Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Family and Friends, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that for each one of you your holiday was happy
and filled with the love of Jesus and close family and friends. Lynn, Nichole, Julie and I
went to Ouaga and celebrated Thanksgiving with some missionary friends there. We
were a ‘family’ of 14 and it was good to be together. There are several wonderful cooks
in this ‘family’ so we ate royally. After dinner, we watched a re-make of "Miracle on 34th
Street and that also was lots of fun.

Since my last writing life in the orphanage has been much calmer. Outside of
coughs and colds, all of our children are healthy and we are thankful for this. A set of
our twins, Awa and Bourema, rejoined their family this week and we were very glad to
release them as healthy and strong toddlers. When they came to us 10 months ago,
Bourema was malnourished and sick but now he is healthy and walking. Thank you,

We received a call from a French couple this past week who are thinking and
praying about adopting Tene. Tene has been with us for 2 years now and she is about
6 years old. Most often, adoptive families want to adopt babies because it is easier to
integrate them into the family. Because of this we have been praying for a family
especially prepared to receive Tene. This adoptive family has an eleven year old and
they specifically asked for a girl 5 or 6 years old. There is still lots of work to be done
before the adoption will be complete but we are thankful to the Lord for what He is
doing for Tene.

I attended a 3-day seminar in Ouaga last week sponsored by a national
association of orphanages that I belong to. The theme of the seminar was ‘keeping the
needs of the children as our priority’. For three of the sessions, the speakers were the
director and assistant director from the department of international adoption of Social
Action. The teachings that they gave were outstanding and after the classes we had
times of very open discussion about what is working and what is not working in the
arena of international adoptions. They listened to what we had to say and took notes
so we are hoping for change and improvement in the adoption procedures.

We have taken 5 new babies into our Friday Baby Milk Program in the past few
weeks. Each of these little ones have their own unique story but I want to tell you about
SEBOGO, Kiswendsida. His mother and his father are both not well mentally. His
mother was caring for him but one day she walked out of her father’s courtyard and did
not come back. The grandmother brought Kiswendsida to us asking us to take him.
Because we work closely with Social Action on cases like this, we sent them to SA to
talk with an agent before accepting the child. As it turns out, SA knew this family and
knew about some of their problems. And because here in Burkina, by law the children
belong to the father’s family, SA called the head of the father’s family to come in and
discuss the problem of the baby. As it turns out, there is an aunt and a grandmother in
the father’s family who are well and are willing to take care of Kiswendsida. The best
thing for a child is always to be placed in a family and in this case, we are happy to help
them with formula until Kiswendsida is ready for solid foods.

Another new child to the orphanage is Nanema, Pauline. Pauline is 15 years old
and she is a sponsored child. Her story is complicated. She was living here in Yako
with a grandmother. When the grandmother died, she went to Ouaga to live with an
uncle. For some unknown reason, the uncle brought her back to Yako this past
summer and left her alone in the vacant courtyard where the grandmother lived. When
school started, Pauline came by the orphanage asking for help with her school fees and
for food. At this time, we started asking about where she was living, who was looking
after her, etc., and we learned about her living conditions. We contacted her uncle and
also some family out in the village and no one wanted to take any responsibility for
Pauline. So we invited her to come and live with us in the orphanage. Pauline has
adapted easily and quickly to our routines here. This past Sunday, she responded to an
invitation from the Pastor and asked Jesus to come into her heart. Pauline is a sweet
girl but she is struggling greatly at school. Please pray for her as she learns what it
means to be a child of God. And, pray that the Lord will help her to understand her
lessons at school.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention. . . Yako now has electricity 24/7. You may
remember us complaining from time to time that the electricity was cut anywhere from
midnight to 2 AM and it was turned back on around 7 in the morning. We have been
promised 24 hour electricity for 5 years now. . . and we finally got it! So, if any of you
have been thinking of coming for a visit and have just been waiting for 24 hour electricity
to come to Yako. . . well, call and make your air reservations now!

Love you,
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Back in Burkina--

Dear Family and Friends, November 3, 2006

Already we are into November! Where has the time gone? Since returning to
Burkina (almost one month now) we have had some serious challenges: in the area of
communication problems and in health issues with our children. Server problems and computer problems were blocking all of our e-mail. We were able to send but not to receive. This past week I found a friend, Eric, in Ouaga who had a little extra time to tinker and play with my computer and some of my software and he performed magic! It seems that my McAfee software was blocking all incoming mail as well as our internet access. Eric, uninstalled McAfee, installed a free virus protection package and set up Nichole, Julie and I with gmail accounts. What a relief to be back in touch with the outside world. Thank you Jesus for friends with computer
expertise and a heart to help.

The last time that I wrote, I told you about the twins, Alphonse and Alphonsene,
who just came to us from Koudougou. Alphonsene is strong and is trying to walk but
Alphonse was diagnosed to have some kind of brain damage, probably from his birth.
In the 3 weeks that Alphonse was with us, he was hospitalized twice, once with malaria
and the other time with a high fever but no actual diagnosis. Both of these times, when
Alphonse had a fever he would convulse. Well, Alphonse was back home and
seemingly doing better when just yesterday he took a turn for the worse again and
began convulsing. Jean immediately took him to our local hospital but before he even
arrived there, Alphonse passed away.

Just a few hours after Alphonse was buried we were back on the road to
Ouiyaghuia to the hospital with Grace. Grace is the little pre-mature baby who spent
the first 2 months of her life in Ouaga in a neo-natal ward. Grace is now 5 months old
but she is still tiny for her age. When Grace is sick. . . well, she is very sick. Grace was
admitted to Dr Zala’s hospital and is being treated for malaria. Please pray with us that
the Lord will heal Grace and bring her back to us healthy and strong.

Also yesterday, one of our little sponsored children, 5 year old Sibila, who had
just been diagnosed with AIDS, died at Dr Zala’s clinic in Ouiyaghuia. Lynn took Sibila
to see Dr Zala because of his symptoms of malnutrition and dehydration. But, after a
blood test, it was clear that his symptoms were because of the effects of AIDS on his
little body. The diagnosis was too late and his little body was too weakened to respond
to any treatment that could be offered.

Last week we had another little one, Jacob, in our Yako hospital. The doctor was
treating him for malaria but he was not responding well. Because of the malaria, Jacob
was dehydrated and anemic and the doctor referred him to the hospital in Ouiyaghuia
for a blood transfusion. At the same time, there was a little boy from the village who
also needed to go to Ouiyaghuia for blood so we had a truck full of sick children and
family care-takers. Just as we arrived in Ouiyaghuia, an hour and a half drive from
Yako, the little village boy stopped breathing. We continued to the hospital but there
was nothing they could do for him. The nurses moved very quickly and gave Jacob
blood. He revived a bit and we thought that he would be okay. But, we received a call
early the next morning that Jacob passed away around 4:00 that morning.

I don’t really have happy things to write to you about this week. Sigh! This is life
in Africa. This is the effect of sin in our world. I rant and rave against it sometimes until
I wear myself out. But, at the end of the day I know that the Lord is here in the midst of
us and that He is a faithful God. I know His love and his undeserved mercy. I rejoice
right now in each of our children who are healthy and I entrust these who have left us
this week into the everlasting love of our Father God.

With love and blessings!
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma