Thursday, September 12, 2013

A LONG over due Midwifery Journal ~

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Midwifery Journal ~ September 6-8

Blog Version: Sept 6-8, 2013

September 6 #2-

Emma simply amazes me! She's in very active labor and at 6-7cm she walks downstairs as I'm coming to check FHT's and asks if we want anything to eat because she was coming down to fix us something to eat! This morning she was laboring and then realized that she didn't have any bread and knew that her husband would be needing to eat so she made a batch of bread. :) 

Oh, I would love to have a labor like hers if I ever have a baby!! 

Time to go...will write when I can. :) 

I'm back to write, it's Sunday afternoon now, September 8, 2013

Swinging on the porch swing, sitting on the chair outside in the sun on the gravel driveway, sitting on the floor by the woodstove trying to warm up, sitting on the bed, sitting on the chair charging my phone with the one outlet that worked!! (making me a very happy girl! Story will follow)...all places I waited, and waited...for 12 hours we waited. 

And then I went upstairs to check on her and see of we could get the kerosine lamps and mantle lights lit since it was getting dark, and as I quietly opened the door I saw the first sign that things were really starting to get serious. She was lying on the bed and her husband was helping her through a hard contraction as she was quietly yet seriously breathing through it. 

Now things were getting serious enough to think that we were going to have a baby, it would still likely be several hours but at least I knew it wasn't likely to stop. 

I quietly slipped over and got the Doppler and after getting the heart tones slipped out of the room to leave them together as she labored. 

Back down the steep stairway I went to go sit back on the couch and read. Sabbath was now here and I was reading and enjoying some time to reflect and meditate on the Word, with my handy dandy phone as my flashlight. 

Shortly after her husband came down the stairs to light the lamps and stoke up the wood cook stove for the first time. 

Lesson: don't use a wood stove for the first time when your wife is having a baby!! 

Smoke filled the house as soon as the flame was lit. Around the house we ran opening all the windows we could find and then running up the steep stairs to shut the bedroom door where Emma was laboring. As I walked into the living room I looked through a haze. This was not good! After we had everything opened we sat on the couch to wait. 

Daniel brought in a couple mantle lights so we could see and then walked into the living room where we were sitting.

" is that working?" I very quizzically asked as Daniel nonchalantly pulled the cord to turn on the fan.

See, they are Old Order Amish which means no electricity. I knew that the house that they were living in had been and English home as a saw all the electrical outlets, dishwasher, ceiling fans, etc, but I was assuming that none of them worked as the Amish were supposed to turn them off and never use them once they moved in. 

"Electricity" He casually responded to my incredibly surprised and a bit shocked question. 

"Electricity?" I said, at this point even more confused.

"Yeah, we just never turned it off when we moved in." He comfortably replied.

"So, does that mean that these outlets work to?" I said with a smile on my face.

"Yes" He said

"Oh, I'm SO excited" I said as I jumped out of the couch to try one to plug my ever dying phone into. 

His laboring wife peeped her head around the wall upstairs to say "Oh, you have to use the outlet by the wood cook stove, the other ones don't work."

What a happy and surprised girl I was . :)

"We just have had the hardest time turning it off and it's not really wrong to have it and..." His voice faded away as he walked back upstairs to tend to his laboring wife. 

We now had light, heat and I had electricity :) I sat by the stove reading when the light started the fade and fade and fade until we were sitting in darkness. 

The propane had run out. Back to using my phones flashlight. Daniel noticed that it looked dark and so he went and got the one that stood up and had a larger tank of propane on it. This one was supposed to go 2-3 months before it needed to be refilled. 

5-10 minutes later we were back sitting in darkness. Poor guy, he felt so bad. 

Upstairs we went, I for sure got my stair exercise in while there, to see how she was doing. After checking to see where she was it and the position of the baby we made camp in their room. It wouldn't be too much longer now. 

Patty has her women push in between contractions, that was new. Also, we tried to turn the babies head and so we put ice in the fingers of our glove and put it on the babies head, it was amazing feeling the baby move in response to the cold. I love how much of the head you can feel before it comes out, it's just simply amazing.

"So do you have a name?" I asked

Looking at her husband with a smile she turned back to me and said. "Yes...but we both have different names picked out."

"Oh, what are they" I replied

To which they both told me the girl name (our guess of what the baby was) that they picked out. 

