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Milk Project
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9
Apr

The Harvest

Everyone in our board has been tremendously impacted by the Milk Project. I must confess that it is very difficult for us to keep up with our lives and also take the time to update everyone in everything that we are a part of. I ask that you would forgive us for the lack of updates and for the lack of information. Know that you are greatly appreciated and the lives that you have saved matter.

When my husband Alex and I went to Mozambique we never thought we would be there for such short amount of time, nor did we think we would ever be granted the blessing and opportunity that it has been to serve the Milk Project.

We went in search of meaning for our lives; it was never even in our radar that we would be involved in saving the lives of babies.

God is good. His plans are always bigger and greater than anything we could come up with. We left Mozambique feeling a bit empty; we felt like we had failed, like we accomplished nothing. Now looking back I stand in awe of the magnitude and the heaviness, the huge responsibility that it is to provide for these babies who have no voice and who would otherwise be in an orphanage or even worse dead.

 

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It blows my mind to think that there is a mother out there so desperately wanting to provide for her babe, and unable to do so. Hearing her child cry and unable to meet his needs. Desperate to feed her baby but at the same time being in such harsh condition that she cannot lactate to provide for her. Oh what it must feel like to wrap your baby in your arms and cry along with her. The feeling of helplessness, the feeling of watching your child disappear one day at a time.

I praise God because we encountered this project 6 years ago. I praise Him for those nurses who got it started and all of those who volunteered. I praise Him because we were able to create Little Changes International, and I especially praise Him for those of you who are a part of saving lives with us. For those of you who every month write a check, out of obedience, out of compassion, out of love. Thank you for your sacrifice, it does not go unnoticed. May the Lord bless you a thousand times what you have given and what you have done.

 

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Recently I received a message from our all-star nurse, Fatima. She just wanted to take a moment to thank you for saving lives. She asked that we would write you, and tell you that this is the labor of the Lord, that the project is steady, babies continue to come in and more momma’s find out about the clinic and are impacted by its love.  Thank you to some incredibly gracious donations we were able to expand the project and allow the babies to stay until they are a full year of age. This is a huge blessing, as you know that it is so difficult for these mommas to find the proper food to feed their babies. This allows us to give them proper nutrition and a proper foundation that will carry them out of the danger of being underdeveloped, and malnourished. We have about 40 babies at any given point, and we have a few volunteers who help directing traffic and teaching moms how to properly make bottles and care for their babes.

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Last year we had set apart some money to fund the new floors for the clinic. Up until that point it was mud and of course during the rainy season, the clinic would flood, be filled with mosquitoes and it would make very harsh conditions for the moms and their babies. We raised enough money to put in cement floors. However, the church that allows us to use their space for the clinic is growing very fast and is thinking about expanding.  Once the new site is found, we will go forward with the construction of the floors. This will help with the growth of the Milk Project and improve the conditions, especially during the rainy season.

 

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Thank you again for your continued support, thank you for being a part of our team! Thank you and may you find joy in knowing that you have saved the life of many babies! More updates to come. I leave you with this lovely verse, which carries me through times of tiredness and frustration:

“Do not grow weary of doing good for at the proper time you will reap a harvest.”

Galatians 6:9

 

 

 

 

heart
21
Feb

Reality Check

In a small village, in a place so removed from my world, many MANY miles away from home we get to be a part of a movement. A place where babies are given the opportunity to live and to thrive. What beautiful work it is. One of the most amazing things to me is that this is a project that the whole community recognizes and embraces!  In a small village called Manga in the country of Mozambique, there is a clinic made of straw and dirt built by the community! Women walk miles upon miles with their babies wearing their best outfits to come to a clinic where they are greeted by Fatima – a 29-year-old Mozambican nurse who has devoted her life to serve those in need.

 

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The point of the clinic is to provide milk for babies who are underweight and malnourished. Before encountering this place I took for granted the ability to breastfeed, better yet, I took for granted the ability to feed a family, a kid, a baby. In my small world I never thought about the desperation a mother must feel to hear her baby cry of hunger and not be able to do anything. Being left with no choice many mothers drop their babies in orphanages and give them up in hopes that they will be taken care of. Can you imagine having to make the decision to give up your child because you can’t feed him? But many mothers are unable to make themselves give up their babies and so they feed them whatever they can come up with just to make them stop crying, leaving babies completely malnourished and stunting their growth.

