Thursday, December 27, 2012

The lost blog.....

I really can't believe this...but I just finished writing a really good post about Christmas.  I spent about an hour writing it and ended it with I John 3:16-18.  And was gone!!!

Now I am tired and going to bed, so you will just have to grab your Bible, read this passage and imagine what a wonderful blog I must have written.   :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

About Tanzania and Chimala

Where is Tanzania?  Tanzania is in East Africa on the Indian Ocean.  On the map below, Tanzania is located on the right just above the island of Madagascar.

Tanzania is bordered by Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Republic of the Congo,  Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and the Indian Ocean.  Whew, that is alot of borders!  There is a small island just off the coast of Tanzania which is a part of Tanzania (and not seen in this map).  This island is one you have probably heard of....Zanzibar.  The primary language of Tanzania is Kiswahili, although, those who have received education speak English as well.  There are two capitals of Tanzania....The official capital is Dodoma since 1996; however, Dar Es Salaam (harbor of peace), is the largest city, the commericial center, and the major seaport for the country and its land-locked neighbors.  The population of Dodoma is about 85,000 when the population of Dar is about 3 million.  Many people consider Dar Es Salaam to be the capital.

Where is the Chimala Mission?  Chimala is not on the above map, however, it is located just to the east of Mbeya.  Mbeya is in the southwestern part of Tanzania just north of the Zambia/Malawi borders.  The population of the Chimala area is around 24,800.  The sun rises at at 6:20am and sets at 6:59pm and the time is 9 hours ahead of Oklahoma time.  The average elevation of Chimala is 4,000 feet and the average temperatures range from low 40's for lows and low 70's for highs year round.  The rains come from late October to late April with the average rainfall of around 5 inches per month.  The rest of the year is dry.

This is the shape of Tanzania using the colors and design of their flag.

That is a little information about the country and the village.  How about a little information on the Chimala Mission and Hospital.  The mission sits on about a 100 acre section of the 300 acres owned by the mission.  The site includes a primary and secondary schools, a Bible College and a hospital.  The schools began in 1998 and currently around 900 students attend the schools with about 500 of them living at the mission.  The Bible College began 2004 and an average of 15 men graduate with each class. 

As you can imagine the hospital will be where my biggest interest lies.  The hospital began in 1963.  It is a 120-bed hospital which sees about 20,000 patients and delivers about 2,000 babies each year.  However, this past year has seen a big increase in the numbers especially the number of babies which are born.  The hospital includes 2 minor and 1 major surgery theaters, a female ward, an OB ward, a male ward, children's ward, an outpatient clinic, a well baby/mother clinic, a tuberculosis clinic and an HIV clinic which currently sees more than 1,600 patients. 

For more information about Tanzania and the Chimala Mission and Hospital, you can go to

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ready, Set, Go......

Two Months.....It has been two months since I last posted and talked about the "waiting room" which I found myself in.  These last two months have been very emotional for me.  Why? you ask.  Well, it is difficult when you feel so convinced that you are on the path which God is leading you to and yet, having to wait on others.  For instance, when I left Tanzania in July, I was expecting it to take about 8-10 weeks to obtain my residency permit which I would need before I could return.  However, I have only now received news that it should be completed within the next 2 weeks.

Other factors involved in the "waiting room" are decisions regarding what and how much training should be done prior to returning to the mission field. One very big lesson I learned while in Ghana was that missions are not easy and do not have a "How to" manual to follow.  Of course, I truly did not expect anything different, but now I am even more aware.  So I found that many people have many different views on what type of training and how much should be done prior to going on the field.  This is an area where I have no experience to draw from.  However, I have done many things to attempt to make sure I am as prepared as possible. 

Even when we prepare and prepare for new beginnings, I believe we all find ourselves involved in challenges which we never thought about.  This is true for any "new" beginning we take on.  Whether it be a new job here in the states, moving to a new home, going to school to increase our knowledge or going to another country to serve others.  Someone recently gave me an outline of a lesson on "Listening Effectively".  Below are some of my thoughts and findings as I reviewed this lesson.

