Doing Nurses Week the Best Way I Know How

It is Nurses week and I have been getting to do one of my favorite things! Hanging with this crew for the last three days doing a medical outreach to a rural community. These people don’t have much access to health care as it is hard to get money for transport to the closest medical clinic. Many health issues get left untreated and eventually get out of control. We saw around 1,000 patients for the 3 days combined. And boy do I feel it tonight, I’m wiped! 

Pastor Charles, who is a PA, and I were responsible for seeing all the pediatric patients. We spent the days under a large mango tree, surrounded by a swarm of sick kids and their mothers. They all pressed in tight wanting to make sure they got seen and that they got medication. It got a little claustrophobic if you looked around and saw people all around you and almost on top of you. The most common conditions I encountered were malaria, upper respiratory infection, rashes, and intestinal worms.🤢 I ended up deworming almost every kid. They don’t have much access to clean water, and that is where intestinal worms come from. They usually need to be dewormed every 6 months but most of the kids had never been dewormed before. Almost every kid had malaria as this is the season for it. 

I am so grateful for the opportunity to use the gift of nursing but even more that I am able to show the love of Christ in this way. I love that he has given me the ability and the opportunity to love on these kids and point them to Christ. People were treated physically, yes but every patient has the opportunity to receive prayer, and had the gospel preached to them. Most of them were very receptive.

 I am also thankful to work with my brothers and sisters in Christ, many of whom have been my friends for a long time. Our group was from Naluko, Midigo, and Soroti. It has been a blessing to serve together as the body of Christ. Thank you Jesus for all you accomplished!

Keep praying for us as we continue to serve the Lord! Love you all!

-Courtney

God is so good!

Hey Fam!

Well I’m back in Uganda again, and back in my home away from home Soroti. As I sit in the new NICU that opened about 5 months ago I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness. It’s good to look back on where the Lord has brought you from. When heather and I first came to Soroti in August 2016 we had a single room with 2 radiant warmers that were not functioning, 2 isolettes (incubators) that were from about 1982 (so older then me and heather!) that no one knew how to work, and no monitors or oxygen or dedicated NICU staff! The door and window to the room was kept shut to prevent bugs and infection. Which made is sweltering hot, and the old isolettes running 24/7 didn’t help with the heat, (they eventually all broke down due to over heating) and one term baby who had lost oxygen during delivery but was improving.

So we set about cleaning everything, making sure it was all working and training the maternity staff on how to work it all. We found an old pulse oximeter to check oxygen levels but it would over heat and shut off every so often. We shared the oxygen saturator with the rest of the small hospital, but that would also shut off every once in a while when it got over heated.

Heather and I in our original NICU when we borrowed an IV pump for a week.

We were praying that people would hear about the new NICU and that we would begin to get some prematures admitted.

Fast forward a few months. And the NICU babies began to be admitted we had some successes and some that we were unable to save, but word began to spread that some of our prematures were surviving. That gave hope to the local community as most premature infants would die shortly after birth! We still get updates from our our first few babies and they are all growing and doing well.

Our first set of twins they weighed about 3lbs

This is the same twins last September and they are now afraid of me hah

Heather with her namesake our 1st 900gm baby (about 2 lbs) we still get updates from her mom and she is doing well.

Dr Elizabeth Emuku our dear friend, who is the owner of the hospital along with her husband Dr Juventine Emuku, is the Dr in charge of the NICU. She has really poured her heart and soul into this place and made it what is today. Today we have our own small building with a 1 room for prematures with 4 isolettes and 4 full fledged monitors.

A second large room for full term babies who can be in an open crib. Those have portable monitors. We also have 2 private rooms that each have monitors and isolettes. In the reception area we have a central monitor where we can see each babies vitals on one screen. We have 6 IV pumps, a vein finding light, and Oxygen and medical air are currently in the process of being installed. We also have 3 midwives that are our very own NICU staff! We have been working with one of them since 2016 and the other two were hired on our last trip here in December 2018! (We are praying that the Lord provides the funds for more staff) It really has come a long way! Don’t get me wrong there are still a lot of struggles and things do not run perfectly. Things can still be discouraging and frustrating when you consider how a NICU is run in the US. We do the best we can with what we have, and babies are given a chance to live!

A quick look inside our new NICU

This is one of our current little guys and he is a little over 2 lbs 🙂

Right now we have a mother who lost 6 previous babies from miscarriages and this one was born premature. He is doing well so far and about to discharge tomorrow. She calls him her miracle baby, and that he is!

God has been good to this little NICU in this little town of Soroti, Uganda, and it is good to remember that! He has provided in many ways and we are grateful! I just wanted to share the goodness of the Lord today! Praying you all are blessed and know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge! Love you all!

