Monthly Archives: July 2013

Consider the Lilies of the Field

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I come from a families of seamstresses. My grandmother’s maiden name was Taylor (a variation of “tailor”), and my great-grandmother said of her that she could sew a straight seam by age three. (Yes, I said three.) Tiny fingers doing such delicate work! My mother followed in her mother’s footprints. I love the way she expresses her creativity through sewing. I’m lucky because she blesses me through it!

For my trip to Uganda, she made a light, cotton dress for me, altered a skirt I had been given from Tanzania years ago so that it now fits me, and she is, at this very moment, patching a pair of jeans that I would really like to take with me. I am so thankful! It’s always good to have clothes that are suitable for the season. Thank you, Mom!

Consider the lilies of the field … They neither toil nor spin.
Yet not even Solomon in all of his splendor was dressed like one of these!

Jesus (Matthew 6:28)

DSC00087Jesus says that we don’t have to be anxious about what we will eat or what we will wear. Yet I know that I’ve worried about both of those things, and I know that families living in poverty in the developing world today worry about them. But God’s provision is endless, and it comes to us and through us to others.

Today, for instance, when I was at Church on the Hill in Vallejo, Pat, Maria and Cierra gave me baby clothes, hats, and blankets to bring with me to Uganda to give as gifts to the families served by Mother Health International. I’m so excited to be able to share these gifts. Thank you, Pat, Maria and Cierra!

Jesus also says we don’t have to worry about tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow … that’s when I’ll catch my plane out of Oakland, CaliforniaSAMSUNG and begin my 26 hour trip to Entebbe, Uganda. So I was glad to receive prayer today from a missionary who was visiting Church on the Hill, Mike Santiago. He has been an ordained minister for 50 years serving in Zambia in Africa. His prayer for me was deeply encouraging.  Please pray for Mike and his wife Judy and for their ministry.

When I came home, Linda Jones stopped by to give me a poem she wrote called “Appointed.” Thank you, Linda, DSC00088for this gift of encouragement.

                                                  Every joyful moment of this life is like a lily,

like a flower growing in a field —

beautiful and wild, precious in God’s sight.

                                            ~ jb

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Blood Pressure Cuffs

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My mother hosts a Bible study in her home every week. The women are currently studying Romans — and always praying for one another’s families. Linda Jones, one of the members, knew I was going to the Mother Health International birth center in Uganda next week, so today, she brought by blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes for me to take as part of the medical supplies donation.

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Blessed are those who give

Why do we need blood pressure (BP) cuffs? A woman’s heart has to work harder during pregnancy to circulate the increased volume of her blood while supporting her life and the life of her unborn baby. If a woman’s high blood pressure begins to rise to unhealthy levels, it can be a sign of preeclampsia, which is a danger to both mama and baby. So every time a woman has a prenatal visit, her midwife checks her BP to establish what the mama’s “normal” range is, to assist with nutrition and exercise recommendations, and to refer for further medical care if needed. Having our choice of BP cuffs in the U.S. is a blessing!

While Linda was here, we talked about the developing world, where so many necessities must be imported because the resources, the factories, and the specializations simply do not exist to produce, for example, medical equipment within country.

Linda mentioned her sister to me, a nurse-midwife in Britain who also taught about hygiene to women living in the Ivory Coast when her husband was transferred there for his work.

I am blessed by the family of faith and the sisterhood of midwives — and their families — around the world.

Thank you so much, Linda.

Gifts for Mother Health International from Church on the Hill

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Yesterday I was at Church on the Hill in Vallejo where I had the chance to share with my brothers and sisters in Christ there about Mother Health International and my upcoming trip to serve as an assistant midwife at MHI’s birth center in northern Uganda. With the encouragement of Pastor Scott Peterson, I spoke briefly in two services and shared this slide show:

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After church, I was blessed by Garth and Esmeralda Hopkins, who lead Divine Guidance Outreach Inc., because when they heard me announce in church that I needed supplies, they got five boxes of medical examination gloves from their vehicle and brought them to me in a big bag–immediately! This is the first donation of medical supplies that I have received, and it meant so much to me. Please pray that God will continue to expand the awesome ministry of Divine Guidance Outreach. And to Garth and Esmeralda, thank you!

Manny and Irma Espinoza, members of Church on the Hill, also saw the list of supplies needed, including my special request: a lightweight (so I can carry it!) laptop for the MHI Birth Center in Uganda. The birth center’s laptop was stolen recently, and it hasn’t been feasible to replace it yet, but the staff there are in need of a computer that is up-to-date for keeping medical records. Manny and Irma donated a LeNovo ThinkPad laptop (running Windows 7, 4 GB RAM, fully loaded up with great software – Word, Mozilla Firefox, etc.),  which I will bring with me for the midwives serving in Uganda. Please pray that God will continue bless Manny’s business as a driver in Napa Valley. And to Manny and Irma, thank you!

Before I left church, my friend Sandra prayed for me. She is the mother of ten children, and she has attended twenty-one births in the role of awesome-mama-friend. Her prayers encouraged my heart so much. Thank you, Sandra. You have a true midwife’s heart.

Thank you, God, for these gifts!

God Makes Cool Connections – Part I

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When I was a teenager, a man of prayer with the gift of prophecy named Bob Laflin was praying over me when he said that I would go places in the future that I could not imagine now. At the time, I thought to myself, I can imagine quite a lot! But what he said was true: I never knew that one day I would be going to Uganda in East Africa.

Over the past two years, God has been putting Uganda on my interior spiritual radar in a big way.  Some friends of mine started a sustainable, business-as-mission in northern Uganda called The Mango Project, and I thought it was just awesome. I had the chance to contribute three trees, and I thought about that often: I have three trees growing in a mango grove in Uganda! That made me happy.

Then, Janet Black, my department chair at Colorado Christian University, received a Fulbright to teach at the university in Kampala, the capitol of Uganda. Throughout the past year, she has been sending updates, and so I been thinking of her experience in Uganda frequently. I did not suspect, however, that when she returned to Colorado, I would be going to Uganda!

When that came about, one of our mutual colleagues in English, Professor Bernie Prokop,  suggested that we set up a little permanent CCU outpost in Uganda so that each one of the English faculty could go — one every year. Ha!

Meanwhile, my brother Andrew moved down to Lompoc, California with his beautiful bride, Debbie. I love these two so much!

My brother Andrew is a professional musician, and his wife is a dance teacher … and they have a neighbor who coordinated the hosting for an African choir on tour in the U.S. — and got my brother and his wife in on the opportunity to invite folks to stay with them. So, lo and behold, my brother now has dear friends in a Ugandan choir. (Of all the choirs in all the world, right?) The Mwamba Children’s Choir is raising money for an orphanage near Entebbe, Uganda: I AM Children’s Ministry. My brother’s friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, have offered to pick me up at the airport at Entebbe and get me to Kampala the next day so I can catch a ride north to the Mother Health International birth center where I will be serving as an assistant midwife. This kindness means so much to me, and it shows me once again that God has given Christians a family of faith around the world.

I will also be meeting another international midwife at the airport, Sarah, and we will be traveling together. I’m just amazed that God caused our paths to cross. I feel like I know her already!

God knows what he’s doing even when we do not. God makes cool connections!

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound,
but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

~ John 3:8