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7/09/09 (Thursday)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Up by 6:30 AM and had a good hot shower before breakfast.  The guesthouse where we stayed is a different one than where I have stayed before.  Actually, it is right across the street from the HCJB Guesthouse where I usually stay.  The lady who lives here has two rooms she uses for a guesthouse purpose.  She speaks only Spanish and is very nice.  She fixed us breakfast before we left for San Lorenzo. 

Lord, thank You for the good sleep and the new day.  Thank You for Your bountiful provisions, always the right thing and not more than I need.  Lord, I pray for safety on the road today and also for protection from getting car sick as we weave our way through the mountains.  Thank You, Lord, for bringing us to San Lorenzo to reach out in Your name to serve the people You love here.  We praise You in all of this and may our efforts bring You glory.  Thank You, Lord.  Amen

We were on the road about 8:30 AM and made a couple stops along the way just to get out of the car and stand on the edge of the road to drink in the beauty of the scenery.  Even though I have travelled this highway before, the scenery is always breathtaking.  Today it was cloudy at times and sunny at times.  When the sun would break through the clouds and illuminate a stretch of the mountains, the beauty was incredible.  We saw a couple long waterfalls coming from the tops of the mountains and cascading down the mountain side.  One wonders where the water is coming from at the top of the mountain.  Our trip stopped in Ibarra where we stopped for lunch and did some shopping for supplies for the week.  Then we travelled on finally arriving at San Lorenzo about 3 PM.

Upon arrival to Clinica San Lorenzo, we unpacked the cars and moved in.  Steven and I are sharing a room and we were able to get the beds made and move into our little space.  We then took a nap which felt really good.  Then Jane took us all on a tour of the clinic so Steven and Nyletta could see the places where we will be working.  With Nyletta along she will be able to work in the OR a good part of the time passing instruments and teaching Angelita more about the functions of an OR tech.  She also will work with Steven to teach him how to scrub, the basics of sterile technique, how to pass instruments and how to assist the surgeon.  One of Jane’s team quit a few weeks ago and this leaves her short staffed for the surgery weeks.  With Nyletta and Steven along, the team will not be so burdened trying to do the things they normally do as well as support the surgery process.  I am glad these two were able to come with me.

Jane has already screened most of the patients for surgery.  Tomorrow, she has 26 people scheduled to come for me to see.  From these people we will build the surgery schedule.  So far, it looks like our week of surgery will be interesting and different compared to what I have experienced in the past.  It seems each time I come the types of surgery we do changes.  One time it was predominately abdominal hysterectomies.  The next time it seemed we had more situations that required vaginal surgery more.  Another time we had a mix of other general surgery cases and some unusual gyn challenges.  Last trip we had a couple cancers to deal with as well as other types of gyn surgery.  This time we have several ladies coming to be considered for tubal surgery, either to have the tubal ligation reversed or to fix a problem that is preventing pregnancy.  We also have some abdominal hysterectomies and the two patients with gastric cancer, the one with a parotid tumor, and the lady with a bladder fistula.  Next week will keep us busy, that’s for sure.

Jane and I will see patients only tomorrow.  Saturday the clinic will not be open and we will work with Jane to help her organize all the supplies she recently received from Fort Wayne.  Last year an outpatient surgery center closed and offered Jane the pick of the supplies there for her clinic.  Jane worked with Samaritan’s Purse who then shipped all the items via a large container on a container ship.  The container arrived in Ecuador a few months ago but was held up in customs for quite awhile.  About 4 weeks ago customs released the shipment.  So now all the supplies and equipment are in boxes in one large room in the clinic.  Hopefully, with 6 of us sorting and organizing, we can help Jane get a large part of these supplies and equipment in their right places. 

Tomorrow, also, is Kid’s Club.  Nyletta brought a complete flannel graph set to tell the children Bible stories.  Angelita and Maria Luisa will be thrilled to have these teaching aids.  Jane said the last time Kid’s club was held, over 150 children showed up.  She said at times more than 200 will come.  Friday will be a special day for Nyletta who is thrilled to have this event occur while she is here. 

