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Thursday, December 29, 2005

More about the girls in South Africa

Ulani just sent me the most recent news out of Perth, so here it is.

Dagmar (German) is still in intensive care in South Africa and really needs a miracle. Her condition is critical and she has not regained consciousness since the accident took place. We have had signs of her making small responses (like a small hand movement and eye movement); however, she is still in the intensive care unit. Her condition is stable, but critical.

Erin (USA) is doing much better. She will need a possible hip replacement in future but will most probably be able to leave the hospital within approx three weeks time.

Sarah (Australian) who was flown from Ghana to South Africa last week had extensive surgery last Friday after already having operations in Ghana. She is also improving daily.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Dagmar's not out of the woods

Hi all!

Received some informative emails this morning--heard from about five or six different people the world over. Still getting more emails from my BAS girls, about what they're going through, and how this is affecting them, and how to deal, and it's just good to hear from someone who knows Delphine & Dagmar. One of my BASers is in East Timor, in a remote village (the same village I lived in for six weeks), and she was feeling very alone through all of this, because the rest of her base staff had only met Daggi like once, and didn't really know her at all like of course the rest of us do. So she was encouraged by our emails, and that encourages me to keep writing about what the heck all I'm going through. Thank you also to Caroline who called me yesterday, even though we're both like "I don't know what to say." I have been so blessed by the people from the Vineyard who have emailed me and posted comments on my blog. Seriously, I have been SO embraced by everyone, and I honestly am completely overwhelmed by how much love and caring have surrounded me. Thank you everyone.

Ulani emailed me this morning the latest about Dagmar. Her mother has flown down to South Africa and is with her (Erin's mother is also there). She's still not doing well, and the doctors have said it's doubtful whether she'll wake up. I remember other things the doctors told us in India--that a baby wouldn't live through the night, or that a baby had already died en utero, and these babies lived, or were born with a heartbeat. Whose report will you believe? We will believe the report of the Lord--a report of hope and life and grace and miracles!!! We will believe the One Who raises the dead and tells the sea to stop and mountains to be removed!!!

Please, take the time today to pray for Dagmar, to fight for her, to sing a song of victory over her, to read scripture over her as you call out to our Father. He hears our cries from heaven, and is mighty to save.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Delphine's funeral

I got a really great email yesterday from my friend Darcy's husband. They're both working at the Perth base, and she was one of the leaders on my BAS in India.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning
New every morning
Great is Thy faithfulness, O Lord!
Great is Thy faithfulness!

If you know me, you know how often I'm suddenly struck by songs and can't help but sing them.....Darcy is now in Tahiti. She and Delphine were best friends, so her death has been very hard on Darcey. The funeral will be Friday morning; Delphine's body should be arriving Thursday morning (so I guess that's about now, after all the time changes). Darcy's husband is in Perth and has been in contact with me. We used to play Settlers of Catan together in the common lounge with my girls Stephanie and Angela, and occasionally some other people. He was the leader of another school that was running the same time as the BAS, and we all got very close (I guess that's because most of the students from five different schools shared the same house). We had some really great times together, all of us. I so often complain about how miserable I was in Australia, but I really need to ammend that. It wasn't the best time of my life, but I loved the people I was working with, and the huge corporate worship, and the Islanders, everything except the constant rain and returning to Oz from India & Timor (major culture shock). So that's not much to complain about. I apologize to everyone who I ranted and raved around about Australia. Forgive me.

Anyway, Darcy was helping with the debreifing of the girls who have arrived in Perth from Nigeria (six all told). Continue to pray for these women, as they've just survived total trauma, and shock, and culture shock, and loss, and grief, and a premature end to what was going to be a year-long adventure overseas with God. His love never ceases. But we can't always see His love or His mercy because we're so enveloped by pain and loss and lies and doubts. Pray that these women will know the grace that is upon them. I can imagine there's a lot of forgiving they're needing to go through--forgiving God for allowing this, forgiving themselves for not being on the bus, forgiving Delphine for 'abandoning' them. Also keep in your prayers Delphine's family--not all of them know Christ, and maybe this funeral will be the breaking point for some hardened hearts. Pray also for Darcy to have safe travel to and from Tahiti.

