I’ve never had a day Ike today, feeling overwhelmed & inadequate to everything around me. I visited one of our malnutrition clinics here in Angola & when we landed this morning, there were 98 babies who were being looked after for malnutrition. That’s a HEAP OF BABIES & I’ve never experienced malnutrition in such high numbers. So walking around the buildings this morning, I seeing babies at various severities of malnutrition, this was definitely challenging. And I don’t find myself numb from the sheer numbers of babies. I’m able to recognize the distended bellies, stringy arms, knobby knees, glassy eyes, xylophone ribs, lightened hair . . . . I know the symptoms & it’s difficult to see each baby struggling to survive, along w each mom, abundantly stretched with worry & care from looking after their baby whom they deeply love.
By the time we left this afternoon, the clinic had 125 babies & everyone was trying to figure out where to let everyone settle for some space & hopeful rest / recovery.
When I’m past my breaking point, it helps me remember that whatever we do to the least, we do to Jesus. So let’s love well, no matter where we are nor what’s happening around us.
When I’m in a malnutrition clinic here in Angola, I’m delighted to hear crying babies drown out any cricket noises. A crying baby in a malnutrition clinic means they have enough strength to cry. A quiet & lethargic baby in a malnutrition clinic can be very disturbing to me. It’s even worse when a quiet baby in these clinics looks into my eyes & I don’t see anything beyond a glassy stare.
I’ve just spent the day at one of our 6 malnutrition clinics here in Angola & it’s uniquely unraveling to watch a baby struggle to survive.Add in a stretched thin mom, worried for her baby’s life, and this can become very unsettling. So how do I process not just one mom & baby in this scenario but not less than ten?
It helps to pray, for sure & it helps me to spend time & give genuine love. I know that God lives to spend time with you & enjoys your company!
I’m flying to Angola today, where we have 6 malnutrition clinics to save babies & toddlers. I haven’t been in Angola for 3years because of various technicalities. And Saving Moses has these malnutrition clinics in Angola, because of such a high infant mortality rate.Angola is the country where I first experienced the realities of emaciated babies with xylophone ribcages, hallow eyes & labored breathing. I have yet to experience anything in my life that compares with holding a baby who is feather light with fleeting breathes from being malnourished. So this is a tough trip.
I like to avoid tough & embrace comfort, reject inconvenient but welcome smoothy groovy.
But genuine love steps into things that are tough, heartbreaking & impossible, even though I drag my feet. Choose genuine love with me 🙂
I’m in Bangledesh & interviewing families who have recently fled from Burma, literally running for their lives, many of whom are pregnant, with newborns & babies in tow. The things I’m hearing & seeing here are deeply moving. I’ve met moms who have lost their babies, whose babies are malnourished & who are trying to nurse newborn twins. This is all very powerful for me to hear & see, meeting mom’s & babies who have survived atrocities & uncertainties of catastrophic proportions.
And i can’t help but think about Mary, Jesus’ mom, who fled in the middle of the night with Joseph, with baby Jesus in her arms. Joseph had a warning dream about Herod killing all the babies in Bethlehem, so with tremendous urgency, he escaped Herod’s murderous intent. So Mary understood the plight of the moms I’m meeting.
May we also find genuine love to be our first reaction when we hear of refugees & moms who are doing everything possible to keep their babies alive & safe.
It’s 3:45am & I’m in Bangledesh. Just when I thought I was safe to take out my ear plugs, the prayer call thing started up again. Maybe tonight is a special occasion for some city-wide prayer meeting via the Goliath loudspeakers blaring outside my window.
It’s one thing to struggle with changing time zones & getting decent sleep with the blaring city-wide prayer call. It’s another thing to think about the babies & toddlers I met yesterday whose moms work in the largest brothel in Bangledesh. When I asked these moms about where they keep their babies when they work, 7/10 said that their babies & toddlers are on the bed with them as they work because these moms have no other option for their babies. And many of these are at risk from being abused by their moms clients.
So these babies & toddlers are NOT SAFE. Enter nightcare with Saving Moses. In nightcare, we provide a safe place for the babies & toddlers of sex workers to sleep while their moms work. We have been doing nightcare in Cambodia for almost 5 years & I’m super keen / eager to open nightcare here in Bangledesh.
The moms of these babies desperately want to keep their babies safe so they’d can keep a “fresh mind.” This was a quote from one of the moms I interviewed. It unraveled me.
