minki

The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” – Martin Luther King Jr

blessings

We’re very quick to voice complaints, and grumble with a frown, if things go wrong and all our castles crash and tumble down. We air our little grievances, when we come home at night- and in that frame of mind you find that nothing turns out right. 

…If only we would make a list- a new one every day- of all the blessings we receive as we go on our way- we’d never reach the end of it- you’d be surprised to find, how many lovely little things would crowd into your mind… God pours His blessings from above- but we’re too blind to see- and so we are the victims of our own stupidity… We fret our little lives away- we weep and doubt and grieve- If only we would lift our hands and gratefully receive- the blessings He bestows on us if we but watch and pray- and look beyond the clouds to see the glory of each day.”

-Quiet Corner

 

Words I need to live by, even after realizing how incredibly blessed I am. 

 

http://liftbump.com/2014/01/7880-unbelievable-nine-tiny-words-changed-mans-life/

Little Things

“We sometimes get impatient doing simple little things, like stitching buttons, washing gloves- the trifling tasks life brings- we think we’re wasting precious time and grumble terribly- because we think we’re fitted for a higher destiny. . . .

But God did not despise the doing of the tiny things- He must have spent a lot of time on making flowers and wings- He made the mountains and the seas, the whirling worlds on high- and yet He designed to make the ant, the bee, the butterfly- the spider and the snowflake and the smallest bird that sings- so surely we with grace and care can do– the little things.”

 

-Quiet Corner

reflect.

Such a busy day… almost 11 hours of traveling on the dusty, smelly, piece of crap bus. But to ADD to it… I have malaria… making the number 5 times now.

Coming here, its so physically demanding.
I’ve had an abnormally increased number of white blood cells for some unknown reason, hundreds of mosquito bites (maybe around 30 in one occasion?), cracked heels from the dryness, crazy migraines, stomach pains, weird bumps around my body, and just all the other bodily functions that go wrong which I won’t go into detail.

Shiiiiit it’d be an understatement for me to say that this place is out of my comfort zone.

People talk about how much they change after mission trips and whatnot. They talk about how relationships with people are going to be different now or how spirituality has increased and that they’ve become a “holier-than-thou” individual. But I always think that means how there might be a chance to lose friends and loved ones due to the drastic difference. I’d like to say that I’ve become or improved as a person. Not because of all the devotions and praying I did (sad to say, haven’t really done that much). Learning all the things here, opening my eyes to a different world, its only natural that there are some changes in perspective.

But I don’t have drastic changes in spirituality, no sweeping mother Teresa complex. Habits are habits, whether you are in a first world or third world country. Everywhere is a mission field so I didn’t expect that coming here would make my spirituality skyrocket. But its no question that the things you are bound to learn when put outside of your comfort zone will add perspective to whatever beliefs you have.

People also always say how a dollar (or __ amount of dollars) can feed or help ____ amount of people. A past missionary Bronwyn said how while she was watching the movie Skyfall, all she could think about was how the money to make the film could’ve fed basically all of Africa.
Honestly, I’m not gonna change like that, and I haven’t. Of course it is always good to help people who are in need, to care for the less fortunate- especially people here in Africa. But life is life and to live in America, more money is needed. To live here in Africa, less money is needed. The prices of foods and different merchandise here in Africa are worlds apart from those of America. Living a life where you have to question each purchase, to question each little thing you do in a country that requires much more is not a life I would like to have… it’s basically a life full of guilt and regret. Why would I want such thing?

But regardless, it has been the most humbling, learning experience ever. No one will ever understand what its like here, what experiences we as individuals went through. Everyone has different things going through their minds, both emotionally and spiritually. The conditions here and actually living in them…

A good friend told me before I left for missions to keep in mind that it is important not only to help out at the mission site but also to implement what I’ve learned when I get back home. Hell, living in Africa can teach you a lot of lessons.