Crazy thing about YWAM....I went to my friend Karen's house Monday night to help her with some Christmas stuff--and mostly getting to know her better. She's actually my husband's best friend's girlfriend, so we've only really talked once when the four of us went out for breakfast together. So we were talking, and at the point at which I felt we had spent enough hours together talking about other things, I launched into this whole story about Nigeria and Delphine and Dagmar....and she was like, "I heard about that. You knew them?!" Her cousin was with YWAM in Australia (not exactly sure where, but it might have been Perth), and he had heard about it, and passed the news on to her so she could pray about it.....I'm so blown away by what a small world it is and the incredible communication that takes place with technology, and how quickly we can mobilize people to pray worldwide. Thank you, Jesus! So I came away from her house with a renewed sense of awe of God and His ways, and also with a new friend. An actual friend, instead of someone whose life I know all the details of because she's dating my husband's best friend. Hooray! Unfortunately, she'll be moving to London in about a month or so. Blast. That doesn't change the fact that we're friends.

Do you like random? Because this was random. If you're in the mood for more randomness, call me and we'll have coffee and talk for four hours about something that never crossed your mind before.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas quiz

I'm about to go hang out with my friend Karen and do something interesting (not sure what), and I thought I'd get slightly more into the Christmas swing of things by taking a quiz. Here are the results:

You Christmas Stocking Will Be Filled with Money
You've either been really really good this year...Or Santa is trying to pay you off!

Seasons whatever


Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions andor traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all . . and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "AMERICA" in the Western Hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or choice of computer platform of the wishee. By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alterationto the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. (This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.)


So here's a little bit of me. No news that I haven't reported yet about Dagmar and the girls. Jason and I arrived home at our apartment at about midnight 45. For all the calls I missed, I hope to return them this afternoon. Love you all and hope you've been happy and safe in my absence. I'll let you know more about Dagmar as I get updated.....I was going to make this an emotional blog about all the things I'm thinking, but turned into an emotional email to all my girls who knew Daggi & Delphine to share my heart with them and continue the mourning process for all of us. Until later,

Saturday, December 17, 2005

More news from the Perth base

Following is the latest update (as of Saturday morning Perth time) on the situation with the accident in Nigeria, and all of those involved.

The two girls in South Africa are recovering well. One is still in a serious condition (Dagmar), although her vital signs are good. She has had two operations and both have been successful. Erin also had surgery and that too was successful. They both have a long road to recovery ahead of them, but we are encouraged by the progress they are making.

The four girls in Accra, Ghana are also recovering well. They are all at different stages with their physical injuries. One is ready to fly home to her family this weekend, another sometime next week, and then the other 2 girls will probably need a few more weeks before they would be ready to travel.

The two bodies of Brianna and Delphine are in Lagos, Nigeria, and are being prepared for transportation to USA and Tahiti. We are hoping this will happen during the weekend, so that the families can have their memorial services as soon as possible. Because of the busy Christmas period, this is a challenge, please pray for the paper work to be completed, and for flights to be available. We have staff from Perth that are in Nigeria helping with this, and also meeting with the remaining six girls from the team, preparing to travel home to Perth with them early next week.

Thank you all so much for your prayers. I think I'm starting to work through some of my emotions, although for the most part that has had to be on hold because of attending my best friend's wedding, you know? I'm so happy for her--I just watched her become a wife this afternoon. I gave Sandy (fellow BASer) a call, but I guess she wasn't at home. I've sat here, looking at my list of BAS phone numbers, wondering if I should call, open up those wounds and memories and cry, or not. Or do it later, like when I'm at home. And I wonder if I WILL get around to calling them, or if I'll keep putting it off. My good friend Tina has told me that we'll do a wailing tree when I get back. She says in Africa (somewhere) especially outside of hospitals, they have a tree where women go (usually when they've lost a baby), and they sit beneath the tree and wail, and all throughout the day other women will come and join them and wail with them. I'm so touched--I'm sitting here crying right now. The only response I've gotten from all my friends about this situation has been embrace and love. And it touched me in Sandy's email when she mentioned how Delphine had been deported from Australia, and had so much trouble getting back in, and spent a LONG time at home with her family, just waiting for a new visa to get approved. And at the time, it didn't make sense. And it seemed like it was just the enemy trying to prevent her from doing her heart's work. But you know what? She had all that blessed time with her sisters and brothers and neices and nephews and parents that she would have missed out on completely. The other very comforting thing I read in Sandy's email was the vision that she also had the night she heard about Delphine--of Delphine dressed in white, standing before the throne of Jesus, beautiful and unashamed and holding the babies we've said good-bye to here on Earth. And it was the same vision I had the same night, and it was beautiful--so beautiful it made me weep harder for the beauty of it. If you've never seen something truly beautiful then you have no idea how that's possible, I'm sure. And she will never be ashamed in the presence of Jesus, because she loved Him with all her heart, and she never hesitated to call on His name and tell of His love to everyone in the whole world. She had such a beautiful freedom in speaking of her Lord. And I know the instant she came into His throneroom, she was told "Well done, my faithful daughter. I have given you much, and you have given it your all. Come share in my Father's joy."