"But I think after all that you have gone through that we will name her whatever you want to." He said sweetly as he looked into her eyes with love and tenderness. 

"We will see" She sweetly replied. 

And back to hard contractions we went. She had hard back labor and so I was helping her with that until my arms got too sore so I showed her husband what to do. He was more than happy to help in any way.

"The head is moving down nicely and you are complete" 

At this her husband turned into a little boy that had gotten told he could have any and all the candy he wanted in a candy store. 

Kneeling down beside her, he took her hands in his and held them close to his chest. He leaned close into her and sweetly yet excitedly whispered something into her ear as the biggest smile came across his face. 

"My husbands crazy isn't he?" She said with a smile and sweet little laugh. 

Smiling ourselves I said "No, he's just one very excited daddy who loves you very much and can't wait to hold your baby in his arms." 

I sat back and soaked in the reality of what I was a part of. What intimacy and love I was able to be a part of. Watching how tenderly he was with her and how in tune he was to her with what was going on was so touching. And I was able to be a part of this, this most amazing and life changing event in their lives. What a gift. What a picture of what marriages are to be and what a picture of the intimacy that God wants to have with us. 

Tears welled up in his eyes as he for the first time saw a part of his babies head. It was simply precious watching him through this whole process. 

We decided that he should help deliver his baby, to which at first he was a bit unsure of what to do yet wanting more than anything to help being his baby into the world. After I assured him that I would guide him through what to do he was even more excited. 

They both watched intently and the head started coming. 

I delivered the head, swept my finger around the get the chin out. Then having him put his hands above mine he helped bring his baby into the world. (She was a little stuck so I reached in and gave a little assistance getting her out.) The tears flowed from his eyes down his cheeks as he held his baby, baby girl, and looked into her eyes for the first time.

I helped him show her to her mommy and then place her gently on her stomach. He walked around and holding his wife, the tears kept coming...they had their baby. She did an amazing job, and he was right by her side through it all. 

After the corn stopped pulsating we claimed it, daddy cut it, and we left the three of them to have some time together. 

With hearts full and lots of paperwork to do we walked the steps down to the living room to work and wait a bit. 

When we went up the three of them were laying all nestled together, simply adorable. Little Marie was so alert and looking all around taking everything in.  

Marie D.  ( D & E ) Born Saturday September 7, 2013 at 12:28am, weighing 8lb 8oz, 20 1/2 inches long, head: 13 1/4, chest: 13 1/2, ROA

3 hours??? Yes, that's the longest time I've ever had to wait for a placenta to come!!! Patty went downstairs to sleep and left me in the room with them for the placenta to come. Daniel went and filled the tank for the mantle lights so we could see and us girls sat and waited...and talked :) We had some wonderful spiritual conversations. They are very sweet and godly people. After the whole days events...I made some new friends :) We tried everything we could think of to get that placenta out! It just didn't want to come. Finally she was squatting on the bed and pushing...and I suggested she cough...I think it shocked her just as much as the placenta and praise the Lord it came out! :)

While we were waiting we did the newborn exam, washed her thick black hair and then I got to help teach her daddy how to get her dressed and how to wrap her up in a blanket. It was so cute and she did so well being patient and calm with him. 

My payment: a baby announcement card :) 

Also while we were waiting I was sharing how I was hoping I would be able to go to church Sabbath morning. The church I was wanting to go to was about 30 minutes from them, which was an hour or so closer than it was from home. I unfortunately hadn't thought of packing church clothes when I left Friday morning to go to her house. 

"Oh, you could borrow one of my dresses for church." Was her sweet offer. :)

I can only imagine what people would have thought if I went to church in an Amish dress with a Mennonite head covering!! 

Around 4:30am I left to come home. That was the longest 1 1/2 hour drive in my life. I've never come so close to falling asleep while driving in my life. If it wasn't for the hills and curves I would have been in serious trouble. Praise the Lord I made it home safely. It was about scary when I noticed my eyes shutting as I was driving around the curves when I still had 26 miles to go. 

From 6:00-8:30am I slept...then up to get ready for church...well, i was a bit tired so I couldn't get out of bed until after 9, my body just refused. I ended up getting to church right before the sermon started. 

