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.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The joy in my life.... found in ways which may be very different that those of your life.  God brings joy to my life every day in many ways.  Knowing that God is with me, surrounding me, leading me, protecting me and strengthening me is my constant joy.  But then he gives me gifts daily which brings special touches of joy.

Working side-by-side with the special and wonderful staff of Chimala Mission brings deep joy each day.  So many of these people have become very special to me and will always be in my heart.  We have struggled, cried, laughed and prayed together over the last three years and will hopefully have many more challenges and successes in the future.

I am asked frequently to post pictures of my work here and especially pictures with me in them. This is often difficult for two reasons.  When I am working, I am thinking about what I am doing and the people I am helping.  Sometimes, I think afterwards that I should have taken a picture, but the moment is over.  Secondly, some of the things I do would produce pictures which you would not really want to see.  However, I often give tours of the hospital to visitors to our Mission from other countries.  I did this last week and one of the visitors took some pictures.

 This is a picture of our OB nurses and mid-wives who were on duty when we rounded.  The labour beds were full of women in labour and this little one below was just born the day before.

 The hospital does not provide food for the patients.  Their family comes and cooks for them.  The above picture shows our current cooking site.  It is in need of re-building.  The rocks and bricks have broken down over time.  We are looking to re-build with new types of cooking sites which are safer from burns and will provide the women with a work area containing less smoke.

 Here we are all admiring the new laboratory which was completed this year.  The only items which remain to be done are:  1)add tile flooring  2) a bigger blood refrigerator  and 3) obtaining additional laboratory equipment.
 The refrigerator above is our blood bank frig....but as you can see NO BLOOD!  We struggle daily with the need for blood as the district blood bank has no blood and has not had any for more than 2 months.  But thanks to our visitors, 4 units were donated!  And I might add were all used within 5 days.

 Over time, the staff and I have built really good working relationships.  I teach them new things and remind them of things they have forgotten with time.  Over the last 3 years, I have witnessed a huge change in their attitudes and quality of care.
Here family and patients who are able gather to spend time during the day.  We have strict visiting hours because we have wards with many patients.

Last Saturday at my mobile clinic, a man came with a burn to his face.  He is epileptic and fell into the fire.  He had been burned on Monday, but was just coming for treatment.  He had no money for the hospital and was unable to eat due to the facial pain with movement.  We were able to send him to the hospital for treatment and covered his expenses with work fund support which donors send to me.  Of course, I did not take his picture.

We also had a family come to the hospital to inform me that one of the patients we make home visits to was really sick...but again no money to bring him to hospital so could I help them.  We brought him to the hospital as well and were able to improve his health and return him to home. Again, helping him was possible through the work fund support I receive from donors. Without work fund support, many would not receive the care they need.

This little girl came into the hospital about a month ago with facial burns.  She was unable to open her eyes.  As you can imagine, facial burns are very dangerous due to possible respiratory complications.   However, this little girl is doing very well.

Each of the photos and comments I have made above bring me joy.  To be able to help those in need and those less fortunate.  To be able to show love and care to those around me.  To, hopefully, be an example of love and care which will lead them to Jesus.  Joy abounds when you are working with God to help His children.

I wish you all a great day and pray you find joy as well.  Perhaps you can share in my joy by helping support my work fund.  Information is on the right-hand sidebar of this post.  May God be with you and your family always.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Missionary Challenges

I have read several posts from other missionaries over the past several years which have expressed my feelings so very well.  It is difficult for me to write about the challenges of being in the missionary field for several reasons.  First, I am so blessed in all I am doing that it seems petty to talk about the challenges.  Second, missionaries (in my opinion) are often afraid to discuss challenges as it may offend someone or cause them to lose support.  And then there is the ole' saying "Don't air your dirty laundry".

A few months back, I was talking with another nurse who had taken some courses in "Being a Missionary".  We were discussing the different challenges which are faced in missions and she told me that on one of her exams was this question - "What is the biggest challenge for the missionary?"  The answer:  "Other missionaries".  I was shocked, but then realized that this is also one of my biggest challenges.  It is a pretty sad fact.

I don't know if all missionaries do as I did, but I do know that most come close.  I so wanted (and felt like God wanted me) to share my gifts and talents with others who were less fortunate than me that I sold everything, gave up a good job, left my family and moved to a foreign land.  I do not tell you this for any other purpose than to say that the majority of missionaries are people who feel so strong about their calling that they will do everything they can to make it happen.  Many of you also have callings...not missions....but other calling which you will do everything you can to make them happen.