We may have done useless things. We may have done wondrous things. Sometimes work here did get super depressing and frustrating. But one thing I’ve learned is that sometimes I can’t gauge the amount of influence and impact I had at a mission field until the Lord decides to show me.

For those of you who kept (and still keeping) in contact, I freakin love you guys. Not just sending inspiriational stuff…. (that way doesn’t really motivate me- but appreciated) but just telling me about random things happening back home or how you guys have been doing yourselves has kept me in the loop and made me feel loved and helped me cope with different situations.

Welcome to Bere, Tchad.

COUNTDOWN

I’ve been writing less and less blogs… I don’t know… I feel a lack of motivation to write anymore haha. I guess the reason’s that it’s less of a coping mechanism now since I’m basically accustomed to
everything.

So recent news…
I got reallll aggravated last Friday while doing Tammy’s giving program. For those who still don’t know what that is, her program is every Monday and Friday. It focuses on helping the poor and handicapped- people come to the hospital compound gate and we go greet them and see what they need. Rice, money, soap, baby formula, etc. Of course a lot of people take advantage of the good heart and hence the frustration.
Recently, someone donated 1,000 dollars to Danae to put into gift bags and to give it out to whoever needs. SO we put in 10,000 CFA (around 20 dollars), couple soaps (people really need soap here), and various kinds of foods in each bag. For people here, 10,000 CFA is a lot of money, enough money to start a business. For example, some people make and sell charcoal at the market and on the side trails. So we tell them that they have to set aside money to buy the materials for whatever kind of business they want to start and to use a small part of the money for themselves. Basically micro management.

A couple weeks ago, we gave out the first batch of bags to a group of women and we expected to seriously never see them again. At least for a while. But WHAT THE HELL DO YOU KNOW. A couple of the women came last Friday wanting more -.-

No gratitude (some people who are truly thankful come back just to say thank you and also sometimes give a gift back to us). Just asking for more money. More food. AALLLLL the time.

Of course some of you are saying how we need to help others no matter what they think or do. To help selflessly, to give these people food, to not accept gifts and not expect thank yous.
But is it really helping them? Or is it just babying them? What the hell’s gonna happen to them when all the missionaries leave? When the volunteers leave? How are they EVER going to learn to have a stable life when they just spend all their money on stuff without thinking? When their whole life is dependent on others, what’s gona happen then? And it’s not the fact that they didn’t say thank you that annoys me… it’s the fact they received so much and lots of money (enough to start a damn business) but they just come back for more after using it all for themselves on useless crap and not setting any aside.

But in other news…
Soon, Lynol (a missionary from france that’s a business major) is leaving… next week I think? But after spending some time with this dude… I REALLY rethought how a Christian is supposed to be. Are they supposed to be socially awkward?
For example- Lynol, Josh, and I were talking about which city is best (Paris, Chicago, and NYC respectively). I guess you can call it some bonding time, to be able to converse with each other more. But while talking Lynol says, “What right do we have to judge?” Conversation killer.
Another example I can think of is when one of us commented on how we liked his shirt. He responds “oh praise God.” Another conversation killer.
One time Allah was talking about how he really liked the French rapper La Fouine. Of course rap music isn’t that great but we can’t force people to not listen to it. Hell I listen to rap music. But this dude Lynol talks to Allah about how rap music is bad and that he shouldn’t be listening to it and that it has bad meanings. He just goes ON AND ON AND ON.
And I’m just looking at Allah from the side and see him in a pretty awkward situation… and granted I got pretty irritated so I joined in the conversation telling Lynol that he can’t make other people do what he wants them to, to expect them to think exactly like him.
There are a lot of situations like these with him….

We all know this kind of Christian. Some people always have God on the tip of their tongues and many people probably think of this as a measure of great holiness. But when were Christians called to be socially awkward? To make conversing so hard? The main point of Christianity is to be able to socialize and to become close with people… and then through the life of you and I other people might be able to see Jesus working. And for God’s sake what gave people the right (in the words of Lynol about the cities) to be the judge of others? Maybe they are doing something bad outwardly… but maybe YOU’RE doing something wicked inside. Everyone is a sinner.

