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Day 3 – August 18, 2017

Oswald Chambers’ devotional for August 6 focuses on prayer.  He states, “The point of prayer is not to get answers from God, but to have perfect and complete oneness with Him.”  He talks about our disappointment we sometimes have when the answers that come are not what we wanted.  This disappointment, or as Chambers says – irritation, is evidence of our not identifying with our Lord in prayer.  He puts his finger in my chest when he asks, “Have you reached such a level of intimacy with God that the only thing that can account for your prayer life is that it has become one with the prayer life of Jesus Christ?”

I must admit that my prayer life is frequently followed by my wondering why an answer hasn’t come or why God chose to answer it in a way I was not expecting.  At times I question my own faith because I didn’t get what I had asked for.  A powerful weapon that Satan uses against us and our relationship with Christ is to just sow a little seed of doubt.  It is amazing how doubt can derail my prayer life!  It is like the little pop-up screen that occurs on my computer from time to time when I push enter to do a particular task.  The screen asks a question, “Are you sure you want to do this?”  Suddenly, I am doubting myself and at times become almost paralyzed in completing the decision I was about to make.  

Have you had definitive answers to prayer?  Can you recall those times and do they cause you to once again praise God?  What about answers that you asked for, possibly repeatedly, and then when they come you are surprised?  Why should we be surprised if God answers our question?  Yet, this is what Oswald Chambers is driving at.  We need to grow into complete oneness with Christ where our prayers are His prayers.  We have so close a relationship with Jesus that His thoughts become our thoughts and when He prays for someone or something we find ourselves praying for the same issues.  I find that is what the discipline of walking with Christ brings me to.  As we walk together every day, every step, I see the world around us through His eyes.  I start thinking like Him as He fills me with Himself.  

I think of the prayers where we saw miraculous answers in the patients we treated and events that occurred in Ecuador.  Those times we were barren of any possibility of accomplishing the task and were partnering with Jesus to render the care.  Some of the issues that came before us regarding a very complex health situation or very difficult surgery showed us how inadequate we were.  Yet, the problems were handled effectively, even easily.  Miracles occurred before our eyes.  I use the term miracle because what we experienced and observed could not be explained by any logic or knowledge of management of a disease process.  Jesus wanted to accomplish healing in those patients and He used us as His instruments.  The gap He filled was huge.  But we were one with Him in prayer.  I believe that was the reason we saw those miracles.  We were thinking the same thoughts that Jesus was thinking.  We were pursuing the same end points.  We were working together with Him and He allowed us to participate with Him in producing miraculous healing.  Those moments were so uplifting and frequently the events come to mind to give me more encouragement to continue making every effort to be one with Jesus in prayer.

Father, Help me to have that oneness with You where I continually think Your thoughts and pray as You would want me to.  Thank You, Lord.  Amen.

Our day started at the culmination of a restful night.  There is a lot of traffic noise, dogs trying to out bark and outlast one another and other sounds in the night that I am not used to.  We don’t have a good way of shutting out the noise other than a couple large fans running on high that provide a lot of white noise.  In the middle of the night the power went out for awhile and the fans quit.  Suddenly, the loss of white noise woke us up.  In a little while the power came back on and the white noise began again.  The ventilation from the fans is really helpful to evaporate the sweat which in itself has a cooling effect.  

Jane had mentioned yesterday that the showers are now warm.  The shower head has a built in heater that heats the water.  If you run the water too hard the heater can’t keep up.  The temperature of the water is controlled by the speed of the water.  Turning down the water will allow the enjoyment of a warm shower.  The warm shower felt good this morning.  

Devotions followed breakfast.  We gathered in a small room and read Scripture together and a devotion based on this passage from Our Daily Bread.  The Scripture was Philippians 2:1-12 where we are reminded to have the mind of Christ and to treat others as Jesus would.  This went right along with what I talked about from Chambers’ journal on being one with Christ.  

Jane and I started our day talking with a younger woman who had been having some unusual bleeding.  An ultrasound showed a mass in the uterine cavity that looks very similar to an endometrial polyp.  Jane had planned to do a D&C on this patient but wanted me to look at the ultrasound and to render my opinion as well.  I agreed with her that the next step, and possibly the effective treatment of the bleeding, is a D&C to remove this mass and allow the uterus to return to normal.  She will be scheduled for this on Friday.  

One man came in for evaluation of an inguinal hernia.  As Jane was talking with he and his niece about the management of the hernia, it became apparent to her that this man could not read.  The niece had mentioned in the conversation that she was a Christian and that she had been trying to lead her uncle to the Lord.  Jane got them a Galcom digital Bible that my churches (Fort Wayne and Englewood, FL) had provided to her for this very situation.  She explained to them how to use this device and now the uncle can hear God’s Word and have his own copy of Scripture.  

