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7/12/09 (Sunday)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

7:15 AM.  I awakened after a very good night’s sleep.  I must have been more tired than I had realized because I heard nothing at all through the night and didn’t awaken once.  Steven came in after I went to sleep and I didn’t hear him.  Nyletta told me this morning that the loud music played on until 4 AM and I didn’t even hear that. 

8:00 AM. After my cold shower (very refreshing as it is still hot and humid) I joined the others for breakfast.  Nyletta took charge of breakfast and fixed some delicious scrambled eggs with onion and tomato.  We then went on to church, which is a walk of about 100 feet to the ministry building.  The church Jane usually attended was housed in a building downtown.  The building started to fall in so it was completely razed.  The church moved to the ministry building in the clinic.  This makes good use of the ministry building and compared to the old building, this place is really first class.  About 50 to 75 people attend the church with lots of little children.  There is a lot of singing, clapping of hands, lively music, preaching and prayer.  Of course, it is all in Spanish and with my slow pickup of this language made the understanding difficult.  The typical Ecuadorian greeting is a handshake and a kiss.  Steven commented on how many times he has been kissed since he has been here.  I told him this is the only place where I get kisses from lots of women and get away with it.

12:00. After church I signed on to check my email.  I had received an email from my brother stating that Dad died a little after 11:00 this morning.  Based on what was happening over the past couple days, this did not surprise me.  The news was still sad.  Yet, I am glad he no longer suffers and is probably in heaven in the eternal presence of God.  That is where he wanted to go and he longed for the day he could cross over from this life to the next.  I am happy for him that he has reached his goal.  The funeral will take place later this week without me being able to be there for it.  For me to leave and return home would not accomplish a lot and would really disrupt our entire week’s schedule.  We start tomorrow with 5 long days of surgery and all that would be gone if I left.  Also, I would have to arrange a flight out, travel to Quito and spend the night there before flying out.  I don’t think Dad would want me to make all these changes in order to attend his funeral.  He would rather me stay here serving people as God’s instrument than to come and grieve over his grave.  I have a lot of mixed emotions about this but for now am staying here.  Phyllis told me last night that neither she nor my brother and sister expect me to return home if Dad dies while I am here in Ecuador.  It still is sad…

2:00 PM.  After church Steven and I through our laundry together and I have been over in the clinic building doing laundry while working on some Bible study materials for my physician’s group at the hospital.  This has allowed me to set up my laptop and work on this study without interruption.  The laundry will soon be done and I will then return to the house for the rest of the afternoon.

4:30 PM.  After the laundry was finished we then all went into town to purchase something to eat.  Nancy has not been cooking for us for the past couple days.  She and Gonzalo not only house their children but also a couple grandchildren.  One little grandchild was running a fever and on Friday had a “seizure” according to Nancy.  We don’t know the particulars of this event.  They took the child to the local hospital where he was admitted and still is there.  Exactly what is going on is not clear to us.  At any rate, without our cook, we have had to figure out our own meals.  So, on a Sunday afternoon when most of the businesses are closed, we ventured into town to see if some food place was open.  We found one restaurant open and purchased fried chicken on rice and beans.  It was very hot and well cooked and we had our lunch/dinner all in one.  Breakfast lasted me through to lunch/dinner and now I should be good until breakfast tomorrow.  

While in town we stopped at a phone cabin and I was able to call home to talk with Phyllis.  I learned more about Dad’s funeral arrangements.  The funeral is on Wednesday morning and I have been invited to write something that my brother will read at the funeral.  Phyllis will be going to Plymouth, IN, for the funeral and will be there representing me and her.  She again reassured me that I need not travel back for the funeral. 

Gonzalo has been working in the clinic sterilizing the operating room area.  This involves a thorough cleaning and mopping the floor with a sterilization solution.  Once this is complete, we are not to enter the room unless we put on scrubs and all the gear as if we were doing surgery.  Tomorrow will start a busy week.  We have 4 cases for tomorrow, one that will take about 4 to 5 hours to complete.  We will start about 8 and probably will finish late in the afternoon or early evening.  Nyletta is going to teach Steven how to properly scrub for surgery and how to gown and glove not only himself but others in the room.  There are techniques to this to avoid contaminating yourself. 

As I have pursued a deeper meaning of my relationship with God, I have been thinking about the freedom found in a relationship.  When one has a close relationship based on love, there is no effort involved trying to earn the other’s favor just to maintain the relationship.  The power plays of a hierarchy are not there.  The relationship thrives because of a mutual love that is present.  Those in the relationship are free to be themselves and are free to not only praise but also to confront the others.  When confrontation or conflict occurs, the relationship built on love is also a forgiving relationship where resolution is actively sought with cooperation from all sides so the relationship is not fractured and where love and respect abounds.  In the relationship God desires with you and me love is the substrate and the catalyst to make the relationship flourish and grow.  God accepts us and loves us unconditionally.  He forgives us when we fail Him.  His purpose is to cure us of our sin and to make us whole.  He wants us to be pure as He is pure so we can spend eternity with Him.  That is why He became man so we could relate to Him and He to us.  By sending His Son, who is God Himself, He gave us an identity so we can walk with Him in a loving, accepting, forgiving, nurturing and growing relationship. 

