Friday, July 22, 2016
Yet, many of you are still asking:, “How can we help?”
We have medical items that are needed. This is the link. You can click and purchase whatever you feel led to give. https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/13BG4CELV2KMT/ref=cm_wl_list_o_3 For some reason when people click on this link out is wanting to mail to them. Our mailing address is: 1052 Mount Pleasant Rd. Cookeville, TN. 38506.
In more detail these items are needed because this year at our aviation program we intend to target 5 villages (remote and unreached) and along with Indonesian doctors and nurses focus on bringing health to them. Our goal is to visit each village 9 to 10 times throughout the year providing preventative teaching and clinics.
Anything you can give will be helpful. Thank you.
Monday, June 20, 2016
Numbers shouldn’t define who we are. In nursing school we were often talked to about knowing the patient name, not just their room number. Yet numbers have crept into the very depth of my soul. We are a family of SIX. We have FOUR boys. We have now been missionaries for FIVE years. We will soon be married for TWENTY years. Numbers remind us of passing time and changing seasons.
As only THREE people sat at our dinner table tonight, I thought maybe you would enjoy an update on this summer season we are in.
Currently our TWO airplanes cannot fly. Please pray about that. While this has been discouraging, I have admired what Gary has been doing with his on ground time. SEVEN HUNDRED PLUS truck loads of gravel have been added to our grass runway so that when it rains it is not so soft and muddy. Also a drainage ditch is being added. This has been a huge project to manage and have vision for. Also Gary has been using the time to go to many meetings regarding our dream and vision to start a medical aviation program. If God be for us, no ONE can be against us.
ONE of my problems with home school is I tend to delay or put on hold things that can wait. So June has been crazy full for me. TWO of the things I will highlight are: hosting all the area Pastor wives for a day. Over TWENTY of them came, along with their husbands and children. For some reason the sky’s decided to gift us with rain all day long. The blessing: it was cooler. The frustration: with SEVENTY plus people here and rain it added to the intensity of our time together. The children could not play so freely outside and the husbands sat under our carport, avoiding rain splashing in. Despite the rain I believe all the ladies enjoyed painting. TWENTY TWO canvas’s left the house and hopefully our love and encouragement went with them.
Another fun June project was teaching FOUR ladies how to suture. They practiced on chicken breasts. Most of these ladies will work in remote tribal groups in the near future.
The FIRST born son, Aubrey, took wing from the nest at the end of May and flew to America. There he is working at a summer camp. I am quite certain he is learning more than we or he imagined. Aubrey turns EIGHTEEN in days. Only ONE year left with this young man living in our home. I have had him living under our roof for more years than I imagined and for this I am ever grateful. He is excited about his Senior year in Papua. Aubrey and Noah have been friends since babies.
Andrew, the SECOND oldest, took wing last Sunday and flew to Jakarta. There he is hanging out with Pastor Jasper (a friend and a tremendous photographer/videographer). They went waterfall/volcano chasing.
Our table went from SIX to FIVE to FOUR when Andrew left. I miss his humor, and cooking with me in the kitchen and more….. so thankful that both sons are keeping in touch.
Last Friday, husband number ONE ; ), flew away to build the THIRD jungle chapel in ONE month. Super proud of his determination, heart and goals. On my birthday this past week (I’m sure I am just TWENTY TWO???!) he took the whole day off and took me to the beach and just spoke my love language all day, by simply being with me. We found the sea glass in less than THIRTY minutes of beach hunting. I’ll see my man in FIVE more days. YES, I am counting. Currently in order to call me, he has to walk ONE mile, up a mountain, in order to have signal. Now that is love. Darron proudly stood by newly graduated Hermonus, they have spent many hours together in remote places.
Jacob, son number THREE, is now FIVE foot SIX which equals taller than me. He is also THIRTEEN. Jacob helped Darron on one of the recent church builds. Darron before departing commented, “Ï wish Jacob could go with me on this church build, he is such a great help”. Most days you can find Jacob working in the hanger or somewhere with Pilot/Uncle Gary. Aviation is creeping into this boys world and heart. He will give new meaning to my boys “taking wing”.
Nathaniel, the last of the FOUR, is my happy ever flexible, just give him a book……ELEVEN year old guy. This last semester he pulled off adjusting from home school life to “real” school. And he plans to keep at it. He is the last little glimmer of young boyhood in this home and I’m kissing those cheeks while I still can.
