Monday, November 30, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Just an invitation to join parents all over the United States in lighting a candle tonight at 7:00PM in remembrance of our precious babies in heaven.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Then I was reminded that he had been a lowly shepherd boy when he was called. Beth Moore, the author of, "A Heart Like His - Intimate Reflections on the life of David," reminded me that God did not call David in spite of the fact that he was a shepherd, rather because of it. In 2 Samuel 5:2 we read, " The Lord said to you, 'You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their leader.'"
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Besides providing respite, I enjoy my yard and garden because of the excitement I feel when something actually grows there! You see, I wouldn't exactly say that I have a "green thumb!" The label, "light gray thumb," would probably be a more accurate description of my gardening talent. That is clearly evidenced by these hanging baskets which were filled with beautiful little white, yellow, and lavender flowers on the day they were purchased. In my own defense I must say that I try, I really do try, to nurture these lovely baskets. But it seems that by mid-July each year my poor baskets make me wonder if it might be an act of kindness to put them out of their misery!
Like these poor baskets, may we obstinately refuse to give up in the face of discouragement. Sometimes appearances really are deceiving!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
As a child God called me to the mission field. A few years after that He gave me Ecclesiastes 11:1 as a reminder of that call. Thirty years later I found that verse printed on a devotional card tucked away in an obscure place in my house. And yet another five years passed when my husband and I received the letter we had waited for: on June 9, 2009 Touching Lives Ministry was awarded tax-exempt status as a non-profit ministry. Over the years God has proven Himself faithful to keep His calling alive and to finish what He started. By God’s grace, after many days that vision is being realized!
As we take baby steps forward we would appreciate the prayers of those who have a heart for the lost and poor around the world in the following areas:
· That God would continue to put our book, Our Baby, Our Love, Our Loss into the hands of couples grieving the loss of a baby
Friday, May 29, 2009
- Pastors or other clergy
- Teachers and mentors
- Friends who are single parents
- Health care providers
- Encouragers in our lives
Of course family and close friends are on that list but we generally express our appreciation and care for them more readily. And for each of us there are others we can add to this list, this is just a starting place.
As for Touching Lives Ministry, we do what we do primarily because God has called us to it that He would be glorified and lives would be changed. But we recognize that there are many who have sacrificed much to care for the poor around the world. One of our passions is to come beside those heros and care for them.
There are many things in our lives that we care for, I pray we will all become better at showing that same kind of care to the people God has placed in our lives to bless us.
Monday, May 4, 2009
And lean not on your own understanding
After our first clinic day in Sera Bajar we set off down the mountain in our usual groups of four to six. Even though I do not have the “gift” of agility I felt quite safe armed with my trusty walking stick and aided by two of my two sisters in the Lord, Alex and Susan, in front and behind me. About mid-way in our travels we reached an area that had about five stone steps. To the left of us was a large yucca plant and to the right only the ground at the bottom of the steps. A five to six foot high retaining wall went from the top step to the ground.
Upon reaching the bottom step Alex turned and took my left hand. Susan supported my right arm as I planted my walking stick on the ground below us. All was well until I reached the third step. After moving the walking stick forward a little I felt my balance shift unexpectedly to the right. I struggled to straighten myself but this was a battle that gravity was determined to win!
Thank God Alex immediately felt me going and pulled my arm in the opposite direction. This caused the fall to happen literally in slow motion but, alas, Alex also succumbed to the laws of nature of landed on top of me. The entire grace-less episode ended with a thud as the back of my head hit the retaining wall. Upon hearing the “clunk” from my cranium I remember thinking, “Wow, that can’t be good!”
As soon as the “dust settled” Rich, the team’s EMT who is also one of our RNs, rushed to my side to evaluate any injuries. Because of the impressive sound emanating from the collision of my head with the wall everyone was concerned that I might have sustained a concussion or worse. However, God in His mercy used Alex to keep me from falling directly on my head thus making the sound of the impact much worse that the impact itself.
However, I did incur a much less obvious injury that resulted from the fact that when a person falls to their right but is being pulled to their left, they tend to bend in half at the hips. In hind sight (every pun intended) it became apparent that my “southern region” hit the ground first and hardest, softening the blow to my head. I knew immediately that I had fractured my coccyx! OK, go ahead, snicker if you have to – but don’t expect me to join in, it hurts more when I laugh!
