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Sunday School: Olivia's Blog #6

We have been settling into our home, and we’ve taken on the challenge to make friends.  One Sunday I noticed all the kids get up to leave for Sunday school.  I thought it would be a great way to meet friends, and connect with other girls.  As Winnie, Given and I approached the group under the mango tree, all eyes trailed on us.  I held my head as confidently as I could, as we approached and stopped near the back.  We joined in clapping and singing the simple song in English.

Soon it was time to sit down for the Sunday school sermon.  My sisters and I started to sit down on the grass mat, but the teacher wouldn’t have it.  After clearing about eight kids that were crammed on one bench off, for the three of us.  The teacher then started on the short sermon.  The teacher asked some questions that were directed at us, and then we memorized the memory verse.  As I think back on that first time going to Sunday school, I remember how nervous and small I felt, and how grateful I was to have my sisters at my side.  We have now attended Sunday school about five times, and I think friendships are blossoming. 

Our farm continues to thrive under the careful care of Mr. Abraham, our gardener.  Mom has remembered to state the fact that, without him, all our animals would be dead by now!  Well, that’s all for now folks…HA! I love saying that!   But anyway, thank you for reading,

~Olivia             

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 December 2017 11:59

An Unusual Cause of Arthritis of the Hip

I was asked to see an elderly man in one of the Health Centers in the Palorinya refugee settlements (Moyo District, Uganda).  I approached him, and the Clinical Officer gave me a brief history.  He had had an accident some years back, and now had right hip pain.

"Feel," the old man said, taking my hand and guiding it to a divot in the flesh of his right flank.  He gestured to similar scars on his left thigh, left arm, and chest, and again said, "Feel."

"He's asking you to 'feel' where he was injured," said another Clinical Officer.

"No, he's speaking Arabic," replied the first Clinical Officer, with me in agreement.  "'Fil' means 'Elephant'!"  

I have never before seen chronic hip pain / arthritis caused by a previous elephant attack (additionally, I haven't seen many, if any, that have survived an elephant attack!)!

"Rabuna saidu ita," I commented to the man.  God helped you.  He smiled, but didn't seem to agree.  Oh well, I thought, I'm only called to declare the truth about God's mercy.  And then I prescribed some Tylenol for him.

(When I relayed this story to my family, our kids, who are learning Madi and previously learned Arabic, suggested the saying "Leah, feel the elephant."  Leya is elephant in Madi, Fil is elephant in Arabic, and... well, the last is English!)

Last Updated on Saturday, 18 November 2017 14:06

Doing and Being: Medical Work in Moyo District

I (Jeff) finished my initial “circuit” of the six “Health Centre III’s” in the refugee settlements of Moyo District.  A Health Centre III is a small hospital that performs deliveries and admits patients as well as seeing 100+ patients in clinic each day.  Each is staffed by 3 “Clinical Officers” (like Physician Assistants) and multiple nurses, lab techs, counselors, translators, and midwives.  Many of the staff are new graduates and are craving further training and help with the complex situations they are facing with refugee patients.  I am working under the organization “Medical Teams International,” who has been entrusted (by the United Nations) the task of providing medical care to the 175,000 refugees in the district.  Back in the Moyo District Hospital, I am providing clinical oversight to the Pediatrics Ward.  A young doctor who has just finished with his internship was also assigned to the ward, so I am working with him to make improvements in the hospital care of children.
 
Recent patient encounter at a Health Centre III
An older woman was brought in because it was discovered that she was about to hang herself.  She had entered Uganda without registering, and was staying with her brother and his wife.  The brother was also not registered, so the three of them were struggling to survive on the rations provided for the one who was registered as a refugee.  The woman’s 10 year old son was somewhere in the settlement, but she had not been able to locate him.  Her brother’s wife demanded that she leave.  She thought “if I go back to South Sudan, I will be killed; if I stay here, I will die of starvation… so I might as well end my life.”  Such is the hopelessness that many face.  The relief worker that brought her to us said that if she was sent immediately to the reception center, she would linger for several weeks, and little attention would be given her depressed state.  There would be little to stop her from completing what she had thought to do.  The Clinical Officer with whom I was seeing this patient asked what I thought we should do.  I asked her what their usual protocol was for suicide attempts.  She replied that they hadn’t had a case like this before.  So, we talked through the importance of keeping her safe until she was registered.  There are few medications to offer her for depression, but they could bring in a counselor, and contact a pastor to come talk with her.  Near the end of the conversation, I realized she spoke Arabic.  Earlier in the day, I had struggled to pull up some key Arabic words, but I did my best at praying with her.
 
