Two Casts and an Ultrasound… His promises will endure

It has been a really eventful one week. Many will know by now that both our boys had an arm in a cast – one left, one right. But as of today, one is cast free!

Going back to what happened, last Thursday we were at an indoor children’s playground at a chalet. The boys had lined up a row of padded stools and were attempting to cross from one end to the other. The stools were knee high (Evan’ knee) and the floor was rubber padded, so it seemed like a relatively safe game to play. We were watching them play. Evan fell off first and started crying and saying his arm hurt. As we were tending to him, minutes later, Caleb fell too. We didn’t even see how he fell. He was holding on to his arm and saying, “Ow, ow.” But he wasn’t really screaming or crying. We simply could not believe both of them could be hurt at the same time, and certainly the thought of fractures didn’t even seem possible. Caleb’s lips did turn pale though, so that was probably a sign of pain or shock. But I just couldn’t imagine him being so hurt then.

We brought them home after that and they were quite calm in the car, both falling asleep. But at home, Evan was still crying about his arm being painful and Cameron saw that Caleb’s arm was swollen. We took them to our GP immediately. Thankfully he was open for half the day. It was a public holiday after all.

He felt quite sure that Caleb’s left arm was fractured and put it in a sling. It hurt the poor little boy to move his wrist, arm or fingers. Evan cringed when his arm was touched but didn’t seem as bad as Caleb. So he referred us to the A&E at KKH.

To sum up the 4 hours we spent at the hospital, x-rays were taken and both boys had their arm in a cast. We could see the fracture in Caleb’s arm on the x-ray, but not the one for Evan. The doctor pointed out that there was bleeding around the bone near the elbow joint and that could be a sign of a hairline fracture, or at least some kind of trauma to the elbow. And we were given an appointment to bring them to see the orthopaedics specialist the following Thursday.

We were still in shock when we got home, and went from blaming ourselves, thinking how we could have prevented this, to being in utter disbelief at what happened. We did pray with the boys a lot the next few days and asked God to heal their arms. As we were praying the first night, I was reminded of bridge of a song, “I am pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure, and His joy’s gonna be my strength. Though the sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes in the morning!” We were encouraged that God is in control, and that He can cause good to come out of every bad situation.

I was thankful we had the next day off, and then the weekend that followed. And those were precious days of hanging out with the boys and doing things with them. It was certainly heartwarming to see them work together playing or colouring. I wished I had caught this on camera, the sight of them sitting with their good arms together, one colouring the page on the left, the other the page on the right of their colouring book. J My favourite thing I did with them was definitely having our own children’s church at home on Sunday, since I stayed home with them on Sunday, not wanting to risk them being too wild at church with their friends and getting hurt again when still recovering. (plus the slings were still temporary ones)

We had worship – I played Caleb’s guitar, he played the keyboard with his right hand only, and Evan attempted to play the ‘violin’ with his toy guitar (he later switched it to a cello which was more manageable). We made shakers, and we learnt the story of Jehoshaphat leading Judah in battle. “They didn’t even have to fight, they only had to sing! The singers went ahead of the army and they sang praises to God!” It was a timely lesson. So we sang after that, marching with the shakers, and shouting “Victory!” Later on we learnt that Daddy also got the African congregation in church to shout Victory! We are encouraged and reminded that we serve a living God who speaks to us today! And He is the One who gives us Victory in every situation.

The other exciting thing that happened was that we all went to my 20-week detailed ultrasound scan to see the baby. We were going to find out if it was a girl or boy! Caleb had been saying how he wished he could see the baby as he’s always in school when we went to the gynae. Evan had gone with us a couple of times. So it turned out to be a blessing that because he couldn’t go to school on Monday, we all could see the baby together! And we are so, so happy and excited that we are having a baby girl! Indeed, His promise will endure. We had felt this was God’s promise of a girl to us, and we have indeed been blessed with a girl! (It will take another post to share of God’s goodness J )

