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Day 9 – 7-28-2016 (Thursday)

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”

And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. (NKJV)

Three times Peter denied he knew the Lord.  Three times Jesus asked him if he loved Him.  Peter was painfully aware of his recent denial of Jesus.  He even did this with cursing as he tried to possibly protect himself and avoid the attention on him in the midst of the illegal trial of his Lord and Savior.  He didn’t seem to grasp what Jesus had told him that he would deny Him three times before the rooster would crow.  Scripture records when that rooster crowed Peter remembered Jesus’ words and went out of the courtyard and wept bitterly.  His remorse must have been tremendously heavy and painful.  He had just failed miserably having just forcefully telling Jesus that he would never deny or betray Him and that he would rather die than do that.  Then reality hit and he realized how guilty he was.  What a burden to bear!  Think of the emotions that swirled in his mind and heart.  Think of the bitter tears running down his cheeks.  Think how much grief he experienced.  This had to be the lowest point in Peter’s life.  If I were in his sandals, it certainly would be the lowest for me.  I would have a very difficult time forgiving myself and would find it equally difficult to approach Jesus in person to ask for forgiveness.  Yet, the wound could not heal without Jesus’ forgiveness and that would be even more difficult to bear.

Possibly, this helps understand the immediate jumping out of the boat and swimming as fast as he can to shore to get to Jesus.  I picture him creating a splash and swimming and when he can get traction in the sand running to Jesus.  He needed to be healed.  Here he was in his boat, using his net, most likely, and had just had the catch of his fishing career.  Yet, when he realized that the man on the shore was Jesus he immediately left the boat and the fish and headed directly to Jesus.  This behavior reflects his repentant heart, his pain, his wound that needed healing.  Scripture does not give us details of Peter confessing to Jesus or asking for restoration of the relationship.  All we see is Peter rushing as fast as he can to Jesus.  I envision Peter and Jesus embracing on the beach with Peter clinging to Him.  

After the men had breakfast, Jesus takes Peter aside to ask him the three questions on how much he loved Him.  It seems to me there is a purposeful link between the three denials of Peter and the three questions from Jesus asking largely the same thing.  Each question was an opportunity for Peter to address each denial with a question about loving Jesus and giving Him total commitment.  The Scripture tells us this third time Peter was grieved.  This was painful.  This was surgical, so to speak.  Peter was to a place where he had to have this pain cured, this tumor of grief excised with the scalpel of forgiveness.   

Jesus again reaffirms Peter’s response of, “Of course, I love you,” with the directive to feed His sheep.  It seems this time Jesus is referring to a bigger picture, the sheep being more people, possibly the church.  Possibly, Jesus was referring to the statement he made earlier about building His church on the rock He called Peter.  And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18) (NKJV).  He was commissioning Peter to take the role of leader and for the rest of his life to build the church.  But, before He could say this to Peter, He had to take Peter through the love of his career, love of his family and friends, love of whatever else mattered in his life and to place all that below the love he had for his Lord and Savior.  This is total commitment.  

Father, I am challenged by this portion of Scripture.  You desire a relationship with me and You also desire I will be fully committed to that relationship.  I know You are to me yet I must confess that other distractions occur that take my focus off You and then I am not as committed as I would like to be.  Lord, please forgive me.  I like to say I am fully committed to You but my actions speak otherwise.  Father, in my heart I say the words total commitment and I want to live my life walking with You in total commitment.  Help me, Lord, to do that.  I do love You, Lord.  Thank You for loving me with a love that goes beyond any comprehension on my part.  I feel that love, Lord, and I am so thankful for it.  Thank You, Lord.  Amen.

5:30 am.  I awoke and felt rested and ready to get up.  With darkness starting around 6:30 pm I am usually in bed by 9.  After getting up and ready for the day I did some laundry and then went to the clinic to see if I could get online.  The Internet has been very sporadic and was largely off yesterday.  This morning, however, it was on so I was able to read some email, send some email and post yesterday’s blog.

Carmen fixed us a breakfast of several types of fruit.  Our large tray of fruit contained granadilla, pitajaga, papaya, apple, watermelon and strawberries.  The granadilla is a round fruit hanging on a stem.  You peel away a soft outer skin and inside are clusters of seed sections surrounded by a very sweet nectar.  You suck out the seeds and nectar.  It has a very unique taste that is sweet and absolutely delicious.  I have never tasted anything like this before.  The pitajaga is a fruit where multiple small black seeds are suspended in a white pulp.  This, too, has a very unique taste, sweet and juicy.  Jane said too much pitajaga will give you diarrhea.  I must say, this would be the best tasting bowel prep we could have.

