Monday, December 14, 2015

Getting ready

So the countdown is on in a month and a half I will be taking off. Due to the craziness of the next few weeks which I will explain lower down I am already packing. One of three suitcases is already packed at 45lbs (I don't completely trust my scale). This suitcase may be unpacked and repacked the next few weeks. I have made numerous trips to the store to stock up on things. What kind of things does one pack? After a few trips to Kenya, my Kenya list is getting more defined. So I have packed things like Allen keys - needed to fix the ventilators, random donated medical equipment, sticky hooks for the walls, a utility knife for making spacers, ink cartridges, random kitchen stuff etc. Packing is fun. So I pray it will all fit into 3 suitcases and an overloaded carry-on.

So why am I packing now? - I am planning on bringing everything to my parents next week. I will be in southern Alberta for 3 weeks catching up with family, celebrating Christmas and going to the wedding of my little brother. So it will be a fun 3 weeks but as I will be busy with nieces and nephews - current count has increased to 4 nieces and 5 nephews - just got another niece last week :). So busy with little people, catching up with siblings, chatting with aunts, uncles and cousins, and helping Mom keep everyone happy and fed. I am excited, it will be fun. But not much time will be left for preparing to go to Kenya. Which is why I am packing now.

So after 3 weeks at home I will be back up in Edmonton for a few days to work a few shifts, say a few more good-byes, and have a commissioning service at church. Than its back to southern Alberta for a few days so I can pack a small suitcase and hop on a plane to Colorado. I have a training there for Reach Beyond for a week - a little ironic is this training is a lot of fundraising training, and  my fundraising is at 100%. Yes praise the Lord all the needed support is raised. Also on a belated note the Reach Beyond website is now fully working  if you still want to donate - its easier to do now, read below about what happens if more than 100% is raised.
Back to my plans: after a week in Colorado, I fly back to Canada for 3 days before I hop on a plane for Kenya.

So I ask for your prayers as I spend the last few weeks preparing, saying good-byes, and surviving the cold dry weather.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Questions

So this post is a little trivial and a little serious. There are some questions as missionaries that may seem normal to the rest of the world but to me are much more complicated. Here is a sampling and some answers

When are you leaving? 
I have gotten this question frequently while on the road trip that finished a week or 2 ago. Do you mean leaving Ohio? Tennessee? Ontario? Or what ever place I am currently in or when am I leaving to go to home to Kenya. Asking when I am coming home is the same. Do you mean my Kenyan Home, my southern Alberta home, or my Edmonton home. Not easy.
So to answer this question: I will be in southern Alberta over Christmas, and say good-bye to Edmonton before then.
My flights to Kenya departs Jan 27. 

What is your Address?
See above. My home is multiple places. Why do you want my address? If it is for junk mail I will tell you I live in Africa and watch your baffled look. If you are a bank or someone who needs my address you get my parents place. If you want to visit me - it depends where do you want to visit me. If you're Amazon or sending me presents, it's wherever I will be next that charges the least shipping. 

What if you raise too much money?
I am now at 95% of needed funds, which is a huge blessing. Some of you may have been thinking of giving and wondering if you should still give. 
So this question is a little more serious. If too much money is raised - I do not get a raise, nor do I get a trip to Hawaii. What I do get is a little more financial security. My budget is in Canadian dollars, but when I am in Kenya I am spending Kenyan shillings and American Dollars. So with changing economies the amount needed for rent could change. Second if there are extra funds I have more with which to help others. Whether it be helping a patient with their hospital fees, buying bibles for youth group, helping the hospital with supplies or helping other missionaries who are short for a month - others will be helped by the money. Third 70% of my funds are pledged monthly or yearly. Peoples financial situations can change and I may lose supporters over the four years I am in Kenya. 
The decision to give and where to give is between you and God. There are many good causes out there so please pray about your giving.

