Friday, April 1, 2011
The Power of Prayer
Again, much has happened… God has been present, moving, and performing miracles right in front of me. I have been learning a lot about the thousands of ways God provides for me and others even when I am unaware. I’ve been catching glimpses of things I will miss as I start to wind down my trip in this not very beautiful place. I’m blessed… truly blessed to have gone through the trial I have and seen the beauty I have seen in each person I have come in counter with. Last week, as I was packing my bags to take close to a three-week vacation for travel, I spent more time visiting those I loved then by myself in my house getting ready to leave. I will only be gone for a little while, and yet I am starting to look at all of my loved ones differently. I look at them with emotions stirred up in my head. This trip to the southwest of Cameroon is like a preparation of what is to come. I might never see any of these people again… thank God for the second coming?
As I packed my bags last week to come to visit the southwest of Cameroon, I had a checklist in my head. I need my passport, enough money, food for the trip, a motercycle taxis ready, clothes to last me, being on time, pray, and more. I woke up at 4 o clock the next morning to travel 45 minutes on a motorcycle to make it to the first bus leaving Mokolo to Maura. We made it on time at 6:20 am. After arriving in Maoura 2 your later, we quickly took another mototaxi to the next bus taking us from Maoura to Ngaundere (9 hour bus ride). Everything had to go smoothly because the train from Ngaundere only leaves at 6 pm everyday. We wanted to make it on time so we didn’t have to spend the night in Ngaundere, making our trip even longer and more exhausting. The bus ride seemed to take a lifetime, but we made it on time to the train. Both Bahana and I were starving and thirsty so I bought some bananas, bread, and juice for the next trip. The train would take from 6:30 pm to 8 am the next morning. We tried to find the most comfortable seats. Obviously, being that we were in a small seat for two and facing another small seat with two or three people, the night didn’t go down so well. I didn’t get much sleep. Instead, I read one book almost straight through. It was a book my mother gave me. I don’t have it with me but I think it is called Baptism, Holy Spirit, and Prayer. You might be familiar with the title. The chapters captivated me as I sat in the small section of seat I had. I ended up reading the whole 11 chapters except the last remaining chapter. This will become important later.
Arriving in Younde was like arriving in downtown Hawaii. It was humid, green, and English speaking! Much, much different from my home back in Koza. Bahana’s sister picked us up and I rested there for a few minutes before I had to take the trip from Younde to Buea where I would meet up with my missionary friends working in the hospital there. I left the house around 11 am to take the hardest part of my journey, finally arriving safely in Buea around 5 pm on the 29th of March, making this trip a complete 24 hours?
In the bus that I had to take from Younde to Buea I had a Holy Spirit encounter with the woman sitting right next to me. Remember how I didn’t seem finish the last chapter in my book Baptism, Holy Spirit, and Prayer? Knowing that I wasn’t going to be comfortable enough on the bus to sleep, I took out that book to read the last chapter. As I started to read it the woman next to me, Elizabeth, casually asked me what it was about. I quickly told her it was about how to have a powerful consistent prayer life… and I got back to reading. After I finished reading the chapter, I thought she might want to scan over it and read it. She accepted. After seeing her read the back, the first chapter, and continue, I started praying that the Holy Spirit would direct her to the truths found in that book. From the time I gave her the book a little after we left Younde until soon arriving in Buea, she read. I tried to pray consistently from the time she started reading until the end. She was trying to finish the book before we arrived. After the 7th chapter she turn to me with a look of amazement. I asked her if she liked the book. She began to tell me her story. She said, “This book has answered all of my questions about Prayer. I had three questions in my mind about prayer and the Holy Spirit and this book has made it abundantly clear to me”. She also began to explain that earlier that morning she had prayed for God to show her favor, and to show her something to increase her faith. I had been in the right place at that bus station, in the right seat, at the right time. Not knowing it, I had been moved by the Holy Spirit to stop a chapter before my book was finished so I could open it up in the bus for Elizabeth to see… an opportunity to renew her life with Christ. I told her that the Holy Spirit works in miraculous ways, and he put both of us together for a reason. She had one question about the gift of tongues that God had impressed me to study about the summer before just to have this encounter with her. I ended up giving her the book and we exchanged emails. She told me after she was finished with the book; she was going to give it to her mother. Both my life and life of hers was shaken by the power of God and the power of prayer. I thank Him for using me as an instrument for good. The Lord opens my eyes slowly to the things that are literally out-of-this-world. My prayer is that not only that Elizabeth grows in her walk of faith and prayer, but that each one of us can see the glory of God moving in our lives. I’m no better than any man on this earth, and I will bow at the feet of Jesus when He comes again, but God wants to work through us. We are His instruments, even if we don’t want to be.
Posted by Elissa
Archive for April, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I Am In Awe of His Protection
As I sit here in my bedroom tonight after a long hard day of work, I am contemplating how my life has been here in Africa. I suddenly realize how precious my life really is… You never know what devastations could possibly happen to you any moment (Thinking of Japan, Haiti, and New Zealand especially).