After Rich examined my head and checked neurological signs, and with much insistence on my part, he realized that there was nothing anyone could do to treat my injury except gingerly help me to my feet. As I took my newly re-arranged bum for a test drive, Rich retrieved my walking stick. That was when we realized that my formerly trusty stick had snapped about two inches above the end.
Because I am convinced that short term mission trips are much more about the “giver” than the “receiver”, I always take time to ponder what it is that God was trying to teach me during each trip. Initially I thought that God was trying to keep me humble through this episode – a natural assumption given that He has been working on me in this area for years. And while that may be part of what He was doing, I haven’t been able to get my mind (the part of me that didn’t break) off of that flawed walking stick. After all, it had supported me through two other missions.
Finally just this past week I heard that “still, small voice” whisper to my spirit, “Kathi, be very careful about who and what you lean on.” Just as I had foolishly put my faith in a faulty walking stick, many are putting their faith in faulty gods. I pray with all my heart that God will use the time we spent in Nepal to open the eyes of the people we touched to the Truth that there is no other God like Him.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
As we prayed for safety for this mother and baby I began to feel first helpless and then angry. We came to Nepal to bring people hope and healing. This looked more like abandonment and fear.
“God, what are you doing? Please help us help her, please!”
“Do you believe I am in control?”
“Then give her to me. She’s not yours, she’s Mine.”
“I know, Lord, but…”
“This is no different than giving me Mark, Jason, Peanut, yourself.”
“I know, Lord, but…”
“Am I sufficient to meet every need?”
“Yes, Lord, You are sufficient.”
We may not know until heaven what God did in that young lady’s life. But I do know that, once again, God was teaching me truths about Himself – about myself - through this. God is faithful and sufficient to meet all our needs. That is and always will be true whether I believe it or not. The crucial and intimately personal issue is this: do I believe Him and if I do, will I live it? When we weed through all the “stuff” I guess that’s the issue for us all.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I want to shout it from the rooftops, or rather the mountaintops: medical clinics for the poor in underdeveloped and developing countries are a vehicle to proclaim the Gospel to the lost!
It was the third day of our clinic in the first Nepali mountain village we visited and we were told during our morning devotions that the people would most likely take advantage of the recent rain to plow and plant their fields. Unfortunately Nepal has been caught in the throes of a drought for some time now and the thunder storms we had been having each day provided the answer to the prayers of many. This would most likely mean that the number of patients at the final clinic day in this village would be down.
And indeed, we were able to see all of the 150 to 200 patients waiting to be seen by about 2:00pm, easily two hours earlier than the previous two days. But that day I personally had possibly the most poignant divine appointment of the two week mission.
The patients waited in line to be seen by a triage nurse who would get the appropriate vital signs and question the patient regarding their physical complaints. The nurse would then assign the patient to a specific practitioner. Our Ob/Gyn doctor, another obstetrical nurse, and I would see the women with "female complaints." Our GI doctor would see patients with stomach/intestinal complaints as well as some with generalized physical symptoms. Dr. Thapa, a Nepali doctor who volunteer two weeks of his time to help with our clinics, would see patients with symptoms of diseases that we don't treat often in the U.S. like leprosy and viruses peculiar to the region. He also saw most of the infants and children. And the Occupational Therapist on the team saw patients with muscular-skeletal pain and/or injury. The triage nurse wrote each patient's chief medical complaint on a triage form and sent the individual to the appropriate practitioner.
Relatively early in the day a rather young, nicely dressed woman handed me her triage paper. On it were notations of a few superficial complaints, nothing that alerted me to any significant medical problems. But then I read, "cannot sleep." Considering the fact that the team was sleeping in sleeping bags on cement floors with no electricity and an outhouse about 50 yards away which was only a hole in the ground I was somewhat unsympathetic! In spite of trying to maintain a professional demeanor, I smiled a little and thought, "Join the club, honey!" But my grin disappeared when I read the final comment on her note, "is fearful."
My first thought was that the nurses doing triage are always swamped with long lines of people waiting to be seen, so they try to get to the major symptoms as quickly as possible. Part of the role of the specialized doctors and nurses was to question the patient more in depth about their complaints. If this poor woman was so plagued by fear that it was one of the first things she communicated to the triage nurse, this was neither a laughing nor small matter.
