their way to PNG the end of this month!

Another item that we need for the nursery is a bilirubin light.  Sometimes premature or even term babies develop a yellowing of the skin.  Jaundice, as we call it, is caused by high levels of bilirubin in the blood.  If these levels get too high, it can cause brain damage.  Special wavelengths of light can transmit through the skin and breakdown the bilirubin, thus decreasing the levels and reducing risk of brain damage.  This light can either come from the sun or a special bili light.  We used to have what we called a "bili light," but it was actually the wrong kind of light.  I suspect it didn't really do any good.  Now I just write an order for jaundice babies to be taken out into the sun.  But thanks to Taylor, John, and Kevin, we are going to have the real thing!

I wanted to end with a quote from their blog, the June 10th post...
"As we stood in the service at Tillamook Church of the Nazarene on Sunday morning singing songs, I was struck by some lyrics that said, 'such a tiny offering compared to Calvary, nevertheless, we lay it at your feet.'  We've raised more than we thought we would and many people have been amazed at what we're doing.  Everywhere we go, people ask us where we're going and compliment us for the attempt of such a big adventure.  However, when it comes down to it, we must keep in mind that we are 3 college kids fulfilling a simple call to further the kingdom of God.  It may be crazy, awesome, grand, silly, hopefully inspirational... but in the end, it is simply a tiny offering, our part, and we lay it at His feet."

If you would like to follow the ongoing adventures of Taylor and John, here is a link to their blog:  pedalingforPNG

"Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
~ Ephesians 5:1-2

Missional Leaders' Conference

Start:     Oct 26, '11
End:     Oct 30, '11
Location:     Manilla, Philippines
Another thing to look forward to before home assignment :).


Start:     Aug 20, '11
End:     Aug 28, '11
Location:     Singapore
I'll be heading to Singapore for few days of regional training. Dr. Erin will also be participating. Looking forward to visiting with Sarah and David again!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Lil p's in the pod

About 6 weeks ago, our cat Sweet P developed a rather suspicious abdominal bulge.  The differential diagnosis was either a very large tape worm or pregnancy.  The bulge continued to expand and before long she was eating us out of house an home.  Literally.  Cat food cost about $10 a box.

Well, it wasn't a tape worm.  Sweet P delivered four little p's on Tuesday this week!  They were rather ugly at first, something like drowned rats.  But they are starting to fluff up a bit and look more like kittens.  It is amazing all the colors and patterns that they come in:  yellow tiger, brown tiger, grey, and black with white paws.

Beck and I were considering some temporary names for the lil p's in our pod.  Following the tradition of the hospital nursery, we could call them Babies of Sweet P (Q)uadruplet 1, Q2, Q3, and Q4.  We decided to go with something more original--Eeny, Meeny, Miny, and Moe.

The family has taken up residence in a laundry basket in my closet.  Pete the Chicken Cat's delicate mental state has, yes, been disrupted.  He hisses at Sweet P any time they are in the same room.  He hisses at me and Beck and Brutus.  He hisses to himself.  And he hasn't even seen the babies yet.  Oh, the drama!  Brutus knows something is going on in the closet and he is just dying to know what.  He parks himself on the rug in my room, nose inches from the closet door.  I won't let him go any closer for fear he will love the kittens to death.

Beck will be heading to America for home assignment next week.  That will leave me with one dog, two cats, and four kittens.  I certainly won't be lonely.  I imagine it won't be long until I am also busy keeping kittens out of trouble!  And before I know it, they will be grown up and ready to go to new homes.  

If there are any Kudjipites out there who are interested in a rat catcher, our trainees will be ready in six to eight weeks!