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Day 4 – 7-23-2016 (Saturday)

In John 21, the last chapter of his Gospel,  John takes us to the shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus meets up with some of His disciples.  The encounter occurred after His resurrection even after He appeared to his disciples in the closed and locked room in Jerusalem.  He then goes to Galilee where He appeared to disciples and followers in that region.  Chapter 21 begins with the story of Peter and some of the other disciples having gathered there by the Sea and deciding to go out fishing.  They had been through an incredible few days with their world rocked by the arrest and crucifixion of their Lord and leader and then the amazing resurrection of the same Lord and leader.  In their minds things happened that were literally very hard to grasp and understand.  Their dream of a Messiah restoring their nation of Israel seemed to evaporate before their eyes.  Then the Messiah returns a fully restored human body who walked with them, talked with them and even ate with them.  That in itself would make me to  continually pinch myself to make sure this was not a dream.  The disciples were exposed to some incredible events that challenged them to the core in understanding what just took place before their very eyes.  I try to imagine how I would respond to these events if I had witnessed them myself.  It would be an amazing yet confusing time and grasping all that happened so I could understand it would be quite difficult.

1 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.  (NKJV)

I can understand Peter’s comment in John 21:3, “I am going fishing.”  Fishing was Peter’s life, his occupation, what he knew so well that he could do that work with his eyes closed.  So, in view of all that he was trying to comprehend about Jesus and also the shame and guilt he felt having denied Christ when just a short time before he loudly proclaimed that he would never, ever, do that.  He was probably mentally and emotionally spent and the only reprieve was to return to what he knew best, the comfort of his fishing boat.  It didn’t take much persuasion for the other disciples with Peter to jump into the boat with him.  I am sure they all needed some time to just process all they had seen and heard in the previous few days.  

I love to fish.  I enjoy going out in my kayak and fishing.  I love catching fish.  There are many times I come up empty having spend a few hours casting and reeling just drowning my bait.  Indeed, when a fish takes the lure and the fight is on, there is a special thrill that courses through my body as I bring that bad boy into the boat.  However, even when I get skunked, something that happens in disproportional amounts to actually catching something, the time out on the water is still refreshing and deeply enjoyable.  There, by myself, surrounded by God’s creativity, I feel a deep sense of peace.  It is a great way to unwind and essentially become mindless…casting and reeling.  Had I experienced what the disciples were trying to process in their minds, fishing would seem to be a great outlet just to take your mind off all the stuff and do what comes more natural from years of experience at this occupation.  

I can sense the exhaustion in Peter’s voice when he said, “I’m going fishing.”  It seems to me that he was so overwhelmed with all that happened that he just had to get away.  Maybe, he thought all was lost so he was going back to his former occupation.  I suppose you could extract multiple perspectives from these first few verses in John 21.  

6:00 am.  Up to start the day.  Last evening we decided to go to the market in San Lorenzo so Ted, Katie and Barb could experience it.  Howard wanted to go again.  Jane took us while Karl and his crew packed and prepared to leave.  Damarys and Jane will be taking them back to Quito and will be stopping in Otavalo on the way to visit that market.  Jane will return tomorrow after seeing them off at the airport.  Damarys will be staying in Quito for the week.  Her sister, Leila, will be staying with us and will be here with us for the week.  Leila speaks English as well.  Dinner last evening was very good but it landed like a brick for me.  My hunger is gone but there is no nausea.  

Father, I pray for today.  Guide us Lord, enable us to continue the work before us.  Keep us safe, please.  Lord, grant travelling mercies to those driving to Quito today.  Father, I worship You today.  You are everything to me.  All praise and honor goes to You!  Amen.