My prayer: Lord please give me Sabbath off

I went to some friends house and crashed in their camper for a little bit and then had an amazing lunch and wonderful fellowship. After I went and visited my Amish friends. 

If eyes could take pictures what pictures I would have! They have six simply adorable children. They are finally getting more comfortable with me. One by one they came outside and sat along the steps of the porch, smiling and listening attentively to their mommy and I talk. I discovered that the two older ones actually understand most English, of which I'd have never know since they don't speak! :) Yet their smiles and nods to my questions let me in that they really did understand what I was saying. As I was leaving the oldest one, followed by the next oldest smiled really big and said. "Goodbye, have a nice day and we will see you next time." And then ran off behind the flower bush. I left their home to the chorus of three little ones voices telling me goodbye :) 

Today...has been a wonderful and much needed day off. A day of rest, relaxation and laundry! Even now while I type this I'm laying in bed.

Freida made me a pie, that was breakfast :) She has a pond by her house and I sat down by it for awhile and watched the fish and a big heron fly back and forth in front of me. 

Who knows what this week holds, but I'm so looking forward to it. It's such an incredible blessing being here. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ohio trip ~ Update Number 2

 September 4-5, 2013

Sit and wait...wait and sit...sit and wait... Hour after hour passed by with no change so us two girls went upstairs to "rest." I'm not sure how much resting we did but it sure did feel good to lay down. :)

An hour or so later I went back down to see if any progress had been made and to get my cell phone charger, otherwise known computer. When i walked quietly into the bedroom where she was laboring her husband smilingly asked if us girls were getting good rest. i smiled back and said..."well...I'm not sure about rest, but we are having a nice time and laying down feels great" He laughed and replied that he wasn't surprised that we weren't sleeping. A little concerned that he heard us laughing and talking I questioned if he had heard us. His response was "oh no...I just have 7 sisters, so I know" :)

  She had now progressed to 8cm but the head was still floating and the water bag bulging.  Back upstairs i went.

About an hour later we both heard Freida's phone and having a good idea what that meant we got our shoes on and quickly went back down the stairs, out the door and listened to hear if there was another one in labor. To our disappointment...there was someone else in labor. Freida didn't feel like we all could leave the birth we were presently at and neither of us girls know how to drive stick, we both were willing to try, but that was vetoed.  Disappointed and unsure of what else to do we resigned ourselves to what the situation was and after an exciting trip to the outhouse we went back upstairs to lay down. Oh, the stars was simply amazing last night!! And the sunset too. Laying down in bed talking through all the different "options" we could think of...getting a buggy to come get us, walking, trying to drive stick, etc. I prayed that the Lord would intervene so that we wouldn't miss the other birth. 

Somehow we were so exhausted, it was now about midnight, we fell asleep for a little bit. Jena woke me up and downstairs we went. When we "woke up" enough to stagger downstairs we gathered our things and went into the room. She was now complete. Not too long after we had a precious baby boy. I was able to do the newborn exam and I got to dress him in the traditional Swartzentruber gown, bundled him up nice and tight and carried him around for a little bit while we got his mommy all cleaned up and situated. 

What was the time of birth? I confidently replied: "10:51"- guess I'm a little was 1:51. Cord wrapped 3 times around the neck and one time around the body, it was 40 inches long, yes...we measured. LOA. Uria L H (A & L): 1:51am, September 4, 2013, 7lb 3oz, 20 inches, head: 14 1/4, chest: 12 3/4 . I got to do the newborn exam. 

We made it home around 4:20AM and to bed we went, praying for some sleep. 

This morning we are out for the day doing  prenatals, PKU's, post partums...and we will see if we have a birth. 

September 5,2013

Sitting here in a different rocking chair in another place. This time it's in a birthing center. Yes, waiting for another woman to have her baby. But while we wait...I shall write. It's amazing how much everything starts to blur together. (Maybe having so little sleep might have something to do with it.) 

Where to start...oh, so after yesterday's checks we all we quite tired and decided that it would probably be best to rest as much as possible in case there was another birth. So home and to bed we went around 6:30ish. A couple hours later I heard the familiar sound from long ago of footsteps coming down the stairway to my room. 

