malnutrition

The Abundance Factor

Little tweaks can make big impacts & I see evidence of this in lots of ways.  For example, I have a friend who regularly reminds me that gratitude makes everything enough.  She uses everyday examples of how she’s thankful & the impact this attitude makes on her thinking, conversations & decisions.  And she doesn’t just do this at Thanksgiving!

The same can also be true for a little tweak with treats we enjoy!  During this holiday season, I’m doing a #hungerstrike campaign with Saving Moses, asking everyone to forego one treat / indulgence & send that money to Saving Moses to help us feed a malnourished baby. A candy bar in America, or a pumpkin spice latte, or the extra pair of shoes that we forego, could make the difference between life and death for a baby in our malnourishment clinics.

Let’s remember that abundance can be a direct result of gratitude!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, fasting, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Doing More

I’m making my way back to Denver from Angola Africa, where I’ve been for a week working with our baby malnutrition initiative with Saving Moses. I think this is my 6th trip to Angola & it never fails to bring me to my knees, almost literally. 

On this trip, I’ve never seen, held or experienced so many malnourished babies possibly combined in my whole life – over the course of close to 5days. And I’m coming home with all of these experiences swirling in my heart, thoughts & emotions. Clearly, this will be a journey for processing, literally. And at the same time, I’m compelled to do more. 

It seems to me like we all want to do more. But I wonder if we want to do more of the right stuff?  Sometimes maybe we should think about what it means to “do more” prayerfully considering if our more is being directed by God. 

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Posted by Sarah in Angola, busy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 1 comment

Unable But Yielded

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. 

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Posted by Sarah in Angola, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, missions, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

No Crickets

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!

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Posted by Sarah in Angola, busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Getting Better

Arriving & Improving: I prefer arriving over improving because to me the difference is destination versus journey. And yet here in Angola, with Saving Moses, I’m reminding myself that improvement is an essential ingredient for destination & change. 

I say this having driven by one of our malnutrition clinics today & observing the improvements to the lodging arrangements. In the past, this clinic had 3 large huts, poorly ventilated & lit, concrete floors & abundant flies. Today, the lodging has vastly improved – I’ll describe it here on my blog tomorrow. 

And still I see friendly moms with malnourished babies, waiting daily for their baby to improve & hopefully return home healthy & strong. Malnourished babies & toddlers meet your eyes with a dull stare or achy eyes. Their motions are lethargic & labored, so as to minimize the energy expense. Sometimes their bellies are swollen with edema & almost always their ribcages look like xylophone strips. And their heads are disproportionately large on their underdeveloped frames. 

So when I see babies in these conditions, it’s difficult to look at the building improvements because people always trump facilities. Nonetheless, I can choose to celebrate progress even if I have yet to see the full realization of helping Angola live in the state of declining infant mortality. 

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Posted by Sarah in Angola, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Avoiding Tough

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 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in Angola, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, missions, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Keep Looking

“Where is Jo-Jo?”  I’d circled through the stark malnutrition clinic in Angola with Saving Moses, looking for the struggling little baby that I’d met just before we took a break for lunch.  I remembered seeing Jo-Jo’s mom: she was extremely tired and her nerves were obviously frayed.  But I was hopeful for Jo-Jo, since she was in our clinic now and could receive some medical care and a steady supply of the malnutrition formula that has kept literally thousands of babies from dying.

I talked with my friends about Jo-Jo over lunch and I was eager return to the clinic and  encourage her mom that we would do our level best to help her frail daughter to survive and even thrive.  I walked through our clinic again, slower this time, looking for little Jo-Jo in her bright red shirt.  I couldn’t find her so I asked our translator to check in with the nurse to see where Jo-Jo was.  “Her mom took her and left,” was the nurse’s reply.  “We have to find her!  She doesn’t stand a chance of surviving without our help!  Where’s her file, find her address, call the phone number, let’s go to her house, let DO SOMETHING!!!”  I was really upset and I could tell the nurse was also very disturbed.  We looked at Jo-Jo’s chart, found a phone number and only the name of the neighborhood where she lived, since Angola doesn’t use an address system like we do in the US. There was no chance of finding her in the neighborhood listed, it was HUGE.  When we called the number listed on the chart, there was no answer.  So how could we keep trying to find Jo-Jo?  Could we send someone to her neighborhood in the very remote chance we’d find her?

We did this and we kept calling the phone number, but we never found Jo-Jo and given the extremely frail state of her little body, I would suppose that she died.  This has really bothered me for a very long time because Jo-Jo’s mom seemed to have given up all hope for her daughter to live.  What kind of hell does a mom go through to get to the point of giving up hope for her baby to live?  Could I have been more sensitive to the mom’s exhausted state?  What would I do differently in this situation for the future?

Some things are deeply disturbing and this is probably a good thing because such experiences can interrupt our comfortable living and provoke us to bring genuine love and life to the world in which we live.  Let’s keep looking for ways to let God love the world through us.

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hot topic: dead babies in storage shed

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 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in Angola, Cambodia, family, Genuine love, Holy Spirit, hot topic, Jesus Chix, listen, living, missions, nightcare, prayer, saving moses, travel, values, watch, 1 comment

an outlier father

Watch this a short & really amazing video of a  legendary father

After you watch this, consider that he’s most likely the ONLY single dad that our malnutrition workers have ever met in Angola in more than 15 years of work there.  Moses is totally amazing!!!!

 

 

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Posted by sarahbowling in Angola, family, Genuine love, grow, listen, living, relationships, saving moses, seeing Jesus, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Learning different ways

I’m sitting at one of our malnutrition clinics for Saving Moses in Angola & it’s the noon feeding time, so I am having the pleasure of watching 30+ moms feeding their babies w the therapeutic milk that saving Moses provides everyday for approximately 4-6 feedings per baby. In the attached picture, you see a mom using a spoon to feed her baby & I’ve had lots of people ask me why they don’t use bottles at our clinics & the answer for this question has 3 simple parts:
*i can use our money to buy therapeutic milk or bottles. The more money I use for bottles, the less I have for milk
*bottles aren’t commonly used here & would be considered to be more of a luxury than a necessity
*bottles require more maintainence: cleaning, hygiene, replacing parts etc, whereas spoons are a very simple feeding tool in contrast to bottles 🙂

As I finish this blog today, let me just say that I wish you could sit with me, watch & hear all of these babies eating their lunches. They’re really noisy & it’s nothing less than music to my ears bc often times, a quiet baby is too weak to make noises. The louder the better 😀

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Posted by sarahbowling in Angola, Genuine love, living, saving moses, travel, 0 comments