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


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.


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.....


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.


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.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

How do I survive financially as a missionary? / February Update

I want to start this entry with trying to explain my financial situation to you in more detail.  I placed an entry on facebook a couple of weeks ago about needing some support money for my work as a missionary in Chimala.  The post brought with it lots of questions.  When I first began as a missionary, I was quite confused as well.  Terms and differences between support & workfund; over-seer & supporter.

Supporters are you!  Any individual or group who partners with me to continue the work in Chimala.  The largest number of my supporters are individuals with a few churches helping as well.  My home church, Memorial Road church of Christ, is my largest supporter in terms of dollars.  However, all my other churches and individuals added together make up almost the same amount.

The over-seer is the individual or group who is ultimately responsible for the missions' success.  New York Avenue church of Christ in Arlington, TX is the church which over-sees the whole work at Chimala Mission. A lot of people believe that NYA church pays my support.  They do not, but they do support me with a monthly donation.  I also report to them and they approve the things I am doing.

Work fund money is what I use to perform most of the activities I do at the mission.  For instance, pay salaries to those who work with me, purchase medications for clinics, provide Bibles for those who want to study the work of God, fuel to perform my duties, internet/phone expenses, etc.  I am currently using $2,100/month ($25,200/year).  This is where MRCC supports me the most.  The rest comes from other churches and individuals.  I do not pay taxes on the work fund money.

Support money is how I live, like my paycheck.  I do pay taxes on my support.  So with this money I purchase clothing, shoes, pay for doctor/dentist/eye exams, pay my taxes and misc.  Occasionally I am able to put a little aside for when I come home.  Many times, my work fund runs low or there are more needs than what I have budgeted for, so I spend my support for those items.  I am currently putting 9 children through school and most of those funds come through my support.  Another thing I do is purchase supplies for the hospital while in the US, pay for my plane tickets and travel expenses while trying to raises support in the states.  Again, these items could be paid for through my work fund, but often I use support.  I am using $3,500/month for this fund.

I have said all of this so you understand better.  Basically, I just need help financially to continue this work.  I use $5,600/month.  This may sound like a lot of money to you, however, together, we help so many who are in need.  It is through this work we help to fulfill Matthew 25:31-46.  I do not like asking for help.  I pray that you can see the benefits of this work through my updates.  I also pray for God to open doors and hearts for Chimala Mission.
If you have any questions or concerns about what I have just said, please do not hesitate to e-mail me with them.

But the true answer to the above question: "How do I survive financially as a missionary" is through our Lord!  He makes everything come together to accomplish the things He wants us to do.  Praise the Lord! and thank Him for you and me and our ability to use our gifts to help His people.


The hospital continues to be blessed by supporters who wish to assist us in improving our services to the community here in Chimala.  We are the only hospital located directly on the highway in this area.  Due to our location, we treat many traumas from accidents.  Last year we had a total of 462 vehicle accident patients.  We also had over 350 fractures/dislocated joints.  Currently, we have a room called "minor theatre" which is our equivalent of your emergency room.  This room only holds 2 exam beds with minimal space to work around one of them.  The other bed is up against the wall with only access on one side.  It is amazing to see how the staff here works together with such a small area to care for so many.  Sometimes we have more than 40 accident victims at one time.

We wrote about our need for a trauma center/ER.   God opened the hearts of some of our Christian family.  We received support for a new trauma center.  We have now completed the building of this center/room.  This room is located right at the entrance to the hospital instead of on the other side of the building.  This will be much more convenient and allow for a quicker response time for the injured.   This room is large enough to hold 4 exam beds (or two exam beds and 2 stretchers) with plenty of space for access to each patient.  We will also have an area for a desk/chair where the doctor/nurse can do documentation.  Below is a picture of our new room.

We are now beginning to stock this new room with supplies and plan for opening it the 1st of March!!!  We cannot begin to thank you, our supporters, enough for partnering with us to provide better services to our community.  We praise our God every day for His blessings given to our facility.  In the picture above you only see 2 beds.  This is because we plan to use 2 ER stretchers for the other 2 beds.  Those stretchers will be shipped to us from America in the next month or two.  In the meantime, we will use two of our current stretchers.

