Thursday, July 25, 2013

babies & mommas & pictures.

Here's the financial scoop as of today:
       I am at needing 71 more donations of $20 to continue learning and serving here in the Philippines. It is exactly one week until the clinic fees are due on August 1st. Would you pray about partnering with me? Thank you for those who faithfully read, support, pray, and encourage me!

Continutity patient update:
     I have two more 'conts' who are term right now--Amy and Grace. Continue to lift them up in prayer. They are both pregnant with their second baby and could deliver any moment now. I will be sure to post their birth stories soon after!
     My patient, Jessica, who I wrote about just a few days ago came in for a baby check-up yesterday. See the pictures below!

Jessica (19 years old), baby boy Jessriel, and me!

He looks so silly, but so so cute!!

Sleeping in my lap...

        Sometimes I forget just how precious mommas and babies are. Below are a few more recent pictures of a patient I took care of in postpartum yesterday. I was not the handling midwife in her birth, but took care of her and her baby until they went home. The momma's name is Laida. She is Badjao patient from the outreach I volunteer with at Isla Verde. (Look back at my previous blog post called On the topic of badjaos and generosity (<--click there) to learn more about the Badjao people.) I remember months and months ago doing Laida's intial prenatal, so I was overjoyed to receive her in postpartum yesterday. I always love interacting with the Badjao people, even when our languages and cultures are so so so different (They don't speak Visayan, the language I am learning here.)

Laida and her baby boy..

They named him Daniel.

so cute!
Hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I do--Aren't these babies and moms so beautiful? Once again, I am so thankful for the plan God has set out before me. I would never be experiencing this all with having first known Him. Tis sweet to know and trust in Jesus!
      Oh and a special thanks to Sandra Norvell and her Sunday School class at Bartlett Baptist Church for knitting the hats and sewing the blankets both babies have in the pictures! It is always such a joy to give those to the moms!

--Midwife Brittany

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I'm a happy happy happy and very grateful midwife. Let me tell you why.

I have this patient named Jessica. She is my very own patient--a continuity patient. Every time she steps foot inside the clinic, I am responsible for her care and the care of her baby. I initially took her as a 'cont' as a referral from another girl I volunteer with, Eileen. She had seen Jessica at her first prenatal visit and knew that from her small frame and undernourished body that she would need a midwife to closely monitor her pregnancy. Also, 19-year-old Jessica was very reserved and closed-off emotionally. I agreed to take her as my patient and scheduled her next prenatal.

When I met her at our first visit together, I had trouble finding her. I came in to the clinic, got her chart from the clerks, and called out her name to the women waiting--no Jessica. I went to the prenatal waiting area and called her name once again--no answer. I decided to head back over talk to the clerks and ask them to help me find my patient. As I walked over, I saw a patient sitting to the side, on the stair-steps away from all the other waiting patients. I looked at the young, very small girl and asked if she was Jessica. Indeed she was.

So thus began our prenatal check-ups almost every two weeks. I told her that I would be her midwife, I gave her my number, wrote my name on her chart, and told her that I would be taking care of her from now on. She was evidently closed-off and disengaged. Nevertheless, we continued on. Throughout the weeks, I monitored her nutrition, urging her to maintain a good diet and to healthily gain weight. Week after week, she would come in, with a slightly larger tummy and a gain of a pound or two. I was still unsure if she was following the advice I gave her, as the progress didn't seem like much. Emotionally, too, she was making progress, little by little, as I tried to get to know her, be there for her, teach her about herself and her baby, and let her know I was availabe if she needed anything. She soon began to catch-on that I was her midwife. Towards the end of her prenatal check-ups she began to recognize me and even get up to follow me before I even called her name. Praise God for small steps in progress.