After quickly addressing the more minor complaints I said to the patient, through my interpreter, Gabi, "This says that you are having trouble sleeping at night."
Her response was, "Yes, I have many thoughts that go around and around in my head and they will not allow me to sleep."
"Do these thoughts make you afraid?"
"What are you afraid of?"
"Many things. I am afraid for my children."
"Are you afraid of death?"
"Have you ever heard about Jesus?"
"He can calm your fears and bring you peace. Would you like to get to know Him?"
My spirit leaped within me! Where are our pastors? Where are our spiritual counselors? This is much too important to speak through translator, even a good one like Gabi. This woman needs to speak to someone who knows her culture and language intimately. I need help here!
I told this gentle woman that I was going to take her to someone who would introduce her to Jesus. And with my arm around her shoulder I led her out the door to a dedicated, Godly man who has been on the PUMA staff in Nepal for several years. After explaining the situation to Phillip he tenderly walked Sipa to the shade of a nearby tree and there she met Jesus!
Later that day Phillip reported to the team that Sipa accepted Jesus as her Savior and went home with a Nepalese Bible. She told Phillip that she could be in danger for leaving her Hindu religion. He suggested that she privately read her Bible and pray for her family members that they would come to know the True and Living God. Our team is praying for dear Sipa and her family that some day we will see them all in heaven.
I want to shout it from the mountaintops!
Monday, April 13, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
You know I can speak, Lord, help me be silent. You know I can lead, help me to follow. Show me, help me, teach me, fill me, break me, but Sovereign God, in Your love, mercy, grace and faithfulness, please, I beseech You, use me!"
Thursday, February 5, 2009
In May of 2006 I found myself in Hyderabad, India on a mission "scouting trip" with another ministry. The last few days before going home were spent with the Amrutharaj's, a lovely couple who had a burden and vision for the poor in their area. They shared their calling to open a medical clinic in the Papireddy Colony and asked that we pray about partnering with them in this endeavor. After I recovered from yet another "spirit jumping in me" episode, we attended a church service in another of the slums in the area.
Throughout the service I could not help but notice a woman who sat on the floor across the room from me. She had the countenance of someone with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She rarely looked up and, as far as I could see, never looked anyone in the eyes. God broke my heart for this dear woman that day and for the many, many women just like her in this city. It appeared that God was using this woman to answer my prayers regarding partnering with Drs. Joseph and Vimala even before I prayed them! I pray that God will allow me to see this precious woman again while we're still on earth but if that is not God's will I look forward to telling her about the impact she had on my life and my calling!
I wasn't to return to Hyderabad until November of 2007, a full year and one half after my first visit. However this second mission was also a "scouting trip" only this time it was on behalf of Touching Lives! And this time my sweet sister in the Lord and now fellow Touching Lives Board Member, Darien, accompanied me.
As we discussed the future partnership between Touching Lives and Drs. Joseph and Vimala, once again my spirit leaped (my body should do as much jumping as my spirit does!) when I heard that their dream is not to open one but five clinics. To this day I don't quite understand why that felt so right, I can only tell you that it did!
Over the course of this mission we were able to visit the construction site of the first clinic. As the Amrutharaj's posed in what would become the doorway of the structure for us to take pictures of them, tears came to my eyes. Before me was God's visual confirmation that this crazy adventure we were on was His will. This was a wonderfully humbling moment!
One of the few regrets I have had in regard to participating in short-term missions has always been that, either because of his work schedule or his health, I have never be able to share a mission with Mark first hand. But while in India this second time I began to ask God to bring Mark here. It only felt right that he would meet Drs. Joseph and Vimala "up close and personal" as we begin this ministry partnership. The morning after we returned home as Mark "debriefed" me on the trip, he told me that he felt God leading him to go to Hyderabad! And, you guessed it, I got that spirit-jumping thing going again! So, we have begun to pray that God would open the doors for us to visit India this coming May. Please join with us in praying that 1) God's will is done and 2) that He receives all the glory, honor, and praise due Him as He carries out His will in our lives.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
The day I walked into the auditorium with the rest of the nursing class of 1977 to meet the Dean of Nursing and the nursing faculty at Widener University I felt in my spirit that God was calling me to work in Labor and Delivery. In all honesty I have to admit that for years I doubted the validity of that calling. In my mind it was akin to being called as a missionary to Hawaii, there aren't many who would refuse that calling! Many years later I would clearly understand that God did indeed call me to be an obstetrical nurse. I would also come to intimately see that, if God is in the calling - whether it be Hawaii or Labor and Delivery, sacrifice will be involved.
