|De Souza’s Prayerletter 11/14/18 |
Three months ago, we had just arrived in Angola! Everything was so new and strange. It is amazing how, after such a short time, we feel like this is home! Thank you so much to each one that has walked with us through prayers, encouragement and support during this time of transition! We couldn’t do this without you!
Rev. 7:9 After this I looked and saw a multitude too large to count, from every nation and tribe and people and tongue, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
We had the awesome opportunity to visit a church among the Yaneka people group, and then to eat lunch at the home (pictured) of the pastor and his family. The Lord has used sacrificial efforts of His people to reach this beautiful group, to have the books of Genesis, Matthew, Mark, Luke and Philippians translated into their language, and to teach literacy to the people. Hearing the pastor share his testimony of how Jesus transformed his life from despair to hope was thrilling!
Ministry in Angola:
Eduardo has been working long hours at CEML Hospital and has had the opportunity to travel with Dr. Steve Foster to work at one of the rural nurse-run hospitals that CEML services. Jocelyn has been working at CEML one day per week and is also working with the ladies in the hospital’s fistula program.
To be honest, the shock and heartache will never wear off of seeing precious human beings living with or dying from injuries and sicknesses that are preventable and easily treatable in our countries of origin. The hospital has only two experienced doctors/surgeons, Dr. Steve Foster and Dr. Annelise Olson, who have sacrificially dedicated years of their lives and worked tirelessly to share the love of God with countless souls. These two doctors are seeing the outpatient consults, caring for incredibly sick inpatients, performing surgeries, traveling to rural hospitals that have no doctor, and training us and other recently arrived expat medical professionals and Angolan interns.
Besides being physically and mentally exhausting, working at the hospital is incredibly difficult emotionally. We all struggle as we see beautiful people, young and old, die and suffer from injuries and illnesses that could have been prevented or treated if the patient had just been able to come sooner, or if more resources were available, or if there had been clean water/vaccines/adequate food, or if there were more skilled workers… As Jesus said in Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the LORD of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Please see the photos below through our eyes and more importantly, through the eyes of the Creator. These are a tiny percentage of the patients we have had the privilege to know. We wish we could bring you through the crowded halls of the hospital, to experience the sites, sounds and smells that we experience daily. The stories below all have a happy ending. For each one of these, there is an equally tragic story… the unnecessary deaths, the injustices, the suffering. To us and especially to Him, these are not nameless faces in some far-off land, but they are precious human-beings, loved by our God. Everyday we are amazed by the way they face pain and suffering with strength and joy. They are accustomed to living in conditions we cannot fathom. Please see them through His eyes!
Pedro, sweet little boy who arrested during surgery. He was resuscitated and required 10 units of blood (one donated by Jocelyn). He was featured in a much weaker state in our last letter. Look at the joy on his face! Precious little girl whose leg fracture was not cared for properly at the public hospital (CEML always has several of these cases). Her bone became infected, requiring surgery and external fixation.
Sweet baby boy awaiting surgery for a cleft lip and palate. We wish we had an after-picture.Surgery was a success! Kind young man with pellagra (niacin deficiency). Like many, his diet consists of mainly maize, lacking protein.
Beautiful young lady on her “graduation day” from the fistula program. After several surgeries and months in the hospital, she is beaming with joy because she is dry! Like so many others, she delivered a stillborn baby during a prolonged, unassisted labor in the bush. This caused immense physical damage, causing her to constantly leak urine and to be rejected by her husband and family because they believed she was “cursed.” She now has hope for a future! Even more importantly, during her long stay at the hospital, she learned skills that will help her earn a living and she heard about the God who loves her and will never leave her!
Most of us in the west cannot imagine the rejection and trauma these young women have lived. One of Jocelyn’s favorite parts of the week is sharing God’s love with these precious souls! Francisco, a courageous 10-year-old, who developed a severe bone infection after being improperly casted at the public hospital. He has been at CEML since March, requiring numerous surgeries. While CEML charges as little as possible to cover expenses, Francisco’s family has not been able to continue to pay for his care. They have already sold their cows and nearly all that they owned. Bankruptcy is a common complication of illness and injury in Angola, and there is no government assistance for families in this type of situation. Praise the Lord for brothers and sisters in Minnesota who have become the hands and feet of Jesus for Francisco and his family. They have given enough money to cover the rest of Francisco’s medical care and to help his family get back on their feet! This sacrificial gift will change the future of this family! Thank you!
Thank you for the prayers for the three oldest children to adjust well to school. They all are enjoying school, making friends, and learning Portuguese. Also, thank you for the prayers for safety on the roads. Please continue to pray for this, but thankfully, we are both becoming accustomed to the crazy driving conditions. Please Pray for Us: For continued grace and strength as we adjust to living and working in Angola. For the people that we encounter at the hospital, in the fistula program, and in our general lives here, that God would touch their hearts and use us to reveal His love to them. For physical health for the family. We all have been sick on and off, mainly with stomach issues. Matteus is the one that seems to struggle most. For Eduardo as he continues to work and learn at the hospital – that he would be able to absorb, retain and apply the immense amount of knowledge he is receiving and that he would be a light and share God’s love with patients and coworkers. For Jocelyn to continue to be guided by the Lord as to where and how much to become involved in ministry. So far she is experimenting with learning to do consults at the hospital one day per week and working with the fistula ladies once or twice per week. Please pray she will find her niche and keep a good balance between family and outside ministry. Sometimes it is hard to be here caring for the family, but seeing the incredible needs all around, and not be able to fully jump in. For the children – that they would develop close relationships with the Lord and that they would remain healthy and continue to adjust well to life in Angola. Specifically, we could use prayers for Cienna, our youngest. She is having a hard time separating for any length of time from Jocelyn, unless Eduardo is home. This means that she is coming with to the fistula programs, etc. Please pray that she would soon feel more comfortable in the care of other trusted individuals for short periods of time. Also, finding a church that the children enjoy has been quite a struggle. Most church services here are very traditional, last about 3 hours, and have little or no children’s programming. The churches meet in concrete sructures that are very echoey, so, with their limited Portuguese, the children understand very little. We don’t want them to begin to dread going to church. For continued financial provision – we still need more people who would want to reach out with God’s love to the people of Angola by becoming financial supporters. Our greatest need is for monthly or recurrent supporters. We will also need to purchase a vehicle soon. The car we are currently using is on loan to us from CEML Hospital. How Can We Pray for You? We would also like to keep you in our prayers.
Please let us know how we can be praying for you!
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De Little Delightful De Souza’s
October and November are full of birthdays in our family, so we had some wonderful times celebrating the birthdays of Tiago (11), Matteus (9) and Cienna (3)! We went on a hike near town and we thoroughly enjoyed a group camping trip to the beach just a few (white-knuckle driving) hours away. Here, you can camp where you wish. There are no amenities and you have to be crazy enough to risk the drive, but we had our own deserted ocean paradise!
THANK YOU, again, to all who are on this amazing journey with us through prayers, encouragement and support! We could not do this without you!
May the Lord Bless you and Keep You!
Let’s Keep Serving Him Together!
The De Souza Family
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Who are we? We are just regular people, saved by our awesome God! We would have been completely lost and broken if it were not for the saving love and grace of God. To see a film of our story please click on this link: https://youtu.be/tnKVrBFiHEw We have learned that no matter the depths of pain we have felt, no matter the mess we have made of our lives, we are never so lost that His grace can’t save us. There is always hope in Jesus!