Our current minor theatre will now be used for dressing changes, OB/GYN cases, minor procedures, cast removal, etc.   Last year we had over 600 c-sections which needed dressing changes and 317 OB/miscarriage complications.  All of these procedures are also handled in the minor theatre.
As you can see by these numbers, we are a very busy place.  Here is a picture of our small minor theatre.

Can you believe this is the room we have been using for all our ER patients!!  Only slightly bigger than a normal doctor's office in America!


Last time I told you about a new mama/baby clinic.  This month I would like to give you some more numbers for this month.  We are very busy!  Kapunga clinic: 326 babies/14 pregnant women; Mapongala clinic:  212 babies/16 pregnant women; Matebete clinic: 156 babies/0 pregnant women. three days we weighed and gave vaccines to 694 under 5 children!!


Last month, I shared with you pictures about our potato and maize crops on the mountain along with the tree farm.  We some not so good news is we lost all of the potato crop.  So sad....they say it was due to too much rain and fog.  We had over 15 inches of rain in January.
We have replanted, praying for this crop to be fruitful; however, now we have not received any rain!  Yikes.

Good news is that our maize crop is doing very well.  We are really praying for good crops to help us with food for the schools and profit to assist with purchasing other food needs.

We are also continuing to look for partners to help us with the project.  As I mentioned before, we are in need of a tractor and some other farming implements in order to grow this project and help our mission with projects to help us become self-sustaining in the long run.


I have been so busy with the hospital since I came here that I have hesitated to start teaching a Bible class.  However, last year when I visited one of our area churches I felt like God was pulling at my heart. (I often think about how God/the Holy Spirit guides us down one path or another.)  So I returned to visit this church a second time and had the same feeling.  So at the first of February I started teaching a Ladies Bible class which includes teens and up.  I have noticed that most of the sermons here are on the New Testament and very few have Bible studies.  We are starting at the beginning.  The ladies seem very interested and are making many good comments and asking good questions.  Please keep these Ladies and myself in your prayers.

Thanks for taking time to read our update.  We appreciate your prayers and support.  More to come in March!  Know that this work is helping many who are in need and much work is happening which I do not write about.  May God continue to bless us all.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Blog Troubles top the Month!

Most of us who are missionaries use blogs to communicate to our supporters, family and friends.  We depend on their availability and ease of access.  We also need our blog to look appealing to attract people to read them....especially if you are not a great writer...which I am not.  Since I am not the best and most entertaining writer, I hooked up with a person who told me he and his new company could help me build a website and blog as well as post the stories for me.  As many of you know, I have used as my website and blog page for the last two years.  It worked really well and looked good.  I got use to posting my own stories and you, my readers, knew where to find me.

Well now I have a sad ending to that story and a new story to this blog site.  The man who "helped" me with the new site, is no longer reachable with the information I had on him anda a neither is his company.  The company who runs the web page browser can't or won't help me get into my own site as the person who set it up was not me....So here I am, back on my old blog site and I have lost all my stories for the last two years.  That'll teach me....but what, I'm not sure.  hehehe.

Glad you have found me again, here at blog spot.  Think I will just stay here for the rest of my missionary journey!!


Our hospital has not had an anesthesia machine.  When we perform surgeries, we use an IV sedative.  Having an anesthesia machine is a great asset for us and our clients.  We are so grateful to our Christian sister who is working with us to make Chimala Mission Hospital a better source of medical care for our community. 


Earlier this month, this guy was found while cutting the grass.  The rainy season started in December and so we have lots of tall, green grass which needs cut frequently.  Of course, here most of the grass is cut by hand with pangas (machetes or whips).  This guy was pretty well hidden, but not well enough.

This is about a 9-10 ft python!  He is not quite dead yet, but he is very injured.  I had to pick him up to see how heavy he was and what he felt like.  I know, sounds crazy, but how often does this kind of opportunity occur?  Crazy, huh?!  I was thinking awesome!