Several days ago I was taking a trip to Maoura to accompany a friend and to meet up with another. I spent a great HOT day in the Market as well as walking from place to place. I was finally ready to go home. Like always, I got my ticket for the Mokolo Express bus. This bus is the 1 ½ hour transportation from Maoura to Mokolo, after which I take another 45 min Mototaxi ride from Mokolo to Koza, my home village. As we were driving with a small bus packed full of way more people then would be required in America, I feel us turning off on the side of the road. Looking around to see what all the commotion is about, I finally see the problem. The front of another Mokolo Express bus (probably the one that left before us) had exploded and all the civilians were stranded outside. The explosion completely ruined the bus, but luckily all were safe. Sitting in the back seat of my bus, I starting thinking. If I had come 5 minutes earlier to the bus station, I would have been on that bus. How amazing is it when we go through life not thinking of how much God is protecting us from the disaster that take place around us. And when, like so many innocent people have experienced, disasters hits our very homes, the Lord promises a way out. He promises that everything will “work together for good to those who love the Lord” (Rom 8:28).
There was a nurse recently at the hospital who was in a head on collision with another civilian… I could have been that nurse. A village near me was recently pillaged… I could have been in that village. There was a boy at the hospital who had a pot of boiling water fall on him, leaving nothing but a thin layer of skin over his tiny body… I could have been that boy. The point I’m trying to make is this. I am one person no better from another, but the Lord God shows mercy and grace. He sees every obstacle around us, and strategically maneuvers us in a perfect way so we can learn and grow through each experience. If you are sitting here thinking that God has not given you an exiting life or nothing has befallen to you to make you cling to Jesus, well think again… God is working tremendously to keep you protected, even right now! I need to switch my thinking from “why hasn’t God done something powerful in my life” to “God has been an incredible protector and healer in my life and has preserved me for a special purpose”. There is a reason why God puts me in certain situations and doesn’t allow me to go through others… I praise Him for that tonight?
Apologies for not posting on my blog lately. I had two very fun people come visit me all the way from Buea. Cherilyn and Moriah are missionaries who are working for the Buea SDA hospital. They traveled three days just to come to Koza (I warned them that it might not be worth it). I have been talking to Cherilyn online since before my arrival here in Koza. She lives about an hour from my house in Oregon. Her and Moriah are going through the Union College Student Missions program. The only thing I knew about her was that my family was familiar with hers, and she was going to be in the same country as me doing mission work at this same time. The crazy thing is that we met each other face to face for the first time… on the other side of the world! I have been truly blessed to have had their lovely white faces here in Koza and to have experienced so many adventures with them. Thank you, girls, for being apart of my life and for encouraging me as we are now finishing our last three months in Africa. Hashia!(or however you say it).
I have been moving up in the hospital. Ganava has left for three days to Maoura so I am the main nurse from 8-10 in the morning and also the main anesthesiologist during surgery. It has been exciting and a huge adrenaline boost knowing that I have patients lives in my hands and they need to come to me for help. My French is definitely getting stronger and hopefully I can perfect it when I go back to America. I have come down with a slight cold recently. When it started about a week ago, I quickly got medicine… unfortunately there is no such thing as medicine for congestion so I have settled with taking medicine for my cough, and doing natural remedies for the rest. It’s the way to go! The girls from Limbe have been trying my patience, but I am slowly learning that I don’t need to argue when someone else wants to argue (that is hard for me?). “God, give me Holy Spirit power as I try to live my life by example. Help me, in every situation, to call upon your name. Make me a servant and help me to be willing to reach out to those in need. My life is blessed more than I can even imagine… YOU ALONE ARE GOD!”
Posted by Elissa
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Hearing the Voice Of God (Poverty)
I hate waiting so long to write on my blog, because my experiences pile up, and I don’t have time to write about every one of them. I’m just going to have to pick one. Well, I have honestly been lonely… not lonely for people, but lonely for people who speak English. It has, although, been an amazing opportunity (surprising one) knowing that I can communicate more than I thought in French. I have these random moments where I am just overwhelmed with the blessings that God has bestowed upon me since I have been here… the gift of tongues!!! I mean, that’s something to praise Him for right? Its absolutely sweet!
