Reed City midwife prepares for African delivery in January
REED CITY — She is a woman on a mission, with a mission, and has every intention of carrying it out.
Invited by a family whose first seven children she delivered here in America, Deb Moore of Reed City simply said “yes” to delivering their No. eight.
In Africa. Africa.
In September, there was a call from Debra Johnson.
“She said, ‘How would you like to come to Africa and deliver No. 8?’ and I said, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” I just knew God would get me there,” Deb recalls. “And He is,” she said with a grin that she’s packing already for her flight to be with “these friends of mine, and just deliver that baby!”
The eighth child of Debra and Jeremiah Johnson is due Jan. 13. Deb is leaving for Africa on Jan. 3.
Her ticket will take her to Narobi, the capitol, and Debra and Jeremiah will pick her up and they’ll wait for Baby No. 8 to arrive.
And what if Baby 8 arrives before she does? “I’m going anyway. I’ve got my ticket!”
She said after the phone call came inviting her, “I said, “God, if I get to Africa, where else do you want me to work? I’ve been feeling under worked here, but God what’s the best use of my time? Here or where?”
She has gone back to ask God about that repeatedly, Deb shared. She was invited to a weekend last July in Arkansas for training by the General Board of Global Mission, “... and I thought I’d be sent somewhere soon after that. But it hasn’t happened. I also studied to become a minister, but that hasn’t happened either.
“I thought maybe as a missionary nurse, but I haven’t been called yet. I have been part of three mission teams of eight or 10 people. The first and last were construction service projects. The first was in Appalachia service project in about 1997. Three were medical teams. One was to Bolivia in ‘03. In 04 I went with the same team and team leader to Africa, to Dave and Sandy Groves and Babyfold. It’s now Fairfield Orphanage.”
While there, Deb said she had an opportunity to spend a week at the African University, and two of us hopped on a plane and stayed at a 100-year-old mission. It was then a boys school, but now both boys and girls through high school, an orphanage and more.
“Many years ago a bishop looked over that valley and said ‘I see a place where many, many children will be,’ and the Methodists began sending money, and over the years people from all over the world have helped. All the classes are in English, and they take home Christian ethics, then many come back to go through the ministry program.”
Deb said she was invited to speak to the midwifery students “and specifically about the Amish. Then I went to Zambia for two weeks of medical work there, doing school medicals for 600 children.
“This past summer I went to Haiti on a construction team, and it was good for me to learn I want to use my skills and have my eyes opened. You see, I said to God that I wanted to go back to Haiti. God had a different plan and I got invited to Africa. I don’t have an RN’s license now, but I was connected to a Methodist pastor in East Ohio. Her husband is a surgeon and they connected me with a mission station in Camphor, Liberia. I said sure I’d be delighted to go, because that’s apparently where I need to be.”
Her grin swelled as she shared more. She said she can teach them about medical intervention to alleviate the problems at delivery to reduce the need for medical attention. “That will reduce the need for the mothers in labors to be carried to the missions by friends or in their arms, and once transported to the mission, taken to the hospital by motorcycle.
“I’ve spent 30 years trying to educated women about process, nutrition, complications of labor and how to prepare for labor. God is inviting me to reread my favorite textbooks, play with my favorite medical tools, and the ladies will translate into Bassa. I’ll be four months at the Camphor Mission. I also expect to be invited to work in the medical clinic and teach Christian Evangelistic Fellowship materials I’ve been using here for two years again, with somebody else translating it there.”
Deb, as a midwife, delivered a first baby in 1979. She said her records show more than 250 after that. Still others were transferred to “other care or the hospital or had the baby before I arrived. I went back to school at Lansing Community College, and to learn to recognize what’s a complication and what’s an emergency, and to recognize what I was comfortable to do and when to ask God for help.
“I am learning to ask for his direction. Life works better His way.”
In a bit more than a month, Deb will be heading to her friends Debra and Jeremiah and Baby 8. Her hope is to deliver that child. And then she will journey into months of mission work before returning home unless she feels a holy nudge that says otherwise.