Give me your eyes...

Yesterday I woke up feeling, not so great. I got up at my usual time but i felt weak, nauseous, fatigued, etc. I did my normal morning routine before work but by 0645a still felt the same so decided it was probably best that I call out and rest. Now for anyone that knows me, I HATE calling out and rarely ever am sick enough to bring myself to the point of taking a day of rest. BUT once i arrived down on the wards i had found that 2 other nurses had called out and that they were already scrambling to disperse patients so I prayed that God would give me the strength and love to not just get through my shift but to get through it while pouring love onto my patients. God is so good and he did just that.

After my shift ended, and as soon as i went up to my room, i laid my head down and slept for 12 hours. I woke up today feeling refreshed and healthy. Todays shift was a bit different than the day before. I wish i could tell you as i walked into the wards the little children came running into my arms with hugs and kisses but instead i will tell you the truth. Today I felt like nurse Ratched. Forcing children to drink Ensure, pulling out nasogatric tubes, cutting out stitches, and pinning children down to give normal saline nebs. To say the least my children did NOT love Nurse Becca. On a 'normal day' i can say to one of my kiddos "Atooouu" which means 'hug' in Mina (the local dialect) and one of the kids will run over and give me a hug. Instead today when i said Attoouuu, my one little patient, the Ward Princess, said "Ouwoo" which means "no"....Ouch....

I continued on my day knowing that even though my kiddos considered me to be like Nurse Ratched i knew that the torture i was putting them through was for there own good. Even if they always said "Ouwoo" to my "Attoouuu" I would keep on doing what i knew i needed to do to get them better and to show them love through these seemingly torturous actions.
As i was explaining to the different Mamas why i was torturing their children I asked them a few simple questions. To the first Mama who's child refused to eat or drink after getting a cleft lip and palate repair, i asked "well what does he drink at home in your village? water, milk, juice, soda, tea?" To which the mama replied "water". I then said "But what else besides water, he must drink something else." And she then replied "Water is all we can afford." ..... I stopped my jaw from dropping and i held back my tears at the reality that this Mama and her little boy couldn't even afford a glass of milk or a cup of juice. My ignorance was obnoxious. I realized that there was so much MORE i needed to learn and how much more i needed to LISTEN. I then moved on to my second Mama. I explained to the Mama that her Baby who also had a cleft lip and palate done was having some trouble breathing. I told her that we also suspected that he has a respiratory infection and most likely worms so we would be started him on some new medicines. I then explained to her that he really needed to get up and walk around to help his lungs open up and his bowels open up as well. She picked her 2 year old son up and plopped his feet on the floor. I then motioned to her that she needed to put his flip flops on before he walked around the hospital. She softly replied "He doesn't own any." As soon as the translator told me what she said that same weakness and nausea i had felt the night before crept back in but this time because of the poverty that sat before me. I asked around to a few nurses to see if they had any kid flip flops and instead went down to our 'Boutique' and found a little pair of 'Tweety' shoes that were a little big, but would do the trick. I handed them to Mom and her face lit up as she placed the new shoes on her baby boy.

Leaving work i felt really really sad... Water and flip flops, come on really.. Later that day while listening to some music this song popped on (Give me your eyes by Brandon Heath) and the sadness that I had felt came pouring out...

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond me reach
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see..

Thank you Father for letting me see a glimpse of your heart. God I pray that you will give me more of your heart, God that you will give me your eyes to see what is sitting right in front of me. God help me to reach the forgotten and help me to be your hands and feet. I love you Papa! In Jesus name i pray all these things... AMEN