Today we brought them to see the specialist. And as we had been praying, we were hoping that Evan wouldn’t need a cast after today. We saw the doctor and he looked through the x-rays. Caleb’s was a straightforward case of a fracture and he was going to get a stronger cast on. For Evan, the doctor said there was a fracture near the elbow joint and that he could see it. He was concerned that it was the kind of fracture that could get displaced over weeks so we may have to bring Evan back weekly for x-rays and close monitoring. But he didn’t think it may be that serious so he wanted to let his senior check the x-rays to get his opinion. It was not exactly what we’d hoped to hear… We waited for a while for the senior consultant to come. He looked at the x-ray and said it wasn’t obvious that there was a fracture. And he said pain is a good indication. So he cut off Evan’s cast and asked him to move his arm around. He could do so perfectly with no pain at all. And the doctor said, “I don’t think he has a fracture at all!” Now that’s what we wanted to hear!  Suddenly our hearts soared again. As we waited to get Caleb’s new cast on and another x-ray taken, we reminded Evan how we had prayed that he wouldn’t need a cast after today and God had answered our prayers. We rejoice together! Caleb got a cool blue cast that was much lighter yet stronger than the previous one and he seemed quite happy. He is really disappointed that he can’t do sports for 2 months and will miss his school’s sports fiesta, but otherwise has been in good spirits.

We feel so blessed to have 2 precious little boys and I have so enjoyed the time I have spent with them (I took leave on Tuesday too to be with them). I think this experience has brought us closer, and even gave the boys opportunities to help each other and empathise with each other. And we must always remember, that God’s promises will endure.

“You are good, You are good, You are good

Your mercy is forever.”

(the chorus that’s in my head right now)

 

 

PS: Thank you to all who have been praying for us and who have been visiting the boys and buying them little gifts to cheer them up. 🙂

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Lifting hands to worship

 

Last Saturday, the boys were with us in church. During worship, as we stood lifting our hands in worship, the sight of the boys lifting up their little hands in worship was a most touching one.

 

Their hands may not reach very high or very far, but I just had a feeling then that they could reach God sometimes more easily than we can.

 

We are told to come like these little children.

 

Reaching out those hands to the Father. Not asking for anything. Simply in worship of Who He is.

Living with the Children at Simo

Last Friday, I went on my second trip to Surabaya, Indonesia. The first time I went was in December of 2010 with a Couriers mission team from church. I’ve always wanted to go back again and got to do so this month, as a birthday present from the best husband in the world!

On the plane

This time I went with just my sister. It was my first mission trip going with my sister! After all these years. It’s both our dreams to work with children and run homes to save orphans and unwanted or abused children. So it was a great opportunity to visit the ministry of Pondok Hayat in Surabaya.

Also, our church had sent out a volunteer to Surabaya and she’s in her third month there. I wanted to visit her and spend time with her. Alicia is only 19 and wanted to give time to missions before she starts university. It was a great encouragement to see what a blessing she is to the ministry in Pondok Hayat. Also to beat her in Monopoly Deal. Heh.

 

The most unforgettable part of this trip, that also made it so different from others before, is that we stayed at a children’s home with 11 orphans. So often we go on trips, minister in the day and then go back to our hotel rooms or guest homes. We kind of distant ourselves to what is happening in the third world countries. But to actually stay with the children and be a part of their daily lives was life-changing. When we came home, it was hard to focus on our daily lives, knowing that somewhere, someone is needing love, not just love, but loving guidance and teaching. And we long to be with them.

 

My sister texted me as she was sitting in a morning meeting at work, Why are we discussing these things that really don’t matter in the long run? And I wrote on my facebook, as much as I’m glad to be home with my family, I also wish I was there with the children, making a difference in their lives simply by loving them and letting them know they are loved. If only I can ‘commute’ there to work! I can live with that as my day job. 🙂 I know my kids would love to go with me too. I asked Evan what he will help me do there and he said, “I can help you cook, Mommy!” 🙂

 

These 11 children were unwanted by their mothers who got pregnant before they were married. No one in the organisation helping these unwed mothers know who the fathers are. But the shelter, Pondok Hayat (Hut of Life), gives these mothers hope, and these babies a future. It saved the babies from the clutches of death through abortion and gave them a chance to be born into this world. Many of the babies get adopted (thank God for the favour on the ministry), but many also get left behind. When they grow to be 4 years old, they move to Simo Children’s Home, which was where we stayed, with these precious dear ones.

