Hello from Bongolo!
Thank you for praying in these past couple months for deepening relationships with the staff on the Surgical Ward and for Matthias as he started preschool at the local Gabonese school in LeBamba. God has been answering your prayers!
We are thankful for the time of connection with the Surgical Ward staff in our home over dinner. As we continue to build, we are beginning to see trust and rapport take root in those relationships. Tones of respect, trust and friendship are beginning to show themselves as we interact on a daily basis down at the hospital.
Recently, the Surgical Ward Staff invited Amanda to join them for a birthday party in their break room – a place where she has previously not been invited. Please continue to pray that these relationships would deepen, not just as a door to speak into improving nursing technique, but to cultivate authentic friendship.
The last weekend in October we hosted a small dinner reunion for graduates of Amanda’s previous nursing school class 2012-2014. It was so fun to hear their perspective now as experienced nurses and to hear how God has been guiding them personally and professionally. They said they remember, “Madame Amanda always saying to ‘stretch your brain’ to use critical thinking to figure out a case” and that now whenever they’re in front of a complicated case in the ER, they think to themselves, “ok, stretch your brain” and they usually can figure it out.
There was something sustaining in hearing them share stories, in the midst of investing in a new class of future nurses. Their impact in reaching their own people with the Gospel through the tool of Nursing is so much more far reaching than my own could ever be.
Christopher has been entering into unknown territory with some unofficial biomedical repair of broken down hospital equipment. The need is there, and although he has no formal bio-med training, much of the hospital equipment has a computer element which he has been successful in troubleshooting.
It’s pretty rewarding to be called down to fix an “edger” at the eye clinic, for example, go down with a small tool kit and no knowledge of what an ”edger” is (but pretty sure it’s not the landscaping tool!), and leave having both learned that an edger is the machine used to grind lenses into shape for eyeglasses and to have helped get it working again!
It’s a literal take on the metaphor of bringing the small tools you have to God, and allowing Him to bless them for His glory and to bring others to Him.
The current Nursing School class wrapped up their fall trimester this past week and in January will begin the next two courses in the curriculum: the Cardiovascular System and Maternal Health.
New housing is under construction for the students and they look forward to hopefully moving in at the new year!
If you think of it, please pray for Amanda as she preps the Cardiovascular course. Also please pray for her in a new role she took on a couple months ago as the COVID Point Person for the Bongolo Station. COVID has been prevalent in our area of Gabon, she is happy to be able to help divert some of the Physician load related to COVID.
Matthias has been enjoying his preschool in LeBamba. It was an adjustment at first, but he no longer cries when he gets dropped off and he walks into his class, puts his backpack on his shelf and turns to us and says “see you later”. His teachers are kind and very maternal in their interactions with the littles. He feels so big when he has homework assignments to bring home – practicing drawing shapes and letters. He loves Tuesdays when his class wears their gym uniforms (or as he calls them, their “super-speed outfits”.) And it seems he is making friends – he told me one day that he had fallen down at school and that his hands were all dirty, but that his friends helped him up and showed him where he could wash off his hands. He is experiencing a lot of culture, French, and socialization everyday. Thank you for praying for our little guy. We so appreciate you covering him alongside us as parents.
Cora turned two at the end of November, it was fun to invite all the little girls from our neighborhood to a tea party to celebrate.
Baby it’s hot & humid outside! There are no snowflakes in the air, but the start of pineapple season and the migration of the white “Christmas birds” are the jungle’s way of announcing that December has arrived. We went out as a family and picked bamboo trunks to construct our very own jungle Christmas tree.
Under our bamboo tree sits a Playmobil nativity we were given, and numbered stones counting down to the day of celebrating the birth of “God with us.” Matthias and Cora often crawl inside the tree or sit at the foot of it, sometimes creating an earthquake in Bethlehem, and other times gently bringing the animals to see baby Jesus. Somewhere in the beautiful, loud mess of parenting littles aged 2 & 3, they start to connect the helpless baby in the manger to the Jesus who is always by their side at school, who tells the monsters at night to “shh, be still” and who helps them use the small stones they have to defeat their giants. The star on top testifies that yes, the long awaited comfort of Him in life with us has arrived.
That is why we are here – to point to the star that testifies He has come and to sit with those around us under the tree of the cross of Christ and on level ground say “Behold, your Savior and salvation!”
Recently, a few Nursing Students came alongside this young man in the Surgical Ward where we were working, they “sat with him under the bamboo tree,” pointing to the star and the cross & resurrection of Jesus, and he beheld his Savior and salvation for the very first time!
What joy! To both see this young man go from darkness to light, and to see the students’ equipping and empowerment to reach their own people with the Gospel of Christ!
God with us, around us, amongst us, in us, empowering us, leading us, guiding us, doing life hand-in-hand with us – this is Christmas.
Who, this Christmas, is God empowering you to “sit with under the bamboo tree”?
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. Matthew 2:10
Rejoicing with you from the Jungle,
Christopher, Amanda, Matthias & Cora