Monday, December 31, 2007


It's a bit warm in here..... but yes, I'm wearing a scarf!! I got it for Christmas! I mentioned a few weeks back that it didn't feel like Christmas if i didn't have to wear a scarf.... and lo and behold! I got one in the mail!!!! Thank you all for making my Christmas fun and warmer! I love the scarf and the Christmas cards that were sent! But most of all i love you all! Your prayers and encouragements are priceless!

May this new year be full to overflowing with the many blessings He alone can bring!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Baby #8 Baby Irene

This little girl was born at home before her mother could even make it to the clinic. Her grandmother came to the clinic at 1:30 am asking us to come home with her because Irene's mom had had her baby and the placenta was still inside... she wanted us to go with her to cut the cord and deliver the placenta.

My supervisor told her that we couldn't leave the clinic and she needed to bring her daughter to us. She blinked a few times as if confused then went home to get her daughter and granddaughter. All three arrived along with the father about an hour later. I was next up so i went to cut the cord in the taxi.

Irene's mother, Jessica was lying in the back of the taxi and little Irene was wrapped on her lap. After cutting the cord and wrapping her up, i gave her to her father and we got Jessica in the wheelchair and pushed her into the birth room. She lied down on the bed and we unwrapped her. She had about 5 blankets around her. In one of them we found the placenta that had come out on its own. We examined it and took Jessica's vitals. Everyone was healthy and strong. Irene was cold but that wasn't too bad. Jessica got up almost immediately to shower and moved to the postpartum room. It was the fastest 'birth' I've ever attended. All I had to do was take some vitals and cut a cord! :- )

Cocka-doodle-do NOT!

 This guy is deceptively disruptive for such a small animal! He is just one of about a half a dozen 'fowl' that foul up our street. It's not so much the smell as the NOISE!

This little guy is clean and obviously well loved. He is tied to a post like a dog and even has a mini 'Rooster hut' where he gets out of the afternoon heat. But man alive, He's loud!!!
Rooster's compete in Cock Fights in the Philippines like in many other countries around the world. It is a national past time and a major draw during holidays. Mainly, the men dominate this arena but sometimes you'll find women court side too. Mainly, it's a chance to wager on which bird is gonna win! It's quite the 'to do' even though it is highly controversial. All I can say is Tug-tu-gau-og! (Vasayan for Cocka-doodle-do!)

Baby # 7 Little Ayanna

This lovely mother, Joan, came in at 6:30 am after I had just gotten on shift. She was pretty active so we didn't do an internal exam knowing that she was close. I just watched her labor. Around 8:30 am she felt the need to push and pushed for about 30 minutes with little progress.

I did an IE to see what was going on, and she had an anterior cervical lip. I had her labor on her hands and knees for a few contractions and another 30 min later beautiful Ayanna was born at 9:28 am.

It was so fun watching Joan's mother support and encourage her through the whole process.

Magson Menace!

This is Magson. It is an herbal oil that women put on their bellies here. I'm not entirely sure why they think it's necessary but it is very common. It's a major problem.

It causes a woman to have contractions and often to go into pre-term labor.
One young lady went into false labor at 34 weeks and found herself admitted into the emergency room.
During prenatals this morning 5 out of the 8 women I talked to have been using Magson regularly!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My first Continuity! ~ baby #6

Meet little Curt Wynn born December 14th at 12:04 pm, weighing 3740 grams!
Look at those cute chubby cheeks!!!

His mom, Menchie, is my first continuity. A continuity is a woman who I follow along with from prenatals and am on call for their birth when they go into labor. So when I got call from her two weeks before her due date I wasn't too surprised. This is her fourth baby and mothers who have had babies before tend to deliver a few weeks early. She had lost her last baby at 5 months for unknown reasons. That is why I took her as a continuity.

She texted me at 6 am that morning asking if it was okay not to come to her prenatal appointment because she had labor pains and was going to wait until her water broke before she came in. She didn't want to have to come in twice. Knowing that this was her fourth baby, I didn't want her to wait too long. I texted her back asking 'how far apart are your contractions?' She answered me by saying 'I live on such a such street in ABC district!'

Obviously we had a failure to communicate. I gave her my home phone number and asked her to call me. I asked her how strong the 'pain' was, and whether it was high or low on her belly. She tried to answer me but was having a hard time talking through the contraction. It was that strong! I told her not to wait and to come in as soon as she could. She made it to the clinic about an hour later and when i did and IE on her, she was already 8 cm! She labored well and a few hours later gave birth to a chubby cheeks little boy! But her water didn't break until the head came out! So had she waited, she would of had her baby at home! :- )

Oh the things you will eat.......