I was at my house the other week. I don’t know what it was about this day, but I just did not feel like being with anyone or talking to anyone. I forgot that it was Thursday. I’m supposed to teach a student of mine English every Thursday. I got up the courage to come out of my room to talk to him. As soon as we were finished, I saw a man at my gate. He was a feeble old man who had a young boy holding him up so he could stand. It looked like he was blind as well. This man was not in the best condition whatsoever. I went over to see what he wanted. He didn’t speak any English or French, but thankfully my student helped translate for me. He started saying something in Fulfulde with his weak voice, and Josias (my student) translated it in French. He was hungry and wanted me to spare some food for him. Since I was not in the greatest mood, the first thought that came to my mind was “great… if I feed him then I have to feed the whole village of Koza! I can’t do that!” I quickly replied that I didn’t have food, which I did but was not willing to give up. As soon as I turned around to walk away I was stopped in my tracks by the voice of God:
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matt 25:35,36)
I couldn’t imagine that verse popping into my head by any other chance but to mentally “slap me in the face”, reminding me that I am not here to be served but to serve. Before taking another step toward the house, I turned around and told the man to wait. I went into my house and rummaged through my fridge to find a bag of bread. When I brought it out to him, I was not prepared to receive the thankfulness he showed me. Since I knew that it was only the Lord who allowed my hard heart to be softened in this occasion, I took the opportunity to tell this man that it was not me he needed to thank but the Almighty God who showed blessings and mercy upon him by allowing him to eat. I couldn’t give glory to myself because it was only the Lord who stopped me in my tracks and changed my heart before I would have made a stupid decision. Praise God for the opportunities of humbleness in which shape and mold our characters into the character of Him.
There are so many poor people here. I am convinced that that is why they take care of each other so much… they are obligated. They can’t survive on their own. I have talked to many nurses in the hospital about the problem of poverty and sickness because of the loss of food. I am shocked to find out that every nurse I have talked to has had an experience one time or another in their lives in which they have had a fear of starvation or didn’t know when the next time they were going to eat was… Nurses who have a fairly good with decent pay. They had to go through suffering before they could have a better life. It is not America for sure. May the Lord support and provide the means for people to live here… it is such a poor place. I am confident that when the Lord comes to take us home, he will reward these people… especially in Koza. My life will never be like this… they did not choose where they were going to live, but they survive their circumstances. I am thinking of the poverty of Koza today…
Posted by Elissa
Monday, February 7, 2011
Early in the morning, about 5:30 AM, I was woken up by my phone. Immediately I knew that it was the hospital. When I am woken up from my sleep abruptly, I don’t think as clearly. I called back because I thought maybe the Doctor needed the Internet stick… he told me to come to the hospital immediately. Still half unaware of the situation, I fumbled around my dark room, trying to find my scrubs. 5 minutes later I was running to the hospital. I walked into Maternity to see a woman lying on her side on the operating table. I took a quick glance at the problem and knew that something was prolapsed. I went into the surgery center and asked the Doctors what the problem was. The woman had tried to deliver at home, but the baby’s position was wrong. The thing that I thought was prolapsed was the baby’s arm. I got a closer look at it later… the baby was already dead. They brought her in to do surgery to take the baby out and to do a hysterectomy. I began preparing her IV and taking her vitals.
As soon as we had her on the operating table, Doctor Roger went out to get blood from the family before we performed the operation. The family had left… she was alone. They did not want to pay for the operation, so they waited until brought her into our care, and left. We still needed blood, and I was not about to send her away. I asked what blood type she was… A+. I rushed to the lab, asking Clara to once again help me donate blood to the woman. I am A-. As soon as I had the bag of blood in my hand, I ran back to the operating room.
The surgery persisted for quite sometime. They finally did a c-section and removed the baby… I always wonder who that child could have possibly become. As they started doing the hysterectomy, they called me to scrub in. I was so excited because usually I just sit around and wait until surgery is over and I have to clean up all of the mess that is left behind. This was my chance to again be apart of the action! I quickly sterilized my hands and put on my sterile gown. I was now a scrub nurse and I felt great about it!:)
You have to understand that I was at the hospital early in the morning, had not eaten anything since the day before, and I had just given a bag of blood, 500 ml. All of a sudden, I felt like I had to vomit. I thought that it was just in my head, and I stayed quiet. 5 minutes went by, and I couldn’t stay silent any longer. I told the Doctors, “I don’t feel so good”. Not a minute later, I was feeling light headed. The anesthesiologist caught me in his arms and laid me on the floor. I had become too weak to stand. This was the most horrible timing! It was finally my chance to be apart of surgery, and i had to get light-headed and pass out on the floor.
As I was sitting on the floor, waiting for my weakness to be overcome, I thought to myself, “this is so embarrassing, I need to get up and help!” I stood up slowly, and told them that I was still sterile!:) They laughed and said they could take care of the rest of the surgery.
The surgery took 5 hours. At the end, I went home to get food in my stomach and to regain energy. The whole day I felt weak, but I knew that I had donated blood for a good cause. As some of you might know, I love to donate my blood to different causes. After I registered to come be a missionary in Koza, I had bad news to come along with it. I would no longer be able to donate blood in America. First, because I would be in a malaria infested country for more than a month, and second, I would most likely contract malaria during my stay. Those two reasons make me incapable of donating blood in the US. I will take every opportunity God gives me to donate to people who need it here because it is my only chance. It is better here than anywhere at this point.
God is protecting me and using me in mighty ways, and praise him for that. My weakness is always covered by the power of God’s strength. I have been neglecting prayer lately and I feel myself becoming more frustrated with things that I use to be patient with. At the beginning of my time here, everyday I prayed that God would keep me patient… I need to start praying that prayer once again.
Posted by Elissa