On Wednesday I will have finished THREE months of language school. They have been a tremendous THREE months. Growing my language skills. It has not been without a lot of stress to me, adding FIFTEEN plus hours into a week schedule that was already full. Yet, I have no regrets. I understand so many more things about the culture than I did before and can communicate so much clearer. This week I will teach (in Indonesian) a tremendous program regarding saving babies. TWO weeks ago it was a painting class. FOUR weeks ago it was a presentation on HIV/AIDS. SIX weeks ago it was a lecture on malaria, all at least THIRTY minutes long. WHEW. Sometimes when I learn language I feel like I’m FORTY FOUR. Shhh….
In SEVEN days we begin our trip to America. Nathaniel is counting down the days for us, he started on day EIGHTEEN. We hope to see HUNDREDS of you, our friends and family and listen to your stories. We are also excited about all the people who are planning to come visit us this next year in Papua. There must be at least TWO DOZEN of you.
Hope that gives you a little glimpse into our world. It’s time to set the breakfast table. Let’s see: today it will be for THREE. And Just in case you are tempted to think your mode of transportation is too small: consider this family of FIVE on their motor cycle. Numbers can give perspective. : )
Sunday, June 12, 2016
“We just had all the kinks worked out and our system down (this took several weeks) when Mandy became very ill. Her husband was out of town, so this added to our concern for her. In less than 24 hours she was diagnosed with malaria, however, things began to look more despairing when Mandy did not improve even after finishing all the malaria medicine”.
The town of Sentani has almost no street signs. As long as the store or place you are going to are on the main street,or near major land marks……. it’s not to hard to find where you want to go. We describe things by certain restaurants, by bridges and main intersecting roads. However once you turn off the main road and especially if you need to find someone’s house, it can quickly become confusing and difficult. What appears to be only a few houses from the main street can turn into mazes of homes, with narrow streets and deep ditches, that are not very nice to try and turn around in…..if you become lost. Over the past two plus months, Mandy and I have been supervising the wound care for one of the National workers (at the International School) who had a large wound on his foot, awaiting a skin graft. Mandy was part of the team who helped fetch him from a long stay in the hospital. She had a brilliant idea of emailing me photos along with a great descriptions of how to get to our patient’s house. Kindly she left out words like “North and South”. This is what her email said,
“Pak J lives on Pasar Lama (stoplight at Holandia). Go down Pasar Lama and go past the turn off to the lake. Keep going it's quite a ways down. On the left you will pass a school that has cement soccer balls on their fence posts. Once you pass that start looking for "Apotic Doa Bunda" on your right. Turn right immediately after apotic. I took a picture of the green rukos that are on the left across from where you turn. So the first picture is on the left and the second is on the right where you need to turn. After you turn you will see a little field where there are two volley ball nets. Turn x on the x road then turn x on the x road. His house is about 2/3 down on the right. His fence is sang painted blue with a yellow strip at the top.”
This is better than GPS folks!!! : ) I was given pictures and visual prompts. I decided to fill in the rest of Mandy’s description with the rest of her visual signs.
Pak J’s dressing had to be changed twice a day. Early on Mandy and I trained not only the wife but also a new Papuan nurse to do the wound care.
Our job then was simply to supervise, buy supplies and follow up to make sure the wound was healing well. We just had all the kinks worked out and our system down (this took several weeks) when Mandy became very ill. Her husband was out of town, so this added to our concern for her. In less than 24 hours she was diagnosed with malaria, however, things began to look more despairing when Mandy did not improve even after finishing all the malaria medicine.
Time for another Home Health visit! This time to one of my team mates. : ( Unfortunately, the labs I drew revealed the diagnosis: Mandy had Dengue Fever. Our whole team jumped on board, getting IV’s going and monitoring our very sick friend. Mandy’s husband ended up returning home early to care for her.
Meanwhile I needed to pick up the slack from Mandy not being able to help with Pak J. Her gift of buying and arranging supplies to be ready, in a timely manner, managing workers and keeping her eye on this large wound have all been deeply missed.
I have dearly loved getting to know Pak J and his wife. Driving down their narrow street is always an adventure. All the neighborhood children know me, because if there is another vehicle parked in the street, I ask the children to guide me so that I don’t steer into the ditches. The laundry hanging on the fences. The relationship built. Prayers uttered. Language learned. Priceless.
After many many weeks of twice a day dressing changes, Pak J was ready for a skin graft. All went well and the graft took.
