Sunday, February 5, 2012

Surrounded by God's Love

Last Monday, Tom was supervising the removal of a very large tree at the home.  It was quite tall and half dead.  The living part had beautiful pink feather-like flowers.  Unfortunately, if it fell it would cause a lot of damage, so it had to go.  Four men doing the actual work with a bow saw and ropes to lower the cut branches to the ground.  Eric, the young man who made our front gate, was high in the tree in his sox cutting the branches.  Tom went up the ladder for a look and when he came down, twisted his left knee pretty badly.  He limped around for a while, trying to walk it off.  In no time at all, Mama Mdemu had arranged the driver, car and Mama Marianna to accompany Tom to Lushoto Hospital to have his knee examined.  
At the hospital, Tom filled out the registration card which asked for all of his information including his “Tribe”.  In the ER a woman asked many questions regarding the accident and gave him Paracetamol and sent him on his way.  (Take two aspirin and stay off it).
It was very painful for Tom.  After he returned, I called Dr Mark Jacobson, ELCA missionary who has worked in Arusha for 27 years.  I asked him about giving Tom some pain medication I brought with me in case of back problems.  He suggested that  we come the next day to Arusha.  There was a Orthopedic surgeon there until the next night, when he would return to Minnesota.  
After a phone call to Pr Kibanga at the Diocese office and a visit from Mama Mdemu, a driver was quickly arranged for the next morning to take us to Arusha Lutheran Medical Center.  Pastor Kibanga also traveled the half hour up the mountain to visit with us and see how Tom was in person.  Pastor Kangele, our neighbor came to pray with us and about an hour later, her husband Daniel visited and also prayed with us for Tom’s recovery.
The six hour drive was uncomfortable, but our driver Zachariah was wonderful.  He tried to avoid potholes and speed bumps as best he could.  When we arrived in Arusha, none of us knew the way to the hospital.  Arusha is a large and busy place.  We saw two policemen on the side of the road.  Zachariah stopped and I got out of the car to ask for directions.  I spoke with the younger of the policemen, who spoke in Kiswahili to the older one with a clip board.  He walked me back to the car, opened the front door and helped me in......and then he got in next to me!!  He directed Zachariah through the busy streets to the gate of the hospital.  We had always been told that if you ask directions here in Tanzania, the person you ask may take you to your destination.  We never expected to have a policeman accompany us.
From Reception, we were escorted by a very kind woman to the surgical waiting area.  Dr Mark had made all of the arrangements for us.  The doctor from Minnesota examined Tom’s knee and diagnosed a torn ligament, but one that would heal itself, given time and rest.  Since there is no MRI, we were told to return if the symptoms got worse, or if his knee did not improve over the next four to six weeks.  We returned home the next day.
In email, someone asked how we were managing in this situation, since we are here on our own.  Our reply was that we are far from being on our own.  The first evening when we returned we were visited first by ten of the students from the home, who filled our sofas, chair and tables with their loving presence.  Then Mama Mdemu, Mama Marianna, and little Nema came to visit.  Before they left, five more of the girls arrived and were joined shortly by three more.  Later that evening, our neighbor Pastor Kangele and her family stopped by.  Each of these groups of people offered prayer with us before they left.  We also have received phone calls from Pastor Kibanga checking on Tom.
Today was the first Sunday here that we have missed church.  It is too far to walk under the circumstances.  We have an English/Kiswahili Bible and the lectionary to find the day’s readings.  We also listened to Elvis sing Gospel and had our own devotions.  After the first service, the girls from the home who sing in the choir at church arrived, singing one of the songs they had sung in the service.  
We are surrounded by God’s love through our brothers and sisters here and at home.  We are thankful for all of this love that we receive every day.  

To view some pictures of Irente Children's Home please go to:


  1. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Macpherson,
    Hi, my name is Emily and I am from Bensalem, Pennsylvania. I am a 6th grade student at Saint Ephrem School. My grandmom, Dianne, is a parishioner of Faith Lutheran Church in Philadelphia. She was looking at the church bulletin, and saw that you were missionaries in Tanzania. I love helping other people and animals, and I happen to be doing a project on Tanzania right now. I have to present a power point slideshow on Tanzania soon. So I was wondering if you could tell me how it is to be a missionary in a country like Tanzania. My class is studying all about Africa and the poor living there. It would be great if you give me some information on how it is in Tanzania! I would also appreciate it if I could possibly have a pen-pal to send letters to. Thank You so much and I wish you the best of luck on your next trip!
    Thank You,

  2. Hi Sue and Tom
    Keeping you both in prayer. Glad that you are surrounded by saints! Hope Tom's knee feels better soon, and heals well. Enjoyed seeing all your pictures and video of the girls and children and school at Irente. So glad our SKYPE connection worked on 1/22. Thanks to the girls for their lovely performance.
    Love, Donna and David