How long are you going for?
I think it will be a long time until I live a "normal" life in Canada, maybe when I retire. As I am a missionary and funds are raised during my time in Canada. I will be back for a year in 4 years.The next 4 years will be in Kenya. However, I will be using my vacation time to fly to Canada to see family once or twice a year. So you may see me after I leave. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thanksgiving and Roadtrip

This past Monday was Thanksgiving day here in Canada. No, we don't call it "Canadian Thanksgiving". It is just Thanksgiving. We know our neighbours to the south celebrate a month later with shopping but here we are a little more simple. A meal with friends and family, being thankful for the harvest (for farmers, and others who like to eat food) and the blessings of the year.
Ok, sarcastic marks now put aside. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Over the last few years my life has gone a direction that I did not expect. I am now becoming more and more comfortable stating that I am a missionary. I receive compliments for sacrificing and risking so much to do what I do but really I don't see it that way. I am so thankful to be doing something I love. To be able to interact regularly with other, sometimes multiple cultures. To be able to teach others so health care in Kenya is improved. To be able to join/lead a bible study where we can encourage and challenge one another.
This year at home in Canada, I also have a lot to be thankful for. God has provided a place for me to live, a car to drive, a job to go to, friends to visit with, babies to cuddle, siblings to chat with, nieces and nephews to play with, parents to converse with and so much more. One of the tasks of the year was raising financial support - something I was not super excited about but again I am thankful. God calls people to give to his work. I am encouraged when I meet with people and share and we can encourage each other. Support raising is still a lot of work but every week I am excited to see my support thermometer (see side of the post) go up a few percentage points. God is faithful. I am confident and trusting that the remaining support will come in the next few months I have booked my flights and Jan 27, the Lord willing, I will be off to Kenya.

Before I take off to Kenya I have some adventures here yet.  Next week, I am taking off in my car and heading East. My Aunt J. is joining me for the trip to Ontario and then I will be on my own. Please pray for me as I travel. I am going to visit with friends and family, and attend a conference. I have listed my tentative itinerary below and would love to see you. If you are in or close to one of these places let me know as I love catching up with people - the whole point of this trip.
So my tentative, slightly vague itinerary is below and remember I am driving so if you live between point a and b I can stop by.
Oct 21-24 - Travel from Alberta to Southern Ontario.
Oct 25-31 Southern Ontario
Nov 1-4 Ohio and Michigan
Nov 5-7 Global Mission Health Conference Louisville Ky
Nov 8 - Southern Tennessee
Nov 9-10 Travel from Tennessee to NW Iowa
Nov 11-15 North west Iowa
Nov 16-17 Travel back to Alberta.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Homesick

I have been back in my Canadian home for 6 months now, the shine is wearing off and I now miss my Kenyan home. Culture shock, or what happens when you come back, reverse culture shock, has its ups and downs. The first few months back I had some challenges but then I settled into normal. One thing that I do miss while in Kenya and have enjoyed here is time with family and friends. Getting to know my nieces and nephews again is wonderful. For the last few months I have enjoyed the shine of normal. The conveniences of North American life are great. I don't think twice before I hop in the car, do some groceries and stop at Subway or Dairy Queen for bite on the way home. The same is true for work at the hospital, I am surrounded by very well trained nurses, physicians, pharmacists, dietitians, therapists and others. Lab tests are ordered without a thought. TPN is automatic. We don't debate whether a patient really needs a CT or what a MRI might tell us if we could get one. Instead everything is at our fingertips. I throw away so many supplies that are hardly used that I would reuse many times at Tenwek.

So you may be thinking this sounds great, what's the problem. The truth is I miss my Kenyan home. I miss the simplicity of stopping at one of the many shops to buy my fruits (yes we say fruits there), vegetables and other staples. I miss holding her baby as the shopkeeper puts my groceries on the counter and puts my eggs in a small flimsy plastic bag. I miss showing up at work and greeting my co-workers before we get to work - although I often miss this, but they call me on it. I miss walking to and from work, sometimes multiple times a day to get something. I miss coming home at noon to a meal cooked by a lovely lady who helps me out 2 days a week (who wouldn't miss this). I miss the surprises when I get to work in the morning. Quickly trying to figure out who I need to see with the teams of doctors and trainees and trying to round with 3 teams at once. I miss being a part of the team called for advice at all hours. I miss the challenge of fixing a machine when I have no one to ask for advice. Taking the whole machine apart and then realizing I could have just undone 2 little screws. I miss putting that machine back together again and having  it work better than it did before. I miss teaching the nurses, physicians in training and anyone who would listen so someday I am not needed. I miss the bible study with my interns where the conversation is always interesting and I am challenged. I miss stepping out the front door of my house and encountering multiple kids on scooters circling my house. I miss going for a walk and encountering another missionary and we can chat about life, and pray for one another. There is so much more that I could add to this list: the fun of trying to speak and understand swahili, going to church and singing song of praise together; it could just go on.