Breaking Chains

So right now I am suppose to be working on this online class but I cant wait to tell you about all that has been happening this past week. Since coming back to Togo there have felt the spiritual heaviness on or around the ship. There has been an increased level of precautions needed while going out due to safety issues, we have had long term crew unexpectedly have to leave due to illnesses, we have had families have to leave for the same reason, we have had a lot of our crew that have been unable to sleep at night, and we have had a lot of very sick patients in the hospital. I could feel the heaviness in this place and had asked a few of my prayer warriors to be praying for Mercy Ships, the crew/dayworkers, and all the patients and Togolese people.
Well talk about answered prayer. Last week while I was working on the ward I had a very sick 4-month-old little boy (Nathanael). He had a cleft lip repair done but was now aspirating his food every time he went to eat. Night after night I stayed up with him praying that God would strengthen his little body and open up his precious lungs. Every night he would wake up crying and would be very VERY hard to settle. I would do my best to settle him but finally after he had woken up ALL the other patients I would take him out and walk with him in the hallways.
Well the other day I was talking to one of my friends and we were talking about the 'heaviness' of the ship. She then told me to be praying extra protection over not only myself but also over the patients and other nurses on the wards. I asked her why and she said because there were currently a couple voo doo priests staying on the wards as patient caregivers. She then went on to tell me that the prior week, one of them had turned his heart over to Jesus. WOW I thought! She then said that there was another voo doo priest that was in bed A ward. Joy filled my heart when I heard this because the priest she was referring too, was only two beds away from Nathanael. I thought about the past few days and nights in which the doctors and nurses had been pouring their love and wisdom on to this little boy trying to get him better. But then I thought about how amazing God is in using all things for his glory and how God had strategically placed that voo doo priest TWO beds away from the sickest patient in that ward. God wanted him to see what being the hands and feet of Jesus truly meant. Two days later, that voo doo priest, gave his life to Jesus! Praise GOD!!
Today I went to church at a nearby fishing village. I heard a sermon about honoring the presence of God in your life and also with your household. As I pondered what that means for me, I thought about the voo doo priests that had accepted Jesus. I thought about the immeasurable amount of chains that were broken, as these men turned from their evil ways and instead turned their lives over to Jesus. Each one of these voo doo priests had multiple wives and many children and we pray that as they honor God with their lives and their households their families will come to know Christ as their Father and King.
As I thought about all these chains breaking a corny smile broke across my face. God is truly our victor and that the devil has no hold on us. Sitting in the church surrounded by my family of Christ I thought the day couldn't get any better. Well guess what? One of my fellow crewmembers got up and asked if there was anybody in the church, that day, that didn't know Jesus yet but would like to give their life to Him. After a few still minutes one by one six people stood up. A young mom, a young husband, two older women, and two older men. I could hear the chains breaking all around Togo. The devil has no hold on us as long as we continue to live our lives for Christ!!
I know I have written this before on a past post but I am going to write it again. The devil hates what we are doing, not only here in Africa, but all over the world. He knows that our God is more powerful than he will ever be so instead he throws things at us to distract and frustrate us; worry, anxiety, fear, gossip, judgment, etc. the list could go on and on.
But God is our victor and He is with us always. Be on your guard and stand firm in your faith (Eph 6: 10-18)
I pray that each and every one of you reading this will be blessed. I pray that you would not let the devil and his schemes thwart you from doing what God has called you to do. I pray that no matter what situation you are going through that you look to the character of God and know that He is with you and he loves you. I pray that you will be encouraged knowing that as you live your life for Christ, you are breaking chains everyday. Today is a day to break some of the devil’s chains!!


My Big Boy!

Step #1~ Admit Marius into the infant feeding program.

Step #2~ Get him fat so that he can get his bilateral cleft lip fixed.

Step #3~ Give Marius and his Mama lots of hugs and kisses and pray for them as they go back to their village and shine brightly.


Love-o-meter= Overflowing...