L-R: paypaya, pitajaya, strawberries, apple, watermelon. Granadilla in the bowl

L-R: paypaya, pitajaya, strawberries, apple, watermelon. Granadilla in the bowl

Inside the granadilla

Inside the granadilla

After breakfast, Jane and I went to the clinic to see a lady who was a neighbor of Carmen.  She is recently married and has been dealing with a foul smelling vaginal discharge for about 3 months.  She was worried she had cancer.  We examined her and found an active bacterial infection that is commonly called Gardnerella.  It was one of the more common problems I would see in my practice.  It treats easily with antibiotic and Jane prescribed this for her and her husband.  Both partners have to be treated or they will pass it back and forth and the infection never goes away.  We also assured the patient her exam was normal and there was no cancer.  We did obtain a pap smear for her.

After this clinic visit we went to join the rest of the team for devotions.  Our focus today was Acts 28:11-16, 30-31.  Here the Scripture describes the final leg of Paul’s journey to Rome and the housing he was given for a couple years in Rome.  In all of Paul’s travels and His total commitment to loving Jesus and following Him, he exhibits the qualities of courage and consistency.  We focused on those two words in that as fellow walkers with Christ we will need both of these qualities.  When you study the lives of great people who contributed a lot of mankind, these qualities are present.  When we walk with Christ He helps us with developing courage and consistency.  He calls us to speak against the evil in our world and to uphold His example.

Father, thank You for the opportunity to walk with You every step, every day.  At times I even feel Your arm around me.  I so appreciate when I fall or wander and You gently pick me up, dust me off, and whisper in my ear, “Let’s go on together.”  Your forgiveness is such a blessing.  Thank You, Lord.  Help me to maintain courage to speak up for You and consistency in my commitment to You.  Thank You, Lord.  Amen.

Today, Jane has several people coming in for ultrasound scans so she can use her machine repeatedly to learn the techniques while Barb is here to teach her.  In spite of not being able to do surgery, this has been a great opportunity for Jane to learn ultrasound and to use this valuable tool to help her accurately diagnosis situations in her patients.  I thought about how God orchestrated this by filling in the gap bringing Barb along to teach Jane ultrasound.  Had we had surgery to do, the ultrasound machine would still be sitting unused.  I marvel at how this all worked out.  God knew Barb’s heart and when I was in for the ultrasound of my leg a few weeks before this trip and casually mentioning going to Ecuador and working with Jane on ultrasound, Barb was ready to go and be part of the team.  God worked out all the details with her time off work so she could do this.  This whole thing was totally God!  I never expected this would happen when I was just casually talking about the ultrasound while Barb was scanning my leg.  God prepared hearts, Barb’s, her supervisor’s, and others, and took care of the details so Barb could come and provide this valuable training for Jane.

Katie and I busied ourselves with paint brushes and rollers again today.  We tackled the front office where the patients check in.  By moving the shelves around and working around all the furniture we were able to put two coats of paint on the walls and put everything back the way it was.  The room looks really nice and clean.  Tomorrow we will work on a small utility room and then our painting will be over.

One of the patients who came in for Jane to ultrasound was Angelita’s daughter-in-law.  Five years ago she came to us at term in her pregnancy and I delivered her at the clinic.  This was a special moment for her, Angelita, and Jane as this was the only delivery ever at the clinic.  Since that delivery I have had the opportunity to see this family each time I came.  Today, I was able to see the mother and child again.  She is now a friendly five year old girl.  What a thrill!

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We finished our painting about 4 pm and soon we will be eating Cebiche for dinner.  This cold soup is delicious and the second time Carmen has fixed it for us.  It has become one of my favorite Ecuadorian dishes.   Carmen served us rice, cebiche, patacones and for dessert a small sweet banana.  The cebiche was another home run for her.  The patacones were hot and tasty, especially with a sprinkle of salt on them.  The patacon is a plantain that is cooked till soft and then smashed with a rock and then placed in hot grease for a quick minute to fry it.  Delicious!!

Cebiche

Cebiche

Patacones and small bananas

Patacones and small bananas

Katie helping smash the patacones

Katie helping smash the patacones

After dinner I tried to get online but the Internet was down again.  It is so intermittent.  In the past it usually was on most of the time.  This trip it seems to be off most of the time.  So, it is time to sit and read for a while and then turn in for the night.

Father, this has been a good day.  We got a lot accomplished and the clinic staff are thrilled to have their work space all freshened up with new paint.  It is a joy to serve You in the work that we do.  We came to work with Jane and indirectly are helping the people she sees by helping her staff.  Lord, thank You for bringing us here at this time.  Thank You for enabling us to accomplish the tasks set before us.  Thank You for allowing us to bring glory and honor to You.  You are so gracious to us, Lord.  Thank You for Your unconditional love and forgiveness.  Thank You, Father.   Amen.

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