We are told that our faith journey is a tremendous blessing and reward. It is a journey that is exciting, life-altering, and mind boggling.
He is teaching you to trust Him so He can do something bigger and better than you ever dreamed possible (Ephesians 3:20-21).
He is teaching you to let go and trust Him with your heart, your soul, your life (Proverbs 3:5-6).
He is teaching you to walk every single day in the spirit so that He can do even greater works in you and through you (John 14:12).
Why am I writing this? Because this is the root of the awe and wonder Ezra, Neema and I realize every day in this faith journey leading the Nancy Foundation. When I left for Tanzania, Ezra and Neema had done great networking and set up a tentative itinerary. But we knew from past experiences that God would put us on the path HE wanted for us. The people, organizations, and experiences were laid out for us before we even realized it! The lyrics of Matthew West's song "Do Something" have inspired us to do some small part...."I thought, "God, why don't You do something? He said, "I did, I created you". "If not us, then who, if not me and you...if not now then when?"
The first week I met with area Social Work Officers who gave me information on the perils of women and young girls. Most girls are valued only for the bride price the family gets from a future husband's family: cows, goats, etc. Many men feel that the education of women is a waste of time and money, so they are not encouraged to study and aim for a high school or college education.
I visited the Bugisi Health Center (the center we have been supporting since March 2018) for 4 days over the second week. The Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles were gracious hosts. We verified all of the supplies purchased for the women there (prenatal vitamins, ultrasound fees, and kanga traditional fabrics to wrap the newborns in when they are born at the health center). We interviewed prenatal patients as well as post partum patients who were recipients of our donations and described the impact the donations have made on their lives. When the staff come together before daily morning report, one person reads the bible readings for the day, another leads prayers and intentions, and a spiritual song is started and sung in Swahili. This is a perfect collaboration of faith and healthcare in this faith-based clinic. I felt right at home!
The day after I returned to Shinyanga, Neema & I were requested by the faith-based Ngokolo Health Center at the cathedral to teach prenatal class. We presented some nutrition information using a poster of the African Food Pyramid, discussion of old pregnancy myths, etc. The Head Nurse asked us to return every day the following week to teach more women. She set up a tent & projector for us, as the number of women were too numerous for the hospital spaces. I found in-utero videos of fetal development which were positively received. The other crucial discussion was to discourage pregnant women from eating dirt during pregnancy. It is a readily accepted custom and is for sale throughout the marketplace.
We have been invited back next Easter to present at the local youth conference. We also have been asked to conduct more classes for the women in the area.
Below are excerpts from the annual report at Bugisi Health Center:
"The desired outcome of the Nancy Foundation's participation was an increase in the number of women enrolled in antenatal care, and ultimately a decrease in maternal and infant mortality by severe anemia and malnutrition. From June 2018 onward, a 185% increase was seen in successful deliveries and a 224% increase in admissions. As this increase is mostly seen from the implementation of the Nancy Foundation's program onward, it can safely be said that the distribution of free prenatal vitamins, ultrasounds and kangas has contributed to the improvement of lives of pregnant women in Tanzania. Thus while Bugisi performs well on neonatal health, it is important that the Nancy Foundation keeps up their efforts to consistently improve both maternal and child health in rural Tanzania."
God has lead us to focus on saving the lives of pregnant women and their infants, but this also affects each family they belong to.
Your generous donations will help us keep up with the soaring increase in numbers of women receiving crucial help. If our goal is to save lives and increase access to healthcare, the funds required are also increasing! If you could see the poverty there, you would know why we don't want to turn any needy woman away due to lack of funds. God bless you for your loving support!