Baby-on-the-back African style

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15 January 2006

In Him Who is able to do all things, greetings from South Africa.

On the good side of things, this Holiday season was quite a joy as I found myself surrounded by the smiling faces of fifty children. I’ve never had a Christmas without snow (much less in 90+ degree weather), or had a BBQ and water fight on the day, so this year was definitely a year of new traditions. In South Africa the country basically shuts down from mid Dec. to early Jan. – government offices/buildings, shops, stores, restaurants, hospitals – everybody. This was a very strange thought compared to the typical consumerism that floods America during those times. Of course at the orphanage things never shut down, or stop, or pause, because children just keep on being children no matter the time of year. So the words “Christmas break” seem very foreign to me at the moment. But I did get to take a break from the ordinary routine and make Biscuits and Gravy for all the kids and adults. Only one other person had ever had such a thing, but it was a big hit.

Though the Christmas season passed smoothly, this new year has brought many heartaches with it. Almost two weeks ago now I felt the need to see on of my small babies, Unabella (3 months). It was about 21h30 and when I went in to see her I found her struggling to breathe. She responded to my CPR for about five minutes, but then it was apparent that she was in her last moments on earth. I pronounced her dead at 21h45. I had named her Unabella because she was the most beautiful child I had ever seen. Three days before we had found out that she had a rapid-progressing form of AIDS, I just didn’t know it would be that rapid. I did a small service and viewing for the workers that night and we were able to talk a bit about her condition.

Five days after this sorrow, some of our premature babies started getting a bronchial infection which resulted in me resuscitating three of them and rushing them to hospital. One of those times I didn’t have anyone to take with me to hospital, so I had to keep my hand on his chest, drive until he would stop breathing, get him to breathe, and drive on. This week I have spent over thirty hours in the nearest hospital (which is NOT our hospital of choice) and three days without sleep. During these times I knew I was being sheltered under the wings of my Father, being supplied with the strength that only He can give. By Saturday we knew that we had viral pneumonia going through, and over twenty of our babies have it. My normal routine turned into crisis management as children needed to be put on oxygen, antibiotics, etc… and, being sick, needed twice the amount of holding and love. Sunday morning, though, God granted me sleep, 12 hours of it, and besides the flat tire I got Sunday night, Monday brings a new week, and I pray that it will hold much encouragement.

Thank you for your constant prayers, I would ask for your particular prayers for the health of the children and workers. I have two workers who have come down with the illness, and we pray that no more will go down with it. I am in continual thanks that I remain healthy amidst these times, please pray that my health continues.

In a spirit of rejoicing I look forward to a visit from my mother! God has used the generosity of some dear saints and old friends from home, and they have paid for my mom to come visit me here and see my work. She arrives on the 30th of January and will be here for about 12 days. I look forward to the encouragement that I know she will bring with her, and ask for your prayers that she may have safe travels and a blessed time.

Our God is truly the God of the Universe, still upholding men with His breath of life. He is present in our time of need, and our comfort in times of sorrow. He has given His angels charge over us to guard us in all our ways, and lights the way He would have us walk in. In my Stronghold and the Lifter of my head, peace and joy.

-Nicole de Martimprey