If you want to change something that is people related, think about how to love well. I say that because sometimes people can be cranky, grumpy & even rude for various reasons. But genuine love seems to often diffuse some of those challenges & hostilities. Seems to me that we humans do well with receiving genuine love but even more importantly, we are most fulfilled when we love others well & not only when a person seems worthy of being loved.
With Saving Moses, we get to express genuine love to our babies with nightcare & it is totally a divine experience to express genuine love to our babies & their moms.
The recent earthquake in Nepal is massively tragic! More than 5,000 people have died and there are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands and possibly millions who have been affected by this tragedy. With our work with Saving Moses, I’m super concerned about the babies and toddlers who can easily be overlooked when these kinds of tragedies happen. So here’s some helpful insight about these babies. Please feel free to help us send relief and aid to these babies, who desperately need our help, attention and tangible love. Let’s love lavishly with divine extravagance!
I’ve just been in Cambodia with Saving Moses & heard this extremely powerful testimony that will be super encouraging. A mom who was coming out of the prostitution industry had contracted gonerea (or however you spell it) & became pregnant. Instead of delivering her baby by c-section to protect him from the gonerea, she delivered him normally. From the birthing process, he also caught the disease in his eyes, for which there’s no cure in Cambodia. The prognosis for this baby boy was that he would be blind & the disease would likely spread to his brain with severe consequences. My friend went to pray healing for this little boy & over the course of time, he is totally healed, can see normally & is developing at a normal & healthy rate without any health concerns – how cool is that?!?!!!
I love that God is our healer, including healing for the babies of prostitutes. No one is too small, insignificant nor trivial for God to touch, heal & transform 🙂
Most of us are familiar with the story of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. The grinch was an evil villain and the antithesis of Christmas – no one wants to be a grinch, particularly at Christmas, bleck! But there is a very ugly, mean, destructive and abhorrent grinch doing it’s level best to ruin Christmas for no one less than helpless & vulnerable babies. This grinch is what the disease ebola is doing in three countries in West Africa (Guine, Liberia & Sierra Leone). What makes this grinch so wholly abhorrent is how it has stolen the lives of moms & dads in these nations, stranding their babies often with no care, support, protection or food.
Saving Moses is conducting a campaign throughout December to raise anti-grinch funds to provide food, nurture, medical care & protection to these abandoned babies. Please consider joining our anti-grinch campaign & give these babies genuine love, a chance to survive another day & thrive into the future. Thanks so much for your prayers & consideration!
I was absolutely appalled to read about the discovery of 4 babies found dead in Canada yesterday in a storage unit. The Canadian authorities are obviously doing a thorough investigation into the situation and because they were only found yesterday, there’s not alot of information to answer the host of questions that neither you nor I have at this moment.
When we hear of situations like this, I think it’s extermely important not to get callous nor indifferent to these kinds of atrocities – hence my work with Saving Moses. Our mission with Saving Moses is to help babies & toddlers where the need is most urgent & the care is least available. With these parameters, we have a malnutrition program that feeds severely malnourished babies in Angola (very high infant mortality), many of whom would die without our therapeutic formula. Additionally, we run a really novel program in Cambodia called nightcare, where we take care of the babies of prostitutes at night while they work – so they don’t have the babies with them while they’re working, or abandon them in unsafe care or situations. We are already setting up plans and funding for 2015 so that we can continue to expand of efforts with our mission to “save Moses.”
If we are not deeply and even primordially disturbed by these atrocities with babies, then perhaps we need to pause & reconsider some basic human values 🙂
Let me show & tell you about some of the coolest people on the planet, with whom I’ve had the honor to be around. I’m leading our first ever Saving Moses team trip & we are in Cambodia with an absolutely amazing team who has poured their hearts, souls, sweat & love into everything they’re doing here! Only a few of the amazing & cool things they’ve done include: painting, cleaning, being patient (again), assembling baby cots, holding babies & hundreds of more things! Here are some fun pix to show our sweat equity!
