Saturday, June 28, 2008

Thabo is dancing with Jesus!

Children's Day 2007 070 I've written many posts a bout our   precious Thabo who came to live with us in May of 2007.  Now he's gone to live with his Father in Heaven where there are no more tears and no more suffering!

Thabo died so peacefully Friday morning in his bed at home. 

In the morning he asked his Tia (one of the Mozambican women who provide care in his home for he and four other boys) if she could wrap him on her back, as young babies and children are carried.  He's never wanted to do that before because he September 2007 031legs couldn't straighten so it was painful for him.  As Vella said, he must just have wanted to feel so close to her. He then asked to go inside and sit on Vella's lap.  After a bit he was restless and wanted to lay down.  After just a few moments, still holding Vella's hand, he took his     last breath.Welcome Vella Festa 056

We received this as an amazing gift of God because with all of his health problems, he could have suffered greatly.  It's so precious that he even had special time with both Judite and Vella before he died, what a gift for them as well.

I'll never forget hearing about Thabo's arrival at the center while I was in the US.  People often ask why I stay here so long, or when I'm coming home or why I do what I do.  When I heard about Thabo's terrible neglect I thought "he's why I do what I do, so he can know he is loved and cared for, precious to me and to God."

BILD0945For the last several months Thabo has been out of our dorm, beginning with a four month stay in the hospital, then living in our clinic and finally living with Vella in a much smaller environment.  I was blessed to have been part of his care and am so grateful that he had so many others who absolutely poured loving care into his life. 

We will all miss him terribly.  He was a bit like a little celebrity here at the center, everyone knew and loved Thabo!  Everyone is sad he is no longer with us but we are all confident he is safe, secure and happy in Heaven with his loving BILD0957Father and Jesus.  I'm excited he can stand and walk and run and dance.  And I'm quite sure he finally weighs over 22 pounds as God has given him a new body!  We rejoice in his eternal healing that he's now enjoying.

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Ros and her husband Steve, our directors, took Thabo out after church many, many Sundays with their group of young kids on their regular outings.  This one obviously to the beach.  You might notice his shoes look a little big - he loved those shoes, even though they were huge on him!   

 

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This is Tia Judite who loved him so well and was with him when he died.  This is our local pool.

 

 

 

Here he'sDSC06382 with Tia Victoria at the natural history museum in the city.  She took such good care of Thabo as well. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thabo's beautiful face

Lovely Khosa Thabo,

July 28, 1999

to

June 27, 2007

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oops, I forgot to tell you I'm home!

Shame on me!  I've been back in Mozambique for one week and one day and I forgot to tell you!  I'll blame it on the disco in the community behind my house that is blaring it's music so loud and so often that it fogs my mind!

This has been a bit of a rougher adjustment back for me than normal.  I guess because my time home this visit was for the specific reason of caring for/being with my mom and even though I had lots of down time, it was still tiring.  And tough to leave. 

So I keep reminding myself, "slow and steady wins the race" and that there's no pressure to jump in and go wild right away.  God is so kind to help me remember to not carry this burden on my own and cast my cares on him for He cares for ME! 

So please say a prayer for me if you think of it.  And if you've been praying for my mom, she still needs you!  Larry called me last night to tell me she's back in the hospital, one week after beginning chemo.  She had a fever, an unexplained infection and they have given her a blood transfusion and several tests.

She's in a room by herself and everyone has to mask and gown up before entering.

But, the good news is, she's eating normally, looks and feels good too.  The best news is, her oncologist did a palpable exam on her abdomen and couldn't feel the masses that were there!  Praise God, He is so good!

Monday, June 23, 2008

We love books!

Germany June 2008 055 Thanks to the generosity from two sources, we have loads of new, beautiful books to read in our dorm! 

The first gift was from my former colleague, Gail.  She was a nurse here who looked after my dorm's medical care, among many other nursing responsibilities.  She now works at a hospital ER in Kentucky called Good Samaritans.  They pitched in together and sent us a H U G E box of fun books.  Such amazing generosity!  I couldn't believe how many fun and cool books there were!

The second group that sent books is a friend named Jarilyn who visited here twice, in 2002 and 2003. She did a ton of research and found Portuguese kids books in the US!  Three of her friends pitched in to cover the cost and we received a beautiful box of Portuguese books as well.

I gave them out together and then each group went into their rooms to read with their Tias.  I think it was the quietest "reading" session they've ever had - everyone was thoroughly engrossed!  I took turns going from room to room reading.  Even if the books were in English I just translated (loosely!) as I read along.  Most of them don't read very well or if they have English books, they just love looking at the photos and naming the objects or making up a story.

Thanks everyone for blessing my darling boys in such a tangible way!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Gardening Dreams

Isn't it amazing that the Lord of all the earth, the heavens, the universe, still speaks to us personally?!?  Isn't it amazing that we can have a thriving, growing relationship with Him?!?  I'm so excited when I remember that and let it sink in.

Yesterday, I spent a lovely afternoon at my cousin Sally's house here in New Jersey.  She and her husband Bill have created a beautiful garden.  It's lush, it's natural, it's creative.  It's healthy, it's growing, it's inviting (The photo below is NOT their garden!  I don't have a photo yet but I didn't think this post would be complete without one and this one resembles Sally's.  When I take a photo of their's, I will replace the one below!).  They also have a pool so it was great fun to spend the first day of the heatwave (98 degrees) there.  I took a break from the cold water to walk around the garden. 

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While I was exploring, I found myself praying a prayer I have many times before - "please Lord, help me not to envy others."  Because often when I am in a warm, family-friendly home or a lovely garden, I wish I had one of my own.  And I wonder if I ever will.  So I am on my guard to quickly take this desire to the Lord, to admit it to Him but also guard my heart against envy.  I want to be content with the life He has given me at every step and stage.

But this time, God was so kind to take me beyond mere contentment . . .

As I looked around this beautiful yard, the Lord showed me that I am working on a garden of my own.  My darling boys are the garden I am working in and the harvest has the potential to last for eternity!

Wow!  What an amazing thought. God is using me to do the hard, tiring, unglamorous work of breaking up unhealthy soil.  To do the hopeful work of planting seeds that are deep enough they won't blow away. To do the steady work of watering so that strong, deep roots take hold.  To do the tedious work of pulling weeds that sprout up again and again.  To be on guard against the little foxes that spoil the vines.  To work hard and faithfully so that beautiful, healthy fruit grows in this garden.  Eternal fruit.

 Joyful Joao!

I don't need to envy anyone else's garden.

I have often prayed since I first became a Christian that I would be a tool in God's hands that He can use however He wishes.  Who knew I'd be a garden tool!?

(PS:  In NO way do I mean to imply I am working in this garden alone!  God is using many other "tools" (people!) in my boys' lives!  And He is the Master Gardener who invites us to work with Him!)