Talking about wickedness, there’s been an outbreak of “evil spirits” here apparently. Last Wednesday after finishing work at the hospital I found out that there were 4 girls that were basically in the hospital because they seemed demon possessed. I saw one of them being carried out by 4 people to a car. Olen said that these cases have one out of three causes. First, they want the attention (people do that here believe it or not: Olen “inflicts pain on them” in his own words when he thinks its for this first reason LOL). Second, they’re high on something. Third, they literally are demon possessed. All of these are all equally possible hahahahah.

So today, Josh tells me that there are like a bunch more who are “demon possessed.” He said around 10 total now? The schools all closed today because of this… but that’s not a surprise. Schools here close for the stupidest reasons.
Apparently all the demon possessions are girls… no guys. And when all the girls are now from different areas… kinda makes you think that MAYBE they really are demon possessions…
All of them have to be carried by at least 4 people… and they cry hysterically… loud enough to be heard from the SM hut.
Allah told Josh that if he sees a girl when he goes to teach English to the kids, he should run. He was probably joking… Or better have been damn joking.
It’s not a crazy crazy thing to us anymore because we’ve all come to the realization that these kinds of things can literally happen here. But it’s still scary to think about when there’s a possibility that you might come across one.

Recently, Jason sent me an email telling me to read Galations 6:9 and to be encouraged as he’s been encouraged as he went door to door in Australia.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” -Galatians 6:9

Reading this, I realized something about being in the mission field… It allows us to live a life of servitude. When we’re going through our daily schedules in our comfortable bubbles (whether it be in America, Europe, wherever) when do we think about serving? When we do community service we think about the hours we need for our résumé. When passing a homeless someone on the streets of a city, do we take time out of our busy day to care? Even amongst friends or classmates, do we build the relationship on what we can do for each other? Or what the other can do for us? Even in a church, we go to church to hear a good sermon from a good preacher. But a pastor can’t do anything for our salvation. The reason we need to go to church is to see what we can do for each other and to support each other in the faith, not only ourselves.

I guess these revelations or thoughts can be repetitive… especially if you think about this kind of stuff daily. But being here, it puts a lot of things into perspective for sure.

PICTURE: my baby Winter… got so big! But he still thinks he’s a puppy so he likes going on my lap. And on my left is Naomi, where Winter stays xP

3/3

Coming back from Ndjamena… it’s pretty hard to readjust to life in Bere haha. The peacefulness is for sure awesome… no crazy drivers, quiet nights, and none of the hustle bustle of the city. But the FOOOOODD. My goodness. The food in Ndjamena is freaking so good… (relatively)

But today we went out to the village and gave our health lectures… I must say, today had the biggest turnout since we started doing lectures. I counted around 119… probably more. And most of them were ADULTS. Ever since we started doing health lectures, most of the audiences were kids. It just seemed like they came to watch us for enjoyment. But today there mustve been like only 30 kids… the rest of them adults. And it was actually nice to see that they were interested in what we were talking about… they asked questions such as how to make the nutritious food we talk about (bouille) and how much oil they should consume. I must say… this was a big encouragement. I would always get ticked off in the prior quartiers because we seemed like a form of entertainment… but not in this one. And it was good to see that people were actually interested in health.

Oh I forgot to mention. Danae gave Winter a flea collar! Ive never actually seen fleas until being here… theyre a lot bigger than I thought they would be. Also the collar will help with repelling ticks too :D
But since Winter is still a puppy he likes to play with a lot of things at the hospital/living compound… aka taking people’s shoes, destroying garden decorations, digging holes in the ground…
So I decided to just give him to Naomi and keep him there (since my compound is quite open, near the main road, and many people pass by). Naomi lives pretty far from the hospital and there I wont have to worry about people throwing rocks and harassing Winter. ☹

And Shannice apologized for the stuff she wrote on her blog… she probably realized that everyone on the compound read her blog. And I apologized also for being a dick… which I definitely have haha. Some people read mine too but I don’t know if mine was crazy offensive… it’s mostly my experiences so probably not…but who knows.