-Courtney

Two Weeks In

Hey Fam!

Finally gettin a chance to write an update. We are about 2/3 of the way through our 3 week trip. It’s going by so fast. We have been busy working away in the NICU. We have had 4-5 babies and they all seem to be doing good.

We were hoping to be able to do a little more training last week with the midwives but the maternity unit was short staffed so we ended up just working most of the week. On Wednesday we got three new midwives, Praise the Lord! So we have been able to do some hands on training with them, and on Friday we got to do a little NICU class. Hopefully now that we have the new midwives we will spend most of next week training. The new NICU building is just about finished and it looks great! We now have 6 new incubators and 6 new monitors with EKG leads and all the other vitals! Really exciting for us! The other exciting thing is there is AC in the room that all the incubators will be in! It gets extremely hot in the room without it due to the machines running and the temp outside being so hot! A few weeks after we leave people are coming to install oxygen and medical air that will be available in every room! Also super exciting since we currently have been using 2 oxygen concentrators that only go up to 5L and not 100% oxygen. This NICU has a lot of potential to be high quality. So be praying that they can keep it well staffed and that we would get nurses and midwives who want to take care of these tiny humans and desire to be the best they can be to keep the standards high.

After 5 days of 12 or more hour shifts we got to enjoy a day off on Saturday! We got to hang out with My brother Majok and some other friends from the US while he was in town in the morning. Then we had lunch with some of our missionary friends that we met when we were living here 2 years ago. It was so fun to see them and their adorable kids to catch up!

Today we rode down to Iganga with another missionary friend who kindly let us tag along to visit our brother Majok’s new church plant. We are so proud of Majok and so it is so exciting to see how the Lord is using him in the village of Naluko! They had a baptism today baptize all the new believers in his church. A 90 year old woman was determined to be baptized despite the cloudy weather and a fear of water. God is really working there and I pray that He continues to move on the hearts of His people!

this is the 90 year old who was determined to be baptized she had to be carried into the pool.

Also our sister Lydia and our brother Anei came back home to Soroti since their schools are on break until January and February. It has been fun to have everyone together for a little while.

I have been reading an advent devotional that is a collection of messages from A. W. Tower and it has been really blessing me. I thought yesterday’s reading was so good and so needed in our world today. So I thought I would share it!

CHRIST CAME FOR ALL

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. JOHN 3: 17

When the Word says that God sent His Son into the world, it is not talking to us merely about the world as geography. It does not just indicate to us that God sent His Son into the Near East, that He sent Him to Bethlehem in Palestine. He came to Bethlehem, certainly. He did come to that little land that lies between the seas. But this message does not have any geographical or astronomical meaning. It has nothing to do with kilometers and distances and continents and mountains and towns.

What it really means is that God sent His Son into the human race. When it speaks of the world here, it does not mean that God just loved our geography…God sent His Son to the human race. He came to people. This is something we must never forget: Jesus Christ came to seek and to save people. Not just certain favored people. Not just certain kinds of people. Not just people in general…If you could imagine yourself to be like Puck and able to draw a ring around the earth in forty winks, just think of the kinds of people you would see all at once. You would see the crippled and the blind and the leprous. You would see the fat, the lean, the tall, and the short. You would see the dirty and the clean. You would see some walking safely along the avenues with no fear of a policeman but you would see also those who skulk in back alleys and crawl through broken windows. You would see those who are healthy and you would see others twitching and twisting in the last agonies of death. You would see the ignorant and the illiterate as well as those gathered under the elms in some college town, nurturing deep dreams of great poems or plays or books to astonish and delight the world. People! You would see the millions of people: people whose eyes slant differently from yours and people whose hair is not like your hair. Their customs are not the same as yours, their habits are not the same. But they are all people. The thing is, their differences are all external. Their similarities are all within their natures. Their differences have to do with customs and habits. Their likeness has to do with nature. Brethren, let us treasure this: God sent His Son to the people. He is the people’s Savior. Jesus Christ came to give life and hope to people like your family and like mine. The Savior of the world knows the true value and worth of every living soul. He pays no attention to status or human honor or class. Our Lord knows nothing about this status business that everyone talks about. When Jesus came to this world, He never asked anyone, “What is your IQ?” He never asked people whether or not they were well traveled. Let us thank God that He sent Him—and that He came! Both of those things are true. They are not contradictory. God sent Him as Savior! Christ, the Son, came to seek and to save! He came because He was sent and He came because His great heart urged Him and compelled Him to come.

From Heaven: A 28 Day Advent Devotional by A. W. Tozer

Sorry it was so long but I thought it was so applicable! May you all be blessed this Christmas season as we remember Jesus and his sacrifice of love for all people!

-Courtney