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11-11-2011 (Friday)

6:20 AM.  I had another great night, slept 9 ½ hours straight through and could have kept on sleeping this morning when I awoke and looked at the clock.  I awoke just before the alarm was to go off.  I find it amazing that my internal clock seems to know when to wake me up.  I remember my dad never having to set an alarm.  He would wake up at the time he wanted to, even when that waking time was different than his routine.  He did not need an alarm clock and he never overslept, at least in my memory.  I got used to my routine at work and would awaken before the alarm consistently.  Now that I am retired and not needing an alarm, I still awaken about the time I had planned to get up anyway.  Here I set the alarm so I can be up and ready to meet for breakfast and devotions at 7.  My alarm is set for 6 but every morning I awaken about 5:45. 

This is our last surgery day.  We have 4 patients with various degrees of vaginal prolapse and one tubal ligation.  The patients with prolapse all present a little differently and these will be good surgeries for Jane to do.  I can help her through the surgeries but the solid way for her to learn is to do the procedure herself with her teacher standing by her guiding her along.  I get to play the role of teacher and all the while I am leaning on my Teacher standing next to us as He has all through the week.  Jane has a picture produced by Nathan Green showing Jesus in the operating room standing next to the surgeon with His hand on the surgeon’s shoulder and the other hand pointing to the operative field.  The picture demonstrates Jesus being the teacher telling the surgeon just what to do.  That picture hangs on the OR wall and many times I have looked at it and reflected on how Christ has helped us this week.  He has truly been there with us and I have even felt His hand on my shoulder.  What a blessing to be in sync with the Lord!!

Father, thank You so much for the great night’s sleep.  You have provided the needed rest for me each night so I can be fresh and ready to work with You each day.  You have protected me from illness, headache, sore muscles and anything else that would distract me from fully serving You.  Thank You for that.  Today, Father, we have more surgeries to do and we need You to be there with us.  I know You will be there as always.  Guide us, Lord, as we think through the procedures needed and then perform them.  Give us the right thoughts to do what is needed for these patients to help them.  Keep us from doing the wrong procedure, Lord.  Please wrap Your hands around our hands, Lord.  Let us wear You like gloves.  Lord, please protect the patients.  Hold them in Your arms and give them the assurance that You are there with them, protecting them, healing them.  Thank You, Lord, for Your continual presence and empowerment so we can serve You here in San Lorenzo.  Thank You, Lord, for blessing Jane and this ministry.  Thank You, Lord!!  Amen.

The one discipline that a mission endeavor employs is serving.  Jesus came to serve others, not to be served.  If I desire to be a disciple of Christ, I also will find opportunity to serve others.  It is a special joy to help another person through a crisis or difficult time, especially when I reach out in Jesus’ name.  Not only do I have the opportunity to touch that person and do what I can to help, I get to watch God work as well and also become part of what He does.  Invariably when I come to San Lorenzo and work with Jane caring for the people we see and reaching out to them in Jesus’ name, we get to participate in miracles.  Things happen, healings occur, and complex surgeries are accomplished that blow us away.  We accomplish so much with limited resources and no support systems.  There is no ICU, lab readily available, blood bank, x-ray – all the resources we demand to be available in any hospital.  There are no specialists to consult with in the operating room.  We are there, by ourselves, working with God’s hands wrapped around ours.  The complex surgeries leave so much room for variation and an outcome that is not desired.  Yet, we don’t have that happen.  The patients do well, they recover quickly and their lives are changed.  We are able to take away their suffering and grief.  Seeing them start a new life is all the paycheck I need.  It gives me so much satisfaction to make a difference in a person’s life, especially if that difference was directed by Christ Himself.  And the icing on the cake is the opportunity to present Christ to these people, to pray with them and even see them undergo spiritual healing on the spot as they place their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  What a thrill to be part of this!