Century Eggs!

They're not for everyone but they sure are tasty! This is part of the Chinese influence in this country. I'm told by one of the Filipino midwives that it is made by boiling the eggs then burying them underground for several months in mud! That is what causes them to turn black!

Here is Jordan, one of my classmates, tasting a century egg for the first time! She thought it would be bad... but they taste like regular boiled eggs but the texture is a bit different! :- )

Little Loren - Baby # 5

Everyone meet beautiful baby girl Loren and her mother Karen!

Karen was already at the clinic when I came on shift. She was about 6 cm but was not in any pain at all! She was nick named 'Smiley' by everyone on shift because for someone in 'active' labor she sure was in a good mood!

We waited six hours and redid an internal exam to see if there was any progress and she was at 7 cm! This was unusual as this was her 3rd baby. The baby's head was well engaged so my supervisor did an amniotomy (which is an artificial rupture of membranes) to speed up her labor a bit. Immediately afterwards her contractions picked up and she lost her smile! There were other babies being born, so I stepped away for a while and when I returned about 20 minutes later she looked very active and ready to push. I set up her room and a few minutes later... Little Loren came into the world! She labored only 35 minutes after the amniotomy!

Buntis Belly!

Do you ever wonder what you'll look like pregnant? Some of you already know.... but I didn't until the day I became 'buntis' (pregnant in Vasayan). Don't worry... I'm not trying to tell you all something. I'm really not pregnant... :- ) My classmate did a plaster of one of her patient's belly and when it was all said and done we took turns wearing it! This is what I look like at 81/2 months! Being surrounded my babies does terrible things to ones biological clock! I've even started smelling every baby I hold! What was I thinking coming over here! :- ) I'm ruined for life! It must be all the estrogen in the air!

Jeulia Baby # 4

Everybody meet Little Jeulia! Her mother came in very active. She went to the bathroom to wash up and barely made it to the bed when she said she needed to push. I looked and sure enough her baby was on its way! I hadn't even put my gloves on, I didn't have a protective pad under her and I hadn't even see her prenatal chart when she started pushing!

I called my supervisor and got my assistants in the room and we had just enough time to get her situated when out came her little girl!

The funniest part was I had to ask her name during her first push. It sounded something like... "hi! my name is Stephanie! What's your name? Marianne? Great to meet you... you're having your baby! So when I tell you... push very slowly and breath!" She arrived at our clinic at 1:20 pm and had her baby at 1:28 pm.

After the dust settled I asked the mother what time her labor began. She said 1:00 o'clock. I asked, "1 o'clock in the morning?" "No, 1 pm!", she said. She had apparently been out shopping with her husband when the contractions started with gusto. They rushed to the clinic and she had her baby 28 minutes later! They didn't even have their baby clothes or birth bag with them! It's amazing they even made it to the clinic in time!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Livingstone Orphanage

A few weeks back I went to an orphanage here in Davao. While I was there I met some adorable little ones! There are about a dozen children aged from newborn to about 8 years old. They are playful, loving and absolutely precious!

We were there visiting baby Joshua, one of the students babies that was given up for adoption. Joshua's story is a little unique. His mom went into labor prematurely and was rushed to the clinic by her boss. She gave birth in the back of his fancy SUV to a small but otherwise healthy little boy. Had she not given birth in the SUV we would have been forced to transport her to the hospital. But God worked everything out for the best and she and little Joshua stayed at our clinic. The next day he was taken to Livingstone Orphanage!

As we stayed and played with the children, we were overwhelmed with hugs and cuddles. We were tugged on, prodded and crawled on ... I had a blast! I think I took about 100 pictures. Here are some of the best ones.


Merry Christmas!!!
I'm in the final throes of Christmas Dinner Coma! I'm not sure I'll make it... I'm going under.... I cannot stay awake!
But I have to wish you all a wonderful and happy Christmas... and Jesus a wonderful Birthday!

Please forgive the cheesy reindeer hat but I couldn't resist!
My prayer for you all is that this season would be full of amazing memories of God's blessings all throughout the year!
Your prayers are my biggest blessing Thank you so very much God bless!  ~Stephanie

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


As a school and clinic we gathered everyone together (well ... everyone who wanted food that is!) and had ourselves a feast! There is a huge benefit to having so many women around! Gourmet cooks at that! But of course, thanksgiving here couldn't happen without RICE! I'm even starting to like rice... (this is big!) Don't get me wrong. I eat rice and I smile. But it has no flavor so i look at a lot like 'Filler'. Along with rice we had stuffing, chicken, home made rolls, steaming hot mashed potatoes and desserts galore! It was wonderful. Nothing at all like home! But it doesn't have to be! I'm not home!
These lovely ladies are students like us. And there is always laughter when they get together! : -)

