Coffee along the way

Coffee along the way
Coffee along the way

June 19, 2014

The funny side of malaria, if there is one!




Being a SAcan I am trying very hard to think of something funny about malaria.  We are known to make jokes about the worst types of calamities or disasters in a wink….but really, I cannot for the life of me, think of one funny thing!  Maybe I have just been too long outside of my dear little country, or maybe I just don’t have enough jokers of my type of humor close by.  Well, not the last one, come to think about it – I have no others close by in any case, never mind of the joking type!

There really is nothing funny about shaking with a deep kind of cold, then burning up with a fever and then being soaked as your fever breaks.  No funny part when you have such terrible body aches that you think you will never be able to move again, I don’t want to even mention the headaches……Nothing funny about wanting to throw up the precious malaria medicine just after you had to swallow it with a glass of milk, because you cannot eat anything and the medicine needs some fatty (!!) substance to work properly!!  Nothing funny when you have nightmares of such realistic properties that you wake up in a terror!  There is also nothing funny about malaria when all the dreadful invaders are killed off (eventually) with more than half of your redbloodcells (who incidentally gave up their very lives for you).  Not much to laugh about there.

It might be considered funny that I watched an entire season of a paramedic guy during the height of the malaria and cannot remember even one episode!  Or that I had to “milk” my own finger for a tiny drop of blood for the malaria test (that should have given me an idea of what was to come re: my lack of blood!)

There are on the other hand, lots of funny happenings around me while I am still in bed!  J 
Yesterday my middle son decided to bake an apple pie, so I gave him a recipe and off he went!  Literally off – there was flour on the whole table top, flour on the floor, a few flour-ry footsteps on the living room rug and flour all over him!!  J  That was quite funny!  We did have a most delicious apple pie for desert past night, though!

Eggs have been dropped and the solution was ingenious and funny!  The little rug was ceremoniously carried out, the dogs called and all licked up and cleaned without much of a fuss!  A happy teenager and happy dogs!  J  I think the cat might have had a small part too in this cleaning up business!
The other funny thing was that my husband realized just how much his growing teenage boys eat – and sometimes a bit late.  Like making soup in a really small pot!  The last time he really had to cook for them with me gone for 2 weeks, they were 12, 10 and 9!  Things change in 3 years!  For one, they have grown about 1m each!!  J  He said last night “It doesn’t matter how much I make, they divide it into 5 regular pieces and the leftovers are then divided into 2 and it all gets eaten up anyway!!”  You definitely cannot count on leftovers in this house!

My new potholders have gone up in flames (gas stoves have fires under the pot, you know!!!) with the one holding the pot and stirring wondering where on earth all this smoke was coming from!  Haha!

I have quite a fun (and funny) family and sitting or lying on the couch, listening to all their jokes in and around the kitchen has been a great source of laughter and fun and has cheered me up greatly!  I guess, even if I can’t find anything funny about malaria, life still goes on and funny things happen.  Blessings happen.  Blessed by a family who cares for me and tries their best despite shortcomings.

They have been stretched quite a bit with me out of action, but it is rewarding to see how they have handled it all.  Don’t we all really grow when times are tough?  And it is good to see the funny side of things even in those tough times. 

And even though I couldn’t find anything funny in the way of malaria, there is a different kind of joy that must be considered ….James 1:2-4 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers (and sisters), whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Bella, blessed.

June 16, 2014

Malaria....




If I am totally honest, I think that I thought I would never get malaria.  The fear of getting it did arise from time to time, but as time went on and I didn’t get it, I became quite happy and pushed it aside.  I didn’t overcome my fear of this terrible disease; I just choose to ignore it in a way.  Don’t get me wrong, we took all the precautions we could – sleeping under nets, making our home mosquito free, wearing long sleeves and all the rest, but somehow I wasn’t terrified by it as I was 7 years and 3 months ago when we first arrived in this mosquito ridden county.

Last year to my utter surprise my husband and smallest son got malaria and as I helped them get better, I realized how bad this sickness is, but not until I felt it in my own body did the terror hit! 
Isaiah 41:10 read like this to me – Fear A Lot, for I am NOT with you, be very dismayed for I am your God.  I will NOT strengthen you or help you, I will NOT uphold you with My righteous right Hand.

I felt that God had let me down.  And as in all things this came with some other disturbing emails – some were sympathetic, yes, others were telling me about people they knew who died of malaria (goodness!!), some didn’t think a REAL believer should ever even get sick and that I am not spiritual enough or using my authority to bind and blast away this blasted sickness….so I was feeling quite low to put it mildly – along with that I also had all the glorious malaria symptoms to help me along in my misery, complete with a splitting headache for 10 days and about all my redblood cells destroyed in the process along with my faith it seems…..  so there is was lying trembling in bed, wasting the precious little energy I had left….
I was not fearful of malaria, oh no, I was Terrified!!  Terrified that I would get it again, that my family would get it again or for the first time.  In a word – terrified!  I wanted to grab everyone and huddle under the mosquito net for ever, never leaving the room!!  Pathetic, I know, but at least I am honest.

Faith and fear do not walk in the same direction – one goes North and one goes South and I was going South very fast!  And it was not good.  I was feeling like a small grasshopper in the enemy’s eyes and of course my own too!  Now, does that ring a bell, I wondered??

The Lord directed me to the time the Israelites had to go spy out the land and when they came back they said this in Numbers 13 “They gave Moses this account: "We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.  
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."
But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are."
And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, "The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.
We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."

Yip, that was me, the little grasshopper.  I was feeling very sorry for the Y-people, that God chose me of all people to send to them!  I was also feeling as if a huge boot was getting ready to stamp on me and rob me of my very life, albeit a small life!  Somewhere in my malaria delirium I remembered asking Alfred if he was sure that the devil does not have the authority to kill us off one by one??  Theological doctrines have a way of dissolving when faced with real trials….

I read on in Numbers.  Caleb and Joshua was willing to trust God – they were in the Promised land, they saw the giants and the walls, but they decided that God was stronger and best of all, they knew that God was on their side! 
Numbers 14:7 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.
If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.
Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them."

You can do all kinds of programs or courses or conferences about Spiritual Growth but really in the end it is all about trust.  Do I really, really trust God? Trust Him with EVRYTHING??

The words of the 3 friends of Daniel come to mind – Daniel 3 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

And then just to see God’s perspective on us not trusting Him, here is His reply to the Israelites’ unbelief…..
Num 14:11  The LORD said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?”
Verse 23-24  not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.”
 I guess God takes our unbelief VERY serious.

And so I choose to trust Him – even in the even if’s……He is God after all and has overcome!!  And I belong to Him!!  I choose to lift my feeble little head and look up to Him, who is Awesome in power!  And who is our God!

Bella, safe in God’s hands