Many things on this list are the same thing I may have complained about 2 years ago. Life is strange is that way. So now I am continuing in this life here in Canada, working towards going back. I have gotten multiple e-mails from friends back in Kenya with a repeating question:  when are you coming back? The plan is January. Will you help me get there? I need to raise support to get there. Check out the thermometer on the side of the post. I still have a ways to go. So why am I going back? Not just because I miss it. I miss it because that is where God wants me to be.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Weather, water, power, houses

So now that I am back in Canada I get all sorts of questions and I would like to answer some now.

So this month in Alberta it has been hot 30+ C hot (86F). That much warmth is not common here, so over the past few days I have had comments of "boy it's hot, but you must to be used to it as you have lived in Africa". The truth is while I have been in parts of Kenya and other parts of Africa that have been quite warm. The area I call home, Tenwek, is quite comfortable. It a high altitude, about 6000 ft, and therefore is quite temperate. The days are lovely in the mid to low 20s. At nights it cools down to the teens. During the rainy season it's a little cooler, with clouds and rain. But it does not rain all day during the rains, just a few hours in the afternoon and then again in the evening and rains on and off overnight. So really its great weather all the time.

I have had other people concerned about my water situation. Honestly, the water situation was fairly normal. I had flush toilets and a hot water heater. Some of it was different. I filtered my water in a big filter before I drank it. The hot water heater was part solar and part electric. I would flip it on 30-40min before hopping in the shower, and the water would be hot. The water was hard and sometimes brown but really it was all fairly easy and OK.

Power. We had power most of the time. There were periods of time when we would have no power for more days than we would but it was ok - I got used to it. The stove was gas so it still worked, I would read books or play games by candlelight and battery powered lights. Recently I have moved close to downtown and have learned to think of rush hour timing when going somewhere. However, still I am occasionally stuck in traffic. You get used to it fairly quick. You learn what works and what doesn't and sometimes you just sit and wait. Having no power is like that. You quickly get used to it and complain at times but really it is just part of life you roll with.

So lastly people are curious about what my house is like. It's really quite normal. I lived in a two bedroom place that was part of a three-plex . It was a 5 minute walk to the hospital and my neighbors were other missionaries and hospital staff. It was a decent size house and for bible studies or pizza nights 15+ people would fit in there.

So there you have a little about my life. Feel free to ask more questions in the comments and I will work them into my next post

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Big News, Moving forward

As I mentioned in my last post, I had traveled to Ontario to interview with a new mission organization. I am excited to share that  I have been accepted by the group, Reach Beyond. Reach Beyond,  formerly called HCJB, has been sending missionaries around the world for a long time. They started with mission radio stations in Ecuador and have since spread around the globe doing radio, health care and other ministries.

I am very excited about working with this great organization. I have had a few questions so I will try answer them here. 

Why the change? What about Samaritans Purse?
This is a change that I knew would probably have to happen for me to stay in missions long term. Samaritans Purse was great to work with, however, they do not send medical missionaries long term. Going long term requires more support like health insurance, retirement savings, and support of mental and spiritual well-being. These are things that Samaritans Purse was not able to offer me and Reach Beyond can. All that being said I was very happy with Samaritans Purse. 

Are you going to the same place now that your with a new group?
Yes, I am returning to Tenwek hospital in Kenya. The work God has me doing there is still not done.

Are you going to be paid now?
With Samaritans purse I did not receive a salary but got reimbursed for expenses. Now I will receive a monthly stipend which I will be required to allocate where needed.

So you still have to raise money?
YES. Reach Beyond functions like many mission organizations. I will need to raise funds to cover all my costs. This will need to be more than I raised last time as funding is needed for the things I mentioned above like health insurance. I ask that you prayerfully consider partnering with this.  Giving is easy to do just follow directions on the post below.  