10:30 AM  We just finished our first surgery.  Jane had performed a hysterectomy on this patient a couple years ago.  This patient came in with a vaginal bulge that involves the upper vaginal canal prolapsing down and out.  Jane did the surgery with me assisting and guiding her.  She did an upper cystocoele repair, enterocoele repair and posterior vaginal repair.  It all went very smooth with restoration of the normal vaginal anatomy and position. 

I was thinking we had 4 vaginal repair surgeries today, however, we actually only have two.  Two of the patients needing vaginal repair had not come in for me to examine and thus are not being operated on today.  Jane had put them on the schedule before I arrived but since the patients never came in for presurgical evaluation and instructions, they will not be part of our schedule today.  So we have one more surgery similar to what we just did and then a tubal ligation.

12:00 PM We finished the second surgery.  This patient had a rather large rectocoele that I thought included an enterocoele as well.  However, once Jane had the operative field dissected out, the main anatomic problem was a large rectocoele.  Jane repaired this quite nicely obtaining good support of the posterior vagina and eliminating the rectocoele bulge. 

Our next surgery is a tubal ligation on the patient who lost her baby yesterday.  She requested to have a tubal and has had no problems post delivery.  Jane and I did the tubal ligation without any difficulty. 

Our surgery week is complete!  Thank You, Lord, for being here with us and guiding us through all the procedures.  Thank You for keeping the patients safe and free of any complications.  Thank You for giving Jane and me the ability to do these surgeries.  Thank You for the support staff of Damarys, Loida, Angelita, Maria Luisa and Carmen who made the process of the operating room move very smoothly.  Thank You for Dr. Chang to delivered excellent anesthesia and made our work easier.  Thank You for Gonzolo and Nancy for their support of our effort, especially for the good meals Nancy prepared.  Lord, thank You for this entire week!  We have worked here to bring You glory.  Your name be praised!! Amen.

2:30 PM  We had lunch which consisted of fresh boiled crab.  These were big crabs that we had to use a rock to crush open the claws to get the meat out.  It was tasty.  Of course this was served with rice.  At the end of lunch Angelita’s daughter came in with her 14 month-old girl.  I delivered this little one last year when I was here.  That was a special moment for me in that I had not delivered a baby for over 25 years.  She brought her in for me to see and I thought that was very special.  The girl didn’t know me and wouldn’t let me hold her.  I did get a couple pictures of her.  The mother gave me a double picture frame one side holding a 5×7 print of me holding the baby at birth and the other side a 5×7 print of the girl at 1 year.  What a blessing!  Thank You, Lord, for this blessing!  It was an absolute joy to deliver this little on and now to see her 14 months later there is even more joy.  Thank You!!

This afternoon I will be working on packing my carry-on luggage in preparation for leaving tomorrow morning.  We will be heading back to Quito in the morning and will stop at Otavalo to shop for things to take back to the States for Jane.  Our suitcases will be full with items from Otavalo for Jane.  Then on Sunday we hop on the plane and head home.

8:00 PM  I went with Jane to take Angelita, Maria Luisa, Gonzalo and Carmen home.  After saying good-byes, we returned to the clinic and then Jane, Steve, Dr. Chang and I went out to eat.  We had a good meal at the hotel where we have eaten before.  The people who own the hotel really like Jane and always welcome us with open arms.  After our meal we came back to the clinic and I will finish packing for our trip tomorrow.  We will have breakfast here before we leave as Dr. Chang wants to fix French toast for us.  We bought a loaf of bread from the hotel so he can do the French toast.  After breakfast we will head to Otavalo and then on to Quito.  It is hard to imagine that the week is almost over.

Father, this has been an incredible week of serving You.  Your presence with us enabled us to do some really tough surgeries.  You enabled us to fix the sterilizer so Jane can be much more efficient with her sterile packs and instruments.  You cared for the patients keeping them safe and free of complications and giving them Your healing power.  Lord, all of what we accomplished this week is because of You.  Thank You for an incredible week of watching You fill in the gaps so the miraculous could occur.  Lord, to You goes all the praise!  Thank You!!  Amen.

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