Time came when she reached full-term. She had grown a bit and even reached 40kg (88 lbs) by 40 weeks of being pregnant. Yeah, that seems small, but for her, it was tremendous progress. I monitored her closely, asked her to begin preparing everything she would need for her birth and reminded her to communicate with me by phone when her labor started so I could be sure to be at the clinic. There were a few blips during these few weeks, like her baby changing position, me going out of the city and being worried I would miss her birth, her not responding to my frequent attempts to communicate with her, and other little things. I continued to pray for her--that she would deliver at our clinic with no complications, that she would feel at ease knowing I was her personal midwife and would take care, that the relationship we built would open the doors to share. I also asked all of you who read to pray for her and her baby.

Tuesday night, I got in bed, turned my cell phone ringer on high as per usual and prayed for my continuity patients before sleeping. At 4:30am I got a text from Jessica that she was in labor and on her way to the clinic. She had remembered to text me like we talked about over and over again! I jumped in the shower, grabbed my things, and got a ride to clinic. Jessica was there, very active. I checked her cervix--7cm, bag of waters still in tact. Just 3cm more to go. I brought her mom into the room, we all prayed, and then I advised her to try to walk around a bit. She was very compliant. After 3-4 contractions of walking around, she said her baby was coming! She returned back to the bed, her water broke, and in a matter of 10 minutes, her baby boy was born. It was a very controlled and focused birth and she listened so well to me as her midwife. She barely had any bleeding, had no tear, and baby was big and so healthy looking. This had been the most easy and controlled and compication-free birth I have seen! Praise God! I was expecting a lot of bleeding and other complications because of her compromised nutritional status--but nope! Oh and it just so happens that Eileen who referred Jessica to me was on shift and got to be there for the birth--such a special time!

So I finished up paperwork and got Jessica and her baby boy, Jessriel, settled in our postpartum area. I explained the importance of coming back for check-ups and about how to care for herself and her baby at home.

In the midst of such a wonderful birthing experience, I became overwhelmed with how good God was and is to provide for Jessica and how even though I am so so unworthy, that He let me be a part of something special.

The words "You are good. You are good, when there's nothing good in me" of the song 'Forever Reign' came to mind. Thank you God for including us in on your plans, for choosing to use sinful men for your purposes. You are good, oh so good, even though there is nothing good in me!

Below are some pictures of the Jessica, Jessriel, and I. Thank you so much for praying for Jessica and her baby. I am convinced that your interceding produced wonderful blessing in her pregnancy and delivery! :) Until next time,

Midwife Brittany

Saturday, July 13, 2013

July--week 2. Financial Update.

     The second week of July is over. This week was full and productive, as I managed to complete a lot of my current assignment, along with having shifts at the clinic. I also have gotten the time to hang out with some friends visiting the city and am expecting the Nehemiah Teams I helped with in June to visit Davao for a few days this week!

     As the second week is over, so is half the month of July. Two more weeks are left until my clinic fees are due. As an update to those of you who read, support, and pray--I am now at needing 140 more donations of $20 by August 1. Several of you gave and encouraged me throughout this last week! Thank you!

     An update from the clinic: My continuity patients that are term now have yet to deliver. Continue to keep all my patients in your prayers, but especially Jessica and Amy as they each are expecting a new baby anytime now. Pray that they would be able to deliver normally at our clinic and that I am able to be there, helping them and encouraging them through their labor and delivery. "And pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel." --Ephesians 6:19
     Also, below are pictures of baby boy Raven and momma Rachel. Raven was born on July 7th and was a special gift to his mom, as it was her birthday on the 7th as well. It was so fun getting to be Rachel's midwife. I look forward to seeing her and her baby at all their check-ups.

     I know God always keeps me on my toes, stretching my faith and teaching me to patiently and earnestly trust Him for each and every one of my needs. I am thankful I get to trust Him. It is much cooler and such a privilege and blessing to watch the Lord provide instead of me trying to aimlessly work to do it on my own. I am learning a lot in this season--much more than just how to care for women and their babies, but also how to trust in the Lord. I am excited for how He plans to use all the things I am learning in the future!

     Thanks again for reading and supporting and encouraging me! Remember if you want to help me financially to continue my second and final year here in the Philippines helping mommas and babies while I learn, you can do so by donating via the "Donate" Paypal link to the top left of my blog.

