There is no doubt that God is always at work around us. He longs for us to see His power, His provision, His protection, His love and His astounding faithfulness every day!
So here’s the personal birth story – shared with Emma and Josh’s permission and from Mimi’s very up-close vantage point..
Before booking the flights to Uganda I had asked the Lord what date to get to Uganda by…in other words – When is the baby really coming? While praying I mentioned that I would like to be in Uganda for about a week before…and then two weeks after baby. I felt His quiet whisper, “You need to be in Uganda by the 19th,.” I didn’t tell Dw, but asked him to pray and ask the Lord for the date…and he confirmed it. I wanted a few days to spend with Emma, Josh and their family before Wee One arrived so knowing I had to actually land by the night of the 18th to be there by the 19th, I checked the flights.
When it came time for booking I asked the Lord again, “Please would you confirm and have the rates very clearly cheaper than all the others so I know which day is best for going early.” And in His gracious kindness, the rates were hundreds of dollars cheaper for one day – to fly on the 11th!! It was absolutely incredible – God is just so cool. He loves to provide specific answers when we ask! I’m pretty sure it’s my all-time favorite verse: “He whispers secrets to those who fear Him.” (Linny’s paraphrase of Psalms 25:14)
After arrival the night of the 12th, we spent our days seeing the progress of Gem Village, loving on the Gems several different days, attending church, buying a few last minute things for the baby and in general pampering our very happy, healthy, pregnant, favorite missionary girl.
The 19th rolled around and her back was hurting quite a bit. I knew Wee One was coming – the Lord is incredible that He would whisper such a beautiful thing!
All day Emma had a few contractions off and on but nothing to speak of but her back felt pretty yukky. Josh had left early that morning to go out to Gem Village for a meeting and Elizabeth and I ban her to the couch and did everything we could to help her feel more comfortable while we tended to meals, chores and loving on the kids. And Emma is such a diligent worker we had to be very bossy to get her to stay on the couch!
Mid-afternoon I was out hanging wash and heard a huge swooshing in the sky. It kinda’ scared me as I looked up – it was really loud. Glancing up, right smack above me, a stork had landed on an electric pole. He stared down at me and we made direct eye contact. He was truly enormous!
As I finished grabbing the dry laundry I wondered how often a stork comes to Josh and Emma’s “neighborhood” and suddenly I started to laugh…there’s the old “a stork pays a visit and drops off a baby” tale from the US. So I grabbed my phone and snapped a few pictures as he sat very intentionally and very sophisticated-like on the tip-top of their roof. After going inside Emma said she had never seen a stork in their area. It made me really giggle with delight! I mean, come on guys, ever been due with a baby and have a stork land on your home? Yeah, me neither.
Not long after dinner, we all headed to bed. I had already told Emmy to please wake me when she was in labor so I could help in any way she needed. As she went to bed for the night her back was still feeling lousy and I could tell she really wasn’t feeling great and I knew…Wee One was coming!
At 4:12 am Elizabeth and my mosquito net was lifted and my precious son-in-love excitedly said, “Come on! It’s time!” I dove out of bed, grabbing my glasses as I hurried to their room. Since I had told Emma to please wake me when she was in labor I assumed I would find her walking around her room. But I didn’t. She was in bed, looking rather pale and glancing up at me she said, “I feel like I am going to pass out.”
In my birthing experiences when I started to pass out, it meant baby was coming fast (I have had very fast labors – even with my first). Josh said that she had been up to use the ladies room, but had wanted to pass out and he had got her back to bed. I asked how close were the contractions. Josh told me they were 2 to 3 minutes apart and had been most of the time since 12:30am. (yikes)
Emma and Josh had written a birth plan and they didn’t want to labor long at the hospital but based on my own labor experience, first baby or not, I felt like Wee One was coming very fast! Trying to sound calm (but Emma now tells me I was loud and not calm – haha!) I told them that they should head to the hospital now! “Gather your stuff and get going – NOW!” Within a couple of minutes Josh had grabbed the suitcase and was heading to the door. Emma was still lying on her pregnancy pillow, not saying a word, not even a peep, just every now and then saying, “I feel like I’m going to pass out.”
I heard their very loud metal back door unlatch as Josh went to get the suitcase to the car. I was praying over Emma and Wee One out loud, asking for the Lord’s protection over both and for all the strength she would need.
