Tuesday, April 24, 2007

No exciting title...just an update

Interpol told us to start checking after 3 months on our certificates of good conduct from the FBI. Last week Archie Perez called the Interpol office in the capitol and the certificates weren't there. At the same time Scott called the FBI in the States to see what the status was. He discovered they were already done and had arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They left there on Monday and should be at the immigration office sometime this week. Which means that we could have our ceritificates for application of our Cedula cards very soon. This is the next step in our permanent residency. We have no idea how long it takes to get the Cedula cards once our certificates are in. The lady at the FBI was amazed our paperwork was processed so rapidly, just 3 months with 2 holidays. The current time is about 6 months. All we can say is thank you for praying about this, God has answered.

Ruth Perez and I went to the Evangelical Hospital today for my second OB appointment. Things here sure are different! Dr. Cioli gave me the ultrasound pictures to take home along with a personal record of my pregnancy. Every time I visit the hospital whether for an OB appointment or for any other reason I bring this "card" with me and they will at a glance know everything they need to know about my pregnancy. Pretty neat, I think. It sort of reminds me of my childrens shot records with more depth. The kids were excited to see the first pictures of the baby. Nehemiah and Isabel have opposing opinions on whether the baby is a boy or girl. Personally I think it's a boy, but don't quote me on that as I was wrong with Isabel. I have another ultrasound appointment in a few weeks as the placenta looks like it will be too low (Placenta Previa). They will keep an eye on it and we'll go from there.

Ruth and I are also planning the first Mother Daughter tea to be held here in the church. We are both excited about the opportunity for reaching out into the community. The ladies have been encouraged to bring a neighbor, friend or family member. I have invited our language teacher and her mother. Please pray they both will come and see their need for salvation. I'm the speaker which is exciting to me as I love speaking to ladies. With Ruth's help I'm going to translate my devotional into Spanish. This will be quite a challenge for me to speak in a language I'm still so immature in, and with my teacher sitting there to boot. Talk about taking a BIG oral test. I'm thankful the people here love it when we speak Spanish, even though my accent is horrible they still rejoice with me over the few words I speak. I'm so thankful to God for the people He has allowed us to serve alongside and minister to.

The kids have been doing great in school. They enjoy their teacher and their school work and their grades reflect their hard work. And just like in the States fall is beginning to get into full swing. The leaves are changing color, nothing exciting just yellow leaves falling from the trees. And we still have flowers on the bushes in our garden. It's rains much of the time and the dampness settles into everything. We've been discovering mold on a lot of things. So if anyone has an easy (can make it or find it in South America) mold inhibitor we would appreciate the help. We already have one de-humidifier that shuffles around the house. I'm not looking forward to the damp cold winter ahead. Hopefully we'll have a heater by then.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

CumpleaƱo feliz, Nehemias!

Yesterday was another great day for our family, Nehemiah turned 5! And now the question of the day is about when he gets to go to school. Always in a rush to grow up. One of the biggest thrills for him was to be told happy birthday in Spanish. On Sunday night the church sang happy birthday to him in English.

A few years ago we started a tradition with our children, on their birthday they get to pick the restaurant and Scott and I take the birthday child out for a birthday dinner. Since the majority of restaurants here don't open for dinner until after 9 PM it isn't feasible to make little ones wait that long so we slightly modified the "dinner" routine into a birthday lunch. Nehemiah picked La Pasiva and he had a bacon wrapped hot dog. Of course we don't have fast food, Mexican, Chinese or seafood restaurants here in Colonia so our choices are limited but the food is great.

After lunch Nehemiah joined us for our language class. He certainly added a new dimension to learning a new verb conjugation. He did great though and even showed off a little of his Spanish. After class we had a little party for him and he opened his presents. He went to bed a very satisfied new five year old.

Friday, April 13, 2007

And now for the rest of the story...

I promised an entry about Isabel's hospital stay this week and here it is. Here in Colonia at the hospital we use everyone needs to go through the ER, unless you have an appointment with a doctor. Getting appointments with the doctor are a bit tricky, they all share offices and so "our" doctor, or even the pediatrician, may not be in everyday. So when you really need to see a doctor and can't wait you need to go through ER.

Now in the ER you never know what specialty of doctor you may see. It all depends on who is on call, sometimes it's the Pediatrician or the Dermatologist. Thankfully they are all trained in general medicine before they take their specialty trainings. Usually though when it involves children the on-call doctor will call in the Pediatrician, as they did on Monday for Isabel. But in my case a week before when I was really sick I saw the Dermatologist for a sinus, ear and throat infection, go figure.

When we, myself and a friend, first got there with Isabel she was really struggling to breathe. Her first blood oxygen level was down in the high 70's, after a nebulizer treatment she went up to the mid 80's. Here is where the language barrier became a problem. My friend had to run up to the pharmacy to get the prednisone (another story entirely) and while she was gone they decided to admit Isabel, but I thought he was going to send her home. I was trying NOT to panic. Then the nurse asked me to follow her and when we headed up the stairs I was able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing they would keep her even for a little bit.