I think about my dad and the relationship he sought with God.  I remember when I was a young boy Dad was always busy with church activities.  He was busy to a fault because he spent a lot of time away from home and the family serving at the church in some way or another.  As I look at my own life I can see where Dad sometimes had things out of balance as he spent more time at church than he did with the family.  Yet, he longed for that relationship and I wonder sometimes if he tried to earn it by working so hard.  Then in my college years Dad had a business relationship with another church member go sour.  This other person’s dishonesty cost Dad a lot of money and I remember Dad stating, “If this is what being a Christian is all about, I want no part of it.”  At that he walked away from the cherished relationship with God.  Over the years in my own spiritual journey and growth, I have often wondered how many times do I fail God miserably like Dad’s business associate and cause a well-meaning, growing Christian to walk away from his faith.  In retrospect, I wondered if Dad relied more on earning favor from God by all the works he did than through faith as intended by the work of Christ on the cross.  At any rate, in the past 15 or so years I have seen Dad return to a trusting faith in Christ.  Since his stroke several years ago that eventually put him in a nursing home, I have had some good conversations with Dad about his faith.  Dad had this insatiable hunger to read God’s Word and learn all he could about God.  Day after day he sat in his chair by his bedside and read and reread the Bible, going through it at least twice, possibly more.  I was encouraged to see Dad’s hunger for the truth.  He spoke often of his faith in Jesus Christ and his dream was to join Christ in heaven for eternity.  Now he has crossed from this life into eternity and I am certain he is enjoying the absolute bliss of being in the very presence of Christ.  This was Dad’s hope and now it is reality for him.

My father through his past few years and now his death has taught me the importance of cultivating my relationship with God.  My purpose in life is to walk with Christ and bring Him glory.  Walking with Christ is the most important activity of every day.  Our relationship with Him should be one that we walk shoulder-to-shoulder along life’s path working together to handle any problem or challenge along the way.  While we walk we talk and learn to know what each other is thinking.  I also am given the privilege of viewing life through His eyes, through His perspective.  This many times takes what appears to be a major problem for me and reduces it to a workable situation with Christ involved.  He is never lost and never without the perfect answer to every problem.  Walking with Him allows me to lean on Him, learn from Him, and enjoy meeting any and every challenge together.

Lord, my heart is heavy knowing Dad is now just a shell of a human.  His spirit has departed and now resides with You forevermore.  I will not be able to go visit Dad anymore.  I will not hear his voice or shake his hand.  Thank You for going through this transition with Dad and bringing him home with You.  Lord, I will miss him but I also celebrate the fact that he is with You.  I pray for my brother and sister as the three of us grieve.  Please comfort them and allow them to feel Your presence in a special way.  Lord, I pray for Phyllis.  I talked with her today and she will be there at the funeral for me.  Please wrap Your arms of love around her at this time as well.  Thank You, Lord, for Your unfailing love and Your unlimited grace.  You are my source of hope and joy.  Thank You for allowing me to be here in San Lorenzo to work serving the people here.  Please wrap Your hands around our hands so we can wear You like a glove as we do the surgeries.  Help us to honor You and You only with the work we will be doing this week.  Thank You, Father.  All praise, glory and honor go to You, Lord.  Amen.

5:30 PM.  Paul Barton, our anesthesiologist, arrived and is now moving in to the remaining bedroom.  He came from Shell, a city about 4 hours south of Quito.  Shell has a hospital that is part of HCJB.  Jane has worked in Shell at times.  Paul drove to Quito and then another 4 to 5 hours to here.  He is tired and hungry and we will be getting him some dinner shortly.  Paul is an American and speaks English as well as Spanish.  I am encouraged to have him as part of our team.

8:00 PM.  We have been talking around the table with lots of different topics.  I spent some time teaching Jane the basic endocrinology of the ovarian system so she can understand some of the bleeding disorders that she sees in the patients.  We will soon be heading to bed as we have a full day ahead of us tomorrow.  We will be starting early so we can be in the OR ready to start the first case by  8 AM. 

Father, thank You for a good day.  Thank You for the reassurance You give me, especially here in Ecuador on a mission trip as well as with the passing of my dad.  Thank You for caring for Phyllis and my family and all of us here.  Thank You for assembling a team of people who will be able to do a good work for You here in San Lorenzo.  Lord, I pray for rain so we can have an adequate supply of water.  I also pray for clarification of the needs to get the new well working again.  If the funds need raised, please direct that for us, Lord.  Thank You, Lord, for Your incredible love.  Amen.


1. Connie White - July 12, 2009

My heart is heavy as I send along my condolence. As much as we feel we are ready, the Lord still allows us the chance to greive. In the scriptures, over and over we are shown that greiving is in God’s plan. Yes, I’m sure that your dad’s wishes are for you to continue with your medical mission that is planned for this week. Pastor Dav’s sermon this morning “Do You Know That He Knows” falls right in step with the meditating thoughts that you have shared with us in the last couple of days. God Bless You and your hands as you start a full week. Connie

2. Linzy Klopfenstein - July 13, 2009

Marv – Praying for Jane, you, and all others this week as you enter a long, busy, tiring week! I would love to be there helping out as well! Say hello to everyone for me. You will especially be in my prayers with the loss of your father & your absence from your family at this time – very difficult. The Lord’s presence, guidance, & peace is such a blessing in these times. Its wonderful to know your father is with the Lord. Thank you for your blog!

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