Wednesday, January 12, 2011

JANUARY 2011 BEGINS

How can it be less than two weeks since I last posted?  My body and emotional state is saying it has been much longer - so much has happened!

Last Wednesday, Keith's family spent the night and then we all drove to Kampala to pick up Andrew's family and the Applegate family that were arriving back from furloughs on the same flight.  Just as we were leaving the hotel to drive to Entebbe airport, we received a call from Tony Applegate - from London. They were unable to make the London flight and would be arriving on Friday.  So Thursday was a big Stensaas family reunion at the airport as Andrew & Jacky safely arrived with all of their luggage (always a big matter of prayer).  We made it into bed at 2:30 am, but were woke up at 4:00 to a terrible wailing-screaming type noise.  At first it sounded like a baby crying, then cats fighting, then an eerie, demonic noise.  Keith's parents were awakened by it, too.  Sleep finally came, but only to be disrupted by a rooster crowing at 5:00 right outside of our window.  At 7:00 Shiloh and I dragged ourselves out of bed for his breakfast.  (It's important for diabetics to maintain a scheduled meal time.)  Friday night Keith and I headed back out to the airport to meet the Applegates and two others who were traveling with them.  Thankfully, they all arrived safely but with only half of their luggage.  Back at the hotel, we once again fell into bed at 2:30 am, awake at 5:00 with the rooster, and at breakfast at 7:30.  We had a safe trip back to Masaka on Saturday and got everyone settled in.  Sunday morning 4:30 found me up looking for medicine for the Applegate children who are suffering from coughs and fevers.  Between Shane and Shae-Lynn, there is never a lack of people for holding the two babies.  Elysse has become my great friend and knows how to use her "puppy dog" eyes to melt one's heart.  I have very little recollection of what I taught in Sunday School, but I hope that the ladies gained something despite my exhaustion.

Monday morning began at 5:00 as Tony and Keith prepared to leave for Kampala to retrieve the late luggage.  Thankfully, everything had arrived, and they were able to locate a van for the Applegate family.  Our trusted friend had already checked this van out for another family, but they had changed their mind.  Praise the Lord for paving the way to get this so quickly.

Tuesday morning I was rushing Shane and Stanley around as they were to meet Brother Marlin on the road at 7:00.  The Petersens have a teen camp every year, and Shane and Stanley had helped them on Monday and were going out early Tuesday to complete the setting up of everything.  As I was driving to the church at 10:00 to pick up our teens to drive them out, I received a phone call saying that Stanley had fallen and his wrists were swelling.  I took a look and knew that one of them was fractured. 

Kitovu Hospital
As you know from previous posts, you know that a hospital visit is anything but quick and easy.  I go to the OPD (out patient department) desk.  "Go to that window and pay consultation fee."  "Now go to that window for the blue slip."  "You may now go back to the OPD desk for the pink card."  "Please take a seat and wait for the doctor."   "Can you move your right hand?  Can you move your left hand?  Ok, go to the emergency room for a splint and pain killer."  I forgot to warn Stanley that most nurses in this hospital flunked their compassion and gentleness exam.  Maybe he is just used to momma's careful touch.  The emergency room had someone on all four beds - no curtains - so we stood next to a boy hooked up to an i.v., a man who was having his back examined, a lady doubling over in much pain, and another lady on the other bed.  After Stanley's arm was roughly wrapped, the nurse had the decency to take us to a private room to give him an injection for the pain (which didn't start working for 3 hours, although the doctor had said it was fast-acting).  Next stop - wait outside a different building for an x-ray.  After 30 minutes, a lady told us that the x-ray technician was sick, but they hoped that a replacement would be coming at 2:00 (in one hour).  She advised us to go into town to get an x-ray done at a clinic.  Nearly two hours later, we had the x-rays in hand and headed back to the hospital.  Because the bone had splintered, Stanley was going to have to be put out for the doctors to set it.  The surgeon was in the middle of a surgery and hoped to be done by 5:00 (one hour).  When Stanley put the hospital gown on, I knew we had a problem.  The three little velcro dots had long ago lost their strength. The splint was wrapped with gauze and fastened with tape, so I took two pieces of the tape, ripped them in half and used them to hold the gown shut.  Each part of the hospital is in a different building, so at 6:00 Stanley paraded down the sidewalk in his green gown, and then was met with a nurse and wheelchair who gave him a ride for the rest of the way to the theatre.