As the weather becomes hotter… I am sweating like no other in my hut… its hard to comprehend that itll become hotter than this. I used to not be able to sleep when I sweat but now it’s like the norm haha. Can’t wait to go back to AC…

Tomorrow’s Charis’ birthday… big ol’ 28. WOOT.

NDJAMENA

Came up to Ndjamena (capital of Tchad) for our little vacation… get away from Bere and all the pressures that come with it… and away from the girls (only me josh and zach came up, the girls went to moundou).

So our bus ride up didn’t have many problems… only a flat tire. Made it in around 9 hours? I think around 35 people on the bus… all squished together and smellin the nice B.O. Good stuff.

We got to Ndjamena and our first order of business was to exchange some more money. So we went to the bank, got some more francs and then headed to the Tchadian Boutique. The Tchadian Boutique is one of the stores here that is similar to a super market back at home… but smaller. And no fresh foods like fruits and vegetables.
Nevertheless, there were many luxuries that aren’t at Bere. Bought like 9 dr pepper cans, 2 tobasco bottles, and some cereal. It’s crazy how it feels so different coming here to Ndjamena from Bere than when I was first here coming from America…

Coming from Bere, seeing sidewalks, lampposts, (minimal) traffic signs, other foreigners, and some of the food here got me SO freaking excited. I started freaking out when I saw like other foreigners here… part of me just wanted to go to them and start talking to them but decided against it cuz I might come off as creepy or something… But even having minimal sidewalks here really surprised me… oh and ESPECIALLY gutters. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sewage system here in Tchad until now.

After the Tchadian Boutique, we went to a patisserie where we got some ICE CREAMMM. Some lime sorbet and passion fruit sorbet… and we also got PIZZA. One pie for the each of us… note that the pizza here (basically the only pizza selling place in tchad) isn’t even as good as the worst pizza in America… (Well better than Chicago deep-dish pizza)… but my goodness it tasted so good. Brought that back to the place we’re staying at… a compound that is run by Lutherans. The room is SO nice… basically we’re paying 10,000 CFAs (approx. 20 dollars) per night, which is actually kind of on the expensive side. We have AC!!!!!! Yeeeeee.

It’s kind of crazy how there’s such a difference in how I perceive things now… when I came here in the beginning I thought that this place was so undeveloped and rural… (still kind of is.. I’d compare it to like… Korea countryside) but now, seeing paved roads and lampposts and cars (not motos) driving around seems super new. Seeing two story buildings also seems new believe it or not haha. All the food possibilities (well relatively speaking) and new environment is so awesome…

Part of me feels like I’m up here to leave for America (Ndjamena is where the airport is). But there’s still more time to be spent in Bere and on Friday I will be going back… sad. But this is a time of recovery and relaxation so that’s what I plan to do.

In other news, I will be marrying 김연아.

funniest thing in the world.

Recently we had a meeting about doing more things and being busier… as I said in my last post… I am now quite busy.

BUT something I DID find recently… found shannice’s blog (fellow missionary). LOL funniest thing in the world…

Her blog title is called “Lets be real.” One thing it is not is real… as Aaron said via twitter… no Christian’s blog should be titled that cuz seriously, Christians do not keep things real.
I was reading her blog at night in my tent the other day… my god I seriously could only smile and laugh because I was THAT pissed and it was so 어이없어. Have you ever had that? A time you were so pissed that you could only smile and laugh.
Her blog literally was all bullshit. I wont link her blog since I feel like that’d be kind of too much but I just wanted to quote some of the things she said.