We’ve concluded our 3rd day here & as we were taking a pause, we took a walk along a really busy area for nightlife here in Phnom Penh. As we were walking, I literally almost stumbled over these babies where sleeping on the sidewalk. Please watch my 30sec video on my sarah bowling fb page
When I look at Jesus’ life & words, it seems to me that He made folk either super happy or super ticked. He frequently made the religious establishment of His day really upset with how He confronted their hypocrisy & double standards. On the flip side, He readily embraced & accepted those who were marginalized, unpopular & even semi-rogue-ish. Jesus was known as a friend of sinners. So in my thinking as it relates to our modern living, it seems to me that if I’m going to follow Jesus, then it’s important to authentically connect with people who have been marginalized, those who are less popular and even some folk who could be considered renegades. Maybe this is one of the reasons why I love what Saving Moses does with our nightcare program, where we take care of the babies of sex workers while their moms work. Some people think of this kind of help in terms of fostering prostitution, empowering fornication or enabling seedy living. I prefer to see nightcare as a way to genuinely love these babies, who are easily the least of the least in our modern world 🙂
I think that we generally prefer light over darkness and yesterday this was really obvious to me. Here in Cambodia, I have a program with Saving Moses called nightcare. With nightcare, we take care of the babies of prostitutes while their moms work. We give them a safe, warm & loving environment.
Darkness is the contrast because these babies live in hellacious environments. Yesterday, I saw places where babies live, places so dark that I’m still struggling to figure out how to describe them. And with babies in this darkness. These places have a desperate need for nightcare & I’m still spinning from the experience & the darkness.
I want light, I want to live in light & I want to be an agent of light because in my thinking, light is one of the ways that genuine love is expressed.
I’m presently in Cambodia & I’ve been able to see first hand on this trip why we need nightcare. I am close to overwhelmed by what I’ve seen & experienced, finding myself almost at a loss for the words to describe what’s happening to and around these babies every night.
What is normal for these babies could be considered hell especially in contrast to our nightcare program – a safe haven with genuine love, care & protection. I’m attaching a picture of what I saw one night here.
I always want to be upbeat & encouraging because we all have our own responsibilities & things that can concern us. But today, I’m having a hard time because I just listened to a story of heartbreak & hopelessness from a girl who has a little 2 year old son. I want to fix her problems & make everything better for her & her son. I may not be able to do everything but I can help in my small way & maybe that’s what God wants from each of us – to do our part & make our individual contributions. I’m confident that if we each make a commitment to daily add value to the world in which we live, we can well express God’s love & bring transformation in maybe small but really powerful ways. Lets make a difference!!!
I’m sitting in a malnutrition until for babies & surrounded by beauty – beautiful moms, babies, care workers & beauty. Along with the vast colors & faces who are nothing less than breathtaking, I am also see babies who have some definite feeding & some healthcare needs. So I’m looking into some possibilities & we’ll see the ways in which we can be helpful. In the meantime, I’m overwhelmed by how beautiful the people are. They’re regal, majestic, strong & friendly. I’ll try to post some pix with this blog, but know that the beauty goes far beyond my ability to capture in a photo & with that in mind, consider how wonderful & beautiful you are to God 🙂
For the next several days, I’m going to be visiting South Sudan for Saving Moses. I’m checking out S Sudan because our mission with www.savingmoses.org is to save babies where the need is most urgent & care is least available. South Sudan has only recently become an independent nation after decades of fighting with Sudan for its independence. It is also a place where Joseph Kony & the Lords Resistance Army have continued to commit indescribable atrocities. When a country has this amount of unrest & instability, the babies are often the population that suffer the most destructive results – hence the trips for Saving Moses to South Sudan. Please be sure to stay tuned on this blog, through Facebook & twitter over the next week or so, as I’ll be keeping you posted as much as I can – and of course, please don’t fight the urge to pray for us as well!
I’m with Saving Moses here in Angola where we are providing malnutrition formula every day, 4-6 times a day for
I would love to bring you with me to meet these heroic moms & their lovely babies because you would be deeply touched to hear their stories, to sense their strength & watch their genuine love. Every time I come here I meet new moms & get to catch up with some moms & babies from previous years. Today, we were able to visit with Angelina & her little girl Desorae, as well as Marcella & her son Belito, both families who we have met with for a few years now. Both moms & their kids are pregnant & doing extremely well 🙂
To be really honest with you, these trips are always really hard on my heart (it’s extremely difficult to see babies who are emaciated or bloated because of malnutrition & are frequently inches from death). But I must also say that this trip has been really rewarding because I am also able to see the MASSIVE difference we are able to make every day by providing malnutrition formula. It brings me indescribable fulfillment to know that we are feeding not just today’s babies but also investing in each baby’s potential & future. How could we do anything less?
Today’s pictures: peekaboo, mom Angelina & her daughter Desorae 🙂