In about ten minutes Josh returned and announced, “The car won’t start!” I turned to him with probably the widest eyes I’ve ever had in my entire life and questioned, “You’ve got to be joking?” Now of course I knew he wasn’t joking but I could not believe my ears.
The car won’t start?? Are you kidding?? What in the world?
The reality is that their 25-year-old car is on its last leg and most days it won’t start. They have had a trustworthy mechanic (who has been their mechanic for years) come to their compound to work on it over and over and over and over and he has told them, “You need a new car!”
The other reality is that there isn’t a 9-1-1 to call in Uganda. There isn’t an EMT to call to transport. There is no police station to call for a friendly ride to the hospital. There isn’t anyone to get you to the hospital quickly during the day – let alone in the middle of the night.
And for the record, I consider myself a brave silver-haired mama – I actually kinda’ thrive on doing what everyone else thinks is wildly crazy while living on the razor-edge of faith – I guess it’s just how God wired me! But in all my days I have never, not even once had an aspiration, dream or wild desire to be a midwife. Nope, nada, never-ever!
Josh told me later that he had called their mechanic and woke him to tell him that Emma was in labor and needed to go to the hospital, that their car wouldn’t start and asked if he would be able to drive them? The kind-hearted mechanic (who came with his family and visited last evening – such wonderful people) roused quickly and said, “Yes Josh! I will bring it!” only to say a few seconds later, “Oh wait! Josh!!!! I let someone borrow my car last night and I don’t have it. Oh Josh!! What are we going to do?”
When Josh announced that the car wouldn’t start I began to shake! What in the world were they going to do? I mean I really, really didn’t want to deliver the baby (talk about passing out). Josh spoke, “I will run to the Gem and borrow the Noah (The Gem’s only car).” I looked at him. He loves our daughter so fiercely – it’s beautiful! Of course I was thinking of the dangers of him running to the Gem. We have long been told by Ugandans that it is not safe for Ugandans to be out past dark and well, you know what that means for the Americans at a very dark 4:50 am!
The Gem is about a mile from where they live which means a mile in the night on the deeply riveted, rocky dirt roads with no lights? “Oh Lord Jesus – go before him and be Josh’s rear guard.” And with that, Josh ran quickly toward the door.
Pictures of the roads near their home. Rock-filled crater-laden gravelly dirt roads.
The thought flashed through my mind for a second to text Dw but I know my man and he would ask more questions than I had time to answer and being perfectly honest, he would freak out and really I was doing a good enough job of internally doing that for both of us! So I opted to text my calm, reassuring steady one – our son who is married to the nurse who just had a baby – Graham and Savannah! In the back of my mind I was actually hoping that if we had to deliver Wee One they could talk us through it. I told them that the car wouldn’t start and Josh had run to The Gem because I knew they would start praying.
Turning my attention back to Emma who was not making one sound but gripping the bed as each contraction came it was within about 3 minutes of Josh leaving to run to The Gem she looked up at me and with eyes that I will never forget spoke quietly, “I feel like I need to push.” OhMyGracious! I grabbed my phone and sent an urgent text to Graham. “She feels like she needs to push!” Graham texted back, “She wants to push? Distract her. Tell her a story. Tell her a joke. Anything to distract her!” I kinda’ laughed in my head when he said that. I couldn’t think of anything distracting because I could tell the baby was coming fast! Finally I told her a tad of a story…and said as lightheartedly as possible, “So I guess this means we aren’t going for breakfast today, huh?” She didn’t open her eyes or even wince.
As far as I was concerned this was mirroring my labor with my first – fast and furious! Emma handed me her phone and told me to call her doctor. I pressed “send” and a rather sleepy OB answered her phone (she had given Emma her personal cell number). I explained briefly who I was, that the car wouldn’t start, that Josh had ran to borrow the car from the NGO about a mile away and that she feels like she needs to push! She responded, “OH NO! Don’t let her push!”
A few minutes later a text came from Graham asking how she was doing. I told him that contractions were so strong that I could see Wee One moving down! I looked on my phone and it was 4:58am when Graham texted back, “Wash your hands!” I wasn’t sure if Graham was kidding but there was no way I was washing my hands because in my denial that meant Wee One couldn’t deliver at home if I hadn’t washed them! Haha. With each contraction I knew we were getting even closer!
Friends, it was at this very moment in time that I felt like the Lord whispered that this was happening to motivate me to ask to tell publicly their very personal story so that I could advocate for a new car for them. A new car for them is not a luxury but a legitimate need. As I mentioned before, there is no 9-1-1 available, there is no neighbor with a car to use and the only car they knew of (the mechanic’s who lived about 1/2 mile away) had been loaned to someone else!