SO this is the gist of the circumstances right now. Me and Josh have had malaria 3 and 4 times now (respectively). We know what it feels like to be sick with it, to be on the horrible medicines to treat it. When people have malaria, it usually takes you out for a week or so. But this girl shannice got malaria for the first time and literally was “sick” for the whole month (more than the month). It’s not like she was THAT sick because she would still come to potluck and eat, come to game nights and have a grand time, stuff like that. And she wasn’t even on quinine, which if you dont know it yet, is the worst medicine for Malaria in terms of how you feel.
SO of course she used her sickness as an excuse to be lazy and do nothing while the rest of us were working and stuff… it’s so easy to use sickness as an excuse here and it’s so obvious when someone does.

Now let’s go to her blog.

“I could take the health problems and the hardship Tchadian culture brings, but the SMs and missionaries are a different story. They flew around half of the world to come and serve people, but they are only serving themselves. They couldn’t even take 3 minutes out of their night to get my test results. I know I have blogged before about the lack of missionary spirit and feeling extremely suffocated here, but things are only getting worse.”

Lol first of all, she did literally shit during the time here. I wasn’t there when she asked the SMs to get her test results but I talked to josh about it and he said that he didn’t wanna get it for her cuz she literally hadn’t done anything in a month and was fed up with her just ordering others around. Which leads to the next thing. WE’RE the ones doing stuff for others. SHE hasn’t done ANYTHING in a very, very long time. And yet she makes it sound like she’s the best missionary. Serving ourselves? Yeah okay. And she has the nerve to say “I don’t know if they recognize what they are doing or not, but I do and I plan to never become how they are” at the end of her paragraph. ROFL really now. Cuz we covered for her and took over her workload for more than a month (like 6 weeks) with her English teaching and project 21 work. But we’re serving ourselves right?

“Truthfully, I am only staying because I came to help the people of Bere in any way I could. I can’t let not-so-mission-orientated missionaries detour me from my goal. Seeing how happy my students are when I walk into the classroom, or the children who come running when I start gymnastics keeps me going. How everyone thanks us multiple times for our health lectures, or how my host children run out to greet me as I come home from work. I can’t even begin to explain how thankful Naomi and her yeast infection clinic are for the help. I can’t let the missionaries stop me from bring the blessing God has planned for these people. I know I was brought here for a reason, and plan to stay and see that that reason is fulfilled.”

This is even funnier cuz now me and Josh are not-so-mission-orientated missionaries who detour her from HER goal. It’s funny cuz when she wrote this she was still “sick” and hadn’t taught English class in a month, hadn’t done gymnastics in a month, no one says thank you at the health lectures, and she doesn’t even go home from work… she hasn’t done work in forever. And she hasn’t done shit for Naomi and her yeast infection clinic… literally it hasn’t even started up again. Oh that reminds me, the picture below shows how she always got Josh to teach (texts). She has that “oh I might teach” but always ends up not teaching. AND she doesn’t even teach anymore. Josh teaches all of the English classes now (I hate kids). But what happened to her happiness that she got when her students saw her walk into the classroom? Her motivation to stay in Tchad? Whooooo knows, all I know is that im a not-so-mission-orientated missionary.

“Many people have come and gone willing to help with anything and everything while others…don’t. Let’s be real. They just sit in their house or SM hut watching TV shows and movies on their computer. At first they were like me. Wanting more work to do because they were bored. However, we have work to do now, but they still sit around and do nothing.
I feel like I am their mother. When there is nothing to do I clean, or try to look for something to keep me busy. These particular people who just sit there as usual.”

This post was written some time ago but it was really funny to me because she talks about us sitting in the SM hut watching TV shows and movies on our computers… (in our free time of course, which we had a lot of before) but SHE watches them too LOL. AND she doesn’t have a computer here (she only brought her ipad) so she takes Josh’s computer without even asking him and watches things on there throughout the day. LOL oh some people are too funny. She doesnt even clean… her and Charis literally fit the stereotype of a 흐긴 girl. And then she ends that post with “I can’t handle the stressors of Tchad and the lack of missionary spirit of others. Please pray for all of us. Satan is working hard to stop our work; I don’t want him to win!” Really?

