Sunday, March 27, 2011

Summer break

In just a few weeks I will be taking my summer break from school. I am so looking forward and needing this time! This past year has been full of joys, struggles, lessons learned, excitement, and longings. God has taught me so much about myself. And frankly it's overwhelming. I am really looking forward to taking time to just rest and reflect.
But that's not the only thing I am looking forward to...
During my break I will be going back to India for a couple weeks. For the past two months or so I've been imagining what it will be like to walk through Mussoorie again. To walk my old language route. To stop in at the sewing shop and share a cup of tea while watching and learning about cricket with the shop keeping. To have an enlightening conversation with Rashib at his shoe/umbrella shop. To walk down below the Sikh temple to visit Aprit's family, along with all the other families who live down there. Maybe to learn a new knitting stitch or two from the ladies. To stop in a Innam's tailoring shop. Then to walk up to his brother Islam's house and have chai with his wife, mom and girls. Then to continue up the mountain and stop in at Ayub second hand shop. Maybe have another cup of chai with his family. And then continue on up the hill until I finally arrive at my host family's house. To walk in and sit down with my mom for a final cup of chai for the day. Maybe play a game of goat and lion with my dad or sister. To help my mom cook dinner. To eat a bowl of halim or egg curry. To watch some of the Indian serials then play a game of Settlers, or the "stealing game" as my mom calls it.
Oh!! I can't wait!! And this is only the first half of my break! I'll tell you the next half in another post. In the meantime, here's a couple pictures from my last time in India. :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

An idea a-brewing...

 So, I've had an idea floating around in my head for quite some time. I would like to start a blog that is all about cooking/baking in another country. Partly to share fun/frustrating stories about the challenges of cooking in another country and partly as a reference for other people living over seas. I'd like to be able to have it somewhat open so that other people can submit ideas, recipes, substitutes, stories and frustrations as well.
Anyway, I'd like to know your thoughts on this as well as ideas for a name for the blog. Keep in mind that it might end up being more than just kitchen happenings. Please leave your ideas for names as well as any other topics you think I should include! Thanks for your feedback!! :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011


If you don't want to read about a missionary who struggles, who sometimes often doesn't want to be where she is, longs to be elsewhere and on some days wants to give up, than please, read no further.

However, if you are ok with hearing the honest truth of the struggles, longings, and wantings to give up, than please, continue on.

I would like to take a moment and be brutally honest with you...

Some days I really don't want to be here in the Philippines. I do not connect with the culture here (don't get me wrong, I do love the girls that I live with and I enjoy the woman who come for prenatals). I don't like that everyone here is so western but not. It's like they are trying to be someone they aren't. I feel like we eat the same (good, but the same) food all the time. And I HATE country music and that's the favorite genre of everyone here.

Some days I just want to talk to my family and friends without either getting up really early or staying up late. I hate that when I do try and call my family they never answer their phone. I hate that I wasn't able to even wish my nephew a happy birthday yet (and it's already been five days since his birthday) let alone celebrate with him. I hate that I've missed three of my nephews births and I'll miss this next one too.

Sometimes I would love to be able to bake something when I have all the ingredients readily available. To be able to make something and not have to think about what I need to substitute for something I can't get. Or to be able to try a recipe that calls for specialty ingredients. To not have to try and get things to bake right, struggling with the humidity and everything.

Some days I really just want to have a normal job, 9 to 5. Monday through Friday. To be able to get up in the morning and actually GO to work...get in my car and drive across town, park, and walk into my work place. Have a lunch break. Work through the afternoon and get off at five. To be able to go home and cook dinner in my own kitchen that is decorated how I want it and has all the utensils I could ever DREAM of having (including a can opener that ACTUALLY works!!).

Some days I just want to have my own home. To not share everything with everybody. To be able to leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight and it not't matter to anyone but me. To have a house to myself, not having people around me CONSTANTLY!! (since I moved here in August I've only been completely alone in the house twice) To be able to be me, without having people telling me don't do that, don't say things that way, or you should do this or be this.

Some days I just want to give up. I want to go home. I want to have a car, a home and eventually, a family. I read about my friends who are married and have several children. I see on Facebook that even some of my campers are having babies!! And I wonder, will I ever get married? Will I ever have a family? Some days I just want to say, "That's it. I've had enough. I'm going home." I want to say to God, "Here, take it. This burden you've given to me...I can't handle it anymore. You can have it back."

These are just a few of the things that I struggle with, usually in one area or another almost every day. I don't want you to take this the wrong way. I know that God has me here for a reason, that the training I am receiving will help to reach the woman of north India. And I know that God is faithful and will see me through, even through these hard times. But I also wanted to be honest so that you know that I do struggle. So that you can pray for me, write me notes of encouragement. I miss home and I want to be there, but I will continue on.