The focus was "Listening to God".  This lesson included 7 questions which we should ask ourself as we contemplate whether our decision is one from God or maybe just our own thoughts or maybe even something Satan is directing us to do.  I like these 7 questions and would like to share them with you.  As I share the questions with you, I will also share my answers to the questions as they relate to my decision for medical evangelism.

1.  Is the decision or solution consistent with the word of God?
      Luke 10:2  He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore to send out workers into his harvest field".
       Luke 12:33  "Sell your possessions and give to the poor."
      Matt. 9:35  "Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness."
      Matt. 4:23;  Matt. 4:19-20; Acts 2:45; Romans 12:6-8

2.  Is it a wise deision?  In your own heart and mind is this the decision/solution that Jesus Christ himself would agree with?  Throughout the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we are told of Jesus going from place to place healing and teaching.  There is no doubt in my mind that going into a poorer country to serve and teach is exactly what he would do and the right decision for me.

3.  Are you confident in asking God to enable you to achieve this solution?  This is also a question which I can answer with a strong "Yes"!

4.  Do you feel that it is a God given solution?  Deep within your heart do you feel or sense that this solution/decision is the Will of God?  Again, I have felt this was God's Will for me for many years.  I have never once doubted I should use my gift of nursing and my love of God to help others, especially those who are born in countries of extreme poverty.

5.  Does this solution fit a child of God?  From all you know about God, does this solution/decision fit a person who truly loves, believes and trusts God?  I believe my decision to work and serve in Africa fits me as I believe, trust and love God.  Others have other gifts to give to God and His kingdom through their belief, trust and love for God.

6.  Does the solution fit God's overall plan for your life?  Throughout my walk with God and all He has blessed me with, I have felt He guided me to nursing for a reason.  Nursing is my way to reach out to those in need to help with with their physical needs.  Once their physical needs are met, they are more open to hear the story of Jesus and God's Love and plan for Salvation.

7.  Does this solution honor God?  In all I do, I will seek to bring Honor to God.

I ask that you be a part of this journey with me.  This is not a journey God is sending me on alone.  He has blessed me with a big, wonderful christian family.  He will use us all working together to bless those less fortunate.  Please pray for all the work being done at the Chimala Mission as I join them.  Pray for the other Americans who will be working with me; the Wagner family, Garry Hill and the Stinsons.  I will be introducing you to the others on my team as we go along.

My leave date has been set for January 6, 2013!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Waiting Room

I am sure you dislike sitting in a waiting room for any length of time just as do I.  But sometimes, the waiting room is necessary.  I have returned from my wonderful trip in Guatemala and found myself back in the "waiting room".

I have often asked myself..How do I know what God's plan is for me?  How do I know that what I believe HE wants me to do IS what HE wants or just my idea?  There have been times in my life when I just really felt HE was talking to me and leading me.  Then there have been those times when I wasn't quite sure.  Is it my desire?....or His?  I wish I could tell you that it is during these times that I really turn to prayer...but I must confess that even tho' I know prayer is the answer, I do not have the prayer life which God intends.  Perhaps this is one reason I find myself in the "waiting room".

My desire is to be a medical missionary serving those who are orphans and poor.  I believe God gives each of us special gifts and then calls us to use these gifts for His Kingdom and Glory.  I believe He is calling me to use my gift of nursing to serve others who are in need.  In order to use these gifts to the full benefit of others and to the Glory of God, preparation must be made for a successful mission. This "preparation time" is what I refer to as the "waiting room".

It isn't that work isn't being accomplished, because it is...I find myself busy with research, learning and planning every day.  There are visas and nursing licenses to obtain, job descriptions, work-funds and new languages to learn.  New cultures to study and learn.  Success does not just comes with planning, working AND most importantly (for many of us) praying and listening to what God has planned.

Prayer is our avenue for conversation with our Lord.  We are instructed to "pray without ceasing".  (I Thess. 5:17). Jesus modeled prayer for us.  The "waiting room" is a place where we (I) should definitely be praying continually.  It is during the time of preparation that we most need to listen to God and seek His guidance.  This is the time when we are building our foundation for the mission (work) to come.  We must invite God to give us wisdom, strength, and guidance.  Without Him, we are like the three blind mice running here and there and yet never reaching the goal.