In fact, God in His kindness to His kids warns us that we should always "count the cost" when we accept His call on our lives. "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it." Luke 14:28 For Mark and me the cost of this luxuriant call was quite high. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Let me take you back to one year before I entered that university auditorium: my father, who was the pastor of the church I attended, brought a group in to perform a musical. These Christian musicals were born out of the hippie generation and had become quite popular at the time. As I sat watching the performance my eyes kept wandering to one particular young man in the group. I did get a few moments following the service to talk to him briefly. I believe the conversation basically consisted of me drooling while I verbally gushed about his performance! After the group left I remember thinking with a sigh that it would be wonderful to get to know him but, alas I would probably never see him again. Imagine my surprise a few months later when he was one of the first people I saw as I walked into the church I would be attending during my college years! I do believe that God delights in setting up these little treats for His kids! Long story short: one month after I graduated from college I married that young man in that very church! And the rest, as they say, is...an adventure!
I'd like to add a P.S. to today's blog. We received word on Tuesday that our application for Touching Lives Ministry's non-profit status was received by the I.R.S. Please join with us in praying that God will grant TLM favor with the government in this process - to the glory of God!
Monday, January 19, 2009
I know that it's hard to believe - when I say it out loud even I find it some what incredible - but this passion began when I was 11 years old! At that tender age I "heard" the Holy Spirit call me to missions. Don't ask me how, I can't explain it except to say that I did not hear an audible voice. It was more like God's Spirit spoke to my spirit through my thoughts. So, how did I know that it was God's "voice"? Good question! I just knew. Not such a good answer! But I can tell you that my life's experiences since that time have repeatedly confirmed the original call.
Again, I can't tell you exactly why, but I thought that God was calling me to a Hispanic country so I proceeded to study Spanish all 4 years of high school. It turned out that my call has been predominately to Asia and Africa (although God's not done with me yet!). OK, so my spiritual "ears" don't always hear correctly, I guess that's why God instructed us in His word to test everything.
Any way, when I graduated from high school there was only one "vehicle" or organization that I knew of at that time that could get me onto the mission field. But I didn't have peace in my spirit about partnering with that group. As I was praying about what direction to go my mother came home from a hospital stay saying that she had a student nurse care for her in the hospital. Something about this nurse reminded her of me so she asked what I thought about majoring in nursing in college. It was one of a hand-full of times in my life that I almost physically felt my spirit leap within me! Yes, yes, why didn't I think of that sooner?
So, off to college I went...
Friday, January 16, 2009
Through Our Baby, Our Love, Our Loss I hoped to help couples who are experiencing the loss of a baby through the process from mourning to healing. As a registered nurse who has worked in Labor and Delivery for almost 30 years (that doesn't make me old, just experienced!) I pray that God will use our loss to assist others through theirs.
As we approached the publication of the book, my husband and I prayed about what God would have us do with the proceeds from the book. I will share more extensively in the future about the process we went through but given my involvement in an average of 2 foreign medical missions per year, it just seemed logical to commit any funds from the book to missions.
Then God lead us to a couple in India who have a dream of opening 5 medical clinics in the slums surrounding Hyderabad. After much prayer we decided to partner with them in pursuing this passion. But how could a part-time labor and delivery nurse and a disabled chemical operator realize such a lofty goal? God provided the answer: Touching Lives Ministry!
On Monday, January 12, 2009 we inched one step closer to "walking in" this calling when we put the application in the mail for the 501c3, non-profit status for Touching Lives Ministry. We would appreciate all prayer support regarding this venture in the following areas:
1. That Touching Lives Ministry would find favor with the government and our final non-profit status would be granted quickly.
2. That God would give the Board of Directors of TLM wisdom in leading this ministry forward.
3. That TLM would be blessed with the funds, equipment and donations needed to carry out our mission.
4. That we will be able to get a website up and running expediently. (Mark would especially prayer on his behalf as this task is falling mostly on his shoulders.)
5. That God will get the glory and honor from all that TLM does!
I am excited about including each of you in this journey as we boldly yet humbly move toward Touching Lives!