Volume 5

~ News From "Your Birthing Family" ~

Issue 3






Charis Around the World

Tidbits from Ebony
by Elizabeth Carmichael

Through The Eyes of Another Midwife

Jennifer Braum, director and co-founder of the International Midwife Association
Onward to Afghanistan:  Midwifery in A Warzone

Reflections on Jennifer Braum's  midwifery work in Afghanistan:

Quote 1: It's tough to know what to do, how to feel. What most people do, the people who live relatively comfortably, is they don't look. Here in America we can look away, but right now in Africa, in Afghanistan, in Haiti, in so very many places on this very same planet you and I are sitting on, innocent people are without safe water and a place to sleep at night. Right this very minute, vast numbers of people are displaced by war. They are suffering right now. They are hungry right now. They are hoping that you care enough to try to help them right now.

Quote 2: Whatever you might believe about the culpability of the Afghans in what happened to their country (because certainly they'll tell you that all the bad actors are from out of town), Afghan women had no say in these wars. They were victims, pure and simple. Perhaps you have read Mr. Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. Ann Jones's Kabul in Winter offers outstanding insight into Afghan women's lives.
The stories are endless, and they can be numbing, but I believe we must struggle against the numbness. Afghan women have suffered and are suffering through desperate and awful circumstances. These women are fundamentally just like all other human women and their pain is huge. We have the opportunity to act on their behalf, those of us who are not living in fear.

Quote 3:
How many friends do you have who died in childbirth? Can you imagine one in seven, as it would be if you lived in northern Afghanistan? What does "reproductive freedom" mean in an environment where mothers are dying in childbirth on a regular basis?

Quote 4: In Afghanistan I saw the most extreme poverty, much more intense than anything in this country. I met women who any one of us would guess were in their 70s and they were never older then 45. I saw thirsty people drink the filthiest water. I saw women suffer their children freezing to death at night. I met women near death for absolutely preventable reasons. I saw so many, far too many, dead infants. I saw so many gruesome images, pain and loss such as we cannot imagine. But it could surely happen to us too. Innocent people find themselves in a war zone and
their lives are almost unimaginable to us. I cannot help thinking of the prisoners in all those German camps in World War Two. Surely they were thinking, someone is coming, someone knows and they are coming to help us, any day it could happen. But I met women who feel completely forgotten. They live in hell and they have no belief that there is any relief in sight.

One other thing Ms. Braum said that has me thinking is this: "When a wild animal is in labor in the woods and hears people, her labor will stop. She will get up, move to another quieter place, and then proceed with the birth." For days after I read this line, it had me thinking about the power of the voice of the Lord. He chose to describe Himself in His word as having a unique and powerful effect over natural processes, and this is a display of His glory. Specifically, I was thinking of Psalm 29:9:

"The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, 'Glory!'"

The voice of God doesn't make a quiet, laboring doe pause and move to a quieter place so that she can go on about her business of bringing forth her child. His voice actually CAUSES her to deliver. In Job, His Word says He assists in the births of animals--it is one of His ways of working in the world that He uses to reveal to Job how sovereign and unquestionably good He is as Creator. Amazing. This whole train of thought made me contemplate--Am I fearing His voice lately, not in a reverent way, but in a "run-away/don't mess with what I am trying to control in my life" kind of way? Do I even believe He will speak when I need Him to? I wonder if His voice, His direction, His presence will be something I "miss" because of other distractions in my life. Yet, in this passage, it seems so clear that His voice is unmistakable. May we stay close to Him, abiding in Him, letting His words abide in us, waiting on this voice, and trusting that it will bring glory into any situation.

This month I couldn't resist sharing a few key quotes from a great article I read recently. Because of the open nature of the article and it's description of Central Asia, I won't associate it with my specific work situation or projects right now.

Right now I am in another Central Asian country waiting for my new visa back into Ebony. Many workers are having trouble processing their visas and have been displaced for weeks, some for months. Please ask that I would be able to get through the process quickly, without much expense, and get back to what the Father has for me in Ebony. On the other hand, I also invite you to pray that I will use this time wisely, waiting upon Him, seeking healing and savoring His presence and goodness.

Thanks so much.
Elizabeth C.



Our International Charis Family
Your stories from around the world touch us and we pray for your safety.
Thanks, Love and Blessings to every one of you!

'Behold, I will bring them from the north country, And gather them from the ends of the earth,
 Among  them the blind and the lame, The woman with child and The one who labors with child,  together,
 A great throng shall return there...And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the LORD.'
 Jeremiah 31:8, 14
2009 Charis Childbirth Services, All Rights Reserved
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March 2010