Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Tribute to Job

Dear Family and Friends, 26 July, 2009

I must report some sad news. Our little one, Job, passed away on Saturday, July 24, 2009.

Job is a factor that is not calculated in Burkina's infant mortality rate of 25% for children under 5 years of age. Job never received a birth certificate. Job never received a death certificate. He is one of many who is not counted in these statistics.

Job was abandoned in the bush by his mother, probably a young woman not well mentally, who possibly did not even know what was happening to her when she gave birth. Job was discovered by a little shepherd boy watching his father's goats. The little boy heard Job crying.
The boy ran to get his father and the father took Job to the nearest small town where there was a police department. The police called Social Action and Social Action called us asking us to come and get the baby.

It is not known for sure but Job may have been laying in the bush for one or two days before he was found. When he reached the maternity ward in his village, he was covered with crusted blood from his birth and was crawling with flies and insects. The hospital cleaned him up a bit but the flies and bugs had already had time to lay their eggs all over him, in his eyes, ears, and nose.

The first day that we had Job at the orphanage it became quickly very clear that we could not care for him. He weighed just 1.8 kilos (about 3 ½ pounds), was very weak, and we saw that little worms (larvae?) were crawling out of his ears and nose. We took Job to Ouagadougou where there is a neonatal ward, one of only three such wards in all of Burkina. They accepted him and very quickly placed an IV and were giving him antibiotics to fight the infections. They also tried to clean out his ears and nose.
Unfortunately, just 5 days later, the hospital called us to say that Job did not make it. So, just this morning (Sunday), Angie and I returned to Ouaga and brought Job's body back to Yako for burial. Jean and 3 of our high school boys dug his grave and we had a quiet burial service for Job.
Job was a sweet, sweet little baby. Although we only had him for a few days, we are sad that he is no longer here with us. But in all things, we say 'the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, blessed by the name of the Lord”!
Thank you so much for your prayers for Job and for the many encouraging notes that you sent. Thank you so much for always lifting us up in prayer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Please Pray for Job!

Dear Family and Friends, 21 July, 2009

I must take a minute to write to you and ask for prayer for a little one named, Job. We received a call early this morning to go and pick up a little newborn who had been abandoned in the bush.

Angie Butler, one of our short-termers, went with me to Grand Samba, a small village about 45 kilometers away from Yako. Along the way, Angie had asked whether the baby was a boy or girl and whether it already had a name. At this point, we did not even know if it was a boy or girl and I guessed that it probably did not have a name. So, Angie started thinking and praying about a name for the baby. When we arrived and found that he was a boy, Angie named him Job.

Job is a tiny, tiny newborn weighing 1.8 kilograms. He is a beautiful little boy but he was born prematurely.

Job had been abandoned by his mother probably immediately after birth. We are guessing that his mama is probably not well mentally and may not have even known what was happening to her. He was found near a water source by a little boy. This little boy went and got his father and they took Job to the police station in the nearest town. The police took Job to the local maternity ward and then called us to see if we could take the baby.

This evening Angie and I made the trip to Ouagadougou with Job and have admitted him to the neonatal ward at 'Five Friends Hospital. Besides being so small, Job is highly susceptible to infection because when he arrived at the maternity ward he was covered with flies and insects. This afternoon, there were small worm-like things crawling out of Job's ears and nose. Our local hospital in Yako gave us a referral to the neonatal ward here in Ouaga.

Please pray for Job:
- that this infestation of whatever he has will be cleared up
- that all of his little organs and lungs are completely developed
- that the formula available here agrees with him and that he begins to gain weight
- that either a family comes forward saying that Job is theirs and that they want him or that he is very quickly released for adoption

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

School Closing 2009

Dear Family and Friends, 10 July, 2009

Today was the official 'school closing' for the school year 2008-2009 for our primary school. The start of our day was hindered by hard rains but when the rain stopped, the children and the parents started arriving.

Here in Burkina, the end of the school year is heralded with a party for the children and their parents, recognizing those students who have done exceptionally well, and recognizing and thanking the teachers and school director for all their hard work throughout the year.