Please join me in praying for God to guide the MRCC missions committee and myself as we seek to do His will.  Let us pray for God to bless our preparations and point us in the direction He wishes us to take.  Pray that I will listen to Him and use my time in the "waiting room" to His Glory.  And that I will allow Him to mold me and shape me into a better disciple.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Last Day "Off the Map"

Oh, wow, I had a really nice night of sleep.  So here we go again.  Up..dressed...put away all the cots and sleeping bags...get set up for breakfast.  This morning, we have breakfast here at the school building where we are holding clinic.
This picture is of black beans, scrambled egg and pieces of hot dog.  And I can't remember if this was breakfast or not.  But it is an interesting meal.

After breakfast, we rearrange everything and prepare for a morning of clinic.  Due to the long drive we have back to Chichi, we will stop the medical consults around 11:30-12:00.  We must be on the "road" ( and I use that word loosely) no later than 1pm.  I cannot tell you for sure how many patients we saw, because many times a person with a number would come in with his or her family and we would see the whole the one number turned into 4 - 6 consults!  But the numbers we gave out were 90.

We finish clinic at 11:15 and the wonderful people from the village serve us lunch again before we start our drive back.

It has been a great weekend.  I pray that many were blessed by our presence and that God received all the glory.  I am always reminded that without God, we are nothing.  He keeps us, guides us and holds us up.  Thank you Lord for allowing us this opportunity to serve others who are in need.  Thank you for our safe trip and for guiding us as we worked.  We strive to praise you in all we do.

Here are just a couple of fun pics!



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Off the Map in Guatemala - Day 2

Well, the adventure of the drive here....wherever here is, was fantastic!  However, the adventure does not end.  I only got us to the arrival of our final destination on the previous blog.  Where was that destination?  The name of the village was San Cristobal.  There is no running water and no electricity unless you have a generator.  So when we arrived, all was DARK.

We unloaded the vehicle and then the men of the village served us dinner by candle-light.  (the men serve because the women are in the kitchen cooking).  Dinner was a stew and tortillas

my camera flash is so good that it looks like we have me, only candles.

Then, with no lights, we go to bed.  They have cots and sleeping bags for us.  It is raining pretty steady outside, so the sleeping should be great......aaww, hold on.....the men keeping watch outside do not quit talking until like midnight or something like that.  And then at about 2:15am, a man and a boy begin hollering in a foreign language.  Turns out a big truck came into the village and needed to turn around.  My question is how does someone find a place like this or even "stumble" on to in in the middle of the night.  Needless to say, I wake up on day 2 already in need of a nap.  ( by the way, I'm not complaining.....just saying.)

We get up, dress and then move all the cots and sleeping bags and back-packs because we will have clinic in this same room.  When we are all set up, we walk up the hill to on of the villagers house for breakfast.  This man is the local witch doctor/healer.  He and his family welcome us into their home and serve us breakfast of pork-n-beans, a piece of beef and tortillas.

Now that our bellies are full, it is time to work.  Jeff, the American who working in this area, introduces our group and prays with everyone before we start.  It is is busy, but rewarding day.  There are only 4 us of doing the medical consults; myself, Sheri, Gaspar and Josefina.  We see 160+ patients today.  We do not have a pharmacist, so we have to also fill our own meds.  These people are really in need of healthcare and health education.  Most of the children has scabies and intestinal worms.    We finished our last consult at around 5:30.  Our numbers for the day were great.

Sheri consulting and examining a little baby

Josefina teaching a family

Gaspar as he consults with a young mother
By the way,  I saw patients too.  I just always forget to get pictures of myself.  For more information on our day AND a picture of me at work go to Sheri's blog at

Dental had a great day as well....90 teeth extractions, 30 teeth cleanings and 50 fluoride treatments!

Now we pack up in the medical room and prepare for our candle-light dinner.  Wait!  They use the generator and give us light!  While we wait for the dinner to be served, both the medical and dental teams sit down and review the day with the local organizer.  After dinner, a praise service will be held until about 9:30 pm.  And then we get to try the sleeping thing again.....I am so ready!