I am reminded of Paul when he was writing to the believers at Philippi. Paul was struggling with his longing to be with Jesus, to be home. He says that if he was given the choice to stay or go, he knows he would stay for their sake. Given the choice, it would be tough, and I'm really not sure what I would choose at this point (it's been a pretty tough day), but I hope that I would choose to stay. To continue on. Knowing that it my struggles will be to the benefit of the Jaunsari people.

If you are shocked by my honesty, I am sorry. I simply wanted you to know my struggles, my burdens. Thank you for listening.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Birthday Wish List

My birthday is coming up soon. In nineteen days to be exact. I would like to share my birthday wish list with you.

The first thing I'd like is donations towards my plane ticket home. As many of you know, I'll be coming home for just a short visit in May for my brother's wedding. I have a month long break from school, and my supervisor has graciously allowed me to take an extra week. I'll be going to India for two weeks first to visit friends there as well as to do some research into starting a clinic. From there I will be flying to OKC. I am really excited to be able to be home for the Nomads conference again this year. Each year I am a bit saddened by the thought that I won't be able to go to Nomads, and then each year God surprises me and allows me to attend. :) For those of you who don't know what Nomads is, it is an annual gathering of those desiring to learn about God's love for every nation, and spend their lives making Jesus known. If you are at all interested in missions and what God is doing around the world, you should attend this event!!After Nomads I'll be making my way up to Sioux City where I will be spending most of the time with my family. My parents are also going to be home and that doesn't happen often, so I am really looking forward to this much needed time! :)

The next thing on my list is a pair of Sseko sandals. These sandals are made by woman in Uganda who are wanting to earn money in order to continue on to university. So, if you'd like to give me a pair of these sandals you are not only giving me a beautiful pair of sandals, but you are helping a woman in Uganda earn money for university so that she can better her life. :)

The final item on my birthday wish list is this blood pressure cuff.  Working at the clinic I have found that the cheep blood pressure cuffs don't last long when they are being used as much as we use them. I've done a bit of research about the bp cuff I want for my clinic in India and this is the one that I have come up with. It is a bit expensive, but it is a really good quality one that is very durable, and should last a long time, even with it being used often.

If you would like to give toward any of these items on my list you can do so by going here and clicking on my account 0246 Sara Zellmer for online giving. Or if you'd rather mail a donation in you can do this by emailing me for a donation slip that you can print, fill out and mail with your donation.

I want to say a BIG thank you in advance!! Also, I would LOVE to get an email or even better yet, a letter from you!! :) I love and am so encouraged by getting notes from people. My email address is and my snail mail address is
Sara Zellmer
c/o Abundant Grace of God Maternity Center
Appas, Tabuk City
Kalinga 3800

Friday, March 4, 2011

A beautiful sound

I think one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard is that of a brand new baby's cry. Every time a catch a baby, assist at a birth, or simply sit in the admitting area of the clinic, I anxiously await that beautiful sound. There is nothing in this world that compares with hearing the first sound that the baby makes, letting us know that he is alive and well.
It is an especially wonderful sound after a hard birth or, as was the case the other day, a time of trying to assist the baby to breath.
My roommate was leaving to go back to the States for a few weeks that day. The night before, one of her continuity patients came to the clinic in labor. Kayla stayed up with her all night labor watching. She began getting more active late that morning. I wasn't able to be at the birth because I was on for prenatals, but the room where we do prenatals is just next to the birth room, so I was able to keep up on what was happening. She'd begun to bleed some before the baby was out, so the midwife who runs the clinic here went to help with the birth. The mama was fine, but had a pretty hard birth, and when the baby finally came out he was limp and not crying. Georgia did PPV for nine long, excruciating minutes, with all the midwives in the room, and the ones not there, and the mom all praying and begging the baby to cry.
I peaked my head in at one point and it was about all I could take. I don't think I've ever wanted anything as bad as I wanted to hear that baby cry! Those nine minuets felt like an eternity! But finally, that beautiful little boy began to cry, and with it came a great sigh of relief from all present, knowing that he was breathing on his own. He ended up being transported to the hospital later that night because he was still struggling with breathing a bit and there had been pretty thick mec. When two of the girls went to visit him at the hospital the next day he was on IV antibiotics, but seemed to be doing ok.
It's scary to think that if that baby had been born at home instead of here with trained midwives he probably wouldn't have made it. It makes me so anxious to finish my training and head back to India. In Uttarakhand state the maternal mortality rate is 440 for every 100,000 births and the infant mortality rate is 42 per 1,000 live births. Both of these are pretty shockingly high rates, and many of these deaths happen at home or in the field with no, or an ill trained, birth attendant. My hope is to reach women and their families with the love of Jesus through providing care during the antepartum, birth and postpartum periods of a woman's life.
Thank you for joining me on this journey. :)