So how long are you in Canada for?
I am planning to move back to Kenya to serve a term of 3-4 years in January 2016. I will not be released by Reach Beyond until 100% of the funds are raised or pledged, but I am hopeful that I will not be delayed. 

What are you doing until then?
I am living in Edmonton reconnecting with my church here, working close to full-time at the hospital, doing some online bible college courses (requirement of Reach Beyond), and most importantly catching up with family and friends. I would also like to connect with you, if you would like to hear more about the work God is doing in Kenya please let me know. I would love to meet with you, your family, your bible study or church. 

How to Give - Update

Thank You for supporting this ministry. You will receive a tax receipt for donations. I ask you to consider regular scheduled giving, it is easy to do online and will help sustain the ministry. 

Canadians

Electronic Funds transfer;
Print off this form fill it out and mail it to the address below. (you can just click the X in the top right corner - no need to join dropbox). 

Web:
http://reachbeyond.ca/donate
Please place my name in the message box.
When donating a pop-up may pop-up, please ensure pop-up are enabled.

Call:
1-888-354-4252, Reference Annette Lievaart account #4110579

Mail:

Please notate Annette account #4110579 in the memo line. 
Reach Beyond
3-44 Saltsman Drive,
Cambridge, ON, N3H 4R7

Americans


Print off this form fill it out and mail it to the address below. (you can just click the X in the top right corner - no need to join dropbox). 

Web:
https://reachbeyond.org/missionaries/read/annette-lievaart

Call:
1-800-545-9394 Reference Annette Lievaart account #110579


Mail:
Please notate Annette account #110579 in the memo line. 
Reach Beyond
PO Box 39800
Colorado Springs CO 80949

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

update

Sorry, it's been a while since I've written. Still trying to figure out what way is up. I am back in Canada. Moved back to Edmonton started work again. I am catching up with old friends and meeting babies and toddlers that were not born when I left. The first two weeks back were spent at my parents and they were busy. I had to sort through two years worth of mail, find a car and a cell phone, and get prepared for a new job. I also enjoyed some time with the family. We had a fun evening of bowling and pizza as well as lots of good conversations.
After two weeks at home I moved up to Edmonton. I am staying at a friend's place here. She moved out not long ago. I am thankful she left me a few things as I got rid of most of my things before I left. I am staying in relative comfort. I was  able to get a job at one of the hospitals here. A different hospital than before but similar work. I have settled into work, I am thankful that the transition to work has not been too hard. I was worried that I would try to do everything like I do at Tenwek but the hospital is full of well-trained staff so I don't feel a need to wear so many hats.
I am happy to be home in Canada but I am going through some reverse culture shock and still haven't figured out how to answer people's questions. The one that makes me the most crazy was "How was your trip?". If you were referring to my flight home the answer is "fine". If you are referring to the last 2+ years of my life. It wasn't a trip, it was my life. It wasn't a vacation, although I really loved it.
I also am a little confused by Canadian life. In Kenya, I expected things to take a while. That was just how it is there. Here in Canada, I am enjoying the conveniences but I now expect things to work and when they don't I get more frustrated than I should - if you work at Staples or Alberta Health and talked to me in the last few days - I am sorry.
Also very few of my t-shirts fit well anymore. Yes, I have gained a few pounds. I blame fast food. But that does not account for them being two inches shorter - when you have  lived with out a dryer for a few years you forget that putting them in the dryer will cause them to shrink. Well, too late now.
So that's what's been going on. For those of you asking what's next? - I hope to hear soon. In the middle of April, I made a trip to Ontario to meet/interview with a new mission organization. I should hear from them soon and then I will let you know. The plan now is to, the Lord willing, head back to Kenya early 2016. 
In Ontario with Mom and Aunts

Sunday, February 22, 2015

East or West home is best - but where is home?

Last week I said see you later to Kenya. My last few weeks were busy with pizza parties - I should really start my own pizza kitchen as I am becoming quite good at it. Finishing up the last few things at work and saying good-byes. I was blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful community of missionaries and Kenyans while at Tenwek and in many ways Kenya is home.