 

Each of them is special. Each of them is full of life, full of love. On the first day, one of the founders of the ministry already told me, “Please discipline them.” My reply, “I’m only going to be here 4 days! I don’t want them to hate me!” But we all know that disciplining our children is part of loving them. And with their main caregiver going home for the weekend (she must have timed it for when we are there!), I had to hold up my role! I’m glad I didn’t have to do much in terms of correction, just certain things they picked up from school that I had to explain to them are rude or not good. I spent more time hugging, kissing, praying for them, and playing with them.

 

We played soccer, went on swings, and did cartwheels. Yes, cartwheels. The boys are crazy over a current TV show called Madun, which is about a boy soccer genius. The stunts in the show are obviously fake, but the boys aspired to be able to perform them nonetheless. “Miss, can you do this and kick the ball?” What? Cartwheel AND kick the ball? “No I can’t. I’m too old!” “Miss, I know, you cannot do it because you are a girl.” What?! Trying to provoke me? Not going to work. I’m too old boys. But I can do a cartwheel. Here we go! And they’re only a little impressed… and went on to try their Madun moves. Staying with the children was also a good opportunity to practise my bahasa!

 

“Miss! Look!” “Miss! Tie my hair?” “Miss! Come!” “Miss!” All of them calling at the same time, while I was trying to get 2 girls to finish their food. By 8:30pm of the second night, I was beat! And after the kids were in bed, the caretakers had piles of folding and ironing to do! We offered to help, but our offer was turned down (not that we were that disappointed!).

Playing games
The boys doing their 'Madun' stunts
This is really funny. To show them what a girl can do, when they said I couldn't do the stunts because I'm a girl, I did a series of turns to show them something they can't do!
Giving Maria a 'princess' hairdo
Jack and I

 

Besides spending time with the children at Simo, we also had bible study with the mothers, spoke at a youth outreach meeting (they hold a weekly meeting for the teens in a poor community), helped develop an English curriculum for the pre-schools and elementary school, had a teacher fellowship/sharing, and played with the babies at Pondok Hayat. And these are what the staff and volunteers do everyday and every week. They have such an extensive and fruitful ministry. The schools are an outreach to the community too as they provide almost free education for a lot of children. By meeting the physical needs of the community, the hearts of the people are very much more open to the gospel and the people more willing to listen to the Christians share.

Spending time with the babies at Pondok Hayat

 

This is what I think we need to do. The church needs to rise up and let our light shine. We need to put the love we have from God in action and bring that love to the community. James 1:27 says, “True and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

 

(To read more about Pondok Hayat, you can visit their website at www.pondokhayat.org. But you’ll need Google translate coz it’s in bahasa. 🙂 Waiting for my sis to post more pictures of the kids on her facebook since we took most of the pictures on her camera!)

Camping In

Last week, Caleb had a camp-in with Daddy. Evan and I were part of the ‘festivities’, but only Caleb slept in the ‘tent’ with Daddy – in the study.

We started the evening with pizza for dinner, then went on a ‘bear hunt’, which became an African Animals hunt, then an Angry Bird hunt. It was great fun as we went around the house. The boys were excited even though we were in the comfort of our own home.

Then I went to set up the ‘campsite’. I lay the mattress of the sofa bed on the floor and put a sheet over it, hanging over 4 chairs, so that it can be a ‘tent’. Earlier on in the day, Caleb and I had come up with the idea for the ‘campfire’. We used a yellow envelope and put holes in it, then put it over an inverted flashlight. It turned out to be a great fire! Caleb’s Toy Story tent that he got for his birthday was also put up, just so that there is a real tent.

The 'campsite'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then took the fire out (conveniently) into the living room and had a little campfire! We sang songs, told stories and ate candy. It was fun. We would come up with 3 things that has to go in the story and take turns to make up stories.

The 'campfire'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to capture it in real lighting. We turned off the lights and only had the light from the flashlight and a dim yellow light. It was fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After that I brought Evan into our room and we watched some Madagascar videos on youtube before he went to bed. Caleb was initiated into the Star Wars series last night! We watched part of Episode 1 and the little guy got sleepy. Daddy had asked him if he wanted to go bed earlier but he insisted on staying up till our bedtime. “Isn’t your bedtime 12 o’clock?” We told him No, it was earlier. I’m sure he was glad it was. 🙂

The next few days, Evan would ask everyday if we could have a campfire again. It must have really made an impression on him. 🙂

My boy turns 5

Caleb is 5 today.