Baby catch # 3

Everyone meet lovely Lyn-lyn and little JD Nathaniel!
This is her 3rd baby. So, she was very relaxed and controlled during her labor. It was amazing! Both she and her little one made it through with flying colors!
Afterwards, when i asked her and her husband what they would name their precious little boy.... they both just stared at me blankly than looked at one another and laughed. Apparently, they had run out of good boy names on their previous children. So we called him 'little one'. By her third check up, she finally told me they had decided on JD... but get this... their other boy is named DJ! That's just asking for trouble! :- )

Baby catch # 2

Everyone.... Meet Baby Princess Dhanna! : - )

She made her way in the world on November 13th with a quiet gentle birth. Her father is a nursing student and her mother is planning on studying midwifery! They were both amazing... they were interested in everything going on! They asked lots of questions! It was fun and refreshing!
There was only one complication to this birth. This young mother wouldn't stop bleeding after the birth, so we had to insert an IV and give her some oxytocin. But she decided her IV drip was going too slow so every time I left the room she would speed it up! :- ) I didn't know if I should laugh or lecture!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The neighborhood!

We live on a little circular street and it comes to life at all hours of the day! Mainly, it is a thorough fare for pregnant women and new mamas! They come and go at all hours of the day!

But it is also a playground for some very fun and enthusiastic kids! Basketball is high on the list of things to do. So is tag and tag-ball!
I went to play a bit of B-ball the other day and 3 1/2 foot 7 yr olds were kicking my butt! :-) It was humiliatingly fun! They ran me thin, then chased me as I became the 'monster' who would turn them into zombies if i tagged them!
Their laughter is a comfort and real reminder that life is to be lived to the fullest!
The other day, a few of the girls gave them watermelon.... they were all smiles!

My first "catch" could have used a mitt!

Okay... so the day of my first 'catch' had to come sooner or later. Last night/this morning was the day! But it was far from a 'catch'.

This lovely first time mom came in at 3cm at 10pm last night just as i was getting on shift. Normally she would have been sent home to labor there, but it was late and she lived somewhat far away from the clinic, so she was admitted.

She had mild contractions and paced the clinic early on and I checked on her every 30 mins to an hour, just to see her progress. At 2am her waters broke but still the contractions were only moderately strong. I check on her progress at 3am and again at 4am but the baby didn't appear to be coming any time soon. All looked like she need a few more hours.

I went to rest and came back to check on her at 5 am and she looked like she was pushing. I asked her if she was trying to push and she just grunted and said... 'It hurts really bad!" One of my supervisors heard us talking and came to check, we called for more help as the mother pushed. Blood and discharge came out. I tried to get her to lie down so I could see what was happening. She wasn't in the best position for birthing a baby. (She was half sitting on the bed with her legs tucked beneath her.) But before she could lie down, she pushed again and the baby came out!!!

I had no gloves on nor any protective sheets beneath her! The baby came out all on its own! After some controlled chaos and a lot of clean up, we got the mother to another bed where she finished birthing her placenta. (The bed she was on was covered in amniotic fluid and blood! As was I and her husband!)

The placenta was birthed with a lot of blood loss. Her uterus wasn't firming up like it should. We gave her oxitocin, massaged her fundus and inserted an IV. She ended up loosing over a liter of blood! (this is not common!) and she had a 3rd degree tear that needed suturing! Her bleeding didn't slow down so my supervisor did a manual exploration to see if there were any retained membranes. This is never comfortable but for her it was very necessary! Her bleeding slowed to a stop and my heart rate slowed with it!

Fortunately, we didn't have to transport her or her baby! The baby girl is named Jeanycah. And I'm happy to report that she is doing great despite her rushed entrance to this world!

Several hours later, as mother and baby rested and ate, I finished my paperwork and handed the postpartum care over to the next shift. This birth was not what I expected. I doubt my supervisor expected it either! But God saw us all through it! Jeanycah and Mom are doing great! and I am wiser for the wear!

Please pray for Mama (Je Je) and Baby Jeanycah!! For health and a quick recovery! And pray that I would learn from this, and know how better to help my future labors!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


So..... I've been thinking... wouldn't it be nice to have a kitty! One that would sit in my lap and shed on my clothes... one that would sleep on my face and hunt all the geckos. But, those in my life are just not as excited about me getting a cat as I would hope!

I got a CAT-igorical NO when I asked!
So, I thought... what about a bird! They are all self contained and I could pet a bird and pretend it's a cat.... I could train it to attack geckos... and who knows.... meow! But that was ex-nayed as well.

