I was thinking this morning during church (lots of time to think during Kirundi church!) about how blessed we all are. By no means are we in this alone! Here are a few of the "villages" I thought of who make our crazy, joyful, overwhelming, fulfilling, paradoxical lives possible:
1) Our families. Without exception we have 8 sets of families behind us and supporting us all the way. That is certainly miraculous and we thank God for our parents, siblings, etc. who pray for us, send us care packages, and encourage us continually - all of us, not just their own kids and grandkids!
|McLaughlin and Pfister families meeting us in the Nashville airport coming back home from Kenya August 2011|
|Carlan's parents at a team cookout in France|
2) Missionary colleagues and friends in Burundi. Some of you may have seen John's delicious birthday dessert yesterday on Facebook which included treasured oreos and special friends in Bujumbura. We're blessed to have the Millers, Bonds, and so many others welcome us with hospitality, wisdom, commiseration, and fun on our many trips to Bujumbura. What a treat to share this journey with like-minded friends and colleagues!
|Janette Miller with the McCropder girls in Bujumbura|
3) Friends. It's amazing to see how friends from childhood, college, med school, residency, etc. continue to love and support us in creative and generous ways no matter where we live. This last month, some friends from my church in Birmingham decided to raise money for a NICU and peds ward for our hospital. Two of their precious boys are NICU survivors and they were saddened and inspired to help when they heard of the loss of this premie due to lack of oxygen or incubators:
I have been blown away by their care and generosity. Please read their blog here to be encouraged at God's work in their sons' lives and in the lives of our smallest patients here in Burundi!
4) Medical colleagues around the world. Jason mentioned this in the last post as he talked about consulting orthopedic docs. I, too, have consulted pediatric rheumatologists, hematologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, infectious disease specialists, etc. as I take care of patients and diseases very much beyond my expertise! Like the below patient who likely has linear scleroderma withering/contracting her left arm and leg:
I didn't know for sure what the diagnosis was and didn't know whether to try steroids or not. Within just a couple days I had email responses and recommendations from THREE pediatric rheumatologists!
5) World Harvest Mission. We continue to be so thankful for the loving care and support of our mission agency. And as we speak, our Africa field directors are driving for hours and hours across 4 countries to come visit us and encourage us! Read their blog here.
6) Burundian colleagues. We have been welcomed warmly by our new Burundian colleagues despite our cultural blunders, language mistakes, and missed social cues. The hospital staff is friendly and gracious and working hard to care for the patients in compassionate ways while struggling along with us with limited resources. As I was rounding on peds Saturday, 3 med students on another service showed up to help just as I was feeling completely overwhelmed realizing none of the 25+ patients had vital signs taken due to a severe nursing shortage. They cheerfully jumped in and helped where needed.
Our Burundian medical colleagues
7) Caring strangers. We've had several visitors recently who were in Burundi for other reasons and stopped by Kibuye for a quick tour and maybe a meal. And these folks have generously included us in their packing bringing baby blankets for the NICU, toys for the peds ward, valuable medical supplies, and special treats like Girl Scout cookies and a bracelet making kit for the missionary kids. Surprisingly to us (a reminder that we're not in Kansas anymore), the directions for the bracelets were only available on YouTube - our internet is generally not fast enough for that! But after a few hours we got enough of the video to load to figure out the basic pattern. The girls loved it and are proudly wearing their new bracelets!
8) People translating valuable resources into French. As we work to translate medical presentations, we've been pleased to find dictionary.reverso.net and other sites that help with complicated French medical vocabulary. And as we lead a Bible study for the medical students, we've been thankful for the following two resources that many people put a lot of work into translating:
9)Supporters. We wouldn't be here without the generosity of so many people sacrificing monthly to support us financially and prayerfully. God has demonstrated His faithfulness again and again in providing for our every need and we are grateful!
10) Team. I'm blessed daily by the "village" of McCropders surrounding me! What a joy to not be alone in the daily challenges and successes we face! Today we enjoyed a kids' concert (led by their music teacher Rachel), Toby's 1st birthday celebration, and team worship (including songs from Kenya, France, and the US).
|Happy 1st birthday, Toby! (April 1)|
"Community is a way of living: you gather around you people with whom you want to proclaim the truth that we are the beloved sons and daughters of God." Henri Nouwen