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2/10/08 (Sunday)

8:00 AM.  We received word from Damarys last evening about 11 that Annette, Linda and Barb arrived.  They were on the way to the guesthouse and will travel to San Lorenzo this morning.  We are looking forward to having everyone here.  Our surgery schedule stands at 25 cases as of now.  We talked with this woman yesterday at the hotel and we may add her on as another surgery.  I feel she may need a D&C, at least, based on her history. 

I had a great night’s sleep with no interruptions.  It was quiet outside; at least the white noise from the fan was all I heard.  The city is coming to life.  I hear trucks and motorcycles, horns honking, and the sounds of traffic outside.  Occasionally there is a crowing from a rooster and a bark of a dog that usually then starts a dog communication system called barking from all corners of the area in response to the message sent out by the originator.  This communication system carries on with debate and rebate until finally the issue is resolve, world peace is achieved, and the popular vote has solidified the candidacy of whoever was running for office in the dog world.  The dogs seem to settle the debate much quicker than humans do.  Of course, they then go back to their own little worlds of lying in the grass, sleeping, guarding their territory, and seeking food.   

Today is Sunday, the Lord’s day.  It is a day to pause and reflect on our incredible God who has created all that is around us and is the giver of the very life we experience with each breath.  As I look at this place, this little spot in the world, I see God’s hand of creativity all around us.  Last evening when I left the lounge area and walked around the building to my room, there on the cement walkway was a critter that looked very much like a shrimp.  I called Jane and she came and looked at it as well.  We then teased it into a plastic bag so we could look at it more closely.  It was indeed a shrimp; at least it looked exactly like a shrimp.  We wondered what it was doing here, out of water, away from any water.  Yet, it reminded me about God’s creativity.  He dreamed up this little creature and placed it here.  In fact, He designed it to the tiniest detail.  This creature has a place and function in this world and is here because of God’s will.  We also are here because God willed us to be here.  He loves us to the extent that He even sacrificed His Son to fulfill that love.  God wants us to spend eternity with Him so He sent His Son, Jesus, to be that leader, that teacher, that giver of life, that forgiver, that price that must be paid to achieve entry into the perfection of Heaven.  As I reflect on how incredible this act of grace is to me personally and to mankind as a whole, it blows my mind.  Why would Jesus do such a thing as give His life on a cross, in terrible pain and suffering, allowing total injustice to seemingly reign, so I could spend eternity with Him.  Certainly, I in no way am deserving of this level of mercy and grace.  I in no way am even able to begin earning this level of mercy and grace on my own.  Yet, it is offered to me.  I have the choice to either reject this gift or accept it.  To accept it I must have confidence that the gift is really what it is said to be – total and complete forgiveness of my sins and shortcomings and acceptance into Heaven for eternity.  All I have to do is trust…trust my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Then I exercise that trust on a daily basis by walking with Him along life’s path.  I walk with Him, I follow Him, I listen and learn from Him.  It is not me asking Jesus to walk with me with me in charge of the plan and route.  No, I walk with Him.  I go where He wants to go.  I do what He asks me to do.  The whole time I enjoy the closeness of His presence, His protection, His wisdom, and His love.  It’s like we are walking shoulder to shoulder along the path.  At times the path is easy and smooth and walking is efficient and not painful or difficult.  At times, however, the path is rugged and scary.  It requires a lot of physical and mental effort to keep on moving ahead.  The fear brings worry and hesitancy, introduces doubt and distrust.  Those are the moments I must feel Jesus’ presence even more.  I know He is with me and when I rest in that thought and allow Him to guide, to take my hand and help me over a tough area, then peace that is beyond any definition and description fills my heart.  I can then proceed on this rugged path with confidence and assurance.  I even feel stronger and more able.  This is because I am looking at the path before me through the eyes of Christ.  If I view my circumstances through this perspective, peace reigns and love abounds.  Of course, this brings incredible joy in the process.   

The path now has us in San Lorenzo.  Culturally, this place is so different compared to my life in the United States.  I don’t speak the language.  Certain mannerisms may take on a totally different meaning here than at home.  Violence is common here.  Gunshots occur periodically.  Jane has one window in her new building with a big hole in it from a bullet shot from the neighborhood.  This window is at the level where if someone were in the room he would have been in harm’s way.  Walking alone, especially at night, is almost a guarantee of being mugged and robbed.  Being a gringo, this is even more certain.  Yet, Jesus led me here.  He led Jane here and asked her to live here indefinitely.  He brought Linzy here this time along with Barb, Annette, Linda, Damarys and Loita who will arrive today.  He brought us all here to serve Him and to share Him with the people we will see, touch, and care for.  This is part of His plan for us.  And it is exciting to be chosen to be a member of this team and to be Christ’s instruments this next week.  We have the incredible opportunity to be His hands of mercy and healing, to be His feet to bring His love to these people, and to be His mouth to share the best news they could hear. 

Lord, as I think through the reality of my presence here in San Lorenzo, the reality that we all are here, really here, standing on the land of San Lorenzo, in another country, I am overwhelmed with the feeling of being privileged to be hand picked by You to serve here this next week.  Lord, I don’t feel adequate at all in doing what You asked me to do.  I am sure the others on the team feel the same way.  Yet, You have shown me before and will show us again that all the power and strength we have comes from You.  You brought us here for a purpose and You will fulfill that purpose.  Lord, You have chosen to fulfill that purpose through us, using us.  Lord, I’m scared and at the same time excited.  I’m anxious and at the same time at peace.  Envelop us with Your love today, Lord.  Wrap Your arms of protection around us, especially those on the road traveling to here today.  Lord, fill us with Your peace, build up our faith and confidence so the rough spots won’t bother us.  Keep us focused on You, Father.  Please, don’t allow any thing or any work of Satan to distract us from carrying out the task You called us to do.  Thank You, Lord, for bringing us here and equipping us to do the work before us.  Thank You, for the peace you give us and for loving us so much, more than we can ever describe or even comprehend.  Thank You, Lord!  Amen. 

1:45 PM.  Our day has been one of just sitting around and enjoying a lot of conversation about a lot of different topics.  We spent time discussing our faith and how important that is to each of us personally and discussing complex medical issues where faith is an important component in making the right decisions.  In the midst of this we had times when we just sat and read our books.  Linzy and I then took a short walk to the phone cabin and made calls back to our families.  I called Phyllis and she updated me on what was happening with her and her plans for the day.  Hopefully, she will be able to get the computer online later today so she can do email.  The rest of the team is enroute to San Lorenzo and likely will be arriving sometime late afternoon.   

About 3:00 PM Damarys arrived with the rest of the team.  Linda, Annette and Barb all made it safely and they thoroughly enjoyed the scenic trip.  After unloading the car we took them on a tour of the clinic.  We are now awaiting our late lunch that Nancy is preparing for us.  It is good to see everyone here.  Loita comes tomorrow morning.  We should have a great team as we start work tomorrow morning. 

Father, this has been a good day of relaxation and reading.  Thank You for protecting Linda, Annette, Barb and Damarys as they traveled here today.  Lord, we pray for Your wisdom and equip us to do the surgeries and care for the patients tomorrow.  Wrap Your hands around our hands as we work as Your instruments to care for the patients.  Lord, we commit this week to you.  Thank You for the opportunity to serve You here.  Amen 

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