(Time to go check, might be getting close) 

Yes indeed, Freida was coming down to let me know that someone was in labor. She wasn't sure if I would want to go or stay in case someone else went into labor...kinda funny :) I was dressed and ready to go in less than five minutes. Just in case we had to go different directions, if someone else went into labor, I drove my car. I learned a new definition of flying down the roads last night! Do they ever have sharp curves here!!! As I was leaving i prayed for a few things: to make it and for safety from/for buggies, animals, cars and people. I had no idea how many buggies would be out at that hour. I had to pick up Jena and then we were to stop at the birthing center to get her files and then head to the birth. It was an hour away and us girls were determined not to miss it. 

As we were driving here it totally took me back in time to when, four years ago, Amy and I were flying to make another delivery, going down the same roads with the same feelings of excitement, anticipation and determination not to miss the birth. 

Jena was putting the new directions in the GPS as I unknowingly flew by the birth center, as we got to the next road she informed me that we passed it, doing a u turn in the middle of an intersection we headed back to the birthing center. I drove in right up to the door, yes, through the lawn, and us girls jumped out of the car and headed to the door. 

We flew into the birthing center and like two little tornados searched that place for the chart that was supposed to be on the desk, yet wasn't. I finally found it in the very hard to open desk drawer and just as quickly we flew out the door and down the road. 

"Do you want to deliver this one?" Freida asked as we walked in the door. Of course I happily replied that I did. She handed me some gloves and yet something inside me told me to check where she was at before putting the gloves on. So I squatted down to where she was sitting on the birthing stool and took a quick look only to find that the head was coming! At this point the though of wearing gloves quickly left my mind as i got down and ready to deliver the baby and one minute later we had a baby boy. 

Two minutes...we seriously made the birth by two minutes. I checked my watch when we arrived: 9:56pm and when I got the time of birth it was 9:58pm! After we had mommy and baby settled in I looked back at Jena and we both smiled and knew that we had just barely made this one. My 80mph flying to pass a semi was totally worth it. 

We held him next to his mommy and then I held him while we assisted her in getting into her bed. Into the kitchen/dining room we went to fill out paperwork and get ready for the newborn exam. Jena and I did the newborn exam. 

Isaac J S (J & Mary) September 4,2013 at 9:58pm, weighing 6lb 9oz, 19 1/2 inches long, head 13 1/4 inches.  ROA

I did his footprints and I guess I was a bit tired as I did the feet on the wrong side of the paper, I put the left footprint where the right one was supposed to go  ;) least that was the one for the other midwife and not the one for them. (Their midwife left town and so we are covering for her.) He had so much hair and so I washed it before we left, he was nice and clean as somehow the shampoo was thinner than we thought and he got a ton on him. All clean and dressed in his traditional blue Swartzentruber dress, I bundled him up and carried him around with me as we finished what we had to do. 

While there someone else called saying that they might be in labor. 

After we got them all settled and left we had a decision to make: go back home and sleep/wait for someone to go into labor, or go to the birthing center and wait for someone to go into labor. Not wanting to miss anything and since the ones that were potentially in labor were up here, us girls decided to head to the birthing center to sleep. 

I picked the first room on the right and laid down to sleep. It was 12:30ish. 3:00am I got a knock on the door letting me know that someone was in labor and they were on their way to the birthing center and would be needing my room. :) 

I was walking out of the door as they arrived and we got them all settled in and assessed the situation. 4cm dilated with contractions about every 4-5 minutes apart. Knowing we had some time before it would be time I went into where Jena was sleeping, set my alarm for an hour, and went back to sleep. Since then: 4:15am I've pretty much been up checking, waiting, listening, helping. It's now 8:07am. I even got some time to do some devotions while sitting in the room with her. 

Freida brought out her record journal of all her births and we went through which ones I attended when I was here January-February 2009, what fun memories that brought back. 

And now...sitting in a rocking chair...waiting...and...writing... Thinking maybe I should eat something. 

D & Susan H - baby boy Daniel, born 3:57pm September 5, 2013! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Midwifery Adventures ~ My first few days in Ohio

Recap of the first few days :) 

I'm sitting here on the dresser, reading with the soft glow of the kerosene lamp peaceful. We are here waiting for a labor to turn into a birth. It's a Swartzentruber birth and this dear woman is in active labor and you would never know it! So here we wait...and now...I write...

I came down here late Sunday afternoon, had a little time to "unpack" and get to know Freida's apprentice, Jena, of whom I have come to quite enjoy having around. Us girls are having a wonderful time together. Monday morning we woke up to someone calling to let us know that they were in labor. What exciting news!

