Today begins as every other day in BYT. Our plans are ordinary; our experiences throughout the day are ordinary, everything about it is ordinary, but one thing about this day is not ordinary – today is my precious Mother’s 90th Birthday!
On this day, a rooster flaps his wings and crows his loudest right outside my window. It is 4:45 in the morning. He seems to have developed this habit in the last two weeks, but it is a lovely wake- up call so that I can spend more time with God. Next I go for my usual morning run to WST and back which is approx. 2 miles, surrounded by nature’s beauty. I use this time to pray and think. The exercise makes my brain work better. Today I am thinking about my Mother. Yes, she would love me to be with her on this special day, go out to eat somewhere nice, talk and talk to our hearts content and value each other’s company throughout the day. We miss each other so very much. My heart yearns to do something special for her on this day. What would she like from me? I have already sent a Birthday letter, but that is so small and my love is so big – - -I know! I will take my camera with me everywhere I go today and record every detail of how I spend her day. She would like best of all to know what I am doing and how am I feeling about the things I am doing. She would like a clearer, personal glimpse into my everyday life in BYT. Everything has become so ordinary to me over the past 4 years, that I do not think I am doing anything amazingly different or news worthy. But as I think about how I lived in America, it is very different, and my dear Mother will be interested.
You must know this one thing, that though it is painful to be separated by half a world’s distance. I have peace and joy in my heart about my Mother, for I know without a shadow of a doubt, this solid and most certain truth: -My Mother is delighted that I am here where God placed me, doing His work. She has “No greater joy than to know that her children walk in truth!” She cheerfully relinquishes me to the Lord to do His bidding and follow His leading, even though it could mean that I will not see her again on this earth. Today my heart basks in the sweetness of her love to me.
BletJaw and I eat our breakfast on a mat on the floor and are interrupted by a few patients. After they are cared for we don our heavy backpacks. They are very heavy because today we will go to BlaGlow, which is quite a large village 2 hours walk away. BletJaw always evaluates the way I have packed our bags. He takes out the heaviest things from my backpack and replaces them with the lighter things.
The day is sunny and beautiful. No rain today! We pray together, then leave at 9:05a.m. We climb and climb, hike and sweat, think and pray. We pass through beautiful rice fields, ripening and almost ready to harvest.
I think this is the most beautiful terraced rice paddy I have ever seen. It stretches out beyond the eye of this camera photo. This is a different type of rice than the mountain rice that is grown on the steep mountain slopes. It requires much more work.
All kinds of gates are separating the cows from the valuable rice. The gates are all different, each skillfully built with bamboo to keep the cows out, but let the people get through more easily. Although many in other areas are very difficult to get over, today on this walk they are fun and easy.
We arrive in BlaGlow at 11:05a.m.
There are cows with their babies, ducks with their babies, and you cannot miss the pigs, both great and small tied up under the houses like prized possessions.
Today the house we usually go to is empty. A man nearby takes us to another house, quite large and way more comfortable to run a clinic out of. I am thankful as I let my pack fall off my back. This man tells us that if we can treat his terrible headache, he will go through the village and tell everyone that we are here. We must have done a good job on his headache because he sure did a good job spreading the news and bringing in the patients!
Someone points out a major leach that has just fallen off my foot, full and fat from my blood! That is not fair, I think. It has not rained for about a week, the path is dry and yet there are still leaches. I get rid of the creature and then stretch a band aid tightly over the place to keep from bleeding all over the nice wooden floor. No use, the blood pushes its way out of there anyway. I run outside and grab a leaf off of a certain weed that grows all over the place in abundance. These leaves are good to stop bleeding. I wad the leaf up tightly and stretch another band aid over that – problem solved!
The people came in 2 groups to that house. I told each group that today was my Mother’s birthday and I wanted to take their pictures to send her. She would love to see them all. Oh how happy they were to group themselves together and put on their best smile for my Mother!
First group of patients
Second group of patients
Now is the perfect time to pray for them all while they are together and before they get treated and go home one by one. The prayer is my favorite part of the entire day. It is a perfect time to “have a little Bible study.” These people do not know our God. I do not want to miss praying for even one patient. My prayer goes something like this:
“Oh dear Father in heaven, You are the one and only true God. You made everything around us, you made us. You can see us, hear us and help us, and best of all you love us and You love to hear us talk to You like this. We are so happy to be in BlaGlow with these dear people today. You know the problems of each one. We so much want them to feel well and be well. So we ask that you will help us to give each one the things that they need to make them well. We also know that no medicine or treatment can do any good without You, because You are the only One who can bring about healing. So today we ask that You will touch these people and if it be Your will please heal them and bless their families.
Thank you so much for hearing and answering this prayer today. In Jesus name Amen.
