Counting the losses…
An epidemic amidst the pandemic…
Amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, our city on the northwest coast of Madagascar is facing a DENGUE FEVER epidemic! The last such epidemic on the island was in 2007. Dengue Fever is a nasty disease transmitted by an infected mosquito and is often referred to as “breakbone fever” because of the bone-crushing pain associated with it.
Unfortunately, Jamie and I can now testify to the truth behind this name. To our knowledge, we were the first in our city to actually be tested for Dengue Fever and with our positive results, a heightened understanding by authorities of the disease that’s spreading rapidly and bringing people down hard and fast.
In all honesty, this was a scary time for our family. Jamie and I came down with Dengue Fever on the same day but without any idea of what was ravaging our bodies. On day three we phoned a doctor who came over and started IV’s on both of us– to help pump our bodies with fluids, vitamins and electrolytes. There is no treatment for Dengue Fever. For the following seven days, we continued to monitor ourselves, our fluid intake and output, and our vital signs for any signs of impending shock and complications of severe hemorrhagic dengue. It was frightening, lonely, and unsettling to be faced with the worst illness either of us have ever experienced, to be in a foreign-country without quality medical care, in the midst of a global pandemic, with our kids looking on, unsure as to how to help us and unsure of what would come. We’re thankful to now be on day 14 post-Dengue and recovering despite the continued weakness and fatigue that we anticipate will be with us for some time still. As I write this, Gavin, our nine-year old is also recovering from what we presume was Dengue. Thankfully this disease seems to be easier on children than adults and he’s made a relatively speedy recovery after just 3 days!
Please pray earnestly with us– our community is being hard hit with this terrible disease and we appreciate your prayers for our friends, neighbors and teammates here!
Counting the losses…
Over ten years ago while we were preparing to move our family to Madagascar, we attended a powerful pre-field training at Mission Training International in Colorado. One of the topics discussed was about the need to “count the losses” that accompany a life on the mission field. Losses of community, losses of identity, of a body of believers to worship alongside, of the familiar and the comfortable, losses of being known and knowing others, of cultural understanding and language, losses of lifestyle and hobbies, losses of opportunities and resources.
As the days march on and the pandemic continues, we know that so many throughout the globe are counting similar losses that are unique to their lives and cultural contexts. This is unchartered waters for many.
Today we’re counting new losses as it relates to our life overseas. Four years ago, I swept Isabella back to the USA to surprise her for a very special fourth grade Sacramento Trip with her classmates. Two years ago, Eliana and I returned for the same trip. Both of these once-in-a-lifetime mom/daughter trips were incredible in countless ways. This week, Gavin and I would be on the same much-anticipated Sacramento trip– a trip of course which isn’t happening for any of these precious fourth graders. There have been many tears of disappointment and loss leading up to this week. Loss of a trip back to Santa Barbara, loss of being with friends, loss of special one-on-one time between a son and mom, loss of the compilation of seeing California history brought to life while panning for gold, exploring old mines, and visiting museums. Please pray for Gavin as he processes and grieves these losses.
On a very practical level, we’re counting the losses as the time in California was also to be used to tend to some unfinished business…. purchasing birthday presents for Gavin, home-schooling curriculum for the upcoming school year, supplies for the maternity center and artisan projects, prescription medications, items for Isabella when she starts Rift Valley Academy in the fall and necessary doctor appointments that will now need to wait for another 16+ months. After many years in Madagascar, we’re quite accustomed to waiting for people to bring such items and can plan accordingly however with all trips and visitors cancelled for the foreseeable future, we’re experiencing these additional losses and multiple levels of uncertainty that comes with them as it relates to our bodies, souls, and minds.
To be honest, it’s difficult to know how to ask you to join with us in prayer during this time… please do so as you feel led!
Thank you for standing in the gap with us in prayer from afar! We’d love to hear from you and pray in specific ways for you as well–please drop us a line!
Jamie, Alissa, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin
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