Saturday, December 14, 2013

Welcome home baby Micah!

We are very excited and thankful for a safe and healthy delivery of our baby boy, Micah Aaron Jones!

Born on December 2nd, 2013 at 7:04 pm. He weighed 7 lb 10oz and was 20 and 1/4 inches long.
Monday morning I had an appt with my OB doctor and he had told me the week before that I should pack my bags for this appt in case I was close enough to head to the hospital. I was 4 cm dilated and having some random contractions, but nothing major. My doctor said I was very favorable to be induced. I was kind of hoping to let it happen more naturally, but I was also very ready to meet him and it was just good timing. So we headed over to the hospital about 11:00 am, they hooked me up to everything and we waited for the doctor to come and break my water. I as SO, SO thankful the entire time I was in the hospital to be in such a nice place with such great medical care. After being in Kenya and seeing how so many other women go through childbirth, it just really made me so grateful. The doctor came about 1:00 pm and broke my water and then they started me on some potocin. I also went ahead and got an epidural soon after this. This was definitely the smoothest labor and delivery I have ever experienced. At 4:30 I was about 6 cm dilated and they increased my poticin. At 6:30 pm we asked the nurse to check me and she said I was fully dilated and ready to push! After they got the doctor and got everything set up, I pushed just a few times and he was out!!
It was so sweet how the Lord works out even the small details…….I was hoping to have Dr. Broady deliver me and Monday was his on call day. Then one of our good friends is a nurse there and she came in a little early for her shift and helped us deliver. It was a really laid back atmosphere and felt good to have a friend there too.


The first thing I noticed about him was how big his hands were! All the nurses kept going on and on about how perfectly round his head was. Daddy checked to make sure that he was really a BOY! And indeed, he was. 

Micah has been such a good baby. We really are so thankful for this precious gift from the Lord. I got an email just yesterday from my friend in Kapsowar and she told me that Micah’s birth brought blessings to our house helper, Eunice. We have been praying that the Lord would help her chickens produce eggs so that she can have more income to take care of her family. They were suppose to start producing in October, but it had not happened yet. On the day Micah was born, Eunice collected her first FIVE eggs!! We are so excited for these eggs and will continue to pray that more and more produce. We were able to send her more money to buy more feed for them and to deworm them. Thank you to all of you who have prayed for this ministry and please continue to pray.
Thank you also to all of you who have prayed for me throughout my pregnancy and delivery. I felt your prayers and the Lord has provided and taken care of us through it all.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Counting down to meet baby Micah!

Today I am 39 weeks pregnant :). It's really hard to believe that we will be adding a new member to our family so soon. Most people say that time flies faster with each pregnancy, but given our circumstances over the past 9 months......this pregnancy has seemed eternal at times! Yet I am very thankful for all the ways the Lord has provided for my needs throughout this pregnancy and how good I feel even now.

Just a quick update on our family happenings.......we are excited to share that the Lord has provided Aaron with a job which he is excited about. He will be starting as a Family Physician with Summit Medical Group in Oak Ridge, TN. He will start at the beginning of January. I am very thankful that he will be around for the first few weeks with a newborn in the house.

We are still looking for a house in the Powell/Karns area. I was really hoping to be moved in to a place before the baby came, but once again, my plans are not the Lord's plans. We are thankful for this home and the Lord continues to teach me that His ways are better than my ways and I need to learn to TRUST HIM in all things.

This past Friday we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my side of the family in Dandridge. It was a real blessing being able to be together and enjoy YUMMY food and fellowship. Lord willing we will celebrate with Aaron's family this week, assuming I'm not in labor :).

I still have many blogs to post about all that we did the last couple months we were in Kenya. I do want to share that we heard from my house helper, Eunice, and unfortunately, her chickens are not producing eggs like they should. She told us that the problem is that she needs to be feeding them more, but doesn't have the money to buy the food for them. Thankfully, we were able to send some money this past week for her to use for buying food for them. Please pray that this ministry project would be successful as a much needed income for her family. Once the chickens start laying eggs, she will have enough money to purchase food for them from the sell of the eggs. Here are some pictures of the chicken coop with the chickens behind her house before we left.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Working on getting settled in Knoxville, TN

 A few fun pics from Kapsowar :)