We flew around the house and were in the car in no time. We got a call a few minutes after we left to hurry quick. We were told to wait about 30 minutes to come yet us girls could only stand to wait 10-15! After missing a turn and then finally finding the house, we arrived to see that it wasn't going to be quite as quick as we thought.
It was an old order Amish couple, very nice and friendly. Fannie and E.
Their little 17 month old adorable girl, Rachel, didn't quite make it to grandmas house and so the three of us took shifts playing with her. We had a lot of fun playing with rocks, a dump truck, a shovel and shell sand toy, as well as with her little stuffed lamb. She was so sweet, yet oh did she want her mommy and daddy, we had quite the time distracting her from what was going on in the other room. 

At one point during active labor Fannie looked at me and asked  if I ever wanted to have children after attending births. When I responded that I did she quickly replied that she didn't anymore. I very sweetly let her know that right now wasn't the time to decide that ;) 

A couple hours later at 9:55am we had a beautiful, and she really was, baby girl: Hannah , 6lb 2oz, 18 inches long, 14 1/8 head circumference. I was able to hold her for a bit and found my favorite place in the house, the rocking chair, and there we sat and rocked while her mommy was enjoying her herbal bath.

A few hours and a pear later we left to go do a few prenatals and then to go birding...

The prenatals went great, oh how much I've missed doing midwifery!! It's such an incredible blessing to be a part of bringing life into the world. girls saw a few birds, even identified an Avocet ;) and then...we were done, so we went on a walk, a nice LONG walk. So long that Freida had to come and find us because she was done birding and we were miles away. At least it saved us from having to pass by a scary dog that wasn't too thrilled with us coming by his house. 

Home we went and prepared a wonderful garden meal...lunch at 7:30pm. We sat outside and are our  delicious meal while enjoying the beautiful weather and listening to the beautiful songs of the birds. 
I spoke with another midwife from around here last night and offered to help her if she needed it...

3:26am that help was needed and off to a VBAC birth Jena and I went. This birth I got to pretty much be the midwife and the other midwife was there just in case I needed anything. The stars were simply glorious last night. 8:26am little Laura B. was born to her parents: Mary and A. She was 6lb 4oz, 18.5 inches long. I was blessed to be able to do the delivery for this one. She was VBAC and the cervix was way over to the right, so much so that I had to drag it to the middle and hold it there for awhile so that the baby's head could come down and through it. She also drank a bottle of castor oil the previous evening and oh were her contractions hard! Oh, I got to do the newborn exam too :) They were old order Amish. They had the birth at the other midwives house, she's a lot of fun and nice to work with. 

From there...we went to a couple prenatals, two first time appointments, had quite the time finding the house! And then back home we went for breakfast at 4:00pm. :) Oh were we ever, and are we ever, exhausted!

Us girls went and rested until that was disrupted by the next client coming to the house for a prenatal, she's English so she came to us. We had a few more prenatals planned for the evening yet that changed with a call to come quick bc a Swartzentruber lady was in labor: "hard and close" was the message we received which to us meant...RUN!!! With the real possibility of missing it. We all had our assignments for what we were to do upon arrival and were ready to run when we stopped the car when we saw what we were guessing was the woman in labor, calmly walk from the barn to the house, as if it was any other day. 

A bit more relaxed, we brought everything in and decided to check and see where she was at. To all human observation one would think that she wasn't even in labor, yet to our surprise she was 6cm dilated. Back out to "choring" she went while we got everything set up, after that we cleaned the kitchen, swept the floors, put away the cookies and oh how fun it is to be in their homes where we use hand pumped water and kerosine lamps and stoves to heat the water. We got everything clean and ready and now...we wait. I have my little spot...sitting on top of a chest with a kerosine lamp on one side and my computer, my way to charge my phone, on the other, while reading the midwifery magazine and now...writing this update before I forget anything. 

So here I sit...and here we wait...I'll write as I can... 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Recap of my time in Palau ~

"I will go where there are no easy roads, leave the comforts that I know...I will go Lord where your glory is unknown, I will go Lord because my life is not my own...I will go..."

It's hard to know how to encapsulate into written words the experiences I've had the past two I write and think and reflect memory upon memory comes into my mind.