Missionaries have no steady income for the work they do.  They have to rely on their church families, friends and people who love to help mission works in order to have money to pay for their day to day expenses, work expenses and salaries to cover future needs.  This is another BIG challenge which most, if not all, missionaries face.  It is difficult to ask for support.  (On the other side of the coin, it is difficult for donors to know what will come their way tomorrow.)  Missionaries have a lot of faith in God to provide open doors, open hearts and open wallets. Without support, mission works cannot be done.  One of the biggest support challenges comes when a supporter suddenly decided he cannot continue supporting someone.  That sudden loss of money can be devastating to a missionary's work.

Another huge challenge is emotional support.  Culture shock is a great challenge for many missionaries.  Along with the culture shock comes the reality that friends back home continue with their busy lives and many times lose touch with you.  And it is truly difficult for friends back home to understand what each missionary is going through...Nothing for the friend has changed.  For the missionary...EVERYTHING has changed including the loss of a previously wonderful support of friends.

And the last challenge I will discuss is spiritual support.  Every day, each missionary is pouring out spiritual support to others, but there is no one to pour spiritual support back into the missionary.  Personally, I like to listen to sermons from my home church and, of course, I do Bible studies on my own.  However, spiritual growth and support is difficult for the missionary.

Please do not misunderstand the comments I have made in this blog.  I am VERY happy with my choice to become a missionary and I absolutely love where I am and the people I work with daily.  I am making these comments to let you know that the life of a missionary is not any easier than the life you are living back home and, in fact, has it own challenges.  We are not living a "vacation" life on someone else's dime.  AND we are very dependent on the generosity of others for our support.  Your emails and face book comments are needed, appreciated and let us know that we are not forgotten by our friends. The blessings I receive far out-weigh the challenges, but the challenges still remain.

Please pray for missionaries, support them, email them and encourage them in whatever ways you can think to do so.  YOU are one of the  KEYS to our SUCCESS.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Lord is adding daily to His Kingdom

The Gospel Chariot has come to Chimala!  For those of who do not know what the Gospel Chariot is, let me give you a little information.

This large red truck travels throughout much of Africa helping to spread the Word of God and teach the Gospel.  This truck is carrying a platform, speakers, chairs, and has a baptistry.  When the truck arrives in Chimala, our preachers join the drivers and travel in our area to many.  Just this week at one village, 17 souls were added to the Lord's kingdom and 2 were restored.  Praise His Name!  Spreading the Word of God is our number 1 priority as missionaries in this land.

The name of Chimala Mission is known all around this country and especially that of the hospital.  While I cannot stand up and preach, I can help the people of this land with their much needed healthcare through the hospital and our mobile medical clinics.  It is amazing how many people I now know and help each month.  By working with the hospital in improving its services and financial status, we are able to reach many who are in need.  We have a wonderful and Godly man who reaches out to the sick daily with prayer, scripture and Bible studies.  Many patients and family members are receiving the Word and following the Gospel.

Much work for the Lord is being done in Chimala and its surrounding area; however, none of these works could be done without the support of our brothers and sisters in America. Many people think about the sacrifices missionaries who go into foreign lands make, but the work is not done by only those who go.  Sacrifices must be made by those who stay behind to support those who go.  I would like to remember those who sacrifice so much back home and I want you to know that your support is reaching the lost and bringing them the Word.

Friday, July 10, 2015

I'M BA-ACK!!!!

Ok, so here is why 2015 has not been a good year, or even a bad year...but more of a disaster when it comes to me keeping up with my blog.  The first thing is the terrible internet.  It seems to continue to get worse and worse each month.  How I long for the good ole' days of dial-up!  Yeah you heard (or read) me right.  I think dial-up would be more reliable and less irritating that what I am getting here in Chimala.  If we want to keep up with the world, we have to travel an hour to the east or an hour and a half to the west.  BUT, I have decided that I will get you caught up and do my best to continue sending you information.  I do not believe I will be able to send as many pictures as I used to...but will promise to send some.  I continue to request high-speed internet every time I speak to any government official or anyone who wants the hospital to send documents via e-mail.  There are times, we try over, & over, & over & over and still it may take two-three days before the documents actually get sent.