My SURPRISE home started being planned last November. The plan started being formulated when most of the ship crew around me were either going home for the holidays or forever. Hearing everybody talk about his or her families and loved ones, I started REALLY missing home. Over the next couple weeks, I worked out my ‘vacation time’ and booked my SURPRISE trip to go back to Boston in April. Five months later, I had told only 10 people from the US that I was coming home. *Thank you all for your good secret keeping and for working out all the details for the SURPRISE!!
For anyone that has read my blogs or emails recently, you have seen that God has been showing me a lot more about what is going on in the world. Because of these hard realities, God knew the exact date and even time, that I would need to come home. My second flight left London 12 hours shy of the airport being shut down due to volcanic ash from the volcano eruption in Iceland. *Thanks everybody for your prayers!
On my flight back to Boston, I woke up to hear them say ’90 minutes’. My mind started running as I thought about how in 90 minutes I would be surprising all my family and friends, and getting to see Duncan (my dog). As I started to pack up all my things, I looked up at the screen in front of me, and sadly read that we had only been FLYING for 90 minutes. After that smack in the heart, I knew there would be no more sleeping for Becca. Finally after sitting impatiently through over 300 minutes of airtime, we landed safely in Boston.
As I stepped onto the solid ground of Logan airport I could barely contain my excitement. It had been almost 10 months since i had seen my family and friends. I think the last time that I had been that excited, was when my parents came to pick me up at after my first and last week of sleepover summer camp. WHile at Camp Happy T I cried all day and all night for my parents to come and pick me up. I wrote letters to them asking them why they would just leave me here and how it was the 'worst week of my LIFE!". Talk about a guilt trip!! hehe... (sorry mom and dad)
Anyway, walking through Logan airport towards the pick up area, carrying only a backpack and a sign that read, “Have you seen my Mother?” I looked around impatiently for my Mom. Lynette, Annie’s mother in law, and myself had formulated a story to get my Mom to actually come to the airport to pick me up. A few minutes later I saw my Mom walk into the airport. Just seeing her, my throat got tight and my legs started involuntarily moving towards her. I placed the sign near my face and walked right up to her, until I was about 3 feet away. My mom, so intent on finding Diane, the fake flyer, didn’t even notice me until I tapped her on the shoulder and said “Hi” (*I originally had a great line I was going to say to her but honestly, I was so ecstatic that I could barely say Hi). After a few loooooong seconds she finally realized it was me. Her jaw dropped; her arms went limp by her side, and she just stared. I gave her a big hug… and then another one… and then another. By the third hug I realized she wasn’t actually hugging me back and actually wasn’t talking either. After realizing her catatonic state I started saying, “Mom, hug me.” “Mom pick up your arms and hug me. “ Finally, I just grabbed her arms and threw them around my waist and said, “Okay, now squeeze.” Six hours later, she finally started speaking. Phew!
After surprising Mom, it was now Dad’s turn. I knew that my Dad was going to be busy with work so I talked to a few coworkers to start to plan out his schedule (Thanks Joyce, Erin, and Tammy). As planned, Dad was in the middle of a meeting with his boss when we arrived. My Mom walked into the meeting and said “Hi hunny. I brought you a surprise…coffee.” My Dad, caught off guard that my Mom would interrupt a meeting with his boss to drop off a 94-cent coffee, looked back and said “Thanks!” I then slid in behind my mom and jumped out and said “SURPRISE”, and in an Eyor tone he said “Wow. That is a surprise.”

Okay so both of their reactions, which will now be called “The Catatonic Eyor Reaction”, will permanently be sketched in my brain. Being able to physically hug my parents, and see them face-to-face, after 10 long months, was priceless. I would have done the two-day, sleepless journey, and paid double, to do it all over again.

My heart was so full of love and joy after seeing them and then over the following couple weeks that I was home the feeling never stopped. I got to see Annie and Greg, my extended fam, my Mass fam, my friends, my dog!! I was overwhelmed by the love and support from everyone. I figured that these feelings, that these memories could never be matched or beat. Man was I wrong!!
On Sunday morning my Mom and I got into the car, Taylor style (late), and made our way over to Immanuel Church, my church that I have been going to since the womb. As I walked into the church, my knees started shaking, my heart leaping, and my stomach churning; I couldn’t believe the emotions that were flowing through me. That feeling that I said couldn’t be matched or beat, well just walking into Immanuel it was amplified x 300 or more like 365 (each member.. hehe). I was seeing my brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. I held back my tears as I sat in the pew looking around at all those that I love and missed. Words can’t even begin to describe the joy and love I felt at that moment. I truly felt like God, in that moment, showed me a glimpse of what heaven will be like.
Before I left Togo, I had been challenged by God to talk 4 times in one day, at my two different churches. I started feeling stressed trying to plan for my time home. Putting together a powerpoint? getting pictures? what to say? How to say it? etc. And then I felt God saying to me… “Becca, who is doing this? me or you?” As soon as I remembered whose strength and words I would be relying on, I took this as a challenge.
Over my 19 days home, I talked 11 different times all over Massachusetts. I talked at my churches, I talked with my friends, I talked at Christian and Public high schools, and I even talked at a State University. Before each talk, I prayed that God would speak through me and that he would soften the hearts and minds of those listening. I was nervous almost everytime but i prayed that even if it was just one person that was effected that God would use my experience with Mercy Ships, or my life story to touch someone’s life.
My time home was not relaxing at all, but it was JAM packed with love, encouragement, and support. In my 19 days home, I cried every single day. Some days was because I was sad reminiscing about things I had seen in Africa, other days it was because I realized I was going to have to say good bye to all my loved ones again, and other times it was because I was laughing so hard. Flying back to Africa thinking about all these things, I wouldn’t take back a single tear or single conversation that I had.
Thank you all for filling my love-o-meter. I think next time you need to surprise me, here!! See you in Africa!! xoxo