For those of you that don't know, I am just coming back to the states from doing mission work in Palau and then a couple weeks and some speaking in Hawaii (Oahu, Molokai and Maui)

Six weeks doing mission work in Palau, my main focus: the academy students and conducting a community health seminar for one of the local churches. I spoke every day for three weeks at the academy. Two weeks were a purity conference. The other week I gave my testimony, some other spiritual talks and did some interactive health lectures.

Palau is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Time so it was quite the time adjustment!  It is also the most beautiful place I've ever been. Hawaii doesn't even come close to comparing to the beauty there. The Rock Islands are breathtaking!!

The first week I was there, there was a dental/medical team from the USA that was running a clinic and I spent a lot of time helping them with dental work and extractions, oh what a blessing that was!

My second week there the English teacher was sick so I taught her high school English classes all week as well as spoke for chapel. Was that ever an experience!! Teaching was a great way to get to know the students, we had a lot of fun and it was very eye opening to see into their hearts and the culture.

My last week there I spoke for a community Health Seminar in Airai. Praise the Lord it was the most successful event that the church has ever had! Each night there were more and more people and we were having to take the church van to get people each evening. Friday evening before I spoke we had a meal and people that had been attending the seminar came up one after the other sharing how their hearts had been touched and lives changed, oh what joy, fulfillment and satisfaction that brought. Oh there really is nothing else like doing the Lords work and allowing oneself to be His hands, feet, eyes and mouthpiece to serve.

I had someone ask me the other day if I would do it over again  knowing the extreme trials and hard times that I would experience at the school and the situation there that I walked in to...and my answer was a resounding "YES!!" I learned so much when I was there that I wish I could go back and start all over knowing what I know now.

There was an obvious battle while I was there, it was so clear. There were a couple weeks where I didn't write any updates because I just didn't know what to write with what was going on at the school.

Not everyone gets to experience what it's like living under the threat of a nuclear bomb attack! A little over a week after I arrived, Korea aimed their missles at Guam. Being only 600 miles from us, we would have been greatly affected. In the mainland of USA we might hear these things and think "oh, those poor people over there..." Yet when it's you that is over there, it becomes very real. It lends for some good heart searching and evaluating what really matters in life. We were praying about what to do, stay or see about going back, after a lot of prayer I decided to stay, and praise the Lord, nothing happened. In Guam they were under lockdown and the whole island was in chaos seeking to prepare for what might be coming at them. All the stores were empty.

Some random memories that all have stories behind them...

The "home" for six weeks. Sometimes a place that had happy thoughts and at times it felt like a prison that I was trapped in ( at one time literally as I was locked IN the dorm and couldn't get out!!) I lived in my own little room in the girls dorm. It was missionary life ;) My little "bunk bed", with half a piece of plywood on the top bunk, a dresser without hangers and no drawers yet with one shelf and a little desk with drawers filled with another's belongings, a large window and a Chinese AC unit that had a mind of its own, became my humble abode, and it really became my little place.
I was very comfortable there (other than when the AC would decide to turn on and get my room to whatever 24' Celsius is in the middle of the night! :)

Community bathrooms and showers, dorm worships, hearing the guys play the trumpet, guitar and saxophone at 11:30pm right outside my window :) (i befriended those guys and then very nicely asked them that if they were going to play that late that they play sweet peaceful music...i never had any
issues with them after that :) Rats running all over, volleyball with the girls, evening talks with the guys sitting outside their dorm while I tried to get Internet to talk to those back home.

Lost power all the time (it was the most felt during chapels when we had no AC and no fans and it felt like it was 115 with 120% humidity! ), lovely cold showers,  pouring down rain for hours at a time that led to quite the flooding of the area around the dorm (one day I waited three hours for it to lighten up enough to leave the dorm, we got around 6 inches of rain in 10 minutes), getting locked out of the dorm 4 times in one day, being chased by a rat, exploring the rainforest, finding waterfalls, exploring the amazing beaches, climbing trees, playing with hermit crabs, flying fish, octopus, sea turtles, brittle starfish, thousands of shells, avoiding getting hit by falling coconuts, swimming into a sea snake only to find out that its one of the most poisonous in the world! Playing with sea cucumbers, swimming with thousands upon thousands of harmless jellyfish (a little taste of how they were when God created the world) finding the most amazing shells, swimming with and diving 25 feet to touch clams that are about as big as i am. And the crocodiles...
The huge fruit bats that flew the skies by day and little ones that flew by night, the many many coconuts (that I learned to love!) the unique fruit, different language, barefoot churches, village "homes", almost getting attacked by a monkey, going on outreach and going through the rainforest and following foot paths to get from "house" to "house", the fragrant flowers, the glorious sunsets, the nature, the HOT HOT sun, the dreadful sunburns, the boat rides to the rock islands when all the trials and hardships just seemed to blow away in the wind as I realized that I was on an island that resembles Eden as much as any place on earth can.

