Reality Check

Through the years, many have heard me say: “I’m not as interested in how pretty a swan dive people can make into the ocean of Christian experience, I’m interested in how long they will swim.” Below is an update from Brenda Kosiorek that gives candid commentary on what it looks for them “to swim” since arriving in Togo. This is their reality check and new normal.
It behooves us as their church family to be all the more diligent to pray for them every day. It also serves for us to have our own reality check in how well we are not simply counting the cost to be a committed disciple for Christ, but whether or not we are paying the price.
Pastor Shirk
Brenda writes:

“It has been a difficult start for the Kosiorek family.  Our arrival in Lome was quite smooth, which is rare for Africa.  We stayed in Lome 3 nights.  Lome is never fun; it is a large city.  Our air conditioner didn’t work and being tropical it is very, very buggy.  I started feeling sick Friday, on the way up to Mango.  I was hospitalized Sunday and told that I would go into emergency surgery to have my appendix removed.  However, God provided a GI surgeon who was volunteering here for 2 weeks.  He examined me and said that my colon was very swollen, along with my lymphoid (which is attached to my appendix).  The lymphoid was so swollen that the top of the appendix was also swollen and that the appendix was not the issue.  I ended up testing positive with 2 different parasites and Malaria.  The medication was not working and I had internal bleeding.  I was again prepared for surgery, but this time, to remove parts of my colon.  But God is good and just hours before going into surgery, I took a turn for the better.  After being in the hospital for 5 days, I was finally allowed to go home but with a strict diet while my organs recover.

The day I came home, Daniel started feeling sick.  At first they thought he might have Malaria and they started to treat him for it.  However, he continued to get worse and they now feel he has Typhoid Fever. He is very sick, but the medication is starting to help.

We have been without water which is rare during raining season.  We are praying that it comes on soon.  It is hard to get things done when it is so hot and knowing that we can’t shower, wash clothes, or use dishes.  We have to be careful not to use up too much water.  We have no idea how long it will be out.  It could be days.  We do loose electricity often but thankfully we have good flash lights.  The house we are staying in does not have back-up generators.

The internet company here is going bankrupt so they shut the internet off and on to save money.  We have had little or no reception.  We were told that another bigger company will be coming, but that it will be very expensive.  We are praying for good internet so that the boys will be able to do school on-line.

We had our first look at houses today.  We have our work set out for us.  They will need a lot of work and a lot of cleaning.  We are thankful that we do have some options and we are praying that God would give us wisdom as we choose where to live.  It will takes months of work to get it ready and money for labor and supplies.  We would like to make a decision quickly.   The man who has been doing maintenance leaves for furlough for 10 months in Aug.   This was a real blow to us.  Most families get 2 to 3 months to get work done settling in.  Eric went to work last Monday to get orientated.  We are praying that God would allow us time enough to get settled in.

The car was also a disappointment.  It has a broken window, electrical problems, the tire (at one point was broken off) is wobbly, the back door doesn’t open, and the whole things smells of pee.  Thankfully we were able to order 3 motorcycles.  We have a church who is raising money for them, in their VBS class.  However, ABWE just informed us that we can only use the money to purchase 2 bikes.  One for Eric and one for me.  We explained that the car could be used for hauling stuff short distances, but can’t be trusted.  They said we could purchase an ATV or something else but because the boys were not employees; we can’t use the money to buy a third bike.   At this point we only have enough money for bikes.  However, thanks to our AWESOME church family we have enough food, so that we can use our income to help pay for the 3rd bike.

We can’t even begin to tell you how the food is helping.  We would have had to buy floor and be sifting through it ourselves.  We have been living off the cans of food you sent while we recover from being sick.  I am still trying to get down how to wash dishes, my counter tops, and hands without leaving one drop of water for an amoeba.  We have to run our bread through fire to be sure flies didn’t leave eggs on it while cooling.  I can’t believe all the things to remember to be sure we stay healthy.  Eric is a good planner and once we have our own place, we will have backup generators and enough water stored that if we lose water for 3 or 4 days we will have enough to keep hydrated.  This house is set up for 2 people.  The water storage and space is not enough for a family of 5.  We are praying we won’t be here long.

We decided that things can only get better.  Once we get into our own place, have a system set up, and adjust to heat- we will be GREAT!!!! The people here are wonderful and have helped to make the hard conditions bearable.  We are still unable to decipher their thick African accents as they speak French, but we were told that in 6 to 8 weeks it will sound normal to us.

Keep praying! We miss you all so much!!!”

Brenda and boys

Eric and Brenda Kosiorek

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