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7/18/09 (Saturday)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

7:45 AM.  I slept fairly well in spite of the heat and sweating and the noise outside.  I am up and ready to travel.  I was able to pack everything quietly while Steven still slept.  Jane and Damarys are taking us back to Quito today and then will return to San Lorenzo tomorrow as there will still be a couple post-op patients here.  Damarys has family coming on Wednesday and she will be leaving then for Quito.  We will be leaving shortly for our trip back to Quito with a couple stops to shop.

I was reading in The Shack last night in a chapter where Jesus invites Mack to walk to the other side of the lake as Jesus had something He wanted to show Mack.  As they were preparing to leave Mack could see walking trails going each direction around the lake but Jesus continued walking straight out on the dock.  In fact, He walked past the canoes tied to the dock and walked to the end.  He then looked at Mack and said I’ll follow you.  Mack looked at the water and realized that Jesus was intending for him to walk on the water.  Mack’s response was, “Are You kidding?”  Mack responded a lot like I would and most people would…with disbelief.  Mack questioned Jesus and all he could think of as he argued with Jesus was the water was too cold and too deep and walking on water was impossible.  Yet, Jesus just smiled and said, “Peter did it and so can you.”  How many times do we question God when He taps us on the shoulder and points the direction He wants us to go?  How many excuses do we come up with to avoid taking the step?  How many opportunities of incredible service and experiences do we miss because of our hesitancy, our disbelief, our lack of faith? 

When I thought about this little scene in the book, I thought of God’s call to me to head to Ecuador.  He says to me, “Step off that pier of solid footing, security in your own home and culture, and go.  Go to this place where I am in the life transformation business, healing people of their physical ailments and also healing their hearts.  Go and work with My team there, be part of the work, bring your skills and talents I gave you and allow Me to fill you with Myself so you can be an extension of Me.  Go!”  It is a lot like stepping off the solid pier onto the water’s surface and walking.  It takes faith, lots of faith.  It takes willingness to be used of God in a place that you would not feel comfortable.  It takes an obedient spirit to listen to God and follow His commands.

 In the book as Mack was trying to understand what Jesus was asking him to do, Jesus told him to step onto the water and then said, “I want to walk with you.”  That line jumped off the page at me.  This is indeed what He does when He asks me to participate in a ministry He has in mind, when He asks me to go to San Lorenzo.  He wants me to walk with Him there.  He isn’t sending me on my own.  He is inviting me to accompany Him. He wants to walk with me.  That is the most important part of the mission opportunity.  Not only does He call me to go to San Lorenzo, He assures me that He will be by my side the whole way because this is His pleasure.  He wants to be part of this work, this healing ministry and he wants to share this experience with me.  What reassuring and encouraging words…”I want to walk with you.” 

This past week of surgery has certainly been a time when Jesus went with us.  We accomplished some incredible surgeries that would be difficult even in the best of medical centers.  Yet, here we were able to do the surgeries without any complications and the patients are recovering well.  To see these situations unfold before your eyes tells me that they are only possible with Jesus being here with us.  “I want to walk with you.”

While we were packing the car and preparing to leave, Jane had to run to the clinic to get a few supplies for Gonzalo for the time Jane would be gone.  A lady walked in through the front gate and went in to the albergue to visit the lady who had the partial gastrectomy.  I recognized this lady as Beatriz, the one I operated on 5 years ago for a very bad cervical cancer.  I mentioned to Jane that I thought Beatriz had come in and we went into the albergue to meet her.  Beatriz was one of the patients I helped care for on my first trip to San Lorenzo.  She lives across the street from the clinic and at that time presented with very heavy vaginal bleeding requiring blood transfusions.  She had a large cancer of the cervix that was bleeding heavily and placing her in danger of bleeding to death.  I remember discussing this problem with Jane in that the best treatment for her would be radiation, a treatment essentially unavailable for her.  The only option we could offer her would be to attempt removal of the uterus and cervix just to remove the cancer and keep her from bleeding to death.  The cancer was advanced enough that curative surgery was not a possibility.  We went ahead and performed the hysterectomy and she recovered well.  I had not seen her again until last October when she came over to the clinic with what appeared an ovarian cyst.  When I saw her come in today, she looked like a picture of health.  I gave her a big hug and we talked about how she was doing.  She is now 5 years out from that surgery and is quite healthy.  Jane told me she saw her recently and did her first pap smear since the surgery and the pap came back normal. Jane said the exam showed no signs of cancer.  Beatriz has reached the 5-year goal of cancer survival remaining free of disease.  I remember praying intensely on Beatriz’s behalf when we were planning and doing the surgery.  I know I would not be able to do what was needed to totally remove the cancer.  Yet, she stands before me today completely healed.  I firmly believe this is because Jesus said, “I want to walk with you.”  And He did.  He healed her!

Because of my short time there with Jane, I don’t have the opportunity to see any of the patients back in follow-up to see how they are doing.  This opportunity to see Beatriz, one who weighed heavily on my heart and was the focus of a lot of prayer, was overwhelming to me.  I praise God for this miracle that stands before me.

Our travel to Quito went along smooth with no interruptions.  We stopped in San Antonio, a small town outside of Ibarra, where there are a lot of merchants who handle wood carvings.  We shopped there for a short while and then went on to Otavalo where the market was busy.  On a Saturday, there were many more vendors and shopping opportunities.  We shopped here for a few hours and then had lunch about 4 PM.  After lunch we shopped a little bit more and then travelled on to Quito, arriving there about 8 PM.  Because I had mentioned a restaurant in Quito called the Sports Planet, we decided to go there for our evening meal.  After that we went to the guesthouse for the night.  I needed to repack my suitcases and spent some time doing this.  I was finally in bed at 11:30 PM with the plan to get up again at 3 AM to get ready to head to the airport.  The night will be very short indeed.

Father, thank You for what You have accomplished this week at the clinic.  Thank You for allowing me to be a participant of Your ministry to these people.  Thank You for inviting me to walk on the water with You.  Thank You for wanting to walk with me here in San Lorenzo.  Lord, especially thrilling to me is to witness what You did for Beatriz.  What a miracle!  And You did it all!  Thank You, Lord, for Your incredible love and allowing me to experience that love and to share it with others.  Lord, I praise You for this trip here and the opportunity to do Your work, to heed Your calling, to experience Your miracles.  Thank You, Lord!  Amen.

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