So what are my options? What causes absolutely NO PROBLEMS? What won't catch flea, shed or run away? What won't make a lot of racket, bite off your nose or smell funny? What won't cause any allergic reactions or keep you up at night? Yep... you guessed it FISH!

There is only one problem.... Fish suck! Unless of course you lightly bread, pan fry and garnish with a cilantro mango chutney! :- ) Yumm!

All I can say is.... I MISS MY CAT!!!!!

Lyn-Lyn's Eleven!

This little guy is a little miracle.... His mother was one of the women I did a few prenatals on. She was very nervous about her pregnancy. She is 35 years old and hadn't had a child for 11 years. She was afraid that perhaps she wouldn't remember how. :- )

I really liked her and when I saw her come into the clinic in active labor while I was on shift, we were both thrilled. Normally, I would have taken her as a continuity (which is when I am her only midwife) but I wasn't expected to be delivering babies any time soon. So when God put us together anyway, I was very excited.

There was only one problem. She came in at 6 cm but with VERY HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. It was 140/100. If we couldn't get it to come down, we would have to send her to the hospital to give birth.

None of the women that come to our clinic want to go the hospital. When we transport them for complications, they are never happy to go. The hospital will not allow anyone to support them while they labor. They go through it without any loved ones. The staff there is over-worked and the rooms are stark and sad. Plus, it costs much, much more.

Lyn-Lyn was not excited when we told her she might be transported. I went to talk with her about it and we prayed. We prayed A LOT!!! Then we left it up to God. Long story really short... her BP came down little by little and little baby Joncel Kieven was born a few hours later.

The best part is she gave birth on her first son's birthday! How is that for timing? She has had two boy exactly 11 years apart!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

EASY ... AS... ONE... TWO... THREE...

Birth story to remember.... don't let them tell you that it's always hard work!

A night or so back, i was working the night shift. That shift starts at 10pm and finishes at 6am. There was NO ONE in the clinic. No labors. No postpartum mama's with their precious babes. No one but three tired midwives (and one want-to-be midwife in training... aka: Me :-)

I am now assisting, so I was a bit disappointed that it was a 'dead shift'. But i was glad for the sleep we were all going to get. We turned out the lights... or achumm... shall we say..... "started conserving energy" and turned in to get some sleep.

At 3:30 am a 'Buntis' walks in. She is a sweet younger mother and this is to be her second child. She also happens to be the patient of one of the midwives on shift. As we are checking her in we ask her what time the contractions started. She said 2 o'clock. We ask her... 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon? She says 'no, 2 o'clock this morning!'

By this time, she is holding her belly and acting like the contractions really hurt. But labor just started an hour and a half ago! How far along could she really be? :-)
On top of that she is not responding well to our questions. We have to ask them over and over again to get a response. I'm confused but hey... who am I to say it doesn't hurt?

So we get her washed up, checked in and on a bed Either she is in transition or she is not handling labor well. I figured it had to be the later. Come on! she has only been in labor an hour and a half!

So the midwife on duty did an internal exam and wouldn't you know it she was FULLY DILATED! We quickly got her husband washed and in the room and she started pushing! Shortly after, her waters broke and 6 minutes later her baby was singing 'Hello'! :-)

The baby was born at 4:25 am. So all in all, she had that baby in 2 hrs and 25 minutes!
There is hope for me after all!!!! :-)
Plus I learned a valuable lesson... transition can happen faster than you may think! :-) And labors aren't always long and drawn out!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Outland Adventure

This picture dates back a few weeks when a group of this year's students and a few of last year's got to spend the day doing team building activities! We tied ourselves in knots and tried to untangle. We balanced on logs, fell back into the arms of our team mates, tight rope walked and climbed vertical jungle gyms... not to mention we took a LONG ride on a zip line!

But that wasn't all.... we climbed logs and scaled walls! (I even had to do this last one blind folded. :-) By the end of the day... I was exhausted but exhilarated! (okay... mainly exhausted!)

It was a great time watching everyone's reactions to all the heights and falling! It was very interesting seeing how I responded to the stress and being part of a team!

It was very revealing! What I determined is that.... a midwife needs to have a strong leadership personality! And for the most part! All of us have these characteristics in abundance! :- )

Newsletter October 2007

Dear Prayer Warriors! 
These last few weeks have been a roll coaster ride of adjustments and new learning experiences! 