Honestly, I normally would not care if someone wrote this kind of thing if they were DOING something here. Work or anything. Because blogging can be a way of ranting. I know that since I also use my blog to rant.
But why not rant about other things instead of making up shit about other missionaries and making yourself look like the perfect missionary?
Literally some things are the opposite from what she wrote on her blog. I only put some examples from her blog to get my point across.

What got me to boil over was seeing her literally do nothing today while I was working at the woodshop and Josh was working at the hospital. I mentioned in the beginning of this blog that we had a meeting to get ourselves busier. But literally after that meeting she has still been at the SM hut all day, done nothing, leave the SM hut (so that other people wont see her doing nothing in there) and pretend to do stuff outside. The attached picture: day in the life of shannice baker, the perfect missionary doing absolute shit.

Johnny, you gotta read her blog. You know how she is so when you read her blog youll feel what I feel (well to a point… you only knew her for a month).

The funny thing is, while she makes herself out to be the perfect and most holy missionary through her blog, everyone here knows she does nothing. Zach, the Parkers and the Netteburgs know that she’s been using sickness as an excuse for the past month and a half. Danae even said in the meeting we had that maybe if she cant work because she’s feeling that “sick” and has been for more than a month like she has been, then maybe she should go home (that induced silence from her). They all also know that I am willing to do anything they ask of me so Tammy and Zach usually always come to me for things to do (same with Josh). I’m not saying this to look good; I could literally care less about my image as a missionary.
But I wonder if she really thinks she’s doing the most work here or if it’s all a tactic to make herself feel/look better and to get attention and sympathy from her friends in America. I really am curious.

Why is it that Christians always pretend to seem holy or perfect in ways when the whole purpose of Christianity is to accept our imperfection? We are all sinners and lacking in many ways… but there is always something to do about it. Talking with other people, I also feel like it’s the number one thing that turns off people from going to church.

I understand that I shouldn’t care about what she does and stuff (in this case it’s more like what she DOESN’T do)… but I couldn’t take it this time.

Her blog is titled lets be real? LET’S BE MOTHER FUCKING REAL.

Sorry im just very ticked off.

the last picture is of the cabinets that i made and have been painting for the past couple days… no primer so the paint gets soaked up in the wood… have to put like 5 coats of paint on it… -.-

busy busy

Johnny left for moundou (city in Tchad) monday.
Hope you have fun with your faster internet, better food, and better hospitality. We don’t want you here. Jerk.

Anyways.
How often do you look up at the night sky? I just looked up randomly while walking home (I usually look at the ground when I walk so I make sure not to go near poop or big bugs) and looking at the moon and stars just made me feel really small for some reason. Each of those small speckles of light is a ball of gas, some bigger than our sun. The other speckles of light are galaxies, some smaller and some bigger than our very own Milky Way galaxy. So farrr away that it only shows up on our night sky as dots.

This week was a really busy week…

On Tuesday I worked with Jamie the whole morning… made two cabinets. 2 years of woodshop in high school coming back!
In the afternoon me and Zach went to do our weekly health lectures in the communities… since Johnny’s not here anymore (he was in our group) me and zach have to do more lectures (thanks johnny).

Yesterday I went to the hospital. Did rounds with dr. bland and helped with dressing changes. Then went into the operating room for the first time. Don’t usually go to the hospital cuz the other SMs generally like to go more. But we made a schedule and Wednesdays are gona be my hospital days from now on.

Our first surgery was a hysterectomy done by Danae. I got to scrub in for it! Wearing the surgery cap, the surgery gown and
washing/scrubbing my hands like crazy and not touching anything until putting gloves on. So exciting. And I was right there next to the operating bed helping with the surgery. Once, after doing the incision, Danae had me reach my hand in through the incision and dig all the way up in to her main organs. Craaaaazzzyy. She wanted me to feel what the liver felt like. And since hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, the incision is really low on her abdomen. So you can imagine how much of my hand was just fishing through the patient’s body… like a little past my wrist… middle of my forearm. All of it was inside the body. And it’s soooo warm inside the body… and bloody… The surgery was successful… and after Danae had me cut the uterus in half to see what the complications were (there was some excess bleeding during the surgery).