The second problem I have had is....I just haven't been able to find the time.  In brief review, last year in March/April our accountant walked out without any notice leaving me to fill that position.  We did hire a great new accountant in May, but it took several months to get him up to speed on all the records.  Then in September, the CEO of the hospital retired leaving me to assist in covering that position.  We just hired a wonderful young man to fill this role in May of this year!  He is learning quickly, but also has much more to learn.  We also entered into a partnership with Walter Reed - Tanzania in order to provide better and more services to our HIV patients.  As you probably remember me saying before, we have many HIV patients. Our current registration is over 5,000.  This partnership provides us with many resources we desperately need, but as it is an American funded program there are many reports and documents which have to be written and provided throughout the year.  This has added MUCH to my work-load.

The first 6 months of 2015 have seen some continued improvements.  Our staff have truly begun to come together as a working team.  Now I don't mean to imply that every one is on board...but the majority of the staff are coming together, working for a common goal.  Better patient care, better work environment equal better outcomes for all.  We have placed some different people in some of the leadership roles and have found most of them truly taking on that position with great success.  As I mentioned above, we have added a new young man, Jacob, as our head accountant and another, Shadrack, as our "Health Secretary".  This position is in place of the previous CEO position.  Our hospital now operates with a management team as it's leadership instead of one person.  The team consists of the Health Secretary, Doctor in-charge, Accountant, Matron (Nursing Manager) and myself.  We have found this team-approach to be very effective and welcome by the staff.

We have remodeled the laboratory with donations from many of you and some assistance from our Walter Reed - TZ partners.  We have now decided to add tile flooring to finish it off nicely as well as some proper rolling stools for the staff to work from.  We now believe with our better physical facilities, we will be able to obtain some assistance in obtaining the addition laboratory equipment which we are in desperate need of. For example, chemistry and hematology machines.  We have also updated and remodeled our CTC department which is the area treating our HIV and TB clients.  This area is now more structured which increases efficiency and it has been painted which provides a more welcoming area for our clients.  We have purchased a new cautery machine for our surgical services as the one we obtained in the 90's from a donor in the states finally died.  Our goal is to add a new surgical sterilization machine, solar powered generator system and remodel our x-ray department before the end of this year.  Whew, I tired just thinking about all this work ahead!  However, it also excites me to see this hospital upgrade from the horrible conditions it was in just 3 years ago. 

May and June, we were busy with our normal work and hosting visitors from Harding Universities Nursing Program.  It is always a pleasure having visiting students come and learn just how blessed they are with the things they have for healthcare and to learn how the medical staff in this country work with so little.  It becomes a learning experience for all involved.

We also had several interesting patients in the last few months.  The first one which comes to mind is the man who came in with a hippo bite to his bottom!  Yes, a hippopotamus bite!  He said he went outside his house and there was a big hippo.  He turned around to run back inside, but the hippo took a little fresh meat from the man's bottom before he was able to make his retreat.  I never though to ask him how long he had to wait for the hippo to leave before he could come back out of his house and seek help.  Bet that's not a situation any of you have seen in the ER lately?.....or ever?......

Another situation we had that same day was involving an albino child, his mother and uncle.  Many in this country continue to believe in witchcraft and juju.  Albino children are believed to hold special powers.  The mother of this small child was brought into the hospital with defensive wounds to her head, arms and hands she received while defending her child against a would-be kidnapper.  The uncle was the thwarted kidnapper.  The uncle wanted to kidnap and skin the albino child to use in witchcraft and juju.  The situation was very sad and emotional for all who were involved.  Thank the Lord, the child was not injured.  I do not know the numbers, but there are stories in the newspapers here several times a week concerning albino children who are kidnapped and murdered for body parts.  I have a few albino children in my mobile clinics, but see them only on occasion as the families keep them close by and well guarded.  I do take medical needs to them such as sunscreen, sunglasses and hats.

The mobile clinics are going well.  As you may have read in one of the newsletter articles I wrote, we have now started a new congregation at the first mobile clinic we started.  This is a direct result of the clinic and outreach services provided to the clinic clients.  Several people have also either re-dedicated themselves to Christ or have been baptized in different clinic areas as well.  I am praying to begin another 1 -2 clinics in the next 10-12 months.

I continue to pray for guidance, wisdom and strength from our Lord for this work and I also pray for your financial support.  Without financial support, we would not be able to reach people for God's kingdom.  Hopefully, I will be able to communicate better in the future, thereby letting you know what is being done in the Chimala area to strengthen and grow the Kingdom of the Lord.  May God bless our efforts.

More to come...........