Another Great Day!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Off the map in Guatemala!

Day one......a day of travel (Friday, September 21, 2012)

Wow!  And again, I say WOW!  What an awesome experience I have had.  When I say we were " Off the Map", I mean we were OFF THE MAP!  The drive to Cobãn was amazing.  We were up, up, up the mountain and then down, down, down the mountain.  Then we would start up again and down again.  In many places the road did not exist due to rock and mud slides.  We traveled over rough, packed rocks and gravel from the slides themselves.  Much of the time, we were only able to travel at 15 kilometers per hour and at times I felt that was too fast!

Would you believe we were charged 25Q to have the priviledge of traveling on this rock slide?  Well we were!

There were 5 of us from HTI.  Sheri, our driver and a full-time nurse working in the Chichicastengao area for the last 6 years;  Gaspar, a trained healthcare provider who is from Xepocol, Guatemala and has been working with HTI for about 7 years;  Josefina, a physician from Santa Cruz, Guatemala  who worked with HTI for 4 years and now does private work;  Sandra, a dentist who has been with HTI for 9 months; and myself.  I have worked with all of them except Sandra before on many occasion when traveling with Memorial Church of Christ for short-term medical missions.

The young girl in the orange shirt and black sweater located between Sheri and I, is Sonia.  She is not from HTI, but was my interpreter for the weekend.  She had to speak 3 languages in order to assist me.  She was a BIG help to me.

The view from the road was absolutely amazing of the mountains and the valleys.  It was "rain forest-like" in many places with dense trees and ground growth.  In other places you would see "golf-course like" greens and then in other places there  would be many different crops growing.  The villages were far-between.


The clothing went from the "US-like" dress of jeans and t-shirts mixed with traditional straight, wrapped skirts for the women to no jeans and full, pleated skirts for women.  I really liked the full, pleated skirts of many colors.  They had threads with a metallic sheen woven into them making them shine.  Due to all the colors in the skirt, you can wear any color top and it will bring out that color in the skirt.  They were beautiful.

Notice the young lady here in Chichi wearing jeans....

Notice the lady in front of the tuk-tuk wearing the traditional skirt I am used to.
By the way, the tuk-tuk is the 3 wheeled auto used for a taxi.

Notice these ladies have on the full colorful skirts.  Also this area has many houses built out of wood planks!  This is the first time I have seen wood houses in Guatemala.  Most are concrete or mud bricks.

Once we arrived at Cobãn, we met up with an American, Jeff and his family, who have been working in this area for 10 years.  Jeff lead up to our finally destination which was a "short" distance to the north.  "Short" was a 45 minute drive on another "two-track", rough road.  We started our day leaving Chichi at 9:30 and arriving at our final resting place for the weekend at around 6:30 pm.  This concluded our "four-hour" drive!

WOW......I truly enjoyed my "Off the Map" excursion!

Many have asked me if I am every afraid when I go on trips to new places in other countries.  I often explain with the following:

Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go,
Anywhere with Jesus, I am not alone,
Other friends may fail me, he is still my own,
Tho' His hand may lead me over drearest ways
Anywhere with Jesus is a house of praise.

Anywhere with Jesus I can go to sleep,
When the darkest shodows 'round me creep,
Knowing I shall awaken nevermore to roam,
Anywhere with Jesus will be home, sweet home

Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go
Anywhere he leads me in this world below,
Anywhere without Him dearest joys would fade,
Anywhere without Jesus I am not afraid.

And He has Blessed me every time!!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My first week of clinics in Guatemala

As you know, I can not return to Tanzania until the administrator there has obtained a residency visa for me. So, I have been using my time in the states to learn as many things as I can which will help us be more successful when I am able to return.

I decided I would spend some time with Dr. Lisa Dunham, her husband, Kimmel and Sheri, RN in Guatemala.  These 3 musketeers work with Health Talents International (HTI) in Chichicastenango.  They have been providing health care, mobile medical clinics and education in this area for more than 5 years.  I am certain they have a wealth of information which will help me as I strive to work in these areas at the Chimala Mission.