Our clinic was up for recertification by the Department of Health. After much scrutiny and a lot of compliance, we passed our review and are better than ever!
But there is another obstacle that needs to be considered. The reviewer wants us to try and become a school certified by the Board of Education in the Philippines. But we don't fit that mold. Please pray that we are able to explain this to the local officials and that we wouldn't be delayed by this.

Feed the Poor
Recently we decided to love on the locals more! And serve the poor by giving them food as well as free health care! We pooled our resources and raised over $800 dollars. We bought food, bagged it and handed it out to every woman who came in for a prenatal check up! We have money left over, so we’ll be doing it again in a few weeks!

Boating…. Burning…. and Bobbing…
The other day… a group of us rented a boat and spent the day relaxing on the beach, snorkeling and just getting to know one another better! It was a blast! I was the only one not to get sunburned! Thanks to all that Mexican blood running through my veins! Thanks Mom! :- ) Okay… the four layers of sun block must have helped too!!!
But while I was there I learned some interesting things about the locals! Filipinos hide from the sun. While on the beach, I noticed NO ONE was laying out. I was the only ‘crazy coconut’ soaking up the sun!
One of my directors turned to me and said, “You know, Steph, it’s actually ‘cool’ to be white here!” And of course, she’s right!
Tanning salons don’t exist here! The whiter you are the better! At the store there are huge sections of the beauty isle dedicated to whitening soap, whitening lotion, whitening creams and whitening powders. It’s like bleach for your skin. I watch women walking down the street on a bright sunny day carrying an umbrella. If not, they have a bag on top of their head or are hiding in some way, shape or form. I personally love their brownness... but maybe i'll be hiding from the sun in a little while too!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The all Hallowed Halo-Halo!!!

Check out this Filipino version of the banana Split! No there are not any bananas... and yet... you don't miss them!

Imagine shaved ice smothered in condensed milk, then garnished with EVERYTHING YOU CAN FIND IN THE FRIDGE!!! I'm going to call it fridge split! Okay... what all do you find in the fridge here in the Philippines. There is ice cream, sherbert, fava beans (that have been candied! Yes, you read that right!), flan, puffed rice, uncooked oats, Jello, and purple taro root (aka: ube), topped with chocolate sauce and a maraschino cherry! Yumm! .... This is Halo-Halo!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Baby number Four... i finally thought to bring my camera!

Meet little Mel Jones-Rin born Sept 17 2007. This happy little boy came into the world in silence. His mom didn't cry out in pain... and he was practically silent as well! This birth was straight forward and uncomplicated! It was a joy to watch... He was so small though. Most of the babies are born small here. I guess it's normal when their moms are all of 4 feet tall! but it's also their diet. Some just don't have the means to eat for two!

Studying.....transporting....and erasing...

Hello one and all!
Life here has been very busy because I've been cramming for my assignment! I wrote a freakin' book! 60 pages long... not including the craft project and vocab cards... Some days, i study (if you can call blankly staring cross-eyed at a wall... studying) for hours ad infinitum. I figure i study at least 40 hours a week and then i work on top of that two to three birthroom shifts and one prenatal shift a week. :-) that is about another 21- 35 hours a week! :-) Did i say i was crazy busy or what!!! :-) But i just want you to know! i love it!!! :-) i love every minute of it.... well not EVERY minute... some of the studying is HARD WORK!! if i didn't know any better I'd say my brain ignites from time to time! and not in the good sense... we're talking grinding gears and whizzing cogs... and a smell that reminds me of fried electrical panels.... you know... the kind that makes you wonder if your blender needs to be replaced!
OK. I've informed you. it's been busy. But i finished my assignment. I have a day or so respite before i have my exam (which is on Friday! please pray!) and I'm feeling good. I'm actually able to update my blog and smile! all at the same time! Way cool!!!

Now for confession time! I've been having a really difficult time since getting here with one particular issue and I've only recently made a break through! I have struggled with the transportation here! I'm frankly overwhelmed! There are SO MANY different ways to get around... and NO house numbers and BARELY ANY street signs... and nobody gives you CLEAR directions... and the ONLY map i can find doesn't even have all the road names on it.... it's just a bunch of squiggly lines with random dots telling me where to shop!!!! AAhhhh! i like shopping and all... but we're talking NOT CLEAR!! Alright... I've vented. I'm happy to report that i have FORCED myself out of the house! (I've even borne the shame of going ALONE) and I've mastered three quarters of the transportation nightmare! I will prevail!!! Ha!
there is hope! i DO see the light at the end of this transportation tunnel! yippy!
There will be NO stopping me now!!! He he he ;-)
I would be adding more pictures right now... but guess who erases 75 plus pictures off her computer today! Yep! you guessed it!!! your one and only goof-for-a-brain-impossible-to-figure-out-electronics Stephanie!!!! Pray that I'll be able to restore them somehow! for the moment they are completely lost in my computer hard drive! I can hear them calling to me... let me out... free me... and i'm deeply troubled! But what can be done? What... ?

ok... you can tell i need some sleep... must be off.... much more to follow!