Kitovu Surgical Theatre
During my wait, I was reading a book by a famous Irish doctor here in Uganda, and he mentioned the surgeon that was working on Stanley . What a coincidence!  (I had her sign my book when Stanley was done.)  When the nurses brought him back to the room, we faced the difficulty of moving Stanley from the cart to the bed.  "Mum, you climb up on the bed and help us move him."  As I climbed onto the bed and maneuvered my hands under his body, I looked at the nurse grabbing his shoulder and head and asked, "Are you sure you have his neck?"  As she practically dropped him on the bed and his neck fell sharply to the side, I cringed at her assurances.  Good thing Stanley was not coherent!  Very shortly afterward, Stanley started coming out of the antisthetic and insisted within 15 minutes that he was ready to leave.  Since he was still nauseous, I waited another 30 minutes before informing the nurse that we were ready to go.  He had a rough night trying to sleep, and this morning I noticed his fingers were turning purple.  I took him back to hospital for them to cut away some of the plaster.  There were no rooms available in the surgical ward, so we sat outside on a wooden bench and cut away.  Stanley says that his right wrist feels quite sore, but since he can move it in all directions, I don't think there are any breaks.  My prayer is that the fractured wrist heals properly and that he won't have any difficulties with it in the future.

Keith preached at the camp this morning and will again tomorrow.  Please pray with us that our teens of Uganda will take a stand for Christ and make a difference in their schools and homes. 

God's grace is sufficient for everything He allows in our lives.  His mercies are new every morning - no matter how early the mornings begin, His mercies are ready.  Do not think of us as super-missionaries.  We rely upon God for strength just as you do, wherever you are serving God.  Each of us has a different cross to carry, but we don't have to carry it alone.  Christ has promised to walk THROUGH the valleys with us.  Trust in Him!

Blessings:
#69:
Lorna. She is a 1-1/2 year old that likes to sit on my lap when I am playing the keyboard.  It is the only time she comes to me, and she has even fallen asleep a couple of times.
#68: Our dogs. My family will fall over when they see that one, as I am known as one that just tolerates them.  However, I do enjoy the pleasure they give to my husband and kids.  Our dachshund is the favorite.

Sierra and Rio

#67: Invitational songs sung all the time.  Our people love to sing what we call invitational songs.  We don't have designated invitational songs, so they see them the same as any other song.  "Just As I Am" is one of the most requested songs during song-request night.
#66: Late night chats with family. When we get together, we are always swapping information, ideas, and stories.
#65: Personal mechanic. Ssemko has worked on nearly every missionary's vehicle and has earned our trust.  Although he lives in Kampala, he travels to wherever we need him and has rescued many of us when we have broken down.  Pray for his salvation.
#64: Friendliness. I was waiting in our van for others to finish shopping.  A man was unlocking his car next to us and glanced over at me.  Seeing I was white, he struck up a conversation in which I was able to witness to him and hand him a John booklet and tract.
#63: Natural sugar. Our sugar is naturally brown when we buy it; something I am told that Americans pay a high price for.  Pure white sugar has an awful smell to us.
#62: This one is hard to explain.  In restaurants, anyone can sit anywhere there is a seat available.  Your family may be sitting at a table, but it is totally acceptable for anyone to come and sit in the empty seats.  This always gives us an opportunity to hand the person a tract and witness to them.
#61: The flexibility of other missionaries.  We have not had a "normal" day since the Applegates arrived, yet not one word of complaint have I heard. 

Uganda's official bird: the Crested Crane
#60: The song of birds every morning.  Although the ibis can be quite loud, they are still fascinating to watch.
#59: The low cost of medical care.  For all of Stanley's procedure, we paid $18.  Granted, service in the States would have been quicker and more efficient, but we have survived thus far.