Emma and Josh live very simply and are supported by donations from people who believe in the beautiful work they do. They do not take any income whatsoever from The Gem. They do not have an air conditioner (and trust me, they live near the equator, it’s hot and drippy humid). They don’t have a dishwasher or even hot water to wash the dishes in(!!) or a clothes dryer (which makes life complicated during rainy season).
In fact when I arrived I was asking about a bathroom towel and she said, “Ummm…I don’t know if we have one, we only have a couple.” I questioned her why they only had a couple. “The Gem needed them, so I gave most of ours to them.” Well of course she did! She loves her Gems and would do anything for them!! When Gems get added (they now have 45 precious ones), they need a towel for each. Of course once upon a time people donated towels, but that was a long, long time ago. So yes, she gave them theirs.
Never once have I heard her or Josh complain about the broken car, the absence of a dishwasher, not having an air conditioner, the need for a dryer, or no towels. Never. They live quietly in the spirit of thankfulness. But friends – they desperately NEED a new car!!
After Emma said she felt like she needed to push I was praying even more earnestly and my mind was racing! The hospital was about 25 minutes away and as ferociously as her tummy was contracting I knew it wouldn’t be long.
A few minutes after 5am a very sweaty Josh arrived back and helped her get to the car. I went out to the car to tell her I loved her and to get the compound gate shut. I was so concerned that they would have the baby in the Gem’s Noah!
At 5:35am Josh texted that they had just arrived at the hospital and that Emma was a 9/10 and that the doctor wasn’t there. Personally I wondered if they said “9” because that would perhaps buy the staff a bit more time. The doctor arrived and with no time to spare at exactly 6:02 am Mr. Lincoln Tendo Quisenberry entered the world – just 27 minutes after arriving at the hospital. By God’s grace they had made it to the hospital but no doubt, Lincoln could have easily made his grand entrance in the car or at home!
I thanked the Lord over and over that I had told them to get going immediately after they woke me. So relieved. So grateful. So humbled I was able to be here with Emma while Josh ran to get the Noah from The Gem and so very grateful I didn’t have to wash my hands!
Here’s what Emma wrote in our family text:
Introducing our precious son, Lincoln Tendo Quisenberry! Arrived this morning February 20th 2019 at 6:02am – – weighing 6 pounds 8 oz. He was named in honor of Abraham Lincoln a brave defender of righteousness, equality and justice for all people. His Luganda name means “Praise” we believe he will be a leader, advocate and defender of justice, he will declare God’s praise everywhere he goes! We are overjoyed to welcome our fourth child into our growing family! The kids are in love and our hearts are bursting!
So… back to the reason why I’ve asked permission to share their story…they need a new car!
Friends, would you be willing to buy them a new car or help them get a new car?
No doubt, their 25-year-old car needs to be laid to rest and they have to have a new car that can maneuver the dirt roads safely and well and fit easily all six of them. It’s not a luxury. It’s a necessity!!
Prayerfully I will mention I know there are people who stop by Our Place who could actually buy them a new car without really blinking. Some have a sweet nest egg. Others have a stockpile in the bank and still others live like we do…very frugally with not much “extra” but hearing of the need they still want to help. A verse came to mind when I felt compelled to write this post. It is more than appropriate for this situation…
If someone has enough money to live well
and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion–
how can God’s love be in that person?
I John 3:17
And maybe, just maybe some will say, “I want to begin to support them monthly” – which would be an incredibly amazing blessing – because the need is very real! Or maybe, “I want to buy them a clothes dryer or an air conditioner or a dishwasher for their home (when funds are raised) that they build in Gem Village….”
Truth be known, ask those closest to me…it is rare (okay, maybe the word might better be “unheard of”) for me to say I need help…but it’s so easy to humbly ask for help for Emma and Josh!! They have courageously, selflessly and passionately dedicated their lives to serving the broken bodied orphans of Uganda. Emma has lived in Uganda now for over 6 years (and only been home twice!)…Josh has lived here four years moving just before they married. Emma and Josh steward their resources, their lives and their time well.
So,,, could you and would you help? All donations are tax deductible and go through our 501c3 – International Voice of the Orphan. Here’s the link:
Thank you from the bottom of our grateful hearts in advance!!
PS. If you have any questions, please email me: APlaceCalledSimplicity@yahoo.com