This little fellow is one of the babies delivered at Mercy Maternity Clinic! He's what makes this all worth while! :-) Fortunately i didn't erase his precious face! :-) maybe i'll find his friends!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I'm here and loving it!!!

Dear Prayer Warriors!
Flight… baggage… and plugged ears… The flight to Davao was fairly painless… I say painless because the day before we took off, I got a ragin’ Sinus infection! As a result my head felt like it was in a torture vise every time we changed altitude! As you can imagine, this happened often with 4 planes to catch! Despite the pain, I was able to rest and we all made it to Davao in record time! We even had goofy, jet lagged smiles when we landed and were greeted by the staff and other students!  

Getting’ tight with my Roomies! My new home here is comfortable but maxed to capacity. I now share my home with 17 others! Yes, you read that right! There are anywhere between 18-21 women in this home at any given time!(There are more because interns come and go!)This makes for interesting shower schedules since you need to shower at least 3 times a day! You do the math!! That equates to lots and lots of showers! Good thing it rains a lot here!  

New Foods- Good Eats! In addition to the Durian (Aka: stinky garlicky, gym-shoe-smelling slime! -Which I love!!!) And the Balut (Aka: partially developed boiled duck egg- which is way good!)I’ve also had the privilege of eating Fresh Buko! (Aka: young coconut!) & drinking the juice! :-)Yummm!  

A new Decade has begun… I spent my Birthday by going to the spa! I got massaged and pampered and loved every minute of it!!! “How old?”, you ask! I’m not sure I can count that high! Let’s just say I still have my teeth but I couldn’t tell you how to facebook to save my life! :-)  

Cultural Perspective: When I tell the Filipinos my age, they all say… “ohhhh… You are old!” Then they ask… “Are you married?” When I say no… they say… “ohhhh………” They get quiet… you can hear crickets chirp and mosquitoes hum. They don’t know what to ask next! I stump them. Being single and “old” makes no sense to the Filipinos. They assume you are not married because no one ever asked… you must be one of those ‘left on the shelf’ ones. I say this with a smile… but It’s getting a bit old. I’m tempted to LIE and tell them I’m even older!! “You want to come here to serve the poor? Don’t. You will burn out. You must come here to serve Christ. He will sustain you with joy and you will never tire of Him."- Mother Theresa Before getting here someone gave me this quote by Mother Theresa. I find myself thinking about this statement a lot. I thought I was coming here to learn midwifery and serve the poor. Now I realize that I’m here to serve Jesus by loving on the poor and studying hard! Having this view makes all the difference.  

BABY UPDATE: I’ve been here just over a week now and I’ve had the privilege of watching five babies come into the world!!! Each one was so unique and amazing! Some were complicated births others were very simple! Women labor here differently. I’ve yet to hear one cry out in pain!!! Can you imagine a labor and delivery unit that is almost completely silent?!! Well, try!:-) That’s what it’s like here. The only crying comes after the birth when the baby says hello!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Howdy one and all! D-day has arrived! Please pray for our trip! As we have some seriously harry lay-overs and enough luggage to sink the Titanic!!! Also I'm fighting a nagging cold... (I WILL PREVAIL!!!) Even garlic hasn't killed it outright... it must have some garlic resistant strain or something!!! :-) So far I've only managed to ward off any local vampires and gross out my roommates! :-) good times... good times... ! But my important papers got here on time! Hallelujah! love- SW

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Portland Preparations and Parting....

Dear Loved Ones and Prayer Warriors!
I've been in Oregon for a few days now... and I'm loving the weather, the change of scenery, and the COFFEE! :-) This last week I've spent most of my time getting to know my new roomies! I will be spending a lot of time with these ladies for the next two years, so it's important that we have solid relationships! They are all unique and lovely in their own special ways! The first day we went hiking up Mount Neah kah ne it was gorgeous. It is a simple hike along the coast with a spectacular view. I got a nasty blister but it was well worth it! Afterward we roasted hot dogs on the beach and smothered out hands and face in Smores! The water was unbearably cold! There were crazy people swimming in it! I would have died of hypothermic shock had I tried!!! The following day we went to New Song Church which is one of New Life School's greatest supporters. They prayed over us and welcomed us very warmly. Afterward we visited downtown Portland, drove alongside the Columbia River, and hike a mountain to Multanohma Falls. It was so serene and refreshing. Since then we have been resting, repacking and mostly emailing .... and downloading pictures. Enjoy the pictures and let me know how you all are doing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Parting for Portland!!!

