Morris, one of our night guards, and his wife Zippy were blessed with a baby boy on the 13th of January. Kari was present at his birth to assist and to be there for support for Zippy and Morris as this was their first child. After leaving the clinic where he was born baby Jason and his family came to our house so we could help care for them and Kari could provide assistance with the baby and the first time parents. The first evening they were with us Kari witnessed Jason having some small seizures. This continued through the night and the next morning we took him to Jinja Children’s Hospital for testing.
Seizures can be a very scary thing, especially in a 1 day old child, and considering the fact we were not going to a hospital with state of the art technology like we are blessed with in the states. We were headed to an over-crowded, understaffed government hospital. Immediately I knew God was with us. As we began walking up to the triage area, which was covered in a mass of maybe 60-70 people, I saw Elizabeth a western nurse who I met through a chance meeting in the past. She immediately whisked us through triage and in line to see the doctor. Once we made it through triage there was another sea of people in the waiting area who were in line to see one of the two doctors. Again we were blessed and were rushed to the front of the line due to the nature of his illness. After a short wait we were sent into see the first doctor. She began asking questions and gathering information, she then said the phrase I am becoming frustratingly familiar with here in Uganda “It must be malaria.” Here in Uganda everyone tells you they have malaria. It could be a cough, a runny nose, a fever, a rash or in this case seizures. Never mind the fact that Jason was only 2 days old at this point and that malaria would not have had time to manifest in his little body. Never mind the fact that only in very rare cases can a mom transfer malaria to her unborn child, and never mind the fact that Zippy was showing no signs or symptoms herself of malaria. The doctor then asked is this a boy or a girl? Morris replied a boy, the doctor then said something that shocked me. ”That is why he is shaking like that, it is a boy, he will be fine.”
So with this sound medical advice in mind we headed off to the lab for testing. As expected, no malaria. This is where God showed himself again in two ways. There was a very long line for the lab, however when Zippy was telling everyone in line what was wrong with baby Jason, they all told her to go ahead of all of them so that Jason could be tested. Amazing. Second, as we were waiting to see the second more highly recommended doctor, he came out and kicked us all out of the hallway in which we were waiting, back into the sea of people in the waiting room. This particular doctor was known for not “liking” white people, so immediately I became the focus of his attention. As we were all walking out of the hallway he started in on me saying “You too, this means you, out out out.” He was so focused on me, he did not see Morris go back to the line of chairs and sit down. This made Morris first in line. After his tirade the doctor saw Zippy and Morris first! He was very knowledgable and admitted Jason for observation and wanted to start him on medication and an IV.
How to you distract a worried, concerned Ugandan father? Introduce him to Angry Birds. Morris=mind blown
The doctor was concerned about two things; infection and low blood sugar. I asked if we could check his blood sugar, but something as simple as a glucometer was not available in the hospital. When I mentioned I had one at home they all got very excited and asked me to go get it. However, the doctor had already ordered dextrose which would have affected the reading. In order for treatment to start the nurse had to establish an IV in his little 2 day old body. Before any of this could occur, we had to go buy an IV catheter. Once we returned with the IV catheter in hand, the nurse began the process. It took her 5 attempts to start the IV in his tiny veins, but by the Grace of God she was able to get it started on the 5th attempt. She broke just about every rule of establishing an IV that I have learned and taught for 10 years, but nonetheless she had the skill to get it successfully. After each attempt she would pull the needle out (this is where all the healthcare providers will cringe) and rethread it through the catheter. When I asked if I could give her a new one, she scolded me and asked why I thought she needed a new one.
After his treatment of IV antibiotics and dextrose started he only experienced one seizure. The report today was that no seizures have occurred and that his energy level and activity have increased. Many prayers have been said for baby Jason and many more will be needed to strenghten him through this process. I have been amazed at the faith Zippy has displayed through all of this. She has never once waivered or faultered in her faith. She has been a rock and an amazing woman of God. Through it all she has been encouraging Morris to remain strong in his faith. At one point it all became too much for Morris and he began to cry. It is very rare for Ugandan men to show emotion and to cry. She told Morris to be strong and to put his faith in the Lord. At one point Morris, under the advice from people in his village, wanted to change the name of the baby. The thought was the name was cursed or it was the name causing problems, and that changing it would make the baby better. Again, Zippy encouraged him to be strong in his faith. Kari was able to speak truth to him in that putting your faith in other things, such as a name, turns away from the one true God.