The hot water heater in the pediatric room was broken so they put her in a private room. Very nice for Uruguayan standards, it had a TV. We had to wait about 45 minutes for the pre-approval to come in from the states for her to get started on the oxygen. In the meantime they gave her a dose of the prednisone and gave her a breathing treatment. This is where we are going to have to remind ourselves that this is where the methods are different but not necessarily wrong. Her treatments came in the form of three rapid succession compressions of an inhaler into an Aero-chamber (a tube with a mask used for children). Hopefully I was able to hide the look of dismay and skepticism. Once the O2 approval came they put a nasal cannula in and got her O2 started. I was surprised that Isabel willing let them put the cannula in, as Adeline despises anything in her nose.

A couple hours later they came in and gave her more Prednisone. Now I was hoping this was just the remainder of what was needed for the day. But I had no way to really ask, and by this time I had no translator. Turns out that it was a continuation of the needed dose. Then the doctor came in and told me what was going on, well attempted to tell me, while I attempted to understand.

Then our language teacher, Cecilia, stopped in and while she was there the nutritionist came in to discuss Isabel's meals. I was relieved because I thought I had a translator. Nope, I got to take a pop quiz. There were only two things she translated for me, one was a question about food allergies, the other was clarification for a request for leche sin azucar (milk without sugar). Their faces were priceless as they were stunned that Isabel would actually drink milk without sugar. Cecilia peeked around the nutritionist and said, "Do you know you just asked for for milk without sugar."

Isabel improved and enjoyed her two days straight of coloring in her coloring book. When they were ready for a room air trial they just pulled her off the O2 and came back every couple hours to check her blood oxygen levels. Much different than what we've ever experienced in the States where they have been on the Pulse Oxymeter constantly, and children haven't ever been taken off the O2 for room air trials in the afternoon. But she did fine and you all were praying and we praise the Lord for that. I'm thankful for this "trial run" now we know what to expect if Adeline is ever hospitalized. Of course, with her food allergies it will be a whole different scenario.

As we head into fall and then into a very cold and damp winter we are told to expect some problems with all who have asthma. I'm glad we have a doctor who is pleasant and willing to work with us. And now I have a new set of vocabulary words to study.

Friday, April 06, 2007

First Special Meeting in the BIG Tent

This is the view of the tent from the front, the sign is for the daughter church, started in the Perez home.
A view from behind the pulpit. There were around 6o in attendance last night.
The orchestra playing, we have a clarinet, sax, violin, bells, guitar, trombone, recorder flute and trumpet.

The meeting went well and aside from the mosquitos was very nice. The tent is wonderful and certainly is a blessing of the Lord. Please pray that tonight we will have many visitors and we will see some come to know the Lord. The young man to the left of Archie is a Pastors son from one of the Perez' supporting churches. He and his friend diligently served the Lord here this week.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

When it rains it pours - Part 2

While we were cleaning up our own flooded home, Archie and Ruth, were out helping people in the church to get to higher ground. I took our three youngest to the Perez home because they kept slipping and falling on the wet tile. So Nehemiah was able to go with Archie on one of his trips out to help.

Later in the day, the young men who are visiting from the States this week went out with them as well. As they entered the chest high water to get to one of the homes the people standing by were amazed that the "elders" were going into the water. Archie was able to tell them that those young men were Baptists, not Mormons, and they were going in to help church members. As you can see Monday was a tremendous opportunity to be a witness for the Lord.

Last night on the way into the church building I noticed several large bags(I'm guessing about 10 lbs)of pasta. The pasta and other non-perishable goods are being collected for the many who are displaced from the floods on Monday. One family in our church lost everything. Please continue to pray for the people here in Uruguay.

When it rains it pours

After several days of rain we finally had a break in the weather, then last night, the deluge hit. We woke up this morning to the entire lower part of our house (our living room, kids rooms, a bathroom and part of the kitchen) filled with an inch or so of water. At this point, we have been cleaning up for 5 hours and there is still much work to be done. Thankfully, all the floors are tile and the walls concrete, plus the damageable part of our furniture all sits a couple inches above the ground, or we would be in much worse shape!

However, there are many families (the fire department said at least 165 homes are flooded) here in Colonia who are now displaced because of the flooding. Several in the church have need of housing because their homes were flooded. Some have water waist high in their homes. The hardest hit areas are the villas – the extreme poverty areas. There are many children that come to church that live in these areas and many of them lost what very little they had. The government has put up shelters and is providing meals for the displaced families. We are not sure how long this will be available to them but we are thankful for the quick action of the soldiers that were helping the people get their belongings to higher ground.

The people here already have so little and many live in poverty; this must be terribly difficult for them, please be in prayer for them. Pray the Lord will give us clear direction on how to be of help to these families now and after the water recedes. Please be in prayer for good weather, and for the abundant grace of God.