Tuesday, November 20, 2018

FAREWELL TO CHIMALA MISSION

Today, I post my last post to this blog site.   I am extremely sad to have to do this.  Chimala Mission, especially the Chimala community, have been my family and friends for the last 6 years.  I came to Chimala believing God wanted me to help this community with the talents He has blessed me with.  Chimala Mission was an existing mission where I could help both the mission and the community.  My plans were to be there in this work for many years, even possibly the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, the situation at the mission changed and my plans were then not my own.  I am back in Oklahoma where I will put my life back together and find a job.  I will also see what God holds for me next.  Even when things go badly wrong or we get knocked off our path, God is in control!  He will and can change an unfortunate event into something Great!  We, you and I, with the help of God provided much great assistance to the Chimala community.  Many improvements were made, many were taught the Bible, many were saved both physically and spiritually.

There is still much need in the Chimala community.  Please continue to pray for them and that the over-seers of the mission continue to work with the people to assist them in their needs.

I am praying for much guidance and understanding as I look for another plan to follow God's path for me.  I pray for strength, wisdom and the ability to forgive and move forward quickly.  Below are several pictures from my last days at the mission.  In the one of the hospital, you can easily see much of our progress as all the blue roofed areas were remodeled or newly built in the last 6 years.


My Bible class ladies wanted to say good-bye.  Such a wonderful group of ladies.  They gave me a great compliment by stating that I was different from all the other missionaries who had visited their community.  They said I was the first one to come and stay.  All others visited and then left.  

They were very sad and heartbroken, but blessed me with gifts and food as well as the wonderful time with them.

The men of the church came as well.  The whole church wished me well, even offering me a home in their community!

I was "momma" to many people.  They taught me how to love better than I had before.


They refused to have a party for me as they said a party indicated they agreed with my leaving and they did not.  But they had a get together where we cooked two goats and had time talking with one another.



They did surprise me with several gifts of love.  I will always carry these people in my heart.





Tears of sadness were plentiful as we all had hoped to be together for a great long while.  I miss them all every day.


This is Tausi.  She is one of the many students who have been assisted with school fees through my mission work.  She graduates this month from college.  She feels so thankful and blessed.


I would like to finish this post with one reminder from our KING.  Remember your neighbor is everyone,especially your fellow Christians.

Matthew 22:37-38

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind"  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself"



Single Womens’ Missionary Retreat - the rest of the story...

Wow! What a week.  We have spent time in fellowship and encouragement; learning or remembering how to truly “rest” in God; and have walked in many places where Apostle Paul ministered as a missionary.  Let me try to adequately tell you a little of this wonderful trip.

THANK YOU’s....
Before I continue with my story tho’, I would like to thank my Memorial Road church of Christ family for their financial support for this experience for me.  They truly care bout their missionaries and know how to do missionary care.  (I am aware that many others contributed for this retreat and to you I offer my thanks as well).  Also, Joy Crouch deserves a BIG SHOUT OUT as she has made it part of her ministry to put these retreats together every other year to make sure the single women in missions have a retreat and learn to care for themselves.  If Joy ever contacts you requesting support for this part of her mission, please help her out.  She not only plans the retreat, but she also raises all the funds to ensure that any single missionary lady who wants to come is able to come with no financial burden.  And lastly, but definitely not least,  HUGE HUGS of appreciation and thanks to Cherry Hart and Nancy Hartman who use their own personal funds to attend these retreats to offer counseling and support from their years of experience.  These ladies provide a service to each of us that is truly “priceless”.  We continually Praise God for all He does for us and the paths which He prepares and leads us down.  May God bless each and every one who made this retreat possible.

THE STORY

We began our journey in Athens, Greece where we visited the Parthenon and Mars Hill where Paul spoke in Acts 17:16-34.  Tho’ we came here during our 1st retreat, I appreciated it so much more this time.  I remember last time just feeling like being there was a dream, not really real somehow.  This time, I was more in awe.  To see the huge temple on the hill, and to realize that Mars Hill was a much smaller hill than that which the huge temple sat; yet Paul boldly spoke to the people about their UNKNOWN GOD and who He is and that He does not live in temples made by man.  Our tour guide, Dino, quoted Paul’s words to us in Greek.  It was quite an experience as I read along in the Bible.