Friday, December 16, 2005

The latest news from Perth

At the beginning of yesterday we were delighted to hear that Erin Cothran had arrived in Johannesburg by the air evacuation medical jet. She is in a much better condition in hospital but still needing surgery. She is being visited by our YWAM Staff in South Africa.

Dagmar Sippel has also been flown to South Africa by air evacuation, and is in the same hospital as Erin. We have been advised that her condition is stable (vital signs are good) but her condition overall is still critical. At present we have 2 of our staff flying to South Africa to be with Erin and Dagmar.

We were able to air vac four girls to Accra, Ghana, and they are receiving medical treatment. One girl has already had major surgery. The facilities are good and our YWAM Staff in Accra are in touch. We are in regular contact with the Doctors and passing this information onto family. At present we have 1 person flying to Ghana to be with these girls.

The two bodies of Brianna and Delphine have been moved to Lagos for transportation to USA and Tahiti. At present we have 3 people flying to Nigeria to help with this, and to also be with the remaining 6 girls from the team.

We have put a plan in motion to get those remaining in Nigeria (6 girls) and the 4 girls in Accra either back home to Australia, or to their respective nations.

We are having a memorial service here at the base on Thursday beginning at 8:30am for the deceased girls.

Could you please continue to pray:
- Pray that God helps those who have been grieving to be comforted and for understanding.
- Pray for the families of both fatalities as they prepare for their deceased daughters/ sisters arrival.
- Please continue to pray for Dagmar whose condition is still critical (still unconscious I believe).
- Please pray for the 4 girls in Ghana that they would continue to recover and be well enough to travel
- Please pray for all the girls as they come to terms with the shock/trauma of the accident and dealing with the death of 2 close friends.
- Please pray for Erin in Johannesburg who is needing surgery
- Please pray for the 4 girls in Ghana that they would continue to recover and be well enough to travel
- Please pray for all the girls as they come to terms with the shock/ trauma of the accident and dealing with the death of 2 close friends.

Thank you for your prayers – it has turned every situation around, we believe, and God is being glorified.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

News about my girls in Nigeria

Here's the latest. If Delphine and Briana's bodies are not released from Nigeria in 12 hours, then they cannont be returned to their home countries. So please pray that they are released.

Apparently, none of the girls (women) have left Africa yet, and after some issues with Dagmar's insurance she was flown down to South Africa last night and is probably having surgery right now - last I'd heard they were going to try to get her into surgery ASAP because they couldn't wait any longer with her condition. There is another student who is having surgery in South Africa as well. Her mom just got there as well to be with her. The other 4 students are in Ghana and are being treated for their different injuries. 2 are well enough to fly, but I'm not sure about the other 2.

Two women from Perth, Australia, have flown to South Africa to be with Dagmar and the student. The base leader and her son are with the 6 in Nigeria who weren't hurt. Another is in Ghana with the other girls.

Perth are having the memorial service tomorrow and Loren Cunningham is going to be speaking to them via Genesis.

That's the latest I've received from Ulani. Thank you all so much for your prayers during our crisis....these women are known and loved to so many people world wide--former students (like me), fellow staff members in Perth, their families everywhere, the women whose lives and babies have been saved through their work. Pray for all of them (especially family members who don't know our Lord) that they will have peace and begin to grasp what the higher purpose in their lives have been all about. Ulani called me yesterday, and we shared some random memories and cried and laughed and it was good to talk to someone who knew exactly what I was going through because we're paddling the same boat. Keep us all before the Father in your prayers. Blessings in Christ,


Monday, December 12, 2005

Latest on Dagmar and team

Just received another email (oh yes, we got to Albuquerque safely, and I'm just now checking on things from Mom & Dad's computer), and it seems that Dagmar and the other German student (don't know what her name is) have been flown to Germany to a hospital there. No update on her condition.

Thank you so much, Tina, Laura, Jen, everyone else for all your support to me already in this time. I'm still crying off and on, but I think I might have moved out of the realm of shock, but I don't know. I'm so here and there and everywhere trying to get things packed and my apartment ready to leave that the day has been blurry. Anyway, I'll be with my family for the next week; what a loving and caring environment. I'm truly blessed.

More later.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Urgent update

I was specifically requested this morning at church to update my blog.......

Anyway, on my way to update, I was just checking my email and heard that my friend Dagmar and four other midwives working in Nigeria were just involved in a serious car accident and all five are in critical condition. Dagmar lead the team that I was on in India and Timor. She's a dear, dear friend. Please, everyone pray for them. I don't know the other women, but their names are: Becca, Rebekkah, Sarah, and Erin.