The next surgery was to take out some bladder stones… crazy big. The size of golf balls. Olen had me put in the catheter for the patient… my god haha. But it was easier than I thought… went right in hahaha.

Then there was a surgery for a recta fistula… the guy also had AIDS… so I was extra careful in being near the surgery.

Then there were two surgeries for hydroceles… biggest balls ever (if you don’t know what a hydrocele is, don’t search it up on google). Literally strip the scrotum off and it’s a huge veiny ball of liquid (which you cut to get the liquid out)… there was no container or drain for the liquid so Dr. Wolfgang (one of the visiting doctors) tried to shoot it into a trashcan that was like 3 feet away. Didn’t turn out too well and everything got on the floor haha but it was mad amusing to watch… gotta do what’s needed in surgery!
Then there’s the surgeries for the hernias…
Started from 7am-5pm in the hospital… nonstop. No lunch break or anything haha. Life in Tchad…

Today I sanded down the cabinets and started painting… another full day of working.

For the past 4 days Ive been starting work from 8 am (except for my hospital day in which it started at 7) to around 5 pm nonstop with no lunch break (we don’t get fed for lunch anyway). I think im gonna burn out already haha. Now I REALLY await the weekend so I can relax and rest…

Tomorrow’s our valentines day barbeque…. A great excuse to eat some great food (in relative terms) and to rest from a good weeks worth of work. Talking about which, I couldn’t even watch when the Koreans competed in the Olympic events… sigh. But YAY for a gold and bronze! goKOREAAAAAA

picture: my favorite host family kid kaspepe. he put a bunch of uncooked rice into his mouth and then spit it out hahaha

blind faith

What is blind faith? Most of you know what I’m talking about. But when have you needed to have it? What I realized being here is that in America or in any 1st world country, there are very limited chances to have blind faith. Almost everything we do usually seems like it’s a result of our own actions. Having food on the table, getting an A on a test, being able to buy things we want, being in relationships with people-whether that pertains to friendships or significant others. All these things are usually looked at as a result of our own actions. Oh we worked hard so we have food on the table and other luxuries. Oh we formed our own personalities and tried really hard to be caring and to listen to others so we have friends. Oh we studied hard in order to get that A on a test.

We can all say that we have to listen and obey God’s will, to have blind faith and to trust in Him- that’s too easy. But do you REALLY know what that entails? Do you know what kind of feeling it is to actually have this “blind faith”?

Let me tell you what having blind faith entails.

It means getting pissed off to no end and to question our whole way of thinking and purpose in doing something. It means getting frustrated with many people and many things. It means being a little snob and never wanting to work for something you don’t know the end to.

I learned the difficult lesson of having “blind faith” in a pretty angry fashion. I still don’t necessarily grasp the concept and no doubt still struggle with the issues at hand. But let me share with you, regardless of whether you will be able to understand on a deep level or not… I don’t expect you to because you are not in the environment I’m in nor have we the same life experiences. But just food for thought.

Everything here seems pretty pointless regarding what we do. We supply the community health workers and the traditional birth attendants with material such as notebooks, gauze, tape and bleach. But how do we know if they are using it for the community or just for themselves? There really is no way we can know, no way of keeping record. For all we know, they could just be using everything we give them for themselves. I wouldn’t be surprised; half the workers come to our meetings drunk and there’s just so much corruption in any and every aspect.

Do our health lectures that we do for the various communities we go to have any effect? Or is it that people come just to see “nasaras” (foreigners)? After all, it is mostly kids who come to the health lectures. And they don’t even usually listen. The adults who do come always just ask stupid questions.