On Wednesday, we traveled by bus for 6 hours to the area of Berea.  The way was very rocky and hills were more than plentiful.  I cannot imagine what the walk was like for Paul and the others with him.  How long it must have taken them.  How tired and sore their feet much have been.  Paul’s time in Berea is in Acts 17:10-15.

We actually spent the night in Meteora, Greece where we visited 2 of the 6 monasteries.  They were built on top of  grand rock formations.  The monks lived in the monasteries on top of the rock formations and hermits lived in the cave-like areas around the bottoms of these formations.  The view from our hotel was absolutely breath-taking and peaceful.  As we sat outside with this view, the was no doubt about how great our God is.




Thursday took us to Thessaloniki (Acts 17:1-9).  We drove through upper and lower Thessaloniki and were blessed to see parts of the ancient city walls.  The view of the Aegean Sea from upper Thessaloniki was beautiful.




Friday took us to the city of Philippi (Acts 16:11-40).  Our tour of this area truly enhanced this story for me making it much more real.  As you have noticed if you are following our journey in the Bible, our route was taking us backwards along the story.  So, in order to understand the story in Philippi better, you need to read the first 10 verses of Acts 16 as well.  We traveled to the place where it is believed that Lydia was baptized (vs 15).  It has been preserved and is a very quiet and peaceful area. One of our ladies felt so moved that she went down in the cold water to experience what her baptism would have been like.  It was a memorable moment for all of us.

 From there we went to the excavation site for the ancient city.  This site is very large and is continuing today.  We walked a lot of the site, but my knees wore out so I had to stop before I was able to see it all.  However, I was able to see where they think the jail was that Paul and Silas were put in prison. (Vs. 22-40).

Saturday, we made the 7 hour trip by bus back to Greece.  Again I was mindful of the difficult terrain and the difficulties, Jesus, the Apostles and the disciples had to walk.

Sunday, our group returned to the city of Corinth. (Acts 18). We stood at the area where Paul would have been taken before Gallio.  Paul stated in Corinth for 18 months during this visit.  Although the site of the ancient city Corinth is smaller than Philippi, I still did not make the walk and really hated to sit it out. However, I had been to Corinth before.


Glyfida church of Christ

Church at the Glyfida church of Christ in Athens was an absolutely uplifting and encouraging experience.  I was able to attend services on 2 Sundays during my stay in Athens.  This church is truly a church who reaches the nations with 10 church services every week.  They have services in English, Russian, Farsi and Greek (that I remember).  We were able to witness two men from Iran being baptized.  One of the men sang a song to us in Farsi which he wrote praising God.  Our services were in English and translated to Farsi.
Matthew 5 in Farsi
This week was a wonderful blessing to all.  God in Heaven was praised, worshiped and Glorified throughout.




Sunday, October 21, 2018

Single Women's Missionary Retreat


October 21, 2018

Athens, Greece retreat notes
I left OKC yesterday to come to Athens for a single women’s missions retreat.  We had our first retreat of this kind two years ago and I found the experience to be quite up-lifting, rejuvenating and eye-opening. This is such a small world that the lady next to me on the first flight knows many of the same people I do!  It was a very nice trip visiting with a new friend.
This morning I arrived in Athens to a beautiful day!  The first bump in my road occurred when my luggage did not arrive.  Out of 3 bags, 3 bags decided to stay in Philadelphia! So same clothes for 3 days!  Ugh.  Arrived at the hotel and, of course, spent the afternoon napping.  At 4:50pm, I met up with some of the other ladies who had arrived, and we went to church services.
What a great Lord’s Day!  There were visitors from many different places.  A couple who I knew many years ago (11, to be exact) were visiting this church tonight as well.  For those of you who attend MRCC – I saw Bart and Tamika Rybinski!  So good to see old friends, but what a surprise that it would be in Greece.   We also were blessed to welcome two new brothers in Christ.  Two men from Iran who had been studying the Bible decided to obey the gospel.  What a privilege to witness their re-birth.