It is the dry season at this time of the year.  There are no seasons like we experience in the north.  Here the winter season is the rainy season and the summer is the dry season.  A couple years ago Jane had a new well drilled for a steady water supply for the clinic.  The well goes down a good 200 feet and the water obtained is very good quality and even drinkable without treatment.  Recently, the pump for the well failed and this well is not operational.  This new well replaced the old well which only went down 60 feet and would frequently run dry.  Jane has put in a water collection system to collect rain water off the roofs to provide water for bathing and general use in the clinic.  This water collects in a cistern which isn’t very big.  If she must depend on the cistern only, the water supply runs short quickly and must be replenished by either purchasing water or rain.  So, we are praying for rain…each day.  With the wells not functioning, the only water we have is what is in the cistern.  We will be taking showers by bucket where we dip some water to rinse off mainly.  

Tonight, it started to rain and for awhile we had some very serious rain.  We even had some lightning and thunder, something at is fairly unusual for this area.  Jane is very happy as this will fill the cistern and allow us some normal water use tomorrow.  We are praying for rain for each day we are here to provide the water we need.  I remember the time I was here, before the new well was drilled, and it was during the dry season.  Jane was having a lot of problems with keeping a steady supply of water and needed to purchase water frequently.  This obviously was a big strain on her budget.  I remember praying at that time for God to provide us with what we needed.  And He did…every night it started to rain when it turned dark and would rain all night.  During the day the sun was out and during the night we slept to steady falling rain.  We went through that week of surgery without having to purchase any water.  It looks like God is answering that prayer for us again.  It is interesting how something we take for granted back home can mean a make or break situation here. 

During this time here I want to expand my understanding of the relationship God wants to have with me.  My study of His Word and my thoughts and prayers are focused around this.  As I listen to it rain and hear the thunder and see the lightning, I realize that God is showing me a benefit of this relationship.  He is supplying our needs at the moment.  He gives us what we need when we need it, and nothing more.  If He showered (no pun intended) us with far more than what we need, we would not know what to do with it and probably would not be good stewards of those blessings.  Throughout Paul’s ministry, he talks about God supplying just what he needed to weather some tough time in his life.  I read about these situations in Paul’s writings in the New Testament and see the close relationship Paul and God shared.  I realize that when I am in relationship with God, He will supply my needs moment by moment.  He may not tell me what He is going to do, but at the time and at the end of the day I can reflect and see that He was always faithful in giving me just the right tools, the right supplies and even the right words to speak.  My relationship with God, your relationship with God, is based on faith.  We must trust Him totally for the answers and the actions.  And He will honor that trust by supplying what we need for the moment.  The supply of rain during the dry season is just a clear example of how this relationship works. 

I received an email today from Phyllis telling me my father has become comatose.  He has been a resident in a nursing home for the past few years and has had failing health.  My sister visited him earlier this week and had a good visit.  I so wanted to see him before I came to Ecuador but was unable to get the time to travel to visit.  Now it appears he is in his final days and I might even miss seeing him alive ever again.  Phyllis and my brother have talked and said if Dad dies, I should not make a special trip back as he would not want me to leave a mission ministry to attend his funeral.  He would much more want me here serving the Lord than to stand at his grave.  I understand that and if he does die while I am here I will not attempt to return to the States for his funeral.  I would rather remember him when we had good visits than to have my final memory of him at his funeral.  This just makes it more difficult for me while I am here. 

Thank You, Lord, for what You are teaching me.  Thank You for answering our prayer for something as simple as rain.  Yet, I realize that the process of rain is not all that simple.  Many physical events must take place to make rain happen.  And you are controlling all of that.  Lord, we are here to serve You and bring You glory.  You are showing us some of Your glory by bringing rain to us to fill our cistern so we can function in service to You.  Lord, You are awesome!

Father, I pray for a good night’s sleep for all of us and for a day full of service for You tomorrow.  Please give Jane and me the wisdom we need to make the right decisions regarding their surgery and care.  Please help Steven as he learns about functioning in the operating room.  Help him understand the basics and pick them up quickly.  Help Nyletta as she teaches Steven and Angelita.  Also, bring in the children tomorrow to Kid’s Club for more teaching and learning about You.

Father, please comfort my father at this time.  He may not be responsive to those around him but I know You can communicate with him fully.  Please assure Him of Your love and take His hand and lead Him into Your house, Lord.  I will miss him, Father.  But, I have a lot of peace knowing he will be spending eternity with You.  Thank you, Father, for Your unfailing love.  Amen.

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