Above are pictures of our sweet puppies, Frodo and Samwise. We got them two weeks ago (pictured above) and they've already doubled in size!
To the left is a picture of a chop chop. It's a spider like creature who is very fast and grows quite large. We're told this is a baby one. We found one the next day in our home! The Malawians think they are poisonous, but the internet says they aren't. In any case, we wouldn't mind if we don't see more. Ha! We are told that they usually appear just before rainy season.
Above, you see our crew decked out in their Ethiopian best. We attended an Ethiopian New Year party with some of our new Ethiopian friends that we've met in Malawi. What a blessing to find these connections here!
And to the left, you see my current plans for crafting the odd-shaped net necessary for the boys triple bunk bed in the room that has a hanging lightbulb in the way. This is definitely a challenge for my non-sewing self... but it's a fun challenge!
We moved into our home 2 weeks ago and have been very busy hosting teams, pastors and visitors, and people from church. We've also been trying to unpack a bit! It's a slow process for sure. There have been several housing issues that have come up, but many of them are under control now. I can truly say I appreciate hot water and power far more than I ever did before!
Matt is very busy teaching, preaching, planning, and meeting with people. We will add care groups (weekly bible study), youth group, and potentially women's bible study in the next two weeks as well. It's a busy season, but it's an exciting one! Thanks for standing with us in prayer!
What a week!
We've been in Malawi now one week and it's been a full and fun week! This week we focused 0n getting over jet lag, learning the beginnings of how to live and function in Malawi, and started getting our new house ready to be moved into.
I thought I would do an update on the kids for -- they're doing so well! They're sleeping well and eating like an army (sorry Rachel!). They're enjoying all kinds of new experiences and some familiar ones as well. Enjoy the photos below for a peek into their week...
One of the things that continues to amaze us is how God has intimately cared for the little and big things as we have prepared to move our family to Malawi to be a part of the work He is doing there. There are so so so many ways we could testify to His glory in this preparation phase, but I want to highlight Andrew's health in this post.
Since birth, Andrew has had a very sensitive body.. We knew by 2 weeks he had a sensitivity to dairy. And by the time he was only 3 months, we were also certain he had a sensitivity to eggs and nuts. This was all based upon his body's response when I would eat these things while nursing.
As he grew older, he would periodically have these spells overnight where he would wake up in pain. The pain seemed to be radiating from his back, but always had a stomach component to it. He would writhe in pain for an hour or two, then vomit a few times, and usually was able to go back to bed after that. There didn't seem to be a rhyme or reason to this behavior, so we started keeping track of what he was eating, knowing he had sensitivities we had already found. We eliminated a lot of things from his diet (we thought soy was a culprit, so that takes a LOT of things off the table!). Sometimes, he would have an attack and we wouldn't be able to pin point it on something he ate. We talked with our pediatrician about it several times, and she agreed with us it was probably something he was eating as that "seemed" to fix it.
Last summer, we had our worst episode yet. We were on vacation with my extended family and Andrew started to complain about the pain. That night, it kept him from sleeping and even vomiting didn't take it away. The next morning (that was a long night!) we took him to the urgent care where they did blood work and an x-ray and determined he had a bit of a blockage in his bowels and told us we should start focusing on fiber and getting him more regular. For next five months, that was our goal and we were very diligent most days. Some days, we would miss it, and some of those missed days did end up having a nighttime episode. So we thought they were right -- this was all due to backed up bowels and if we can get in a good diet routine with him, we should be able to stop the attacks from happening.
Fast forward to the end of December. We had figured out how to keep Andrew on a good food schedule and keep the fiber flowing. Despite all of these things, we had our worst episode yet. It was excruciating to see my son in so much pain all night and constant vomiting. Nothing would help. He couldn't sleep. It was so sad, and we were racking our brains trying to figure out how it could be happening because we knew he had empty bowels.
...At this point, I will jump and and say I know I've given you a ton of information about this situation that is probably "TMI"... but I want to set the scene for God's glory to shine through. You see, it's not that we hadn't pursued medical help. We had gone to our pediatrician about it, and we had also gone to urgent care and had testing done. This very easily could have been something that traveled to Malawi with us... but GOD had other plans!
Back to the December scene. In the am, as we were praying for Andrew, I knew in my heart we had to take him not to the doctor, not to the urgent care, but to the ER where they could run more tests. They originally thought it was the flu. Then perhaps appendix (even though it was the wrong side). They sent Andrew back for an ultrasound on his appendix. While he was in the ultrasound, the technician decided she would get a reading on his kidneys too... this was NOT something that was on the orders and not something a tech should do! But she did! When the doctor came back to tell us what they found, he started by telling us we should thank GOD for this miracle because the ultrasound tech found an issue with his kidneys. Because of the way the kidney wasn't functioning, it didn't come up in urine or other tests -- because the kidney wasn't releasing anything! The only thing being tested was the urine coming from the good kidney. The doctor shared with us it's truly a miracle because the tech technically should not have scanned the kidneys too. He was amazed, and so were we -- our God truly cares for us and our kids!
Since that time, Andrew has been under the care of one of the best pediatric urologists in the country. He's had two surgeries now, and things are looking really good so far. All of this has been impeccable timing with our upcoming trip to Malawi. It has been a wonderful reminder that God is never late - His timing is perfect! We have been praising the Lord for His kind provision for us, the grace and strength for each appointment and surgery, and also for the way He's demonstrated His kindness through our friends and family here. We are truly blessed, and have seen that demonstrated again and again through Andrew and his kidneys!