This evening (actually night, now), we had a very nice, big dinner and welcomed more ladies to our group.  The seminar will actually start tomorrow evening.   Now I'm off to bed.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

FARM REPORT 2018


I am writing a separate blog just for a farm report.  It seems many people do not know that I have also been using most of my Saturdays to oversee work on our farm on the mountain.  A tree farm was started there about 5 years ago and for the last 2+ years, I have been assisting with this work.

When the farm was first started over 100,000 trees were planted.  These were both pine trees and eucalyptus trees.  Unfortunately, two years into the project, there was a horrible fire on the mountain which killed over 90% of these trees.  During the last two years, we have planted more trees and worked hard to ensure the growth of the ones we had left.  Below are a few pictures of some of our current trees.  We have around 20,000 now and some are big enough to start trimming off the bottom branched to help with their upward growth.

These are a few of  the first trees which were planted.


These trees are about 3 years old.  You can see the recent growth at the tops of the trees and how we have trimmed the bottom branches.  This will allow the trees to grow taller and straighter so we can use them for lumber.

Of course, this is a long-term (15 year) project.
Additionally, we have been trying to plant some crops to help provide some food for the schools.  We have had little luck until this year.  The year before I became involved, they tried to raise cabbages and had very minimal success.  Last year, we planted white beans and had some success with around 10 gallons of beans for the schools.  This year, we tried maize, beans and potatoes.  Just like farming anywhere, you have some bad years and some good; some bad crops and some great crops.

Our maize did great!


We had many ears of corn to shuck, so below you will see the shucking machine.  Whew! this was a hard day of work!


We had 11 huge bags full of maize
Below is a picture of the three large bags we brought down the mountain today for the schools.


And our beans also produced well.  We sent two good sized bags to the school  (oops...I forgot to take a picture of them!)
We also have planted several avocado trees which are doing well. 
I had mentioned that we planted potatoes as well.  But this was our failed crop. We had one crop which came in well, but just after blooming the entire crop was infected with a bacteria killing it completely.  So we replanted, but that crop also failed.  I was very disappointed. But over-all, we did well.  The school gets a little food.

We are expecting a new missionary at the end of this year who is an agricultural expert.  Hopefully, he will be able to assist us in building this project into a very big success.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Short-term Mission groups for the summer

Lately, I have been studying what the experts are saying about short-term mission trips.  I am most interested since we have been hosting so many visitors.  Most of the visitors we have are medical or nursing students.  As such, they are here to have a learning experience.  They are young minds eager to learn both culture differences and how medicine differs here from their home.  Watching them interact is great as is seeing the differences through their eyes.  Most of the experiences they have are positive and make lasting impressions on their lives.  However, some experiences are not happy ones, but they, too, make lasting impressions and sometimes those experiences will impact their lives in a long-term way.  These students and their experiences are rewarding to both the long term missionaries and the Tanzanians they  spend time with. 


But the real reason I have found it important for me to study what the experts are saying about short-term missions is because of the "other" visitors.  All visitors are well-meaning.  However, these well-meaning "other" visitors mostly make mistakes which are detrimental to the current work being done.  I totally understand that coming into a poor area leads well meaning people to believe the way to help is with money and gifts.  I have been reading a site called "A life overseas".  This site has many good reads on short-term missions including their faults.  It is helping me to understand how short-terms mission can hurt and how they may be performed in a better way.  My prayer is that I can find a way to influence the mission to help do short-term "vision" trips in a better and more positive way.



We have hosted 58 visitors this summer!  This is the excuse I am giving you for my lack of posts this summer.  I have not written since March even tho' I truly wanted to stay caught up with you.  As the time goes by without me writing, I tend to forget some of the things which have happened.  