We feed malnourished kids here… but do we really make a difference for them? Most of the kids at pediatrics get discharged in 3 days… barely enough to make a difference. Also we don’t even know the weights of the malnourished kids when they come in to the hospital, nor do we know how much they weigh when they leave the hospital. Are we helping them? And how would we even know when there are no statistics to go by? And even then, when they go home the family will continue on feeding the baby with foods that have no nutritious value. So in the end, what difference do we make?

There are so many forces here that are uncontrollable by our effort alone. Things we can’t do to improve no matter how much we try. Only here have I realized what blind faith is like.
I don’t know what might come of this program. Maybe later on we’ll see great changes unfold. Or maybe my work here is the stepping-stone to a better future in Tchad. Maybe the community health workers and traditional birth attendants, not all but at least a couple of them, will save lives by giving people first aid and by bringing them to the hospital. Maybe our health lectures will plant a seed in the minds of a few out of the many that come. Maybe the kids who come will listen intently and change what Tchad is going to be like in the future regarding health.
Maybe the kids we feed gain the nutrition they need and start the beginning of an end to malnutrition.

I’m literally trying to think of all the positive outcomes that we might never expect. Because if I don’t I think I’d lose my mind doing all this meaningless work.

Having blind faith is like Tammy, helping the people who take advantage of our mission work. Blind faith is like taking care of a broken individual, daily drinker, and typical Tchadian and showing love to him and investing time into him. Eventually he turns out to be the vice principal of the SDA school here and also is the one of the very, very few Tchadians that is not corrupt.

Tammy told me that sometimes we don’t understand what God is planning for the things we do. Of course I knew that… That’s what we learn growing up. But I have never really been in an environment in which I needed to literally depend on God fully and to depend the future on Him, no matter how useless certain things seem. To have that “blind faith.”

Hell, everything still pisses me off. I still lack the understanding needed to have blind faith. But as a result of being put in these kinds of situations in this kind of environment, I’m able to ruminate on these kinds of thoughts.

superbowl?

WOOOT. Had Allah talk to my host mom about my food… again. Literally my diet consisted of one sauce: package of tomato paste+oil+water. That one sauce for my spaghetti noodles, for my rice, and for taro. For the past 4 and a half months. Never got any vegetables or fruits although the Netteburgs raised the amount SMs pay for the sole purpose of being able to get fruits and vegetables. Now I at least get some tomatoes and onions in my red sauce ☺ Great changes.

So yesterday, I witnessed Winter eating human poop. I was pretty traumatized… didn’t know he’d eat crap…
But on the other hand, he comes running towards me now. He knows I’m his owner :) and he likes to play with my feet while I walk so sometimes I trip over him…

IT’S SUPERBOWL SUNDAY. Well I’ll be watching the replay of the game tomorrow morning so technically for us it’ll be Superbowl Monday. Apparently the game here will be played live on satellite late at night so we all decided to watch the replay. So for those of you who email me… please don’t tell me who wins haha. We’ll be playing it on Jamie’s projector via satellite… so happy we can watch it. Or I hope we’ll be able to watch it… we’ll see tomorrow. SUPERBOWL IN TCHAD. I don’t really know who to root for yet… Manning definitely deserves another ring, especially after what he went through with his injury and recuperating tremendously… but then again I always like the underdogs.

Saw johnny play age of empires 2… first time seeing johnny playing games HAHA should’ve taken a picture for the record. It was actually pretty impressive… He knew all the hot keys and stuff. But I have no idea how the game works…

Talking about Johnny… IT’S HIS BIRTHDAY. Big 22! Haha send him an email or a comment on his blog wishing him a happy birthday. It’s not the greatest feeling, celebrating your birthday in Tchad…

Here’s a picture of a GIGANTOR spider… found it just chillin at the SM hut. It was furry lookin and wasn’t like the typical flat ones that we see here. What kind of spider is that anyway? We all started freaking out and of course the Tchadian kid had to kill it. Someone should tag Brian so he can see what I’m bringing him as a souvenir.

and a picture of the best SMs in the world.

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