Which leads to thoughts on motivation for such “home health visits”. It’s not the extra cash it will bring in. Yep, there are no mileage sheets to fill out. No overtime for the weekend visits. The work time clock doesn’t keep ticking while you push through a long line of people to drop off the blood that you need to know the results of ASAP. Yet somehow the personal clock keeps ticking. The children understand that Mom just has to go, one more time……because that is what Mom does. There is no reimbursement for all the phone calls made and gas spent. OH WELL!!!!!
The satisfaction is HUGE. I have never been happier using my nursing skills. And the JOY of seeing Mandy get well and the thrill of seeing Pak J all the way through to his first day back on the job…..so so so incredibly rewarding.
DISCHARDED from home health care. YES! Another Papua success story. Puji Tuhan. Praise the Lord.
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Monday, May 23, 2016
Friday I was so excited to see Jacob choose to go with his Dad to build 2 jungle chapel churches at 2 drive in locations. As the other boys geared up for finals week. Surely building chapels out of aluminum would be more educational than sitting at home with Mom and doing Math?!? As they pulled out of the driveway I felt a bit giddy.......a full week of kids in school all day and other than language school and a big presentation due about HIV and AIDS in Indonesian...... My slate was clear.
The morning dissolved into language learning. The afternoon disappeared into providing support to missionaries interior who were messaging me, needing medical help. At 5 my neighbor showed with stomach ulcer like symptoms, that has already been treated with medicine but had returned. After working with the Roberts to help her the evening had arrived. As I fell into bed by 8:00/p.m. Darron had texted me to say that the car had gotten stuck in mud that took 2 hours to get free from. At least I knew that they were having much adventure.
Saturday I spent most of the day reading, quiet, needed reading. Wisdom. Gorgeous. We worshipped. We talked. We ate. And I read some more. For hours. Andrew wanted to ride the motor bike. I agreed. He took off to explore around the harbor. Around 5 I receive a call from Darron to say that they are coming home!!!?! He wanted to make sure that the trucks the following day were loaded with everything needed and the guys from the seminary were all on board too. Andrew arrived home at 6, to say Adventure had followed him. He got to the farthest point out on his journey and the chain fell off the motorbike. It kept falling off. He realized that the wheel needed to be moved back farther. His only tools were a wrench and a nail. After praying and waiting, some guys came along on their bike and tried to help him. Even after much effort and more tools they still couldn't move the tire. Andrew said he prayed AGAIN and yet another guy came along and helped. Darron arrived home at 7:30. Jacob ate, bathed and went straight to bed. No questions asked. Darron and I enjoyed an unexpected evening together.
Sunday the trucks soon rolled in and within an hour Darron returned to the house to grab last minute supplies. His clothes completely wet with sweat, he didn't bother changing because he said they would just get wet again. Jacob was given the choice to stay home, but he determined to go with Darron. Off they set off again! Aubrey on his way home from the service honoring the Seniors was the first car upon a motorbike accident scene. He calls me from the ER, "Mom, I'm at the hospital dropping off two girls who were in a wreck. They are confused and not wanting to get out of the car. Their blood is all over. I'll be home shortly.". Aubrey then spent several hours getting the motorbike back up to speed, turns out it needed a new chain. I cleaned the blood out of the van/ambulance....... It had been needing a good clean. At the clinic Sunday night I let the almost graduated senior try put an IV in me. This is what I call, fun!
Monday, here we go! I drove to language school on the motorbike (this alone takes much courage from me). The boys took the car to school. Upon arriving to language school they inform me that today we would go to the HIV/AIDs clinic in Abe. So after studying together for one hour, I go and get the car. Then Selly and I go to this facility (about 45 minutes from our home). I was so impressed! The facility was clean, well organized, orderly, the patients well cared for. To see a high standard of care was refreshing in a land where the care is often very lacking.
While we were in Abe I grabbed the opportunity to go to one of the better grocery stores in the area. Also we went to visit Pak J who I've been helping with his wound care (another blog to come). Pak J was on his 3rd day of bed rest in the hospital after having a skin graft. It was fun to spend the whole day with my language teacher and friend. We ate out together. Then I was able to introduce her to a man from India, for soon she will be going there to volunteer.
After picking up Nathaniel and allowing Aubrey to ride home on the motorbike, I crashed on the couch. Not for long, Wendy runs over for milk. A 14 month old baby is being medivaced out of the mountains to us. Malnutrition. Wendy ran a malnutrition clinic in Chad. I was eager to learn from her.
The plane arrived at 5. The poor baby was severely malnourished. The size of many newborns but with a larger head. No fat. Kathleen, an Indonesian nurse who felt called to come and volunteer here, cuddled the baby trying to keep it warm. Off we wisked the baby and another man who could not walk due to an issue in his back to the hospital.