One of the really neat things we did with the students from the Oklahoma Christian University group was to give a showing of the Ten Commandments at the church where I have been teaching a ladies Bible class.  We just finished Exodus so I had promised the ladies I would show them the movie.  So, the first weekend the girls were here was my weekend to the show the movie.  As it turns out, none of the girls had seen the movie either.  The movie was very well received....of course, I had to tell a translator what was happening, then he translated to the locals...but it really did go well.  Since it was a movie, I had invited the men and women from two churches and the place was packed.  It was really neat to be able to teach to both Tanzanians and Americans together.  



Some of the students we host, are not Christians and so I believe the role of the missionary here is to reach out to those people as well.  Being here at Chimala Mission allows me to teach both locals and those who visit from other countries.  The students and I are often having some deep Biblical discussions.  Of course, I do not know if I have a positive influence in their lives, but my instructions are to teach the Word.  It is God's place to change their hearts.  I pray that God does allow the hearts of those I have the privilege of touching to turn to Him.



The first weekend the OCU students and some friends from Memorial Road church of Christ in Edmond, OK (MRCC) were here, I enlisted them to assist me in shucking our maize which we harvested this year.  None of us knew what we were getting into.  It was a back-breaking, tiring job which took us almost 6 hour.



After having this experience, I now know I would do it completely different and hopefully in a much more organized and easier way.

Through the mobile clinics which we perform throughout the month, we have been assisting two families who have albino children.  Life in Tanzania is more difficult for them in several ways.

  • Due to the lack of color in their skin, they burn quite easily.  Many live in homes without any conveniences which prompts them to spend most of their time outside in the sun.
  • People with albinism often have eye problems such as astigmatism.  And with lack of color to the skin and hair, they also have major changes in their retina of the eye.  One of the children we help is also cross-eyed
  • Many believe that the organs of albino people possess healing powers.  This leads to them being kidnapped and killed for their body parts.

There are some services available for these children, however, those services are about 1.5 hours away and so they need funds to get there.  Often the amount of time and the fees are too high for the family which leaves the children without any help.  With some financial assistance from some donors, we were able to take both families and children to an eye doctor and purchase them some glasses.  Unfortunately, the eyes of these children are pretty bad, so the glasses will only help so far.  Praying that the glasses can help enough to help them read and learn.  The next step is to get them to a skin doctor.

The young students who are here from OCU have had quite an experience this last two weeks.  We had a set of twins born in our OB who were, of course, pre-mature and very tiny weight less than 3lbs each.  They were discharged home at the insistence of the family.  They said they had some help waiting for them to get home.  So with much hesitation, the Doctor released them after only 4 days.  When the babies were 6 days old, they were brought back to the hospital.  Patrick wasn't sucking well and the mom was not producing enough milk.  Both babies had lost weight.  The girls and myself got very involved with this mom and the twins.  The girls spent every day and evening syringe feeding Patrick while the mom attempted to breast feed Patricia.  The mom still could not produces enough milk, so we had to insert a tube for feeding.  The students continued to poor their hearts and energy into these babies.  We said prayers, we crying and we continued day after day.  On this past Thursday, Patrick was taken home to his Heavenly Father.  This was a very difficult day for the students and the family.  However, on Saturday, the students saw the dad at the market.  He thanked them for all they did for his son.  Patrick will live forever in the hearts of many.
Patrick and Patricia


The hospital has been very busy and the staff have been working hard as well as teaching the students.  We have put our projects on hold due to all the visitors, but we are looking forward to getting started again.  Just to remind you, we are praying for financial assistance for a mortuary with a refrigerator, a new surgical center and completion of computerizing our hospital.  If you would like to  assist us in these projects, you can send donations to NYA church of Christ with a notation for the hospital.  
 
Throughout this  summer, the assistance I have been receiving has dwindled.  Perhaps due to my long absence on the blog; perhaps because the mission has not sent out any newsletters of late; perhaps because times are tough in the states.  I am not sure what the reasons, but at this point I am running very short of funding for continuing my mission here at Chimala Mission.  I do not feel that it is time for me to return to home.  I strongly believe God has a plan with more for me to do.  Therefore, I am requesting help from all of you with financial support.  The information for sending support is on this blog.  I ask that you pray and do what your heart guides you to do.  Any amount will help.