Our children worked very hard this year and almost all of them passed on to the next grade. It is very common here in Burkina for half or more of the children to fail and re-do the grade again the next year. In our sixth grade class, all except one child passed the standardized CEP exam and will be continuing on to the 7th grade.

For the closing ceremony, the children sang several songs for their parents, received 'good student' awards, and then everyone celebrated by eating riz gras, a traditional African dish of rice and tomato sauce with fried fish.

We are thankful to the Lord for his help throughout this school year. The children have all been healthy and they all worked hard.

Love and blessings to you!

Ruth. . . Mom. . . . Grandma

Saturday, July 04, 2009

June News--

Dear Family and Friends, 3 July, 2009

Happy July 4th! I often forget about American holidays but I am in Ouagadougou this week-end and the US Embassy and the American Rec Center are hosting a July 4th celebration complete with a BBQ and fireworks and lots of the 'red, white, and blue' flying.

Our school year is finally coming to an end. School starts late here so it also runs late in closing. All of our sixth graders except one pass the standardized CEP exam and will be continuing to 7th grade this Fall. For the older orphanage children, the exam results were not so encouraging. Out of 8 children who took the BEPC exam after 10th grade, only 2 of them passed. The other 6 will need to re-do the 10th grade. And, out of our 3 boys who took the BAC, the final exam of high school, 2 of the 3 passed. Emanuel and Mathieu passed but Pierre will need to re-do the 13th grade. Please pray for Emanuel and Mathieu as they prayerfully consider this next phase of their lives.

Almost all of our older children have gone to their home villages to visit family and to help in their family fields. The children will return for the beginning of school around October 1st.

All of our babies are thriving and here is a picture of some of them in hand knitted hats that a friend from California, MO made and sent with the team. It is too hot right now for knitted hats but before long at all it will be cold again and our babies will be decked out in their winter clothes.

We recently had a wonderful short-term visit of a team from California, MO. The team ministered daily to our babies, our older children, and to Liz, Miriah, and I. The two guys, Todd and Scott, were instrumental in building a chicken coop which is the start of a chicken project to produce eggs for the orphanage.

The rest of the team held 4 days of VBS for the children in our primary school and the Lord wonderfully met with us and blessed. In total, during the 4 days, 23 children responded to invitations and gave their hearts to Jesus.

At the very bottom of this blog is a video of some of the children praying and asking Jesus into their hearts.

This past week, the director of our school, Innocent, and I met with the Department of Education for our region to show him the plans for new schools that we would like to build in Yako. The plans consist of a domed construction technique that does not use cement, wood, or iron. . . . the three most expensive items in the construction of buildings. The plans are not the standard building plans that are generally used for the construction of school here. But, without hesitation, the Inspector approved our plans and gave us an open door to build a school complex wherever we would like in Yako. We talked about 2 areas in town where either there are no schools or else the existing school is very overcrowded and we will begin looking for a large piece of land in both of these two areas.

Please pray with us as we begin the next phase of choosing a parcel of land, getting the land registered in the name of Sheltering Wings, and the beginning conversations with the builders.

It has been a while since I have talked about our 'animal raising' project but this past week we went out to the village to visit the animals and to see a new baby calf which was just 4 days old. We now have 11 head of cattle, 6 females, 4 males, and the calf. We are raising the males to sell for their meat and the females to reproduce. This is the first calf that has come out of the project.

The other females are still too young to reproduce but maybe next year. And, the males will mature and be ready for market in the next 2 years or so.

Please pray with us for the blessing of the Lord upon this project. The goals of the project are to provide meat to the orphanage and also income as the animals mature and are ready to be sold at the market.

Last but not least is the upcoming visit of Angie Butler from St Louis. Angie was supposed to arrive this past week-end but her flight out of St Louis was delayed because of bad weather. Please pray that the Lord will give her favor in re-scheduling her flights and bring her quickly and safely to Burkina.

Love and blessings to you!

Ruth. . . . Mom. . . . Grandma