Well yesterday was the long-awaited day for Congo, December 19th, the end of Kabila’s “reign.” This was the planned election year, however an election was never organized. It seems that Kabila wanted to change the Constitution to stay in office…apparently this is a common occurrence in African countries. We continue to pray for a peaceful transfer of power and upcoming election.
We are in throws of “toddlerdom.” Living with a 2-year old is a bit of a frenzy! In a 2 minute time period, Emmanuel can be taking ornaments off the tree, throwing the cat, pumping the “pump soap” all over the floor, drawing chalk scribbles on the ciment, taking shoes off, climbing into the back of the car, dragging his airplane all over the place. We are working on listening, obedience, and rewarding his behavior consistently. His joy is tangible, and laughter contagious. It is fascinating to hear him say phrases for the very first time. For all of you that work with children overseas, Looney Tunes, is really funny for all ages and crosses language barriers. We love Chip and Dale, the chipmunks who talk really fast!
Christmas overseas looks different than it does in the United States. Sweets (cookies, candies, eggnog) are an unknown to people here, and definitely non-essential. I was talking with a Congolese friend today who was looking forward to eating meat (if possible) and a meal of foo-foo and cassava leaves. A Congolese Mama really wanted me to buy her beans so that she could afford the work on her Christmas dress. Christmas is more of a time of coming together as family and sharing food and song. I am hoping to learn some Swahili Christmas carols this year.
Christmas takes a bit of planning…gifts are either made or purchased a year ahead of time. It is little things that I look forward to. I buy butter, a luxury, to make shortbread cookies and will try Norwegian rosettes again this year. We have a couple of small Christmas trees, an Advent calendar, nice candles, and Christmas bears. It is always nice to break out my Christmas piano music. I appreciate the simplicity of Christmas here. Commercialism has not arrived to Congo. It is fun to find new traditions as a family and to see Christmas again through the eyes of a child.
We enjoyed celebrating Christmas together with our team of Congolese and ex-patriate team of practitioners. They are a great bunch.
As a family we are blessed and we want to share what we have with others. I am reminded to give of myself and not store up treasures on earth. I want to help people live healthier, more stable lives. We do miss our family and friends back home greatly at the holidays. We really do appreciate receiving your greetings by mail/email/phone calls. Thanks in advance for remembering your missionary friends.
Pediatrics and Research
When coming overseas I did not imagine being involved in clinical research. I have been working with Mayo clinic on a research study looking at systematizing our care of ICU patients. We are finding a significant difference in morbidity and mortality as we have adopted a new system for completeness of rounding. The improvements in mortality are especially remarkable for the malnourished population. It is our hope to share these results that I believe can really improve care of the most vulnerable children in Congo and elsewhere. It is a reminder that good nutrition is a major factor in survival.
We appreciate your emails and support since our last newsletter. I am reminded often that our work on the field is interdependent. We really do need your encouragement!
- Pray for this Congo as we are in uncertain political times. Pray that unnecessary lives would not be lost. Pray for a democratic process. Pray that the reconciliation talks led by the Catholic church would be productive this week.
- Pray for the world, for Aleppo, for Mosul, for so many places suffering from war and disease.
- Pray for Samaritan’s Purse deployment of a field hospital to Iraq to respond to the medical needs there.
- Pray that we would represent Christ well in our medical work and words. Pray for the various evangelistic campaigns in our area this Christmas, that people would invite Jesus to be part of their lives.
Have a blessed Christmas! Slow down, smell the evergreens and love well!
Lindsey and Warren Cooper