Some days we struggle with what, if anything, we are bringing to the situation the South Sudanese face.  Perhaps, hope— to those in the settlements, that we, and the Lord, have not forgotten them.  And to the medical staff serving the refugees, hope in the form of support and education, as they are quite isolated at their various posts in this boggy area along the Nile.  We are having discussions with staff and others to determine how to structure this encouragement— such as “visiting doctor days” for ultrasound scanning and consulting on more difficult patients, and/or formal training courses.  More than anything we can do— for the needs are immense—we hope that we are the presence of Christ to staff, refugees, and their hosts, the Ma’di people.

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 October 2017 14:04

Shifting and Sifting

We are “missionary refugees.”  As you may have noticed from other writings on this site, we are still the “Perryclan” but not currently “in South Sudan.”  While our heart is to be in South Sudan, the last of our team had to evacuate Yei, South Sudan in November of 2016, and His House of Hope – Bet Eman Teaching Hospital (HHH-BETH) had to reduce services to the point of caring for the orphans and staff on the compound only.

There are now over one million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, and nearly 400,000 in Ethiopia.  Yei is a key, central city in the southernmost part of South Sudan, and was relatively peaceful during most of the time since the civil war started in December 2013.  During 2016, however, groups who were dissatisfied with the government began forming in the bush around Yei River State and preparing to fight.  While Yei itself has remained in government control throughout, the rebel groups have surrounded it and cut off all roads in and out of the city.  Most of the local population fled to northern Uganda due to the fighting, lack of food, and absence of safety in which to continue planting, harvesting, trading, and doing normal life.

We, like many of the local population, have “shifted” to the West Nile Region of northern Uganda.  (The locals in the Moyo District say “shift” rather than “move” to describe a change in where one lives… though it is often pronounced “sift.”  For example, a man asked me “When are you ‘sifting’?” and I was confused as to what he was asking!)  Some of our missionary team shifted to northern South Sudan—Yida, a large transit camp for Nuban people fleeing from Sudan; others shifted to Kenya to help in mission hospitals, training doctors and nurses; others have shifted to Arua, Uganda, a central point from which many refugee services are coordinated; and others have shifted to their “passport” or “home” country to help with refugee care there, while helping with mobilization and support of missionaries.

In the process of “shifting,” there is also “sifting.”  The Lord has taken our team and dispersed us throughout East Africa and the world.  He is “sifting” us with regards to what we do and who we are in Him.  In Yei at HHH-BETH, there was a large, clearly-defined amount of work to be done every day.  We never had to wonder about our relevance.  In our new locations, we are struggling to find our way, as are the South Sudanese refugees.  In the process, there is great potential for outcomes that are not as tangible, but perhaps more fruitful

While the buildings of HHH-BETH sit undisturbed and unused, many of the relationships that were built within them continue, as each of our team discovers staff and patients living near where we have shifted.   When people are displaced, they are often more open to what God wants to communicate.  May we, and those we work alongside, receive what He intends through His sifting.

(The pronunciation of “s” versus “sh” in words has a long and sordid history… for those with further interest, read the story in Judges 12, particularly verses 5-6.)

Last Updated on Saturday, 02 September 2017 14:33

Olivia's Blog #5: (Guest blogger- Sophia Jade)

Hi, everyone! You may be wondering, “Where is Olivia?”  Well, I asked her if I could write a few blogs, and she said I could. So here we go…

We were in Arua on a mini family breather. It was about four and a half hour drive (minus the stops)!  We stopped three times— that’s a Perry record. Ok, it’s not really a record! You see, we brought our dog who is named Kwadja.  Anyway, the first stop was not even three minutes into the drive— when he threw-up.  He threw-up twice on that trip.   We were staying at a guest house— it was ok. We have seen better. Ok— to be honest with you, it was not all that nice. We spent most of our time at the “White Castle” swimming and seeing the few friends that we have in Arua. It was good to have a breather, from school and so forth. We were thinking of moving to the White Castle, but we could not because we had our dog. They said they have had people bring their dogs without asking and the outcome was not good. 

We are back home in Moyo, our kitten Puff is still alive and was happy to see us and Kwadja, too. All the animals are alive and well.  And we are settling back into life in Moyo. Thank you for praying with us! 

This is Sophia Jade…

Last Updated on Friday, 11 August 2017 15:08

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Our Mission:

Share the gospel of Jesus Christ and strengthen His Church through medical care and education, discipleship, and loving the people of South Sudan as a family.

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