Thank you so much for lifting up my friends in prayer--I'll report back when I know more.

Okay, I checked my old email account and received a message from the sister of my friend Delphine, who said that she had also been in the accident and died. She's from Tahiti. Dagmar & Delphine are the only two people I knew on the team--they were my team leaders; we lived together for over a year.....I'm writing this Monday morning, a bit of the initial shock is over, but I still feel quite detatched as I write this. I pretty well cried myself to sleep last night.

I've just received the following two updates:

here's the latest update on Dagmar who was also critically injured in the accident. She is the only person left in critical condition. She has a buildup of spinal fluid on her brain which is extremely serious. The other girls are being flown all over the place for their medical treatment, having broken bones, teeth, stitches and more. Some are still in a quite serious condition. There have also been losses on the nigerian side, 6 died from the accident, and one injured.
Brianna was the name of the other girl that died. Please keep them all in your prayers especially their families as they are going through this tough time.

And from the Perth base (Australia) where the team is based out of:

A team of Mother and Child Health workers have been involved in a tragic road accident outside Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Ten girls of 14 left in the morning of Sunday, 11 December from Port Harcourt to attend Sunday service with other local YWAMers. Seven YWAMers were killed, five were with YWAM Nigeria and two were from YWAM Perth. There were seven others injured from YWAM Perth – one still in a critical condition.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Thunder of Heaven by Ted Dekker

I just finished this book today. Did I cry? I think I must have. I no longer notice when I cry over books and movies because I always cry at books and movies. If they’re any good, that is.

This might be turning into a book review; I’m willing to risk that. I never liked doing book reviews in school. I loved reading the books, but I hated picking them to bits and trying to make as brilliant a point as the author had in only a few pages, you know? And if I hadn’t liked the book at all, well then why should I spend my energy telling you how good a lame book was? This is why my English teachers loved and dreaded me. I had read everything they required, and had some other reading on the side always going on, but I could never put my spirit into ripping apart and arguing the point of a book. Why would I do that? Why ask rhetorical questions anyway? Why is rhetorical spelled that way? What other word in English starts with “rh”? What language does that come from? I’m good at questions and not as good at answers.

Back to the book……apparently it’s part of a “Martyr’s Song” series—I’m desperate to get my hands on the other books. The point of this book, well, one of the points, maybe it’s not a point but more of a question, is ‘why does God let people suffer?’ And we’re talking about good, Christian people who have served Him and been faithful and read their Bible and do everything right. (Well, you get the idea. Maybe not EVERYTHING right.) I guess for all of us it comes down to God’s plan, and that we don’t understand it when we’re in the middle of it, but occasionally God gives us a glimpse and it makes sense for a second (or maybe just half a second), and then it’s all veiled in darkness again. If we glimpse it at all. There are so many things going on that we haven’t the slightest about. We don’t know what our part in the big scheme is, or if we have a big part or a bit part or if we’ll even be on the credit reel anywhere. (By credit reel, I really mean whether other people will appreciate our suffering and all, or whether it all goes unnoticed.)
Warning: Here comes a tangent. A few weeks ago there was an article in the paper about how people are made into saints (canonized) by the Catholic church, and it sparked a discussion between Jason and me. I will say honestly that we have some different opinions about the Catholic church, but I don’t want to stray even further by going into details. (While abroad, I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Catholic services, although I wasn’t raised Catholic by any means.) And I said aloud: “I wonder if I’ll ever be made into a saint.” Not sure where that thought came from, but you know? Like what’s-his-name says in Gladiator, “What we do in this life echoes in eternity.” And I’m not sure what else I’ll be doing in this life, or if it will make as big an impact in people’s hearts as, for example, Mother Theresa, but I think God has something BIG planned for each of us if we’re willing to reach out in obedience and grasp for it. Of course, then Jason wondered if I didn’t have to be Catholic to be canonized, mentioning Martin Luther as an example of someone who hasn’t been, as he was burned as a heretic. I brought up the example of Joan of Arc, who was also burned as a heretic, and now has sainthood.
Anyway, the point here is that we don’t and probably can’t understand the role that we play in God’s great plan, but at the end of the world I know we’ll be able to look back and see what it all was for. As it says in I Corinthians 13:12 (Amplified) For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim blurred reflection of reality as in a riddle or enigma, but then when perfection comes we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part imperfectly, but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood by God.