Dear Prayer Warriors!

Much has happened these last few weeks! So, I’ll try to be brief…What have I been up to? I’ve condensed a house full of “life” into 2 ½ bags! They are HEAVY mind you, but not much heavier than my heart at saying goodbye! (Sniff… Sniff…)  

The Going Away Party was a huge success! For those of you who weren’t able to make it… I have posted some fun pictures of it for you to enjoy. I’d guess at least 60 people came and ate, swam and said goodbye! It was a bitter-sweet joy! Thanks for making it so special!
Chicago is… my kind of town… Chicago is…. MY KIND OF TOWN!!!!!!!!!!! I have spent the last few days in Chicago visiting family. They have given me a much needed vacation from everyday packing and preparations. Frankly, they spoiled me rotten! I loved every minute of it! While I was there, we saw, “Wicked”, ate great food and laughed tons!  

Orientation for the Orient! My first stop on the ORIENT EXPRESS will be Portland. I arrive Friday, August 31st for 4 days of orientation where I will be meeting many of my classmates to bond then to fly ‘en masse’ to Davao. I’m grateful I have travel mates to the Philippines. It makes the journey less frightening having comrades to (commiserate) commute with … (he he he!)  

Fly me to the moon… or Davao City (will do!) At this point, I think the moon might be closer! Come September 5th I head out with the other KA-WA-ZEE (Crazy) KOOKS to Destination Davao! We will start in Portland, fly north to Seattle, head west to Taipei, then hop over to Manila… then finally land in Davao City 4 PLANES AND 3 DAYS LATER! Pray for us!!!!  

Newlife Perspective: It’s at the start and the end of a new path that gets me thinking. Before embarking on a path, I tend to over think the ‘what ifs’ and long after the good ‘ol days. I have no idea where this path will take me! But God has told me, “Go!’. So, I will go! But, I’m not going alone. All of you are coming with me. So grab your sandals and let’s boogie… we’ve got a NewLife to discover! Archipelago Ho!

Love and Blessing,

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

July update

Dear Prayer warriors,  

So much has been going on this month. I have many praises to share with you! God is taking care of all the details of my trip and doing it with such ease… that I’m often floored in awe! 

One generous soul has blessed me with several digital thermometers and another bought my car! I gave away a lot of furniture and feel 300 lbs lighter as a result! I even found a new home for my cat! PTL!!!! I did some research on grants and scholarships for the Midwifery school and it turns out they have a “Funds matching” program. They will match up to $500 dollars a year if the church donates toward my tuition! What good news!  

The Prayer Potluck was delightful! Thank you all for coming out and praying with us! I was able to answer questions, take pictures and spend sweet fellowship! The food was great too! Yummy! 

Last newsletter, I mentioned that I would need to raise $900 dollars a month in support. Well I’ve re-crunched the numbers and it looks as if $500 a month will be much more in line with my needs. So far I’m at about 75% of this! 

Things you can be praying for now: Please pray that my monthly support would come together and that I’d trust God for the rest! Pray that i'll be able to see my family before i head out and that my trip would go smoothly! 

Going Away Party: Sunday August 19th we will be having a Church BBQ/going away party at the Oasis Golf Course pool from 12-4pm. Come eat, swim and say goodbye! That's the skinny for the moment. Thank you for your continued prayers!!! 


Friday, June 29, 2007

The Crunch is on!

Dear Prayer warriors,  

June has almost come and gone! And as August approaches the crunch is on! A lot has happened since last I wrote! And much is yet to be done!

I have been blessed with a suitcase, a number of scrubs, two feteoscopes and I got the fetal Doppler at ¼ of the regular price! Thank you so much for praying! I’ve been approved and will be working with Shepherd’s Staff- a missionary facilitating organization! They will be handling all my finances for me while I’m away. Praise God I’ve been able to earn all the money needed for my two years of tuition at Newlife International School of Midwifery! 