5 is the number of grace. We have much to thank God for. His grace abounds in our lives and in Caleb’s.

We thank God for the gift He has given us in Caleb.

We thank God for Caleb’s zeal for life and in everything he does.

We thank God for Caleb’s infectious joy and laughter and the joy he brings to so many others.

We thank God for Caleb’s sensitive nature. He is quick to pick up on how others are feeling and it breaks his little heart to see someone sad. He prays for those who are sick or down and empathises with how they are feeling. Even his teacher in school commented that he is a sensitive kid, sensitive to the needs and feelings of others around him. He even puts others’ needs and wants before his… most of the time. 🙂

We thank God for Caleb’s obedience, respect for authority and desire to do what’s right.

We thank God for Caleb’s intelligence and his earnest desire to learn and learn more.

We thank God for Caleb’s ability to read so well at his age.

We thank God for Caleb’s creativity as can be seen in his making up stories, play time and art work.

We thank God for Caleb’s musicality. He writes songs, sings and plays any instrument he can get his hands on. Or else he would just make do with tables, chopsticks, toy boxes etc for makeshift drums.

We thank God that Caleb loves his little brother and is a good big brother.

Most of all, we thank God for saving Caleb and being his personal Saviour. We thank God that Caleb has known Him from a young age and knows how to call on Him for help and comfort, also to be thankful for what he has. We thank God that Caleb likes to pray, and read the bible, and now, to memorise his scripture verses.

It seems like we have a perfect child. No, no child is perfect, no man is perfect. But this gift that we have from God, is a perfect gift. And we have much to be thankful for today.

We thank God for today, when Caleb turns 5.

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Of Cows and Vocabulary

I learnt three new words today. I’m learning new words all the time. I wish I knew and used more words. But it’s never too late to keep learning. Ps Yang’s write up in the bulletin this week talked about the most productive people also being those who have an insatiable quest for knowledge and more knowledge.

 

1) Apocryphal = of doubtful authorship or authenticity; a word my husband uses often to describe facts and stories his cousin spouts. 🙂

2) Assuage = to make milder or less severe, to satisfy or relieve; a word I learnt from reading a GP comprehension passage today

3) Clandestine = done in secrecy; a term the preacher today used to describe his ministry because God wanted him to remain obscure and unknown, that all glory may be unto God.

I like having dictionary.com on my phone.

 

At Sunday School today the boys learnt about the sacrificial lamb. Caleb played the lamb whilst Evan insisted on being a cow, according to the teacher. So whenever we talked about what they learnt in Sunday School, Evan would tell us about how much fun he had being a cow (Where did the cow come in in the story anyway??) and he would go Moo Moo…

At bedtime, we discussed this again and asked the boys to pray that God will help us to be obedient like the lamb. Evan insisted, “Me not lamb, me cow…” Daddy decided not to pursue this and we just asked him to pray that God will help him to be obedient. So Caleb prayed, “Lord, make me obedient like the lamb.” Evan, “God, make me cow…” (Mommy and Daddy trying to stifle their laughter)

The random things in life

This ensued from a conversation with my husband. I was telling him funny stories about the boys yesterday and mentioned something we both thought was ‘blog-worthy’. So I said I should blog more, not just wait for big content to write about, but about the random things in life. Because “it’s the little things in life that matter”. And hey, that’s blog-worthy too! It’s the little random things in life that when we look back at them, will bring tears and smiles and tugs at the heart.

So yesterday Caleb had a major concern. On the way home from school, he told me we have to choose 1 out of 4 men to be the new president. He asked me whom I think we should choose. I told him I really have no idea. His teacher updates them on current issues, which is really quite rare for kindergartens. But it’s good that he’s aware, even though he may not fully understand. So I asked him why we need to choose a new president. His reply, “Because the old one doesn’t want to work anymore…”

Today we went on a hike on the Treetop Trail at MacRitchie – Cameron, Daniel and I. It was an awesome view from the actual bridge called the Treetop Walk. We took about 2 hours to complete maybe 9km or so. We saw monkeys, a huge monitor lizard, and my favourite is a stream that actually has running water. Just love the idea that the water is running because it shows abundance of  It was a great morning. But now my muscles are paying the price. Have applied muscle rub twice already. Argh…

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