To God be the glory for what He has already provided and for what I know He intends to do in the next two weeks.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

July--week 1. Financial Update

     Getting back into the swing of things at the clinic has been so wonderful. I'm thankful that God gives me a happy heart to be serving where I am. I was happy happy happy in the bukid (mountains--rural areas), but I am equally as happy happy happy to be here in the city, loving on mommas and babies.

     I have worked prenatals and 2 birthroom shifts since being back, saw 6 of my continuity patients in prenatals (a few to give birth this month!) and caught a baby boy just earlier this morning! I'm glad that even after my month of being in the bukid, the birthing skills I have learned just came right back when I needed them! Oh and even some new skills are getting put to the test (like the 3 IVs I have started!) So yeah, loving that I am learning, loving that I get to help in a different way by praying for the teams still serving in Butuan, and happy in my heart because it is a blessing to be in the season I am in.

     As the first week of July has wrapped up, I wanted to give a financial update. For the "$20--200 people challenge," I am at needing 160 more donations of $20 to continue to the second of my two years here serving in the Philippines. There are three weeks left until the deadline for my clinic fees (by August 1).

     As a reminder, those of you who are interested in supporting can look at the top-left side of this page and click DONATE to give through Paypal.  Please also feel free to look around my blog, especially for newer readers. There are various posts describing the ministry I am involved in and the experiences I have had this past year.

     During my Bible reading this week, I was encouraged by the story of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus knew that he was sick, yet for whatever reason, waited a few days until He went to him. By the time Jesus arrives, Lazarus has died, and people were mourning his death. Jesus weeps, is moved emotionally because He loves His people so much. Then, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Many people put their faith in Christ because of this miracle. --John 11 What is equally as neat is that even in the next chapter, John 12, the crowd that witnessed the miracle was spreading news about Christ and more and more were following Christ.

     Even though God, through Jesus, decided to wait to heal Lazarus, by raising him from the dead, he was very much in control and used His timing (though beyond what was understood in human terms) to draw people to Himself!

May God use His own timing in our lives to draw people to Himself!

 -Midwife Brittany

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What is a people group?

     Each year during Nehemiah Teams, we read a selection of world christian/mission articles as we are serving our two months. While I was with the healthcare team in June, we read the article below. It is too good not to share! Hope it challenges you to be actively involved with the redemption of all nations!

What is a People Group?
by Claude Hickman 

     When someone gives you a job, it is important to get a good handle on the task, including the definition of the task. When God gives you a task, it is infinitely important that you know the definition of the task. God has promised to reach all the nations of the earth and commissioned us as His ambassadors in that work. In order to be good stewards of this mission we must have a firm grip on the extent of the task, which, in the work of world missions, brings us to look closely at the terms that the Bible uses for the task. Namely, what does it mean to reach the nations?
     When we think of nations we usually think of the 268 nations of the world. In the New Testament, the Greek word for "nations" is the word "ethne." We get our word ethnicity from it. It means something like an ethnic group. The idea is that it is much more specific than the political nation-states we think of such as Indonesia, Turkey, or Nigeria. An anthropologist would call this "ethne" a "People Group." A people group is the largest group within which the gospel can spread without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance due to culture, language, geography, etc.
Take the country of India for example. In India there are hundreds of different ethnic races of people, but even among those ethnic groups there are divisions made according to the thousands of languages they speak. It gets more complicated. Among one language and ethnic group there are religious divisions that keep people from interacting with one another, and will, at times, even result in violence between neighboring groups. Now, even among those same ethnic, language, and religion groups there will be more divisions; social divisions. In India it is called the Caste System. Basically, what this all results in is over 2,348 people groups in India that see themselves as a unique people from those around them. And because of their differences, most are isolated from the gospel. Even though it may be nearby, the message of Christ may be in a language they don't understand or in a culture that is unaccepted. In other words they have no interaction with those people groups around them who may have the gospel. Someone must cross these cultural boundaries to get it there. This is the work of missions: to take the gospel into each people group. When the Bible speaks of nations, tribes, tongues, peoples, it is referring to the same mission; the reaching of all people groups.
     The promise of God is that "all nations (people groups) will be blessed through you" (Gen 12:1-3). This means that God is infinitely concerned with the reaching of each and every people group that exists. In fact, He is so concerned with reaching all of them that He is keeping a meticulous record of the fulfillment of His promise. In Psalms 87:4-6, the Lord says, "I shall mention Rahab and Babylon among those who know Me… The Lord will count when He registers the peoples, 'This one was born there.'" We see that God is recording in the Register of the Peoples all those that He is bringing to heaven. They will one day make up the multicultural worship service seen in Rev. 7:9.

