Friday, September 26, 2014

From Tanzania to Oregon

The support for the work I do at Chimala Mission comes from many people and many places in the United States.  Most of those who send financial support do not know me personally and neither do I know them.  There is one person who sends support from Oregon.  Just before I left to come visit the states, this lady contacted me to see if I would be interested in visiting her in Oregon.  She told me that she would like to help me raise support by setting me up with places to speak.

At first, I didn't think I could make the time to go all the way to Oregon...I have family to spend time with, I am already making two trip to Texas to meet people and speak, I have several presentations to do in Oklahoma City/Edmond.  There just wouldn't be time.....or would there?

God puts people in our lives for different reasons.  Could this be a door He is opening for me and the Chimala work?  I spend 11 months away from my family, but my dad sat down with me and told me he didn't think I should pass up this opportunity.  So with my families support, I traveled to Oregon for 5 days.

When I stepped off the plane in Oregon, I was met at the gate by a very excited, enthusiastic woman, who would quickly become a friend and sister in Christ.  During this week, I have been welcomed into her home and she has driven me all over this beautiful area.  And it IS beautiful!  The weather has also been awesome!  A wonderful trip overall.

And that is not all!  She had done all the ground work to set me up to speak about Chimala to 5 different churches.  Each church was so welcoming and listened with interest to the work at Chimala. I was able to meet many wonderful and compassionate brothers and sisters in Christ.  I have been able to share the story of Chimala with them and know that God will now work in their hearts.

This has been the most wonderful week and just think if I had pasted it up.  We must always be listening for God.  He will speak to use in many ways and with different opportunities.  I pray that He always gives me wisdom and discernment so that I do not pass up the opportunities which He may be sending my way.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Back in the States

I thought it might be interesting for you to know a little about my first weeks back in the states after being gone for a year.  The week before I left Chimala, I was anxious about leaving....couldn't really decide if it was because I was ready to see family and friends or if I was anxious about leaving Chimala.  It is hard to explain.  I love my family and miss friends, but Chimala is now my home and the people of Chimala are my family and friends too.

After 48 hours of travel, I was so excited to see my mother and father!  I do talk to my parents several times a month.  They are a great source of support and encouragement for me and the work we are doing.  I am praying for lots of quality talk time with them both as this is the first time in 3 years that my mother has not been in the hospital during my visit....oops, did I say that out loud?  So praying we continue to stay well!

Then there are my sister, brother and their families.  Need time with them.  AND most of all MY DAUGHTER and grand children.  One of the worse things about living half way around the world is not staying in touch with my wonderful daughter, Bethanie and her family.  My grand children do not even know who I am.  And I know that they will not have time to know who I am before I leave.  However, being able to see them even for a short time helps.

Trips back home are not just a vacation.  Much work must be done to raise support to continue the work.  It has not been easy raising the money needed for my personal support and the support needed for the work which I am involved.  My first week home was very busy setting up appointments to meet current supporters and presentations to hopefully find new ones.  So far I have two trips to different areas of Texas and a week long trip to Oregon.  New fund-raising brochures were made, new business cards and a couple other marketing tools ordered.  The key to raising money, as I understand it, is that you have to spend some money to make more money.  Sure hope these presentations, trips and tools bring in a lot of support.

Then I still need to see the doctor, dentist, get a hair cut, visit the tax man and see the eye doctor.  Whew, the time will go quickly and it will be full of stress.  Would any of these items cause any anxiety?  Oh and then lets add that the car.....the steering wheel is now on the "wrong" side of the car and I am now driving on the "wrong" side of the road.  Also some people here spend (waste) more money than I need to raise.  A big plus, tho, is all the variety of food available and the restaurants!

Now for the reasons coming home cause anxiety from the "leaving" point of view.

At the hospital, we have a new accountant who has only been there for a couple of months.  Still pretty new at doing the accounting and I am trying to help him from halfway around the world.  The CEO of the hospital is retiring and his last day was September 12th which leaves another pretty big whole while I am gone.  Now don't panick, Chad Wagner, the administrator, is there to watch over things...and I know that I am disposable....but I am such a type A personality that I want things to go well and I hate to add work/stress to one of my team members.

Since I have been gone, one of my Tanzanian brothers has lost his wife to a long-term struggle with her health and the water pump/water distribution system has had lots of problems which has led to several days of no water.  Things are being handled, but, again, I wish I was there to help and take some pressure from Chad.

