Our Charis Family
The first time I ever considered
becoming a midwife is when I was
around 8 years old. My brother
was planning his future of being a
doctor and working in far off
distant places that our
former-missionary-dad was always
telling us about. My brother
was concerned that I hadn’t planned
the rest of my life yet, so he
informed me I would come along with
him and be a nurse. I refused his
offer but agreed to be a midwife
instead. I wasn’t quite sure
what a midwife was, the only
experience I had with them was when
my little sister was born and they
didn’t make it in time so my dad
delivered the baby, but I felt it
was different enough from a nurse
that my brother wasn’t actually
telling me to do it.
I kind of forgot about becoming a
midwife for quite a few years.
I went to college to pursue a teaching
I moved to Guatemala for a while.
When I returned to the States, I met
and married a wonderful and godly
man, Ryan. (This week is our 4th
anniversary). He joined the
military and we talked about one day
becoming missionaries and we
discussed how useful it would be for
me to become a midwife. Of
course that would be later, after we
had a few children and Ryan was out
of the military. However,
after a couple years of marriage, we
realized that something wasn’t quite
right. I visited a few doctors
and was eventually told not to plan
on ever having children.
At that point, becoming a midwife
was the last thing I cared to even
think about. For an entire
year I felt as if I was in mourning,
but eventually God got a hold of my
heart, He was calling me to be a
midwife no matter if it did hurt or
seemed weird. I had to submit
to His will. Right after I
made this decision to look past my
own self-pity and obey no matter
what, Ryan and I went on a weeklong
mission trip to Haiti with a group
of friends. During this trip
we visited a hospital and, among
other things, learned about the
conditions of childbirth.
There is usually no prenatal care
and when it comes time to give
birth, the mothers who have money
can go to the hospital, but most of
them give birth at home with a woman
from their family who has had no
training at all. Infant
mortality rate in Haiti is the
highest of any country in the
Learning all of this made my own
circumstances grow smaller and
smaller in my eyes and in my own
heart. God has given me a
burden for these women, a burden to
help them have safe births, free
prenatal care and the chance to have
a healthy child that will live.
Ryan and I are living in Haiti now
and we are very excited about what
is in store for us here. Midwifery
will help reach people on a deeper
and meaningful level. It is
really exciting that Charis will be
able to work with me even as I am
living in Haiti in the middle of
Thanks so much for reading a little
bit about me!
Sheena and Ryan VandePanne
Nuti-liscious Carrot and Kale Salad
delectable recipe I've made over
the years. It's been enjoyed and changed every time!
Sometimes I used sunflower seeds, other times pine nuts and
occasionally lime juice added to the lemon juice. Enjoy and
an incredibly nutritious vegetable. It is very high in
beta–carotene, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, lutein and
sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have anti–cancer properties.
And it is completely delicious, too!
1 bunch curly purple kale (thoroughly washed, dried and de–ribbed –
(the large center stem removed.)
1/3 large red onion, thinly sliced into crescents
2 medium carrots, peeled and julienne cut
2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp raw sesame seeds
1 1/2 lemons, juiced
1/4 cup tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos
1/4 cup stone pressed olive oil
1 avocado, cubed
Cracked black pepper to taste
In a small bowl, mix lemon juice with tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos.
Slowly whisk in olive oil until combined.
Finely chop the Kale and place in a large bowl. Add the onions
Gradually dress the salad with lemon juice mix and squish together
with your hands until massaged through. Keep adding the lemon
mix until all leaves are nicely coated but not soggy.
Serve immediately with cubed avocado, sprinkle with nuts and/or
seeds and top with a bit of cracked black pepper. YUM!
wanted to write a quick note to say thanks for the article
"Why African Babies Don't Cry" posted in
the August 2011 Charis Newsletter. I loved it, have
lived it, and can totally validate it! Having lived for years
in Kenya and different parts of Africa, I can confirm that it truly
is a rare occasion to hear an African baby cry. And having
practiced the traditional African culture of "nyonyo" on demand with
my own babies, I can say a big "Amen" to the reason why!
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