Although this work is a happy work… It’s not an easy work. This clinic was created to provide for babies who are in desperate need. How marvelous indeed! I want you to hear how amazing this clinic is, I want you to see how important this is, I want you to put yourself in the mom’s place and find a place of compassion, not a place of pity, where you feel bad and look the other way, but a place of compassion, where you feel and understand pain and are moved to action. What an honor to be a part of saving the life of a baby.

I keep writing, “saving lives”. Saving lives sticks out to me and it’s like a title that I have in the back of my mind because it’s what we are doing. It’s what I want to focus on. I just want to say it over and over again because maybe then I can just “focus on the positive”. We don’t like to write sad posts because we want our readers to be encouraged, we want our readers to be happy and feel good when you look at the work we are doing. But it is unfair to walk this journey with you and not let you in on the hard, tough and ugly situations.

As I look at the monthly report for the clinic and read the section labeled “comments” I can barely get through this section. Tears fall down my face… comments is the section where we find out why the mom’s are unable to breastfeed their babies:

“Husband abandoned mother while mother was pregnant”

“Mother is 15 yrs old.  Parents have passed and she lives alone in house of deceased aunt”

“Mother has severe mental issues.  Man who impregnated her ran away”

“Mother had HIV and died of TB.  Great-aunt cares for the baby, baby is on ARV treatment”

“Mother passed away.  Grandmother cares for the baby”

“Mother is 14 years old.  She conceived baby as a result of being raped.  Grandmother cares for the baby”

“Premature Birth.  Father abandoned family.  Severe malnutrition when baby entered program”

“Elton Carlos – 5 months old – Entered at 3.9 kg – Currently weighs 4.3 kg – HIV positive.  The baby is an orphan (both mother and father have passed).  He has two aunts that come to take care of him and take turns bringing him to the clinic.  He was very malnourished when he came into the clinic and getting treatment for AIDS.”

Mozambique is considered to be one of the world’s poorest countries. A place where people live on $1 per day!  What do you do when you are 14, you’ve been raped and now you have this beautiful baby that you can’t afford to take care of because you are barely able to survive? I can’t even imagine being in any one of those scenarios. It is by God’s grace that we were able to find this amazing project and adopt it. I’m so eternaly thankful for Ruth, a nurse who took us to see this clinic that was getting ready to lose all of its funds. She never lost hope, she never lost faith. God placed us at the right place at the right time. He orchestrated everything so that we would come in and bring a light in the darkness of this world. He made a way for these babies from a tiny village to be known, to be seen. He made a way for these moms to be heard! He heard their pleas and He sent the workers to bring this work to you so that you would see and get to be a part of this. Saving lives.

I’m honored to get to serve the moms that come through this project, but I’m broken for the ones we can’t help. At some point we have to start turning people away, and it is heart-breaking. To see a family in such desperate need and say, “I’m sorry. We can’t take anymore.” Oh God, give me the strength and the faith to continue to work. How can this be? Sorry, I see you, I feel you, but I can’t help you.  It’s heart breaking!  I live in a place where at your first doctor’s appointment for your pregnancy, you are more than likely) handed two cans of formula just in case you decide to go that route. I still remember the day I came back from Mozambique. There I was in a fancy OB-GYN office getting all that I need to prepare for my baby, and as I was leaving the place, they told me, “don’t forget to grab your goodie bag.” Oh tears rolled down my face at the irony of this world. This formula is what can save a baby!  It’s even more heart-breaking and difficult when we receive the news that a baby from our project has died, that despite our efforts it’s too late and there is nothing we can do.  The pain, the sorrow, the feeling of hopelessness we feel is too real. Being so far away we can still feel the agony of the mother as she looks at her baby breath his last breath.

 

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One of the most severe cases of malnutrition we have seen at our clinic.

So we save lives. Not all, not on our own, but saving lives is what this project is about. Jesus has graciously redeemed our lives so that we can pour back and do something good, something HUGE. To help and to serve: no better way to feel God’s love than to love others! He has called us to sacrificially love knowing that we love because He first loved us. He was the ultimate sacrifice so that in Him we would be complete. Would you take a moment and think about partnering up with us? Would you be a part of a movement of love? Would you help us provide for these momma’s and their babies? Would you help us bring up strong and healthy babies?