We treated all manner of diseases today, anemia, skin infections, worms, fevers, urinary tract infections, diarrhea, vitamin deficiencies, respiratory infections, anemia, asthma, tonsillitis, ear infections, gastritis, muscle pain, joint pain, masses and things impossible to diagnose! For example, one woman said that her blood was all messed up and going back and forth in her body, but the worst thing was that her heart was drying up. Did I have any medicine to keep it from going all dry? Maybe if she got rid of the beetle nut that may be a good start!
This precious one had a fever and ear infection
This poor old grandma, bless her heart, is weak, dizzy and worn out.
We have all our supplies in different colored drawstring bags. Green=stomach, Lavender=skin
Pink=vitamins, etc. This makes things quick and easy.
As usual, one of the ladies wanted to cook rice for us. She wanted us to go and eat right away and treat the patients later. We insisted that we wanted to treat all the patients first. It did take a long time, maybe 2 hours or more, by then we were truly ready to eat.
If we forget to bring the hand cleaner, we have truly done a terrible thing!
For your birthday dinner, Mother, I’m afraid there is absolutely nothing that would appeal to you here! Nothing anywhere near like a birthday cake and other nutritious dishes. Actually it doesn’t appeal to me either, but we need the calories to take us back up the arduous pathway home. Let’s see now, there are mushrooms, (Hard as rocks and impossible to chew, many of them were fatally poisonous last year, seems OK this year – hopefully). There are a few very bitter pods, I have learned to tolerate them, there is also cooked cucumber gourd left over from yesterday, covered with flies, and some fish water – which of course I do not take. This is a very big meal. Usually there is just one other dish with our rice, mostly just chilli paste, and we eat off of a common platter with our fingers. So this is fancy! Even a low table to eat off of and a spoon! However, it is very nice that there is a good split in the bamboo floor where I am sitting. If I cannot chew something adequately, out it goes!
This boy offered us his best! Grubs! I’m sure he was pleased that we declined, as he got more than his share that day.
This is beettle nut leaf. They spread a white lime substance over this leaf and wrap it around a beetle nut and chew away. This makes their teeth black after a while. Everything else is blood red.
Outside, this husband and wife are cutting thin strips of bamboo in preparation for the rice harvest. They will tie the bundles of rice and the rice bags with them.
The strips are then dried in the sun.
Now a young boy is calling us over to his house so we can check his Mother. She has had swollen, burning legs for some time now. She can barely walk. Her history is sketchy. I diagnose it as berry berry, a vitamin B deficiency and give her the recommended loading dose of Vitamin B-1 along with other vitamins. Many patients were seen in this house also. Once again this group was delighted to have their picture taken and once again an earnest prayer was offered for this Mother and family to get to know the living God and His love! They seem attentive and very interested.
Third group of people. The Mother with the swollen sore legs is in the center in the white shirt.
We saw 33 patients that day all-together. I pray that soon this village will be ready to hear more about the wonderful gospel. I know God is answering that prayer before I even call on Him for it!
We begin our walk home at 4:20 p.m. We go home a different way. Two people stop us on our journey out. One lady ran to catch us just outside the village. She needed money to get to Meta hospital. She said her daughter, 15 years old, was just taken there this morning, unconscious from diarrhea and vomiting. Her husband had died just a year ago, and she had no money to get to the hospital. I happened to have just a little money which I gave her. She gratefully took off for home. The next day I found out from 2 ladies that lived in LaGlah, a village close by, that this lady was lying. They know her well. Her daughter is 8 years old and she is not a bit sick. She has a husband who works hard, and she is known to lie and steal so that she can purchase more opium for herself. How sad. This is painful news for me.
The next person we passed wanted medical help so we unpacked all our stuff at the side of the road, just to get at what he needed. It is a marvelous test of patience because every time we pack everything up carefully and leave a village, anticipating home, a good drink of water, a bath, food and rest – in that order, we always get stopped like this two or three times!
Although the first half of our walk home is straight up the side of a mountain, the descent through the jungle is dense and full of raw tropical beauty. I love coming this way! The birds are singing “Happy Birthday” to my Mother in sweet melodious tunes. The flowers growing along the path cannot be photographed to truly capture their rare beauty. I also sing with a joyful heart, songs of praise to my Creator for all these gorgeous things and for the privilege of having such a beautiful, godly Mother that I could share this day with!
We arrive home at 6 p.m. and find out that our day is not over yet. That bath etc. will have to wait. Several patients are waiting for us. One man had come a considerable distance and had waited a considerable time! He was unable to eat or drink and needed an IV. After the other patients left, I started his IV by the light of my flashlight and he went to sleep there on the living room floor for the night.
At 10 p.m. I read my Bible, blow out the candle and breath a heartfelt prayer – my cheeks wet with tears:
“Oh Dear Lord, please bless my Mother!”