     So, if God has promised to reach them all and we are commanded to go to them all, we must be familiar with the task remaining and rally the church to the targeting of them all. There are currently 11,260 people groups on planet earth and there are about 6,534 that are considered unreached. The Great Commission is finishable. It is measurable and something that can be completed. The question now is; what is an unreached people group (UPG)?

     Ed Dayton says, "It is a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize their own people. In other words, unreached people groups lack a church that has the numbers and strength to reach their own people. Obviously, if there are no Christians within this group, there will be none who can share the gospel with them. And this is the situation in which we find over 3 billion people of the world. They are the people groups in which there is no church that is able to tell them the good news of Jesus Christ."
Trent Rowland clarifies what is not an unreached people group by saying, "Since 'unreached group' refers to a group of people with no viable and relevant church, a non-Christian neighbor of most Americans would not be termed 'unreached.' They are unsaved and need the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet they probably have a church available in their own language and culture. They could go to church if they chose. In other words, they may be termed 'unsaved' or 'unevangelized persons,' but not 'unreached' because they are part of a 'reached' group."
     God is not just concerned with reaching more and more people as He seems to be with reaching every People Group. I would like to borrow an illustration from John Piper in which he compares the situation to two sinking ocean liners. If the promise of the Navy General was that no matter what ship in his fleet went down there would be some rescued from that ship, and if he enlisted his crew for that one purpose, what would they do if there were two ocean liners sinking at the same time? After reaching the first sinking ship you might see that there is great need and that you could justify staying to save as many as you could from the first ship, rather than going to the second. You could even argue that in the effort and time it required to get to the second ship, you could be a better steward by staying at the first. Perhaps the people at the other ship are unwilling, and this seems to be a fruitful ground for desperate swimmers. There is plenty of need here. However, this was not the General's command. He specifically ordered his crew to save some men from both ships, not just one. This is why it is necessary for men to take the rescue boat to each ship. There must be representatives and survivors at the General's banquet from every ship. God has promised to reach some from every tribe, tongue and nation and people. He has enlisted us to rescue them and one day there will be a banquet, where all nations and people groups are represented before the throne.

     The task is finishable. "God blesses us that the ends of the earth may fear Him" – Psalm 67:7. God has indeed blessed us with all the resources that we need to finish His Great Commission. Let's look at how the statistics break down in view of what it would take to reach each individual Unreached People Group (UPG's). Basically, for each of the 6,534 Unreached People Groups there are 552 churches in the world. That means if your church teamed up with 551 other churches to send out a team of ten people and financially support them, it doesn't sound impossible to pull off. In fact there are 103,500 Evangelical Christians per UPG, plenty for putting together teams of ten. How much money would it take to send out these teams? A generous guess would be $3.26 Billion annual support. Sound like a lot of money? Christians earn $16.3 Trillion each year as a whole. Evangelicals probably earn about $5.4 Trillion. If only the Evangelical Christians (a much smaller group, 1/5th the size of all Christendom) gave five dollars each year, this would supply above and beyond the needed finances. The task of world missions is not being held up by a lack of finances, or churches, or people
Now, with a solid grip on the definition of the task, a confidence in the resources available, and an unyielding obedience to the mission of the General, let us throw off everything that hinders and run with perseverance the race He has set before us.