I am now on my way to my other home however rather than fly home going west I got on a plane and went the opposite direction. Travelling farther away from both Kenyan and Canadian friends and family, I went east. Here I am in the tropics, people speaking a language I don't remotely understand, the food is completely different - rice and noodles for breakfast? Where is my Chai and Ndazi? That being said, Thai food is quite tasty. I ate supper with two girls from China last night and one of them ordered fish and chips - really, surrounded by all this good food and you are eating fish and chips?
I am enjoying life at a little resort outside of Chiang Mai. I have not yet done the things people expect one to do while in Thailand. I have not left the resort since I arrived Friday night (it's now Sunday afternoon). Instead I have spent time doing a bible study on transition (Life in Motion). I am enjoying the study and it is helping me process the hellos and goodbyes. I am also just enjoying the beauty of God's creation and life not being dictated by an alarm clock, cell phone or pager. It has been wonderful. The place I am staying is perfect for this. My books and I have lots of trees, benches and rocks to sit on. Right now, I am sitting on my porch under a thatch roof, looking at the mountains ahead of me and hearing the birds sing. These few days have been a beautiful gift. The intent of coming to Thailand was not for this vacation but I am very thankful for it. The real purpose for being here is the conference that starts on Tuesday. I will be with other medical missionaries from around the world. There are many lectures and I am to deliver two on my own and assist in the third. I am looking forward to meeting with so many other medical missionaries. I will also reconnect with some friends who God has sent to other areas to serve.

So here I am. East. I will keep traveling east in two weeks to make it home which means I will have traveled around the world.  Home in Alberta, I was offered a job last week. I will spend two weeks at my parents and then move back to Edmonton. Home right? I'm not sure. I am not who I was when I left. Friends in Edmonton have also changed. I am afraid that I have forgotten to work as a Respiratory Therapist in Canada. The situation in Tenwek meant I functioned a little different than a RT in Canada does. So will it be home? It will be just like Kenya is home. Home is where you make it, where you lay your head at night, where you belong to a church family, and where there is a shoulder to cry on.

In closing here are some pictures of good-byes and a little of Thailand
These 2 little guys chatting at my good-bye party

Cardiac surgery was happening as I was leaving, This little guy was bored

One last bi-PAP lecture before I headed out the door

Good-bye Cake from the awesome nurses

Gifts for  a proper send-off

Part of the awesome nursing team in HDU I am going to miss these people

Being prayed for as I depart

Where I am now, relaxing

more relaxing

and more

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Last few things

I am leaving soon so here is an update so read through for my thoughts, plans and my one last adventure before leaving.

Preparing to leave Tenwek, it's strange. I am excited to go home to see family and friends however I am also sad to leave my  friends and people who have become like family to me. Many will be here when I return in 2016, but many will not. I have many missionary friends here who's time at Tenwek will end while I am not at Tenwek and their plans are not to come back to Tenwek but to return to the US or head to other mission fields. Also while I am gone will I will miss weddings and babies of friends here. So I have mixed feelings.

Anyway so those are my thoughts, here are my plans. I am leaving Kenya Feb 19, and flying to Thailand. I will be attending and speaking at a conference there for missionaries from that part of the world. It's a two week conference and I will be spending some time processing the transitions I am going through. Also I will be visiting a friend who lives there. March 8 I fly home to Canada I will spend a few weeks staying with my parents to catch up with the family. From there I hope to move back to Edmonton I am applying for a job up there, please pray with me that it all goes well. I have also applied to the mission agency Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB). I will have to travel to Colorado for an interview with them, not sure when that will be yet. Once I am approved (the Lord willing) by Reach Beyond I will start raising support again and other preparations for coming back to Tenwek in 2016. I have a place to stay in Edmonton but need some wheels. If you have any good ideas for a car for only a year let me know. I need something reliable, and I don't want to have to buy a new car just to turn around and sell it a year later.

So as promised I also had one last adventure that I would like to share with you. I visited Chogoria hospital which is up by Mount Kenya. I enjoyed visiting some friends up there. I also joined some other friends as we took a quick adventure to see Mount Kenya. I was warned that even though we were close we may not be able to see it as it is often obscured by clouds. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. We also spent a night at a mountain hotel by a watering hole. It was fun to just sit and watch the animals. Again the pictures can speak for themselves.
Mountain and Wheat Fields this reminded me of home





stared this guy down. Little unnerving with the big eyes