Long haul

It has sadly been almost 4 months since revisiting my blog, and a lot has happened in those 4 months.

As I visited my home in Richmond, I tried to relish every day of being around people I know and love dearly. When I think about the life I choose to live, I know that I will spend most of this life away from these loved ones. It’s a hard reality, but I understand the cost.

One person, however, I will not have to live without. The man who had been pursuing me this past year, 95% from 6,000 miles away, asked me if I would please marry him. It was the hardest thing having to leave David again, but I remind myself that saying goodbye will come to an end after I’m finished here in Davao. In the mean time, we wait.

Being home was busy yet refreshing. Coming back to Davao, my actual home, brought some relief to get back into routine and start the long haul. There’s still much to be done here.

If you’d like to keep me in your prayers, please pray that I would seek joy in each day and not always look to the future,  that I would be disciplined to finish this last year strong, and that I would continually seek opportunities to serve others.
Until next time,

Kara
Here are a few snaps from home…

He didn’t even let me recover from 50+ hours of travel- he popped the question my first night home 🙂
A rainy 4th of July, but I was greatful for the cooler weather.
I had to get some berries! I finally got to meet and spend time with David’s lovely parents.
Time on the shore for some much needed catch up
Celebrating Terra’s birthday, just the girls 🙂
Meeting my niece, Lily , was such a joy!
A day to explore a bit in Maryland with my niece, Ana
I loved watching this one grow and interact over the month
Family vacation with the WHOLE crew
Discovering beautiful parts of Richmond
One on one time with Tyson
Siblings all together in age order
Enjoying getting around in a car 🙂
My and Tyson’s happy place
We got some great engagement photos on my birthday

Advertisements

Bring it.

The more I’ve lived in warm-climate locations, the more I’ve grown to understand their struggle. When I lived in Iraq and squandered in the miserable temperatures that reached 150+ degrees, I knew I had an end in sight when I would be removed from this suffering. Same attitude applies here in the Philippines- I know I will return home in due time. In both situations I’ve stopped and thought about the locals, the ones who call these places home. Believe it or not, they don’t enjoy these intense temperatures any more than I do. They don’t sweat any less that I do. And they most likely don’t work any less than I do either. Locals live a life that involves suffering in heat.

That being said, if you’re aware of the 10/40 window and what it holds, you’ll know that it holds the majority of people in the world who have never heard the gospel. You’ll also know that the equator is in there somewhere, too. When we think of going to these places and people, we must also consider the hardship that heat brings. It might not be fun, or easy, but we (mainly I) need to face the heat and just say “bring it”.

Heat is the topic on the month for now. It’s constantly on the forefront of our minds being that summer is upon us in Davao. Due to a huge lack of rain in the past months, and years, hydro-power plants try to conserve energy by cutting power. This past week or so we’ve been having scheduled 4 hour power outages on a daily basis. Please, pray for rain.

The major of Davao is running for president, and election is coming up in May. It makes for a little excitement in the city.

 

As for me and my whereabouts…

Easter morning started with watching the sunrise as a dock near by…

More babes keep coming my way. It’s been fun getting to know some of the moms and watch them love their little guys and gals. We’re starting to do home visits with our patients to care for them spiritually and share some good news with them. You can pray that the Spirit would use us to bring families to Christ.

I’ve also just been enjoying time with friends, finally appreciating the wonders of coconut and taking advantage of their abundance here, and lastly, knowing that life still goes on after the tragedy of losing a mother. On the right, Queencess is cute as ever and is well loved and cared for. God is good.

 

If I hadn’t mentioned before, I will be home for the whole month of July. I’m already ready to visit home and have time to rest, and I’m looking forward to seeing many of your dear faces.

365,025 days

Today, my grandmother has lived to see 10 full decades. A complete century. 100 years. She has been blessed with a loving husband, 5 children, 18 grandchildren, and 29 great grandchildren.
IMG_2010No matter where I’ve lived, she has never forgotten my birthday with a card and expectantly long letter.

Her biggest complaints include not being able to see as well and needing to rest more often. If her body was as able as her mind, she’d still be living the life in NYC.  
The person I’ve become in Christ heavily traces back to her obedience to follow Jesus. I am blessed by the life of this woman.
Happy Birthday, Grandma. I hope you enjoy every minute of this joyous day. 
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”  2 Peter 3:8

Not what I expected

Have you ever gotten a phone call that completely caught you off guard? A calmness of voice that didn’t match the words that were being spoken? I got one of these a few weeks ago, and it was the last thing I expected to get on a Tuesday afternoon.

On January 12, I had the pleasure of welcoming this beautiful baby girl into the world.  IMG_1790

A new beginning for this child, her mother, and me. Her mother had been looking forward to meeting this baby girl. Her fixed gaze and pleasant songs and humming to her new baby were precious and beautiful. This was love at first sight.

 

Flash forward 3 weeks to February 2. I came home from a day at the clinic wondering why this wonderful mother baby duo didn’t show up for their 3 week post-partum check. No sooner did that thought linger in my mind, did I receive a phone call. It was an unfamiliar voice, but she knew me, and she had something to tell me. Her sister died just the night before.

What was this? Was there a mix up? Did I somehow misunderstand what she meant by “died”?

What happened?

As much as I didn’t want to believe her words, they were true. This mother, in fact, died. This baby of hers…still lives…without a mother. What kind of justice is this? I had so many gripes with God, but I could only get myself to ask “Why, God?”.

Despite my questioning, I know God is good and his ways are good and just. His plans are greater than anything I could fathom. There is a purpose, whether I can see it, comprehend it, or even hate it or not.