Greetings everyone! We have been back in the US for almost two months now. I apologize for the delay in sending out an update. Life has been a bit crazy since we got back. We praise God for a smooth trip back to TN and for good health while we were traveling. The girls did great and we were so thankful Aaron’s mom was able to travel back with us. She was so helpful. It was sad to leave Kapsowar, but after much prayer, we knew it was time for us to leave.
I think our first adjustment once we got back was getting use to the hot and humid summer weather here in East TN. We really enjoyed staying at my (Sonya’s) mom’s house for the first week we were back. It was a nice time to be with family and get our sleeping schedules back on track. And of course, not having to cook was extremely nice for me.
Overall, I feel like we have adjusted pretty well to life here again. We have been very busy trying to get “life” figured out here. First we needed cell phones and vehicles to drive. Thankfully, we are able to live in a mission house during this transition time. The Lord helped us find a car fairly quickly, and then just last week we were able to find a good deal on a minivan. I am very thankful for Aaron who has spent so much time searching online and making phone calls. Also we are thankful for our families who have both let us borrow vehicles while we searched for our own.
Next on the list is a job for Aaron and to find a home. Aaron has been very blessed to have several interviews. He has been interviewing at different places for about 7 weeks. We are hoping that he will be able to make a decision in the next week or two. Please pray for him to have wisdom in that. As of today, I am 33 weeks pregnant. So we have 7 weeks before “baby brother” arrives! My due date is Dec 1st. Once Aaron decides on a job, then we will start looking for a house in that area. We do plan on staying here in the Knoxville area for now.
We have also stayed busied with doctor’s appointments for myself and for our girls. I have been able to see a thyroid doctor, which has been really helpful. He is decreasing my medicine and watching my levels carefully. I am feeling good in general and I am thankful for that. I have also had two ultrasounds since we’ve been back and baby boy looks great! Praise God! For those of you who don’t know……we thought we were having a girl until our first ultrasound back here in the states and at that point we were told we were having a BOY! It was quite exciting and surprising.
I know this is just a short update…..but it is a start. We thank God for all of you who have followed us on this journey and those of you who continue to pray for our family. We really appreciate it.

This is a picture of Eunice with her baby chicks. I was able to take some pics of her chicken coop that you all helped build for her and her family before we left. They should start producing eggs in mid please pray that they are healthy and the Lord uses this business to help provide for her family's needs. I will post the other pics another time.....

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Oxygen flowmeters have arrived!!!

our beautiful oxygen flowmeters!

I’ve (Aaron) been wanting to post this blog for a long time but haven’t made the time to sit down to write it for the last month. But alas, this Sunday afternoon I’ve found a few minutes of peace, where I’m not tired (already had a nap!). 
The last 5 months I’ve been rounding in the Pediatrics ward. A problem that we have all over the hospital is lack of oxygen. Yes, we are around 7,500 feet above sea level ( I call it the mile and half high village) and the air is thinner up here as every visitor is reminded of as they walk around up here. But we have no oxygen concentrators that will increase the amount of oxygen in the air from 21% to 100% for people with lung disease, pneumonia, or other medical issues that require more oxygen. 
Sometime this past year a big concentrator was attached to the peds ward and piped to 6 “outlets” next to the beds. It seems like pneumonia as well as gastroenteritis/dehydration are our most common illnesses here and one day I came in for rounds and found 8 kids ages 2 months to 10 years being treated for pneumonia. As I rounded I kept seeing oxygen saturations of 86%, 88% even 82% (normal is at least 90% but for kids 94%) but those kids weren’t on oxygen because they appeared stable to the staff. The real issue was that they didn’t have enough oxygen flowmeters to get the oxygen to the patients that needed it. The hospital instead had to go 2 hours on rough roads 1 or 2 times per week to pick up expensive and large 5 ft oxygen canisters for some of the patients. I’m sure you could google or look on youtube to see some of dangers of having those “metal missiles” around.  And some of the kids were getting oxygen via a small concentrator that the ward had borrowed from the other wards (making me think “what sick adults had to give up their oxygen concentrators to let these kids have oxygen”). Not only that but all the kids were sharing the oxygen coming out of the machines by using a splitter and having 2 sets of tubing going to 2 different patients. The problem with that is that you really don’t know how much oxygen they are getting and if you are ready to take one child off the oxygen you need to do it gradually but if the other child is not ready to be weaned from oxygen then you just wait…a day or maybe 3 or 4.
I thought it was crazy that the ward had a very expensive machine (large oxygen concentrator), had paid around $10,000 to have that machine installed and piped to 6 beds. But we were only using it at 1/3 of its capacity because we didn’t have 4 more flowmeters that would only cost about $800 total.
So after rounds I went up to purchasing and asked them to price 5 oxygen flowmeters for the peds ward so we could access the oxygen for the babies/children who needed it. He said he would get back to me.
Not only did I want to share this story to say thank you for all those who have given toward the ministry here but also to show what goes into a typical “project” here. This is not meant to be derogatory toward anyone here. I only share it as an example of how different things are here and how difficult getting something so vital and “simple” can be. Believe me there are 1,000 other places on this continent that make Kapsowar look like a breeze, but this isn’t their blog!
I was called by the nursing officer a few days later and told the flowmeters were purchased a couple of days ago and should arrive on Sunday (in 3 days). He told me the price, which was about what we anticipated, and asked if I could get the payment to the hospital to pay for them. So I went to the bank and withdrew the amount from our account later that day and gave it to finance the next day.