In December, we started a new clinic in a village called Kapunga.  Our first clinic there, we saw 312 children!  Wore me out!  When we returned to Kapunga earlier this month, we saw 263 children.  I focused more on assessing the under-weight children this month.  We saw 26 who were malnourished.  We talked to the moms about bringing them to the hospital for further work up.  Seven of them were brought in the next morning.  Through our investigation, we found that one of them actually had TB and that was the cause of the low-weight.  Another was identified as HIV+.  These were diagnosis which very probably would have gone un-diagnosed for months if not longer.  This early detection will help these children have better outcomes.  The other 5 were started on treatment for malnutrition.  We are now following up to find the other children and get them in for investigation.  It is due to our mobile clinics that many children are  diagnosed early.  Early treatment equals better outcomes.


Did you make any?  To tell you the truth, I did not at the first of the year.  But during the last 10 days or so, I have been thinking about what I should do better this year.  I want to follow Christ better.  I want to show Christ's love and be a better Christian.  As you know, if you have been following me for any length of time, I have been in Africa now for 6 years, and Chimala for 5.  I continue to believe this is what God wants me to do.  I am asking you if you will help me continue this work.  Will you make a resolution to help support me and the work at Chimala.  The information for donations is listed on the right side of this page.


As I have lost my other blog, I cannot remember what I told you last month about the farm.  The farm is up on the mountain where the original mission was back in the 50's.  The mission continues to have land there.  We are planning a way to use that land to provide food for the schools and money to help support the mission operations.  For the last year, I have been working on the farm.  We have about 16,000 pine trees there which should provide a source of income in about 10-13 years.  In the meantime, we would like to start planting cash crops to help with income.  This year, we have planted potatoes and maize.  I am hopeful we will have good return on our efforts.  These two crops were planted by hand.  We need to have a tractor and some other smaller equipments in order to increase our crops and thereby, provide more food and income for the mission. 

If you would like to partner with us by helping to support the farm, please contact us or send a donation to NYA church of Christ in Arlington with a note saying you want to support the farm.

Please stay tune for more updates.  Oh, and another thing I hope to do better this year...update more often!  I love you and God loves you.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

We never know what the 'morrow may bring.....

Many of us, myself included, take tomorrow for granted.  We plan for tomorrow, next week, next month often to the point of not enjoying or living for the day!  Some of us may clarify our plans by stating "if the Lord wills", but we really believe our plans will work out.

Take my plans for this week as an example.  I have been planning a trip to the states for October and November since early this year.  I made my plane reservations in August and had appointments to go to the dentist, eye doctor, dermatologist and to get my hair cut!!  Last week, I began e-mailing friends and others involved in my work here in Tanzania so we could see each other and discuss more future plans.  Then, BOOM!

Everything changes at the drop of a hat!  OR I guess I should say a "slip and fall".  The day before I was to board the plane for America, I slipped getting out of the shower and fell with a THUD on the concrete floor.  All plans have now gone out the window!

I have been transported to Dar es Salaam where I have been in the hospital since Tuesday.  My diagnosis is a "burst" fracture to my L1 vertebra.  I have heard others complain about back pain before, but oh, my!!  This is some definite PAIN.  I am unable to sit or stand for two reasons.
First the pain is excruciating and second because there is fear of a bone fragment doing damage to the spinal column.  At this time, I am so blessed that I can move all extremities without a problem.

Now I am unable to make any plans....this is difficult for me.  It is proving quite difficult to find a way to fly to the states with this problem.  Appointments and meetings are being cancelled until ?????  Everything now depends upon first getting to the states and then on the confirmation of the diagnosis and then a plan of treatment.

What does the 'morrow hold for me?  I am not sure of the path, but this is what I continue to know....

God is good and He is right here with me.  His timing and His plans are always right.
He will help us find the new path which He has planned for me.
I will continue to serve Him and praise His Name.
I will continue to serve the people in Chimala and help them physically and spiritually.