Kathleen persisted in getting care for this baby. Meanwhile the hours tick by as there were no beds free in the ER to take the man laying in the back of the pickup. The scenes of suffering on most beds in that ER press on my mind. There is one stretcher free but it has blood all over it. After looking at it for over an hour I finally get up the courage to put on some plastic gloves and squirt some normal saline on it and try to clean with this little tiny piece of gauze. A nurse comes by and tells me to stop. The patient I am wanting to put on that needs to go onto a bigger bed, she insists.
Finally Gary comes. He asks me to bring the stretcher out to the truck. I slip gloves back on and determine to remove the worst of the blood before putting our patient on this bed. This time we succeeded in getting the man into the ER room!!!! There is so much more I could say about what is going on inside the ER....... The place is so filthy. The staff were sincerely busy and working hard.
I run around and grab supplies for the malnourished baby and family. Fortunately my boys are home and content. I walk in the door at 7:30. It's just Monday.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Lately our overnight guest numbers have been increasing. Also the number of guests at our table. As the ministry expands so do the mattresses on the floor and the food passed out at the table. It is very random and unpredictable. I’m trying not to worry too much how palatable our foreign food must taste. Also learning to add more filler to whatever is on to make the meal stretch to feed more mouths. However, it is easy to tell that some of our strange food must be hard to swallow.
I still giggle thinking of a very recent incident. Some mountain guys needed some extra money and were “in town”, so Darron told them they could work in our yard for a while. It was hot and after a while I sent Darron outside with refreshments. Drinks and cinnamon rolls. Darron said, one guy shoved the whole cinnamon roll into his mouth. His eyes began to bulge. At last unable to chew or swallow he spit the whole thing out of his mouth, much to the delight of our anxiously anticipating golden retriever, who snatched it up before it hit the ground. Which made everyone die laughing and begin throwing little pieces of cinnamon rolls to the dog to see if he would continue to catch them mid air.
If life wasn’t exciting enough with 4 boys spinning in and out of our door, it has become even more lively around here with our new revolving door. I wonder who will be staying tomorrow night? Tonight it’s 3 guys with a 6 a.m. flight. Guess the breakfast will need to be ready by 5:30 a.m. Boyd Bed and Breakfast, with maybe lunch too. I’ll add Inn keeper to my growing resume.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
By January I had already decided I was NOT going to the medical conference in Greece, when Michelle messaged me. Michelle declared that she had finally decided to attend the conference in Greece and would I please consider joining her? So back to the prayer list went “to go to Greece” or “to not go to Greece”? Some decisions are hard. This one was especially tough for me, because Darron and Jacob would also be traveling outside of Papua at the same time. Our trips would overlap a week and we would be apart for three weeks. That would leave 3 Boyd Boys home alone in Papua for a week. Like I said, some decisions are hard to make. Feeling I needed wisdom, I asked two seasoned women, who have already raised their children here, what they thought about leaving children alone in Papua? They both assured me that the experience would instil trust and would be a good thing verses negative. The turmoil of Greece was another distraction in my decision making. However, people assured me it was safe. At last I felt peace about going for it. Tickets booked. Anticipation began to build.
The medical conference alone is a huge treat. Like a big bowl of ice cream on a hot day. From a full venue of more lectures and presentations than one can possibly attend. To a faculty that truly cares and want to hear our stories and offer encouragement. To field reports from missionaries that often leave ones heart brimming full of the sacrifice, passion and calling. From 8 a.m. until 8ish p.m. our days were full with just a few windows of breaks for food and a 3 hour late afternoon break. Also the weekend was free.
The location was like a dream or the whip cream on the ice cream. Greece……. it was unlike anywhere else I have been. The Mediterranean Sea (specifically the Aegean Sea) was lovely and right out the back of our resort. We were assured that it was safe for us to walk/run on our own as women. I enjoyed running along the shore of the Sea and yet I found it strange as I never run on the streets of Papua alone. Every day beckoned blue sunny skies.
Seeing the Parthenon was such a fantastic glimpse of the people of Athens 2,000+ years before.
The museum was incredible. The preservation and desire to gift humanity with this historical place was much appreciated. It was built so that you could look down into the old ruins through well planned openings and glass. Many of the statues and artifacts inside the museum are the originals, as they understand that the weather and pollution are to harsh on the original structure. Any statues or carvings they take from outside, they replace with a replica. The lady’s below are the originals that stood over a mans tomb, the original is pictured to the right of it. A Lego creation of what they believed the Parthenon would have looked like before it was destroyed, was Lego inspiring.
