Mbingo Baptist Hospital: view from Mbingo Hill

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Is Here

Christmas is here, and although we are far from family, the weather is 70 degrees, and the celebration of Christmas is somewhat different here, it is finally beginning to feel like Christmas. We greatly miss our family’s Christmas traditions and the beautiful Christmas Eve candlelight service, but we are realizing that there are many advantages to being apart from the hustle and bustle of the western Christmas season. We have been able to really focus on the meaning of Christmas and to begin to teach Cathen this greatest gift – Jesus Christ – and celebrate this gift with our Cameroonian and missionary family. This year our celebration began with a Christmas party on Children’s Ward. Together with the Cameroonian staff, we prepared songs, gifts, and food for the children and families admitted on the ward. Then on Christmas Eve, we joined the other missionary doctors in caroling through the hospital wards. Though the ideas of “peace on earth” and “joy to the world” are all too easily lost amidst suffering and sickness, there remains the glimmer of hope in people’s eyes, and we greatly enjoyed singing and sharing these timeless messages of hope and joy. 

As part of this season, we wanted to share with you the love that one of our dear friends has shown the children of Cameroon. You will see in many of the pictures below, beautiful fleece blankets. A wonderful woman, Peggy Payne ("Gigi"), who lives in Charlotte, NC, has lovingly made these blankets for the children here at Mbingo Baptist Hospital. Gigi is not only a wonderful grandmother to her granddaughters, Christina and Kelly - now all grown-up and married - she is a grandmother to the children who have come to our hospital. For the last year she has spent countless hours making blankets for these little ones. With each blanket she is sharing love with a newborn, a sick or malnourished child, or even a mother and father grieving the loss of their child. This Christmas, we want to say thank you to Gigi, for her precious contribution to caring for and loving the children at Mbingo Hospital.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers
and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Matthew 25:40

Merry Christmas to you all! May God bless you richly this Christmas season and may you be ambassadors for Christ as you share His love with those around you.

Much love,

Lindsay, JR, and Cathen

Gigi's "grandkids" and their blankets

 The Children's Ward Christmas Party

Monday, December 16, 2013

What's For Dinner?

Towards the end of the rainy season and the coming to the commencement of the dry season, just as the two seasons collide, there is a wonderful phenomenon that occurs here at Mbingo. I was walking home one day from work and I realized that literally everybody was outside! This was not a typical site. I see farmers tending their crops, and laborers working on the landscape daily, but this was something different. Men and women, young and old, boys and girls alike were outside, running, jumping, dashing, and darting; talking, laughing, pointing, and signaling. Everyone was outside. Granted, it was a nice day, but why the swarm of people? Then I saw what had everyone’s attention… They were not outside for the fun of it. Indeed, they were outside for the swarm – of grasshoppers!

There is a delicious little grasshopper that makes his way into our lives this time of year. He is slender and green, quite docile, albeit a little bit pesky. He will be found on your laundry hanging in the sun (or in the washing machine because he didn’t quite jump off of your dirty clothes before you shut the door), in your shoes, climbing on your back, in your patient’s hands in the clinic room, and anywhere else, private or otherwise that you might think of. These little critters might seem a nuisance, but they are truly a delicacy. Pull off the legs (they have sharp little barbs), put them on the frying pan with some salt and pepper, and you have dinner!

Anyway, there we all were, outside, shaking trees and leaves to cause the critters to take to the air, then to corral them into a group so the children and adults alike could pounce on them, and quickly put them in a plastic bag, a bottle, or just in the grasp of a hand. They’re only here for a short season, so when the time is right, you’ve got to act quickly! Let’s all get outside, and no need to ask what’s for dinner!

JR (Lindsay & Cathen)