Overcoming my fear of the ocean and being able to dive into waters that I knew sharks could be in!! (That was HUGE!!) well, swimming with the sharks themselves was even bigger, but that wasn't accomplished until my last day there and I stayed pretty close to the boat. The white and black tipped sharks can get pretty big and come quite close to you!! How paralyzingly fear can be!! I knew that I had to overcome my fear and be able to get in the ocean to see the amazing world beneath. People travel from all over the world to go there as its one of the top places in all the world to dive and snorkel so I knew I couldn't allow fear to prevent me from seeing it. I even got to see clownfish!! :)

Participating is staff worships and meetings, talking to the teachers and students, smoothies with Kayla, all
my many adventures with the Troup girls :)

Ministry to the outer remote villages, the health meetings, seeing the poverty and also the extreme wealth of the people, seeing a group of young people that feel that they need nothing, absolutely nothing and seeking to give them a felt need...seeking to touch hearts that are harder than ice...learning to work in a different culture that is nothing like the one that makes up who I am. Having some breakthrough...any little bit with the students was such a blessing. My spiritual talks with the dorm students, being able to see some fruit from your labors. The times of heart searching and pleading with the Lord to do something through me there...knowing that I myself could accomplish nothing. Trying to teach the cooks about healthy eating, they were so sweet! Playing with Aome and Angel, my two adorable little 5 year-old friends that became my little shadows.

The dental clinic and seeing a little girl whose front teeth we fixed every Sabbath as she would run up to me, give me a big hug and smile at me showing me her beautiful smile that we gave her.

Feeling the warmth, love and acceptance of the local church members, growing a sweet friendship with my wonderful translator, the head deaconess of the church, we had so much fun together.

Learning how to open a coconut, lunches with the young adults at the capital, speaking and seeing the people's hearts touched, learning how to cope with the heat, learning how to drive with the steering wheel on the other side of the car :), plastic pesto, cooking vegan for some of the staff (I so missed cooking with ingredients that I was used to!), talking to the guys about eating bats and turtles and other disgusting things,

The ghost sightings while I was there...the last Friday I was there, I went to get water (rainwater), it was night and behind one of the buildings. I was a bit nervous and thus only filled up my bottle enough to get me through Sabbath and then went and sat down on the bench outside of the dorm. One of the dorm boys came out and asked why I didn't fill it up all the way and asked if it was because I was scared. I hesitantly responded that yes it was because I didn't want to be back there any longer than I had to. He asked if I was scared of the ghosts, I said "no, I'm not scared of the ghosts, I'm scared of the people." See, they had several ghost sightings while I was there, to the point where when I heard noises in the middle of the night I wasn't sure if it was real or demonic. That got us into a really good discussion on spiritualism, demons, the state of the dead, etc. The boy, and another one that came out and noticing my half filled water bottle asked me the same question, aren't SDA and are both new to Christianity so we had a wonderful discussion. They both said that I didn't have to be afraid with them around bc if I screamed they'd come and protect me, yet I assured them that it might be too late at that point. In Palau they kill with machetes. It's not safe at all to be anyone alone as a girl, especially one that is little, blonde haired and blue eyed. I didn't even go around campus when it was early morning nor after dark alone.

The scary scary experiences with some men that i had while I was there (just told my mom them yesterday), learning their culture and trying to learn how to sing in their language, thanks to Pastor Torres telling me how to pronounce the words, going to minister to people, old pillars of the faith with Pastor Torres and then spending hours singing hymns with members of the church. The ants!!!! The huge cockroaches!!! The roosters that don't know that people like to sleep, the wild dogs. The rainbows and the amazingly beautiful sunsets and brilliant stars...

...just a few memories...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013