Then to stand on Mars Hill and listen to Act’s 17 being read and to understand Paul’s words in the light of what we had just seen and learned made words leap to a whole new level of experience. Also to see some of the outdoor amphitheater’s, and to know that Darron had sung in some of them 22 years before with a college men’s choral group was fun. He had talked often to me about Greece and it’s beauty.
Also on the weekend, Michelle and I were able to go Island hoping.
Our absolute favorite place was the first stop. Hydra, a city built on a hill. Only 5 cars are on the Island. Heavy loads are carried by donkeys. Those donkeys know how to climb all the stairs to take people’s luggage to their little Inns. It was delightful. I would go back to Hydra and spend at least a few days there, verses less than 2 hours. I can still see the cobblestones and the bright colored paints decorating door frames and chairs, and smell the wisteria and feel the donkey moving under me.
The FOOD! I better not even talk about the food, but I have to! : ) Coming from Papua it was glorious. OLIVES. CHEESE. BREADS. SALADS. GREEK YOGURT. I’ll just stop……. oh, but did I mention ICE CREAM?
It would not be fair for me to write about Greece without mentioning the upheaval that this beautiful country is facing. Shop window, after shop window stood completely empty. Displaying the countries economic status for all to see. Graffiti was everywhere.
During our 10 day conference, the airlines went on strike one day and on another day the taxi’s went on strike. The country is 98% Greek Orthodox, with the Christians being less than 2%.
One of the Christian workers shared how they are trying to minister to the 60,000 refugees trapped in Greece. 15,000 of them are trapped at the boards. Over 6,000 refugees are sleeping in tents. This man’s organization is serving 6,000 hot meals, over 2 x a day. 44% of the refugees are children. The refugees were over 2 hours away (by train) from where we were staying. It was easy to imagine that the problem did not even exist and yet there was an element of the weight of it all in most faces of the Nationals. I asked my taxi driver,on the way to the airport, how the people of Greece felt about the future? “Desperate”, was his answer.
The CHERRY was being with Michelle for eight days. Michelle and I were THE (prestigious haha) college NURSES 23 years ago. We had our own apartment attached to the college infirmary and we would occasionally host co-ed evenings (that we were not supposed to). Then we went on a crazy adventure together, to the Jungle of the Philippines. This picture is in 1994 at the airport when Michelle and I were off to the Philippines. Pictured with us are Michelle’s brother, Rob and our good friend Donna.
I stayed just less than one year and Michelle stayed for THREE. That year cemented our friendship, despite all the stress of living in a bamboo hut, no electricity, culture shock, sickness, love (for Darron and I) and “I will not be in love” (for Michelle and Carl) and a three hour hike to the nearest road. So many stories. We managed to be in each other’s weddings (yes,Michelle eventually decided to love Carl), but we both agreed that weddings hardly count as good girlfriend “chat” time. Here is a picture of Michelle at my wedding, with my Grandparents.
Through the remainder of the next 23 years, we could count less than one handful of times that we had seen each other for maybe 1/2 a day, with children and husbands in tow. We loved seeing each other’s families but our kindred hearts longed for more. Now to be in Greece, together……endless 8 days of girlfriend time sandwiched in between our mutual love to learn and medicine. Wow. What a gift! We giggled, laughed, cried, exercised, shared makeup, talked and talked and talked some more, we reminisced, and reminded each other of forgotten details and of all the life that had happened in between being in our 20’s to somehow slipping into our 40’s.
We shopped and ate so much yummy food together. Our kindred spirits deepened as we shared about our mission service, (Michelle serves along side Carl in South Africa) and our mutual dream to go back to school and get further education in nursing. And we spoke into each other’s lives like only an “old” friend can. And this story would not be complete without telling you that I had the joy and responsibility of “nursing” Michelle’s foot along after a Bunyan surgery. Every opportunity we could, that foot was elevated. : )
Thank you Michelle. Greece was amazing, because of you.
It would be enough, if that is all that happened in Greece……but more took place there. My desire to press on for a Family Nurse Practioner Degree was sealed and confirmed all the more. Also a deeper understanding and appreciation for nurse educating in local oversea fields and Member Care for missionary’s in field were very shaping thoughts for me there. Meanwhile, all the guys faired just fine. What a recharge to be given cherries on top of a bowl full of ice cream and whip cream. Indeed a delicious gift from the Lord.