I spent Monday and Tuesday with Sheri doing medical consults.  Although there are some differences in the countries, many of the common illnesses are the same as well as the available treatments.  I took many notes and Sheri was able to show me several of the educational tools she uses with her patients.  Many of these will be great for me to develope and use as well.  Yesterday and today, I spent the day with Dr. Lisa.  As a nurse, there are many things I will need to know when seeing people in Chimala which I was not taught in school or practice.  Some of those assessment skills only  doctors do in America.  She taught me how to perform eye exams and what to look for...what things to look for which would need emergent care and those which aren't.  It was very helpful and knowledge which I am sure will come in handy. 

The warm, wonderful fire in my room every night!

My hotel room in Chichicastenango at the Hotel Santo Tomas

Lunch one day at clinic.  Black beans and boiled egg.  We did have hot tortillas with it as well.  Yummm, Yummm!
I wanted to add more pictures, but alas!, the internet is getting really slow and not cooperating anymore, so will have to post more later.

Sheri wrote an article about one of our clinic days.     I think you will enjoy reading it.

Tomorrow, Sheri and I are heading out for a new adventure.  We are going with another group to Coban, Guatemala for three days.  This is an area Sheri has not been to before.  We have been told it is a very poor area with no water and no electricity.  We will be "camping-out" so to speak.  We are told they are expecting a couple hundred medical patients.  In our group, we will have 2 doctors, 2 nurses and a dentist.  I am so excited!

Chichicastenango is just above Guatemala City.  Coban is a couple of cities above that.
 Please pray for our safe journey and a successful ministry.  We pray for God's guidance, protection and wisdom.  We pray that all we do will bring honor and glory to HIM.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

An opportunity to serve...

Below I am sharing with you a copy of my fund-raising brochure.  My church family, Memorial Road Church of Christ, is very involved in missions and is providing me with a small salary.  However, there will be a continued need for funds to purchase medical supplies, medications and to deliver the care.  I am looking for others to partner with MRCC and myself in this work.

Showing and Teaching God’s Love through medical missions

About Africa and Tanzania…


According to unicef,  one-half of all the children under 5 who died in 2010 lived in sub-Saharan Africa.   This number comes to 3.6 million children.  Diarrhea was the cause of 1.8 million of these deaths.  In Tanzania, 68% of the population lives on less than $1.25 US per day and 547 million people live without electricity.  The average life expectancy in the US is 75 years compared to only 57 years in sub-Saharan Africa. 

There is no “quick” fix for the challenges in Tanzania.  However, we can make a big impact by:
· Providing Health Education
· Providing early diagnosis
· Providing low cost treatment
· Demonstrating God’s Love and  Mercy

Matthew 19:26b “with God all things are  possible.”

About Me (Cheryl)…

I have been blessed by God all my life.  I was born and raised in the United States.  I was able to attend college, receive a license as a Registered Nurse and work as a nurse for 20 years.  It is now my time to go into  other areas of the world to show others God’s love and teach them about his salvation.  I have chosen to use my gift of nursing and medical missions as my method of outreach.  Healthcare and education is very much needed in the country of Tanzania.  My hope and prayer is that by going out to the rural villages teaching basic healthcare, disease prevention and early treatment, many lives will be saved and/or improved.     Jesus came to show us what we should do to follow him.  He  went throughout Galilee teaching and healing.  He then told us to go into all the world.  I am ready to follow him.  
(Matt.4:23;  28:19-20)
Monthly Budget for Cheryl’s Medical  
 Mission Work-fund
Internet                                   $         50.00
Phone                                                  50.00
Medications/supplies                    750.00
Driver/interpreter                         100.00
Vehicle expense                               250.00
Fuel                                                   300.00
Total needed per month          $1,500.00