As each day goes by baby Jason seems to be improving and gaining strength. Zippy remains strong in her faith and Morris seems to be growing in his faith.
This is Jason's room. A tiny room with a row of cribs on each wall.
This is a room for the older babies/children. There are about 25-30 rooms in this room.
It is hard to believe that the Segner Family has been in Uganda for over a year. January 4th, 2012 we touched down in Uganda and there has not been a dull moment along the way.
Our journey started with an amazing training program in Luwero at New Hope Uganda. We were surrounded by an amazing group of teachers and fellow students. We spent time learning about the culture, how to survive in the ministry field, how to draw closer to God and how to live in Uganda. It was an amazing time for our family to come together and learn what our "new" life was going to be like. We spent five months in God's word learning how to be better people, better spouses, better parents and better followers of God's word. We made some amazing friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime. We also took away valuable life lessons that have better equipped us to serve in the mission field. I have said it often and I will continue to say it; If we had not gone to training at New Hope our hearts would have been in the right place but our minds would have been lost. I know without a doubt we would not be in the place we are now if it were not for our time spent in training.
After our time in Luwero we moved the whole crew to Jinja, Uganda where God has revealed His plan for Healing Faith. God has placed the right people in our lives and we have been able for form some great partnerships and relationships in Jinja. We have been blessed by two amazing teams coming over from the States to visit us and to see what God is doing in Uganda. The teams were able to bring over much needed supplies, but most of all they were able to recharge our family and provide us with love and support. We had two amazing women who came to help with the ministry, one while we were in training at New Hope who helped watch the kids while we were in training. Auntie Rachael did an amazing job with our children, taught the older boys school and made a huge impact on our lives. Auntie Megan helped to get the ministry going once we reached Jinja. She was able to travel to the villages, assist with work in the field and established some amazing relationships with the people of Uganda. We have been blessed by a 4 month visit from Kari's mom (Meme) and a visit from Aunt Hehe, Uncle Buck and Isaac.
We have had our share of bumps, bruises and defeats along the way. However, instead of letting those things keep us down we have used them as life lessons and moved forward. Some of the lessons have been harder than others. We have been lied to, deceived, stolen from, persecuted and told that we "should go back where we belong." We had a fiasco at the border, dealt with corruption & dishonesty, and had to overcome some majors adversities. Through it all God still had a plan and stood by our side.
Kobasnja after recovering from her burns
We have been witness to some true miracles that can only come from God Himself. We witnessed a little girl literally raised up out of the ashes and restored to complete health. Kobasinja was one of the first healing miracles we witnessed. From a tiny, cramped clinic in Mafubari I witnessed a little girl who was burned over 80% of her body with severe second and third degree burns restored to complete health. All of my medical training and knowledge said this little girl would succumb to her injuries. Infection and hypothermia should have taken her body. However, God had a different plan. I have seen a little boy whose foot was injured so badly he was only able to crawl. I witnessed God provide healing for his foot and watched him go from crawling in the dirt, to walking and finally running to greet us when we arrived. Through it all, Ishmael had a smile on his face and was always excited to see us. I witnessed the Holy Spirit telling us to stop one day along a dirt road because a child needed our help. We happened upon a young boy named Muwazi who had a horrific burn to his hand. We were able to get him treated and to the hospital for care. He eventually lost the hand to amputation, but was in good spirits, learning to be independent even with the loss of his hand, and most importantly he was alive! His family is Muslim, but Kari was able to share a children's bible with him. I have learned to recognize, diagnose and treat malaria and have been able to treat countless numbers of malaria cases.
Muwazi on the day we found him in the village
Ishmael smiled through all of his treatment for his horrific injury
We have had some amazing triumphs and victories and we have also suffered some defeats. Through it all God has been faithful. He didn't promise us it would be easy, He did however promise to stand by us. "For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does." Psalm 33:4 Has is been easy? No. I have a supportive family back in the States that I have not seen in over a year, and that I miss terribly. However, I know that we are in God's will for our lives and that is the best place to be. I am thankful for the year God has provided in Uganda. I am thankful for a supportive family, an amazing team working back home that makes Healing Faith possible, the prayers that lift us up and the donors that make our work here a reality. Thank you for allowing us to share the love of Christ with the people of Uganda.
So it is with the reassurance the we continue forward in doing the work He has called our family to do in this amazing country. I look forward to what God has in store for our family and the amazing place we now call home. "Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness." Psalm 115:1