 Monday I went for rounds and…no flowmeters on the wall. “I’m sure they are in still in the nursing officer’s office” I said to myself. Later that day he told me he had the flowmeters and would have them checked and installed that day. The next day…no flowmeters. I looked for the nursing officer but couldn’t find him all day. So a couple of days later I found him and he said they had ordered the wrong flowmeters. The new OR building had different outlets and these flowmeters were ordered to fit them, not the ones in pediatrics. So they returned these and began looking for the correct ones. A week went by, no word. Another week…another 5-6 kids with pneumonia seen in peds ward…no flowmeters. A week later or so I asked again and they said they  are working on it and we should have some within the next few days. Not to drag this on but I want you to see how painful this was! 

Anyway, 6 weeks later they tell me there are some available at Tenwek Hospital (a large Christian hospital about a 6 hour drive away). The other good news was that we had another nursing officer whose family lived near Tenwek and he was going to visit them next week. I spoke with him and he was confident he could get them during his visit. By this point it was May and I had originally paid the money mid-March. He returned from his visit with his family the next week but still no flowmeters. He said he spoke to his contact there but when he went to meet him the other man didn’t show up and didn’t answer his phone. So he came back to Kapsowar without them. The good news was that he was going back next week and felt confident he could get them then. He was delayed in going by a week so the NEXT next week he returned. He stayed this time for a week and I was eager to hear from him about his success story. He came to my house the next day and said he was able to get the flowmeters BUT they needed an attachment for a humidifier bottle and he took them to Nairobi and left them there to have them added.

 Only one was ready when he had to leave so instead of splitting up the order he just left them all there. Then he said (and I quote) “You may want to see about getting some flowmeters from somewhere else. Maybe you have a friend in America that could send them over.” WHAT? After all this he is telling me that we might need to start over! I told him I thought we should stick with these flowmeters in Nairobi and he said that would be fine. About 10 days later he told me someone had sent the flowmeters from Nairobi to Eldoret and tomorrow someone would be bringing them to Kapsowar. That next afternoon I asked if they had arrived and he said the driver left late and didn’t realize how bad the road from Eldoret to Kapsowar was and made it half way but turned around because he wasn’t sure he could make it here before dark. The next day was Sunday and I saw the nursing officer at church and he told me the driver should be here that afternoon. 

The next morning I was walking into work and passed him carrying a box. I’m sure my eyes lit up! He said they had arrived and was sending them to the “procurement” department to assess them and they should be available tomorrow. Lo and behold 2 days later we had 4 (not 5 but who’s counting by this point!) oxygen flowmeters. I told the nurses we should celebrate by turning them all on high and breathing in fresh oxygen for a few minutes but we decided to just drink some tea and thank God for them instead!!!!
So thank you to all our supporters. We could not have purchased them without you. We hope to have another ministry update blog posted later this week!

Flowmeter behind a patient
2 girls outside (I guess Sonya just liked this picture!)

patient with a congenital heart defect needing oxygen to keep her oxygen level up.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Feasting with our and old

The first “feast” I would like to share about was with our house helper, Eunice, and her family. We had been talking about having them all over for PIZZA for several weeks and finally it happened. Her children were so excited to come over and try our “American” food. We fixed one pepperoni and one ham and pineapple pizza. After trying both, the children agreed that they liked the pepperoni better. Then, of course, we topped it off with some homemade chocolate chip cookies! Those were a big hit for everyone. After our meal we enjoyed fellowshipping with them. The younger girls were so excited to play with Braelyn and Layna and all their toys! The older boys watched a movie with Aaron on his computer. It was really nice to get to host this sweet family that we love so much. We are hoping to have one more pizza night get together before we leave in August.

The next “feast” was with our good friends from Tennessee who we met during college at UT Knoxville. They had come to Kapsowar to serve for a few weeks and we were so blessed to have them here. We wanted them to get to experience some real Kenyan food so I asked Eunice and her sister Edna if they would prepare a Kenyan meal for us one night. They were really excited to get to cook their favorite foods for us. We had beef stew (beef, carrots, peas) and rice, mashed potatoes, ugali (which is a staple food at almost every meal in Kenya, similar to grits but more stiff and dry), cooked cabbage, rice pilau (which is rice with bits of carrots and peas and special seasoning in it), chipati (which looks like a tortilla, but is a bit thicker. This is also a favorite Kenyan food), and mango juice (freshly blended). Kenyans do not eat this much food at every meal. Eunice and Edna told us that this was the kind of spread that they would prepare for Christmas or a wedding. Typically, Kenyans will eat ugali with cabbage or sakuma wiki(which is like spinach and tomatoes sautéed together) or they also eat a lot of rice and beans. Meat is not a regular part of their diet because it is expensive. So, we were extremely blessed to enjoy this delicious meal and were so thankful to Eunice and Edna for making it for us. It was so DELICIOUS!!

 (Eunice and Edna working hard to prepare our thankful for them!)

 And as you can see from the pictures our girls had a wonderful time playing with their new friends too! It was a very blessed time of fellowship and fun!! We thank God for sending them to Kapsowar while we were here.