Just a quickie appetizer with @savingmoses from this week in Angola 🙂
Well, we’re concluding our 2nd trip to Angola & I’m quite a mixed bag of feelings & thoughts. In some respects, this trip has been more difficult than our 1st venture & it seems like I’ll have some sorting out to do for a fair amount of time. There are several discussions that I’m having with God, along with many questions. So in some respects, I guess that’s good because these interactions certainly keep our relationship genuine.
Alot of my conversations with God are also filled with gratitude. I’m very thankful for His patience with me as I grow, His wisdom in how He handles me, His grace for my humanity and most of all His love, which I’m unable to describe at this point.
I think I’ll be working through this trip for awhile. But be sure to watch for a video update tomorrow – I worked on one & when I get in a wi fi friendly area, I’ll upload it & it will certainly warm & encourage your heart 🙂 In the meantime, here’s a cool pic of my friend Jody who has become delightfully attached to Celestina, a beautiful & very healthy 3month old little girl 🙂
I’m currently sitting at a malnutrition center along w about 15-20 moms who have just received some medical care for their babies & who are now feeding them their afternoon meal. One little guy next to me is named Augusto & he’s about 16months old. He has a sister who is a little bit bigger than he is, but she’s 3months old. The differences are so stark it can be very unsettling. Thankfully, we are working on a system whereby we can keep a steady supply of formula available for these malnutrition clinics to the sole purpose of helping all of the babies who come in having such tremendous nutrition needs.
This trip has had it’s fair share of ups & downs but I think we’ve established some great relationships whereby we can make a steady supply of formula & hopefully expand to other provinces in Benguela as well. I also had the great privilege of meeting a Dr this morning who is 2nd in command to the Minister of Health for the Benguela province here in Angola. It looks possible that we could work toward a potential partnership with this agency & other partners to create a scheme to reduce infant mortality here. Saving Moses is doing very effective work here! Thanks for all of your prayers, encouragement & support!
Today we had the privilege of meeting some really great & totally fun pre-schoolers, as well as some great moms looking after their babies who we are helping. One of the things that I’m wrestling with is the moms that I’m meeting who have lost babies. The majority of the moms whom I’ve met have lost anywhere from 3-10 babies. When I began to discover this, it simply takes my breath away because I can’t imagine how a mom processes such losses. When you meet the majority of these moms, you wouldn’t know that they’ve endured such tragedies. So as we are now taking a bit of a drive, I’m writing this blog & trying to talk w God about this and to let the Trinity help my heart. I will think & pray for a bit now.
We visited the Cubal malnutrition clinic today & this has brought back some difficult memories from our visit last year, when Angelina died even though we had donated blood to help her improve. I visited the same room as well as others & met some very wonderful moms & grandmothers. Many of these women are nothing less than heroes. Yesterday I met a grandma who was vigilantly watching over her granddaughter. The grandmother is very uneducated but her tenacity & fight to help her granddaughter to live is something I won’t forget. There is a rugged & timeless determination in her cloudy eyes to keep her grand daughter alive, perhaps due to the many family deaths through which she has already lived.
Saving Moses is bringing life, hope & future to Angola – I experienced this today.
I met a woman here in Angola today that has experienced unbelievable heartache & yet she is still full of love. Meet Celestina. Celestina has had 10 babies & all but 1 died before they reached their 4th birthday. The sole survivor is her daughter, Manushe, who has 2 babies – grandchildren for Celestina. Despite such tremendous heartache with her children, as well as a failed marriage, Celestina remains beautiful in her heart & brimming over w love. I asked her what advice she would give to come through hardship without heartbreak. She said that a person must be strong.
In my mind, it seems that there’s a difference between being strong & being brittle. Strength without love can easily become brittle, but maybe love is what gives strength its fuel & resilience. Genuine love is such an essential necessity to live as a strong person.
Today we are going back to the malnutrition clinic where we spent alot of time last year. This is the same clinic where we got to know Belito & they told me that we can visit him again this year so I’m looking forward to checking in w him & seeing how’s he’s doing! I’m also a little introspective because I have a little bit of a sense of some of the infants we will get to meet today along w their moms hopefully.
With this trip, I want to be fully present & I want to lavishly love no matter what shape the person is in.
But presently I’m a bit challenged to be loving bc my sleep last night was almost non-existent due to the night long street disco party & our early departure, coupled w the last 3 days of travel. So truthfully, I’m finding myself in the “just keep swimming” mode, as Dori would say in “Finding Nemo”. Just keep swimming, Sarah 🙂
Presently, we are slowly making our way to Angola via Germany & South Africa. On the day we left the US, I received a call that one of our flights had been cancelled & that we were be re-routed. Our new itinerary added an entire extra day of travel along w several long lay-overs & an extra flight. Presently, as I’m writing this, I’m standing in a transfer line w my friends, waiting to get a boarding pass for the flight to Angola.
The problem with getting to Angola is that it isn’t considered a “desirable desolation”. So to get to this country, it takes some focus, determination & persistence.
I think these ideas about persistence & determination are true whenever you decide to help people. If you’re merely interested in helping, then almost any obstacle will suffice as an inconvenience & possible excuse to change your mind. If you’re passionate about helping, then inconveniences are nothing more than hurdles as you make your way to the goal. When we are in a position to help people (at the grocery store, volunteering for a community project, etc), we must decide to not be dissuaded by obstacles, delays or flight changes – I’m writing this mostly to myself, given my current frame of mind 🙂
Greetings friends! Just to keep you posted, I’m flying to Angola with savingmoses because we want to put the tangible love of Jesus into action by helping to keep “the least of these” (infants & toddlers) from starving to death. You see, Angola has the world’s highest infant mortality rate & the majority of the reason it is so high is because of a lack of food. When I went to Angola last year, I looked infant mortality in the eyes & it broke my heart, knowing that the simple supply of formula & food could prevent the majority of these deaths. So over the course of a year, we’ve been steadily providing money to buy formula & now I’m going back to check out what’s been happening over the last year.
So, please be sure to keep your eyes peeled because I’ll be doing all the blogging, fb-ing, tweeting, etc that I possibly can to keep you up to speed on our progress in Angola over the last year 🙂
I’ve been thinking a lot, lately about wisdom. In fact, I’ve been trying out that “Read a Proverb a Day” plan (since there are 31 chapters in Proverbs, it makes it easy) & I’m really liking it! I’m getting ready to start my 3rd time around & its been really helpful. Here are a few quickie take-aways that seem to be sticking to my ribs of late:
- timing reveals a lot about a person’s level of wisdom or foolishness
- doing the “right thing”, while not easy, is wise
- anger can sabotage wisdom
- wise friends can also be scratchy but can also make us more sharp
- wisdom listens more than it talks
- wisdom is priceless