Thank you for following us, praying for us and for your support.

Cheryl and the Chimala Mission Hospital Staff



Saturday, March 24, 2018

MARCH-ing forward....

The work and improvements have continued this month.  Our new Digital X-Ray machine has arrived and been installed!!  This is a great improvement for our hospital and community.  We praise the Lord above and our Christian brothers and sisters who provide us with support.  With God all things are possible!  and he is using us to help this community.


There were 5 big heavy boxes which were off-loaded during the night with a big lift.  We then closed our x-ray department for removal of the old, remodeling and installation of the new.  We were without x-ray for 15 days.  But now look what we have! 




Next we will need to install hospital-wide internet and purchase computers for all the doctors offices and wards.  This way all x-rays can be seen anywhere in the hospital by any doctor.  Of course, with installation of hospital-wide computers, we will be able to begin converting to computer documentation and reporting as well.  This next phase will cost us between $30,000 and $35,000.

AMBULANCE

Look what we did!  The leadership of the hospital knew we needed an ambulance for transporting patients to Mbeya for cases we cannot handle here.  So last year in July, they began setting aside $2,500 each month for this purpose.  At the first of March, 3 of us traveled to Dar es Salaam to see if we could fine one we could purchase for the amount of money we had.  Below is what we purchased.....


FARM

I have been telling you about our progress on the farm which is on the mountain.  As I informed you last month, we lost our first crop of potatoes, but replanted.  We also planted about an acre of beans.  The re-planting of the potatoes is pretty much another failure, however, the beans are doing great as well as the maize.  Below are a few pictures.




As you can see, our maize is healthy at this time and has several ears of corn on each stalk.  We will continue to pray for God's blessing on this crop.


Here is a picture of our new crop of beans.  They are coming in nicely and we pray for a plentiful crop here as well.


We have also attempted to grow some avocado trees.  This has not been extremely successful yet, but I remain hopeful.  We planted 24 seedlings, but only 6 are looking healthy.

As I have mentioned before, we would like to increase our farming program.  We need assistance with about $25,000 to purchase a tractor and a few other farming implements.

FUTURE PLANS

March is also when we start planning our budget for the next year (July 18-June 19).  We have finished our plan and have three major projects we would like to accomplish above the hospital-wide internet.  

First we would like to purchase a refrigerator for our morgue and re-model it.  This would allow the community to delay burial for a day or two for preparations.  Currently, bodies must be buried within 24-36 hours.  The refrigerator will hold 3 bodies and will cost $15,000.  The re-model will run about $6,000.  So we will be trying to raise $21,000 for this project.

Second, we would like to purchase a new ultra sound machine.  Several times, physicians from America have donated U/S machines to our hospital and they have been shipped over here.  After some time, the machines need adjustments or repair and no one here knows how to fix them or where/how to get the parts.  The one we currently have is not providing us with accurate measurements.  To purchase one from Tanzania which can be maintained by engineers here will cost us $28,000.

And third, we would like to update and re-model our surgery suite and add a post-op recovery room.  We will need about $75,000 for this under-taking.   If you remember, we purchased an anesthesia machine this year in preparation of up-grading the surgery.  Currently, our surgery department is not sterile....actually not even very clean. 

So, we are asking for support of $125,000 to accomplish all of these goals.  We will also do our best to contribute what we can as well.

We are reaching high!  But this is not too high.  In 2017-2018, you, our supporters generously assisted us with close to $170,000.  And as we all know, all things are possible with God.  If we do not dream BIG, we will not be able to accomplish anything.  Please consider how you can assist us in this next year.

Many people do not truly understand the importance of medical missions.  I believe that this is exactly what Jesus modeled for us.  Once people receive good medical care, they are open to the Word of God and His teachings.  We have  many preachers here at Chimala Mission who are actively reaching out to those who we treat.  This hospital reaching thousands of people every year, both physically and spiritually.  We pray for God's continued blessings as we strive to do His will by going into all the nations, teaching and preaching His Word.

May He bless us all in all our efforts.

Cheryl