I’ll spare you the details of little of what I know about what happened. Probable post-partum complication.

I worked in a field of sad, yet slowly expecting death at times. I’ve entered into a field of new life and new beginnings, yet death is still just as near. It’s the unexpected death that’s harder to accept.

Flash forward another 3 weeks, and I was happy to have a last visit with this beautiful baby girl. She’s growing, content, and loved bIMG_1968y family. I praise God for giving this child a family to take care of her. She has aunts and a grandmother, and a 7 year old big brother that I pray will look after her for years to come.

IMG_1970

 

Life is precious and a gift. Life is fleeting, it’s but a mist. Life is not our own. Praise God that it doesn’t have to end here. It will continue. He gives us a choice. How we choose to spend life on this earth will impact how we spend life for eternity.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25

 

 

 

IMG_1950
My back porch view… I just can’t get enough of it.

 

 

 

 

Closing and Beginning

I can’t believe it’s been well over a month since I’ve written about life. I apologize, it had been a busy month or so, but it’s now slowing down a bit.

Things that have happened since I last wrote: Christmas, 2016, welcoming babies, and as of lately, visiting Manila. So far in life, God has blessed me with years that always seem to be better than the last. This past year was one of the most interesting, to say the least. I have no doubt that God will continue to be faithful this coming year.

Over Christmas, I had a 2 week break from school work and had the privilege of welcoming my boyfriend, David, to Davao. It was refreshing to have time off from studies and see a familiar face. I was able to do things and go to places that I normally wouldn’t have time for….

 

I also received a big box of things from home. It arrived just in time for Christmas, and I was and still am very thankful. Familiar things and foods are a lovely thing when you live far away. Thank you very big to everyone who was a part of that. You guys are awesome!

IMG_1790

In studying, we were learning about the end stages of labor and the “grand exit” if you will. Along side of that, it’s been great to be able to try to put these things into practice at the clinic. There’s lots of room for growth in this area 🙂 I’m enjoying this opportunity to learn, ask questions, and be corrected. Since being a nurse, it’s humbling to start into something that would seem similar, but is really a very different ball game.

Lastly, this past week, God opened up the opportunity for me to take a few days to go to Manila for a discipleship conference. The Global Discipleship Congress Asia was held at my church’s main church campus in Manila. This church is huge. I believe the main auditorium can seat around 9,000 people. The stories I learned about how this church started 30 years ago, and I’m blown away by the things God has done through faithful men and woman who trust in the Him. Anywho, the conference had some great speakers from around the world who, ultimately, understand the importance and value of coming together as believers to focus on the heart of our faith. “Pass it on” was the theme. Passing on truth that is lived out. So many good things I could talk about.

I was blessed by my friends Beiah and Ryan who joyfully cared for me in this big city. I could not have made it out of the Manila airport without them. They are a blessing to me in many ways. It was a joy to spend time with them and see more of their heart for the church and their obedience to the Lord.

 

It’s amazing to believe that this time last year I was just beginning the application process for this opportunity. Last year in January, I had no idea of the things I’d see, places I’d go, or people I’d meet. What a year 2015 was. I praise God for these things, places, and people.

 

The land of positives

Here in the Philippines, almost everyone has Rh positive blood. This can be a great things when it comes to childbearing compatibility and almost being certain to be able to find someone to donate blood if you were in need. Until a few days ago, I never thought about the devastation it must be to be a negative in the midst of positives. It was brought to my attention that there was a boy who was in need of blood so he could have a needed surgery.  This boy’s blood type: O negative. (mini lesson: O negative can give to any blood type, but can only receive O negative) What’s a boy to do? Thankfully, I was able to donate my “rare” blood to this boy. Praise God. Now, this reminds me to pray that I won’t ever come to the point of needing blood myself while I’m here.

Family of the boy


Other things I’ve learned this week while having to look up some things for school. In reference to maternity mortality rates, Sierra Leon ranks the worst in the world with 1,410 maternity related deaths per 100,000 live births. That’s more than 1 out of 100 women who die from something pregnancy or birth related. Overall, most countries are improving their rates. However, the United States, is actually on the decline since 2005. The majority of the countries with the lowest rates are countries where midwives are most commonly the primary maternal provider.

In reference to infant mortality rates, Afghanistan ranks the worst in the world with 115.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. If you born in Afghanistan, there’s about a 12% chance you won’t make it to see your first birthday. Not only does Afghanistan soar in the lead, but it’s the only non-African country out of the top 25 countries with highest infant mortality rates. I’m intrigued to learn more about the root causes. However, I’m sure decades of war and devastation might have something to do with it.

This is something we can all be praying for. Woman and their babies. In many places, there’s an unavoidable race between potential orphans and potential survived parents.

The View of the city- beautiful day and place for a friend’s wedding this past weekend.

Thanksgiving in Davao

We have this theory that all the Christmas lights at the malls are causing daily power outages around here. Whatever the reason, it’s been rather inconvenient.

Oh a happier note, Thanksgiving was a success here on the islands and everyone did a great job contributing to the task of filling many bellies. It’s great to know that God gives me family no matter where I am.

I’m currently learning all about the newborn and things that are going on in the first few days of life. I wish babies could be see-through sometimes so we could truly marvel at all the amazing things that are happening while transitioning from intrauterine life to extrauterine life. How so many people don’t believe in a wonderful creator is beyond me.

 

Now, with Christmas now in full swing, I pray that we will come together and adore our Lord and Savior, Jesus, who entered into human flesh to live with his people. Not only did he come as a human, but as a vulnerable baby, just like this one. The mystery of grace is now forever among us. Praise God.