Since I have been writing this blog over several days, I will tell you that I have received around $2,000 in one-time donations from friends.  However, I am running around $1,500 per month short.  Please if you have ever considered helping with a mission work in Africa, I am continuing to look for monthly supporters.  If you are willing to become a monthly partner, please send in a donation to the Chimala address to the right of this post and indicate that you will be a monthly partner.  Finding enough monthly partners who will help me reach my monthly budget will allow me to focus more on the work and less on fund-raising.

Also, the hospital has several "special" updating projects which we will be working on this next year. We will be needing extra funds for the following:

Building over the water purification system (which will protect the equipment and staff during rainy season)
Laboratory improvements
X-ray remodel and updated x-ray developer
Replace more of the old mattresses

Each of these special projects will need help with funding.  If you would like to help with one of these areas, please send in your donation with a note of where you wish to see your funds used.

May God Bless you all and Bless this work as we continue to administer both physically and spiritually to those in need.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Coming to America.....Well actually, I'm here!!

I know, I blog posting leaves much to be desired.  There are many reasons/excuses why I have not been writing more often.  Not sure any of them are reason enough, but the main reason is    S-L-O-W internet.  The second is I work until I drop most days.  I am currently in the US at home for a short visit.  I will be here until October 7th when I begin my long trip back home.  Thought I would take advantage of the faster internet and get you all up-to-date.

I am here for two BIG reasons.  First to visit my family, but most important is to raise support and work-funds in order to be able to continue my work at Chimala.  It has been a struggle lately with my support.  My budget is $1,500 for personal support and $1,500 for work-funds.  In August, my contributions were $975 for personal support and $210 for work-funds.  This is a bit worrisome, but as Jesus instructed us to not be anxious in anything....I continue to trust that He will continue to provide for the needs of the work.  I am just here to do my part in the work and then He will open doors and hearts.

Many GOOD things have been happening during July and August.  Through the generous sacrifices of several people, we raised about $7,000 to "Get our Bathrooms out of the Toilet".   Below are some of the pictures.


Isn't this amazing?!!!!  Thanks so much for your donations and sacrifices.  We have completed the Children's ward and the male ward.  When I return to Chimala in October, we will begin working on the Female and OB wards.  As you can see, the Tanzanians are proud of the work they have been able to do.  Many hours of work have gone into this project.
We are also working on improving our laboratory department.  I do not have any pictures at this point as we are having difficulty finding the needed rock grinder for the built in concrete tables.  More information on this project when I return to Chimala.
The clinics are going very well.  Two of the 5 clinics had over 100 patients in August.  Just to remind you, the mobile medical clinics are held in remote villages where exams, labs and medications are provided at affordable costs.  No one is turned away.  If they cannot pay all of the expenses, care is provided for free or at a discounted price.  If a patient is in need of frequent follow-up for dressing changes, this is provided to them at no charge.  At this time, we have one patient who requires dressing changes 3x a week.  Zabibu is paralyzed from the waste down and therefore, going to the hospital 3 x a week would be a great hardship and very costly for him.
Below is a new patient we began seeing in July.  I call her "Rafiki yangu" meaning "my friend".  She is 9 years old and has been paralyzed from the neck down for four years.  She had cerebral malaria which is a very deadly type of malaria and often produces this type of outcome.  Anyway, her family is trying their best to care for her with no resources.  In order to take her anywhere, the mother carries her on her back!  I had found this old wheelchair in a storage area, so we cleaned it up as best we could and fitted ti to "my friend" the best we could.  Even tho the wheels are flat and she is a little too big for the chair, she and her mother were so glad to have it.
We needed something to help her hold her head up.  We really needed a soft neck collar, but instead a visitor from Germany was with me and had an airplane neck we improvised.
There is much, much more to tell you, but will stop for now.  However, since I am in the land of fast internet, I will continue to send you updates.
As I stated at the beginning of this update, I am in great need of financial support to continue this work.  I am asking for all of my family and friends to take "Cheryl's Chimala Challenge".  Please consider donating one hours salary to this work.  Make your check out to Chimala Mission if you wish tax deduction and to Cheryl Bode if you don't.  Checks can be mailed to Cheryl Bode, 927 S. Academy Road, Guthrie, OK  73044.  AND if you wish to give more than one hour's salary, if will gladly be accepted as well!!  :)