About Chimala Mission…

Chimala Mission and Hospital has been in Tanzania for over 50 years.  Currently, we have a 120-bed hospital, a primary school, secondary school and a school of preaching. 
The hospital has an average census of 70 patients per day and delivers an average of 300+ babies per month.  American doctors and nurses are needed to help with education and training for the Tanzanian staff.
Approximately 900 students attend the primary and secondary schools with around 500 of them living on the mission.  Providing a good, solid education at an affordable fee is very valuable.  However, many children are not able to complete school because their parents cannot afford the fees.  It costs approx. $500/yr for each child to attend school.
The preaching school is free and usually has 15-20 students per year.  These students are also housed on campus.
There is no shortage of projects or areas in which you can help.  You can join us to teach at the schools, to work at the hospital or assist with building projects on the mission site.  If you have the dream of doing mission work, please come to the Chimala Mission!  We will be blessed to benefit from your God-given gifts.
Chimala Mission Church of Christ
Let’s Partner Together….
It will take many of us working together to accomplish this work and help those in need.  I am able and willing to move to another country, learn a new language, get my hands dirty and serve as a medical provider/teacher..  It will take a continuous supply of funds to purchase medications, medical supplies, a vehicle, fuel, etc.  No gift is too small.  If you are willing to partner with us in this effort with a monetary gift, please send your tax-free donation to:
 Memorial Road Church of Christ
Attn:  Missions Accounting
Cheryl Bode work fund
2221 E. Memorial Road
Edmond, OK  73044 
 If you wish to come to Chimala on a short-term mission, please contact me and I will be glad to assist you.
There are many ways in which you can be of help.
Matthew 19:16b, 21b
“….what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“…..sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.”
Cheryl Bode, RN
C/O Chimala Mission and Hospital
P. O. Box 724
Mbeya, Tanzania
East Africa
Follow our work at

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Preparation Time

So what do I do while I am waiting around for my Tanzanian visa?  Well, there always seems to be plenty to do.

I am enjoying the extra time with my family.  It is always good to be able to spend extra quality time with with your family.  I just wish it was a bit more uneventful.  My mother somehow managed to break the knee cap in her artificial knee.  Not sure when or how, but she had surgery this week on Wednesday.  Thank the Lord, all went well and she is back home and I am here to help with her recovery.  Then my dad was unloading some cows and somehow managed to fall face first into the cattle trail or.  He walks into the house with a big scrapped area right in the middle on his forehead, a small cut to his right eyebrow and his left knee all scrapped up.   I guess the ole' saying "never a dull moment" fits very well to our family.

I am also attempting to learn some more Swahili which is the language I will need to know in Tanzania...but, I will have to admit I have not been as good at self study as I should be.  I also have had several meetings with church members and friends giving updates on the work I plan to do in Tanzania.  Without all those who support me and the work,  there would be no work.  It takes many of us working together to successfully provide help to those in need.

Next week, I am traveling to Guatemala to visit with a friend who has been doing medical missions there for the past 5 years.  She has been very successful in her work and so I am looking forward to spending a couple of weeks learning from her.  

My prayer during my state-side time is that I use the time in a manner which is pleasing to the Lord and which will help with the success of medical missions in Tanzania.  I continue to study the culture, learn more about the medical issues in Tanzania and grow my relationship with God.  

Ephesians 4:11-13. "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ"

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What's Hap'ning?

So here I am beginning a new exciting chapter of service for the Lord!  I am preparing to move to Chimala, Tanzania in October.  I can't wait!!  I spent 2 months in Chimala this summer at the Chimala Mission and Hospital.  What a great experience.   This mission is over-seen by the New York Avenue Church of Christ in Arlington, TX.  My church family at Memorial Road Church of Christ will be generously sponsoring and supporting me while I work in Chimala.

My focus will be going out to surrounding villages teaching health education, holding mobile medical clinics and sharing the love of God.  Even though the mission has a hospital, many in the surrounding villages can not access the services because of extreme poverty.  Many more do not seek out the health services they need until it is too late.  I believe teaching disease prevention and basic health care can improve the daily lives of many.  Through these services, I pray I will be able to provide a glimpse of God's Love for them.  Enough of a glimpse that they will want more and will hunger for His Word and find His salvation.

The administrator at the mission, Chad, is currently working to obtain my residency visa.  Once we have that, I will be on my way.  I will keep you up dated as things progress.  Please pray for the work going on at the Chimala Mission and for all those who are involved.