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Day 2 – August 17, 2017

Oswald Chamber’s devotional for August 5 talks about God’s call, God’s leading in our lives. We turn our lives over to God and then He seems to take us places that we had no intention even thinking about. He moves us totally out of our comfort zone into an illogical world full of risk. To my mind it makes no sense until I look at my situation through His eyes and allow Him to lead me. All He asks me to do is trust Him.

Chambers says “the call of God can never be stated explicitly; it is implicit. The call of God is like the call of the sea, no one hears it but the one who has the nature of the sea in him. It cannot be stated definitely what the call of God is to, because His call is to be in comradeship with Himself for His own purposes, and the test is to believe that God knows what He is after.” He then states, “If we are in communion with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purposes, we shall no longer try to find out what His purposes are.”

I looked in my journal this morning and what I wrote in 2003 gives me the picture of that understanding becoming clearer. I wrote then, “God’s call is a yearning to pursue a particular objective. I feel called to my career – through that I have been able to minister to many people and to point them to Christ. There is a steadily increasing yearning and desire to look into missions. I wonder if God is preparing me for more medical mission work – somewhere, maybe even in my own back yard. Walking with Christ has drawn me even more to understanding my work is totally to serve Him…wherever.”

I hadn’t read those words since I wrote them down. At that time I was thinking more about mission work. I remember thinking about what that would do to my practice and security in my home. We had moved into our new home just a year before. I had no intention of leaving that place and leaving my practice. Yet, one year later I left my group and practice, being forced out because of economics than my decision to change at that point in my life.

God opened doors for me when the door of my practice slammed shut behind me. I went to administrative medicine and helped develop a new hospital culture where serving people and serving God became a reality. In 2004 I also started going to Ecuador to work with Jane Weaver. That year also was a major step forward in my involvement in Matthew 25 Medical and Dental Clinic in downtown Ft. Wayne where I served the poor and needy and shared Jesus with them.

Looking back I clearly see God’s call to me to move more into missions, more defined by giving of myself to others and not working to better myself. The more I gave in His name, the more God blessed me too…in many ways. I read the words I wrote in the journal in 2003 and am amazed and blessed to reflect on how God has enacted that call of His in my life. Here I am one week away from going to Ecuador for my 14th time. Back in 2003 I would have never imagined this at all.

This morning I wondered what I was doing here in Ecuador. I woke up in a hotel in Ibarra instead of the clinic house in San Lorenzo. I had slept fairly well except for the times my gut awakened me to rush me to the toilet for another round of diarrhea. I wondered if this was just a prelude of what lay before me this trip. But then I prayed about it and God gave me His assurance that all was well and that He was there with me and will continue to be with me. My call was to walk with Him and go where He goes.

One nice feature of the hotel was a nice warm shower! I know going to San Lorenzo there will be no more warm showers until I return home. I had just a little breakfast as my stomach was still a little queasy. The diarrhea and nausea had stopped and I was steadily feeling better. After breakfast we set out for San Lorenzo.  I took a picture from the car to give just a little taste of the incredible scenery that appears around every curve as we travel through the Andes Mountains.

Father, I pray for our day of travel and the time this afternoon seeing patients in preparation for next week. I pray for Jane and Damarys as they drive us and keep us safe. I pray for Katie, Tricia and Howard as we all will have some jobs to do when we arrive. Thank You, Lord, for bringing me here and thank You for helping me through the recent diarrhea and vomiting. Thank You, Lord.

Upon arriving to San Lorenzo we quickly unloaded our suitcases and I changed clothes into something that didn’t have vomit splatters on it so I could look a little presentable to the patients Jane and I will see in the clinic. We have a list of 10 patients who are coming in to see me for my evaluation and recommendations regarding surgery.

Among the patients were some definite challenges. One lady had the sudden development of paralysis of her legs about 20 years ago. She was walking the night before and awoke unable to move her legs. Nothing was ever done about it and she just learned to live in a wheel chair. She is having a problem with a bad Pap smear and Jane had examined her recently. The exam is difficult because of the leg paralysis. She is 57 years of age and Jane felt it would be best for her to just remove the uterus. In this situation I agreed and she is scheduled for Monday for a hysterectomy. We saw several patients who have some form of pelvic relaxation ranging from a total uterine prolapse to the relaxation that allows the bladder to drop and result in urinary incontinence and the upper vaginal relaxation that allows the vagina to almost turn inside out as bowel above it pushes down. All of these patients were scheduled.

Two patients presented with problems that are affecting the ability to conceive, one with multiple large fibroids of the uterus and the other with blocked tubes. We have scheduled them for this corrective surgery with the full intent to preserve fertility.

One patient presents with a considerable surgical challenge in that she is 29 and has never been pregnant but wants to and has large fist-size masses involving both ovaries. She continues to have regular menstrual cycles so she has functioning ovarian tissues. The masses have enlarged some over the past few months and the worry is they will ultimately destroy the ovaries. Our hope is to be able to remove the masses and restore normal ovaries so this young lady can ultimately conceive.

Father, I thank You for giving Jane and me the ability to render this level of care to these patients. They face tremendous barriers in getting the care they need and here at this clinic they can receive that care. It is such a joy to be able to reach out in Jesus’ name and help these people in need. Thank You, Lord!

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