While at the market which was very crowded with people and carts moving back and forth, we saw lots of fresh produce along with live pigs, dressed chickens and fish of various types as well as shrimp and crabs.  As we walked along I bumped into Beatriz, the miracle lady that God healed of her bad cervical cancer.  In 2004 she came in to the clinic when I was here on my first trip to work with Jane.  She was bleeding very heavily from a very large cervical cancer and was soon to bleed to death if we didn’t do something.  I remember telling Jane there is no way we could cure this cancer but we could possibly remove the uterus and in doing so stop the bleeding.  So we proceeded after spending the night in prayer asking God for His help, His intervention.  She underwent the surgery well and went home in a couple days.  She seemed to disappear after that until 5 years later she came to the clinic to visit a friend on whom we had performed surgery.  I was able to examine her then and found she was completely free of cancer.  It was then I was fully convinced that we had witnessed, in fact participated in, a miracle.  Beatriz was in all respects medically not curable.  But with God all things are possible and He proved that clearly to us.  I remember the joy in seeing her at 5 years.  Then my last trip 2 years ago she came on our last day at the clinic just to see me.  She was then 10 years from her surgery and was still in good health and doing well.  My heart leaped for joy to again have that confirmation that God answered our prayers in a miraculous way.  Today, I got the confirmation all over again.  There she was in the market and we literally bumped into each other as the crush of people pushed us together.  She looked great and is now 12 years out from surgery.  Time alone says she is cured.  However, we know that the cure took place 12 years previously when Jane and I went into the operating room with our only confidence being our faith that God was there with us and that He cured her.  Oh, what joy!

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In talking with Jody before they loaded their luggage in the vans, she was telling me about their church.  She and Karl had lived in Tennessee but a year ago moved to Maryland.  The church they attend now is just starting to develop a missions outreach.  Jody and Karl became the leaders of their first mission team so several people from the church came along on this trip.  

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After Karl and Jody and team left for Quito we began painting.  Howard, Ted, Katie, Barb and I all worked together and we were able to finish the house with two coats of paint of one color, two coats on the gables of another color and two coats of trim around the windows of another color.  The house looks really good and Jane will be surprised when she returns tomorrow.  

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After we painted the house we then went to the waiting area in the clinic and began painting the walls.  Jane wanted to paint this area and we wanted to accomplish that before Monday so we wouldn’t be working in the middle of patients coming and going for the clinic.   We were able to get one coat on the walls.  As I was stepping down from the step ladder I was using I almost backed into a tray of paint that Howard was using on another step ladder.  Ted was using a roller on the walls following Katie, Howard and me as we were painting along the ceiling, corners, and tile on the lower portion of the wall so Ted could use the roller.  Howard had stepped away from his paint and I mentioned to Ted that had I tripped and stumbled backward, I would have hit the tray of paint and we would have had a mess.  Ted then tried to move the step ladder and didn’t realize the tray was not secure on the step ladder.  The tray fell off upside down and dumped paint all over the tile floor.  What a mess!!  Katie and I spent the next while cleaning up the paint and washing the floor to make sure there was no trace of it there.  This was a fitting end to our painting for the day.  We decided to stop, clean up and prepare for dinner.

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Carmen fixed us some Patacones, plantain that has been cooked till soft and then smashed and then fried.  It is served hot with a pinch of salt on it and it is very tasty.  She also fixed a tuna salad that was outstanding.  The salads here usually have some lime juice added and that creates a different flavor making your taste buds tingle.  The meal was light but very tasty.  

With Karl and crew leaving I was able to move to a bedroom in the house and now have my own space with a bathroom.  As I prepared to hand write my journal, I decided to once again just see if the computer would boot up.  Lo and behold it did!!  It booted and seems to be running just fine!  Amazing!!  So, now I am able to write my journal and tomorrow will be able to post it in my blog.

Father, we have had a long day.  Yet, when we see the transformation that some fresh paint brings we experience a special sense of satisfaction.  Thank You for enabling us to work together, have fun, and accomplish a lot for Jane and her team.  Thank You for protecting us.  Thank You for giving us measures of Your love and grace.  Thank You, Lord, that the computer works again!  It is a small thing but important to me so I can tell others about Your love and my love for You.  Thank You, Lord, for bringing us here to serve You here in San Lorenzo.  Grant us a restful night, Lord.  Thank You!  Amen.

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