Seems about time to see if this blog can find new life. I wonder if things have shifted enough in how I use my time to allow me time to do some reflecting in this space. Not sure anyone reads this anymore but mostly this is for me anyway.
I checked outside first thing this morning. Snow again in the night. Quite a lot.
Winter came early this year. Now here it is, Advent already.
I seem to have expectations about Advent that are out of sync with the culture around me. I wish I knew if this was a good or bad thing. I love Christmas but it seems as if for most people Advent is simply a hurtling into Christmas. As if now we are in for it in earnest so lets start the decorating and presents buying; lets get the latest decorations and put them up quickly before this season passes.
There is a part of me that wants to do this too but am I just succumbing to the pressure of my consumerist culture?
The other part of me screams, “WAIT!” Advent is a time to wait. But nobody seems to want to wait. Including Christians. They want to leave behind the purple of Advent and rush towards decorations – red and green and gold and all the sparkly things, the glitter and lights.
It seems to me, and I may be wrong – as I usually seem to be – that we need to wait. We need to consider the reasons for the waiting. The whole universe waited for millennia till God sent his own son. Then his presence was among us – he became one of us – was born, grew up in a human family, taught, was misunderstood, died, conquered evil and rose to offer us life too. And now we wait for him again. We need to remember that we are waiting people – waiting for our hope of a new creation, new life and freedom. And while we wait we have his presence with us. He did not leave us alone to wait in the dark.
There is so much we can learn if we take the time to wait. A baby will arrive in good time. Then we will celebrate!
I spent the day (well most of it) yesterday helping a friend move. J is one of the women at Sanctuary Covenant where I am finishing up my pastoral internship. Like many of the women who worship with us, she is single and has health issues that keep her from working a full time job. When an emergency arose in her life, she panicked and moved out of town to a situation that was way less than ideal. Of course circumstances change and they did quickly – thanks be to God! and she is back in the city now able to move into a new suite.
Yesterday was moving day. I never thought that this would be part of my job description. I had much loftier ambitions for the women – spending time in Bible studies and prayer together. Did not think that in many instances I would be the answer God was sending them.
I was not alone in this endeavour. I have never seen men with trucks who so fully embodied the command to go the extra mile for someone in need. They did so without any sense of obligation, did the job with cheerful spirits and gave freely of their time and fuel to drive the 150 or so Kms to get the job done. A banker,an administrator, a student and a pastor all working together to help.
And I have to say, she needed to get her stuff out of there. the “friend” that gave her a place to stay (charging rent of course) had the most filthy place – full of pet urine and feces, full of junk and boxes, full of nastiness. No place for a human to stay! We will never let her return to such horrid circumstances.
At the evening service last night here at the ECC Annual Meeting the speaker spoke of how we must respond to the needs in the Congo. The Covenant has launched a project called Congo Kids powered by World Vision. Hoping to make an impact on the lives of kids in the area of the Congo known as the Nord Ubangi – the area I used to live in.
The needs of this extremely poor country are huge. This could make an impact. They are hoping to have water points in Gemena within 500 M of every home. No more walking all the way to Bokonzo to get drinking water for Pascaline, who did this for Willadeen and myself while we stayed there.
Water towers at Bokonzo.
The Canada Covenant is launching its own part of this project. This will happen in October so watch for it and think seriously about sponsoring a child from this project through World Vision. The money you give for support will go to development of the whole community in which the child lives.
I don’t know, it has been almost two months since I posted. It is not as if I have nothing to say, just that saying it publicly seems to have lost its urgency. But since I do want to share some of my experience in the Congo, this does seem a good place to do it.
The kids out there are great. As you can see they are not camera shy and they loved getting their pictures taken and then seeing them on the digital screen. This is one of the boys from the neighbourhood in Gemena where I spent a week. Every day when we returned from class, the kids would come running to greet us.
World Vision is starting up a project in this area of the Congo. More on this another post.
Filed under Africa, Photos
I did not expect to wake up to this!
It is a good day for a Sabbath.
That is when the really interesting cases show up. Or the ones that have not come for the past eight years.
Today was about bleeding profusely. Now some bleeding is normal after an extraction but it should not keep up for three days. Everyone was quite concerned. I was too. And I was very happy that I had not done the surgery. That had been the oral surgeons job.
So I called him and got the usual advice about pressure, etc and packing the socket. Stuff I already knew. I was hoping for some magic trick. Instead I did pretty much as advised. Removed suture, packed and replaced suture. Perhaps it was the adrenalin in the local anaesthetic, maybe the tighter suture or even the firmly held pressure, but it did finally stop bleeding.
Then we went on with the rest of our backed up day.
It reminded me again of working in the Congo. I learned the hard way to stop bleeding one night. The extraction had been difficult and some tearing had occurred down on the inside of the last bottom molar. It was nicely stitched back up but that night I got a call from the clinic nurse. — was bleeding, please come. So off I went and by lamp light examined my patient. Indeed there was blood! The nurse set up an IV of saline. That time I also had to reapply sutures and lots of pressure. I recall sitting there with my finger on the bleeding wound like the Dutch boy holding his finger in the leaking dike. And praying. For all I was worth. And we all survived.
Bleeding can be scary. I learned to be very cautious if I had a lingual tear. I learned that a patient can lose a significant quantity of blood from a tooth socket. I learned that pressure can stop most any bleeding. And I learned that God hangs around while I learn my lessons and lets me lean on him.
And those scary lessons learned have over time transformed into confidence which lets me in turn calm the anxieties of my patients. Maturity has got to count for something.