The other big question it raises (and answers, I think) is ‘why is there so much death/killing/murder?’ And here I shall quote the smallest bit from the book, in hopes that you will go out and read it, because there’s so much more and it’s powerful stuff.
“There were two sides to the crucifixion of Christ—a killing and a dying. One kills for hate, while others die for love…..”
“You show me someone—anyone—who dies for love, and I’ll listen to you.”

Read it. You’ll be glad you did.


My 2005 Personal Prayer Diary/Daily Planner (from YWAM) states the following facts about Tanzania (on the east coast of Africa, south of Kenya and east of the Congo):
  • Population: 35,922,454
  • People who need Jesus: 17,451,128 (48.58%)
  • Literacy Rate: Male 86%, Female 71%
  • Life Expectancy: Male 43, Female 46
  • Infant Mortality rate: 10.368%
  • Annual Income: $210 (US)

It's all quite a lot to take in, I know. Just trying to wrap my head around the life expectancy....seems impossible. The book notes that it takes into account the effects of escess mortality due to AIDS. Even so....think about it. How old are your parents? Mine are both past fifty....And the infant mortality rate--just to give you a small comparison, the rate in India is just about 6%, and in the hospital I worked in there we saw babies dying all the time. Daily. It was the norm. Tanzania is almost twice as bad. In Canada, the rate is less than half a percent--less than one in every two hundred babies vs. Tanzania's one in every ten.

Okay, I know statistics get overwhelming and some people don't understand how they work, so I'll move on to question and answer time.

Question: Why should I care about what goes on somewhere that I'll never visit in all my life?

Answer: Because God made Tanzania and its people; He loves them and weeps for them in their distress; because we have been appointed His hands and feet and heart for this world we live in. If Christians don't care about what happens on the other side of the world, who DOES care?

Question: Isn't there gross poverty and AIDS all over the world, in places that you've actually been?

Answer: Yes, and more and more as the days go by. AIDS is spreading in every nation, including our own, at an alarming rate. It has been estimated that every 14 seconds another child becomes an orphan because of AIDS, and by 2010 there will be 25 million such children world wide. There are already 1.1 million in Tanzania alone.

Question: Why the sudden bleeding heart about Tanzania?

Answer: I'm not sure that 'sudden bleeding heart' is entirely accurate. I've always longed to go to Africa (my aunt & uncle were missionaries in South Africa for years & years), and the more conferences I go to and the more I hear about AIDS orphans and the more I know about infant & maternal death, the more I want to respond.

Question: Why bring this up now?

Answer: Last week I received an email from a YWAM base in Tanzania that is looking for midwives to help at their birth centre. About a week before that, I was going through this long, long (one-sided) dialogue with God as to why I fell short by only a few births (from my time in India/Timor) which prevents me from going through the certification process here in Canada to be a midwife. And the conversation went a bit like this:

  • Judy: Why me? Why me? Why didn't you give me what I need? Me me me me me me me!!!
  • God: There are women, praying to me, who need you to help them so they can know who I AM.
  • Judy: I am SO selfish.
  • God: I know. You'll get over yourself. I'll help.

Question: So what you're saying is that you're NOT perfect?

Answer: Not in the literal sense of the word. Shocking, I know; but I'm still aiming for perfection.

Question: I thought you and Jason were newlyweds and just out of college and all--how can you afford to do this?

Answer: We can't afford it. But we can much less afford to be disobedient to God who gives us everything. We know He is faithful to provide. He's never called me somewhere He couldn't afford to send me!

Question: So when are you going?

Answer: I don't know. But Jason & I are praying about it. It won't be a long-term thing. But God knows how long, and we're just waiting for Him to tell us to jump so I can jump on the plane. God knows what women need me specifically, in the role of a midwife and a Christian and a woman to come alongside them and show them the way and deliver their babies and prevent any more infant mortality that comes my way. Jesus has always been faithful to us, and we trust in Him. He has the timing, the money, and the wisdom to accomplish all this, even through me.

Question: Can I come along?

Answer: Absolutely. Bring gloves.

Well, I think those are all the questions I have time for today. But feel free to post your own questions, and I'll answer them as I find the time. Keep us in your prayers, and I'll keep you updated, eh?

Notes from a February Sermon

I found this while flipping through my day planner a few days ago, and thought I'd share it with everyone, because it spoke to me all over again. I can't even give credit to who was speaking, as I didn't write that down or the passage it came out of, but it was from some preacher back in Albuquerque. Here we go:

We pray for a lighter burden when we should pray for a stronger back.
We pray for easier paths when we should pray for tougher feet.
We pray for fewer problems when we should pray for more solutions.

In the enablement of God, there is no temptation that we cannot withstand.
Well, I found it to be inspiring. Real update coming soon (I hope!).