However, my monthly living expenses still need to be covered. Many of you have expressed interest in supporting me financially and have asked how you can help. Now I finally have answers to your questions. There are a few one-time start up costs such as plane tickets, visas and exam fees. Then there are on-going monthly expenses which include health insurance and personal spending money. All in all, this equates to a monthly budget of $900.00 dollars. At first this seemed a bit daunting, but I’m confident that God is going to provide for all of my needs! And in the process, increase my faith! Please pray that this too would fall into His perfect will!! If you’d like to be a part of my support team, please contact me and I will give you details on how to donate. Or you can send your support directly to: Shepherd’s Staff Po. Box 27220, Albuquerque, NM 87125-7220  

Things you can be praying for now: What to do with my car and my cat. (One cat has disappeared… An answer to prayer but not what I was hoping for… ) Also that i'm able to tie up all the loose ends before i go. I'd like to see my family too. Pray that I'll be able to spend some time with them before I go. Also save a Few dates!!!! Prayer Potluck: July 21st at Rick and Marie’s house we’ll be praying as a team, getting to know one another and chowing down! Starts at 6pm! Going Away Party: Sunday August 19th we will be having a Church BBQ/going away party at the Oasis Golf Course pool from 12-4pm. Come eat, swim and say goodbye!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

God's Beautiful Provision

Dearest friends! Thank you so much for your prayers! I'm excited to say that God is providing so beautifully! I'm often awed at the way He does it too. So far, more than 30 people have signed up to be part of the prayer team! That is more than half of what i hoped for! I'm hoping for at least 50 prayer warrior teams! Would you continue to pray for prayer warriors? :-) Answers to Prayer! People have stepped forward with watches, tape measures, and scrubs. God is making sure that I'll be a styling, timely, measuring midwife!!! I also got a brand new shiny Stethoscope! I had forgotten to mention it in my last newsletter. But God didn't forget! He covers ALL things! Also, the Fetal Doppler you all prayed for has been purchased! Normally they are over $500 dollars but God provided one (slightly used) for only $150.00! He is so good! I figured out how to put a picture on the blog... as you can all see for yourself! This is no small thing!!! I fiddled with this thing for weeks before i got it on here... hopefully more pictures will be coming... I was able to go get an annual check up with a doctor. She gave me a clean bill of health. I'm going through the application process with a missionary facilitating organization called Shepherd's Staff! They help missionaries stay on track of their finances, keeping accounts and accountability. I'm so glad to have their support!!!!! Current Needs! Pray that my application with Shepherd's Staff goes well. I need to put together Prayer Cards. I still need a feteoscope, thermometers and Suitcases. My Cats still need homes... but I'm toying with the idea of letting my Dad adopt them. :-) He doesn't know this yet... he he he! My car didn't sell after all. So pray that I'm able to sell my car. Last but not least is "What to do with July of 2008?" I normally don't plan my vacations a year in advance but this one will need a little extra time. You see, i only have one month off in the two years I'll be in the Philippines. I won't be coming back to the states since it takes three days to get there and at least four lay-overs! I will have to leave the Philippines for visa reasons. So where to go? I would really like to be involved in some kind of missions work. This will take some forethought, planning and prayer! That's where you all come in. Would you pray for some direction and guidance. And if you have any suggestions by all means.....!!!!! Lovingly in Him, Stephanie

Friday, May 11, 2007

May update-

Dear prayer warriors!

Let’s see…. A lot has happened these last few weeks. I’ve purchased my tickets and the rest of my text books. I got to speak in front of my Church, Calvary Chapel Mesquite and tell all the ‘Family’ what I’m up to… It was great… but I guess I sounded a bit nervous! Oh well!!! I’ve had wonderful people step forward wanting to be a part of my prayer team. That’s You!!! If you are reading this!!! I’m thrilled to have you on my side in this battle!!! I’ve had two people step up to help with logistics and another handful of warm hearted souls interested in encouragement and communications support! I feel so blessed and loved on!!! Knowing you stand with me is so very exciting!!!

Some have requested updates but cannot be praying for me daily/weekly. So I will be sending out two types of newsletters. If you only want monthly updates just let me know. The rest of you will hear from me a bit more often. Also I got to pick the brain of a recently returned missionary from the Philippines. He is lending me a book on understanding the culture and may even be buying my car from me.

Things you can be praying for now: - That I sell my car - That I can buy a fetal Doppler at a discount - Putting together a proper blog - To find a home for my cats - For my finances to come together - That I’m able to pack up my belongings Ways to Help: If you like to sew I need scrubs made. If you know design programs, I need help designing a Prayer Card.

Needs/Wish List: If anyone has any of these items I could use… Solid Luggage set Watch with a second hand (preferably one that will be able to pin on my smock jacket) Digital Thermometers Scrubs Feteoscope Retractable tape measure

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What's what!! :-)

God is sending me on an awesome adventure. I have been accepted into Newlife School of Midwifery which is located in Davao City Philippines. I leave in August and will be spending two years learning everything I can about being a midwife and setting up a clinic anywhere in the world. This blog is to keep those who delight to pray for me along the way updated on this wonderful adventure. Thank you for joining in on this exciting time.