Our next patient breaks my heart.  A 42 year old woman came to us with the history that she had a myoma and wanted a hysterectomy.  Her history was only recently with the development of a painful mass in her abdomen.  She has had some bleeding vaginally that was not menstrually related but otherwise not feeling ill.  She brought an ultrasound that showed a large uterus filled with fluid and solid components and the diagnosis from the person reading the ultrasound that she had a pyometrium – an endometrium filled with pus from an infection.  On exam she had a large tender somewhat immovable mass that extended up to mid abdomen.  The mass was very hard and was irregular in shape.  Her pelvic exam revealed evidence of extensive cervical cancer with tumor involvement into the lateral paracervical areas to the pelvic wall.  We even felt adenopathy in the right inguinal area.  After our exam Jane talked with the patient for a long time telling her she had cancer and we could not treat her here.  She then pulled out an envelop of medical records and produced biopsy results from about 5 weeks ago that showed poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma of the cervix.  This lady was just given a life-changing diagnosis.  Here the options for this patient are few.  She is very poor and cannot afford the cost of her health care and there are very few safety nets for people like her.  If she can’t afford her care, she may not receive any care and would die of her disease.  It is heartbreaking to see these people who are now in a very bad situation and there is little hope to be able to help them.  All I could do while Jane talked with her was pray for her.

The rest of the patients varied in age from 21 to 79 and presented with various gynecologic problems that need surgical correction.  The problems range from pelvic relaxation problems that cause symptoms and change bowel and bladder function to younger women with ovarian cyst or large fibroid issues as well as one who wants us to see if we can rejoin her tubes after a previous sterilization so she can conceive again.  That patient is 36 and has had 4 children and a previous tubal ligation.  She now is determined to conceive again and wants to have the tubes rejoined.  We explained to her the risks involved, especially the risks of ectopic pregnancy.  She understands these risks and feels compelled to move forward with the surgery.  We agreed to look with a small laparotomy to assess the tubes and determine if an anastomosis is feasible.  If so, we will proceed with that procedure.  The pressure is so high on continuing to conceive.  Jane sees several women who come in requesting to have their tubal function restored.  It is difficult for me to balance the interests of the patient with the reality of the risks involved.  We did tell her we would not do something that would increase her risks greatly.  She seemed to understand and then answered that she has faith in God and that she feels God has directed her to do this.

We are finished seeing the patients for surgery.  Our schedule is full.  Monday and Tuesday we have full days with four major gyn surgeries each day.  Wednesday we have three scheduled for abdominal procedures to manage ovarian tumors and cysts and also a vaginal hysterectomy.  Thursday is our bladder day with six bladder repair procedures scheduled.  Friday has more of a mix of gyn cases and general surgery cases.  We will be busy all week!

After we finished Jane had a couple of the pre-op patients come up to one of the consultation rooms so she could obtain and ECG on them.  One of them could not read and Jane spent time with her talking about the Lord and then gave her a digital Bible.  This lady walked out very happy and excited to have a copy of the Scripture that she could listen to anytime.

Thank You, Father, for giving us the ability to help these beloved children of Yours.  We are thrilled to be Your hands and eyes as extensions of You to help these people who otherwise would not have help.  Father, I pray for the one woman who had advanced cancer.  She needs other treatment than we can offer.  But, we know You can heal her and we pray that she will sense Your presence and guidance in obtaining the help You have planned for her.  Thank You, Lord, for Your constant presence and unfailing love.  Thank You!  Amen.

Howard, Katie, Tricia and a young boy have been working on the tile application to the outside wall of the clinic.  They have made a lot of progress.  A young boy came in with Carmen and he has been a shadow to Howard and wants to be involved in all the work.  He has been helping and is learning from their example.  It is enjoyable to be able to teach people, adults or children, when they are willing to learn.  That certainly appears to be the situation in the tile business here at San Lorenzo.

Preparing the cement

They had a willing helper all day.

A day’s work

All in all we had a good day.  Jane and I were able to fill in the surgery schedule and next week will be busy all week.  It is such an honor to be able to use my skills to help someone in need.  When I do this in Jesus’ name and make it a point to represent Him always, He brings me challenges but always walks with me through them.  I am able to minister to people and they in turn minister just as much back to me.  And God gets the glory!

Howard, Tricia and Katie also had a good day and were able to put up a lot of tile.  The tile up to the windows makes the building look a lot better as the paint and stucco was falling off on the lower section.  At the rate they are going the tile project of that section of the building should be all completed within this next week.  Jane is very happy.

Father, this has been a good day in service to You.  You invited us to come to San Lorenzo to serve You here.  You are served when we come and serve Jane and her team.  You are served when we reach out to serve those who come to us for care.  It is a pleasure and a privilege to bring honor and glory to You in this place.  What a joy to see the elated smiles of the people who received their own copy of Your precious Word today.  Thank You for that technology that allows those who cannot read to be able to still receive and study Your Word.  Father, I pray for all of us tonight.  I pray we all have a restful sleep and will awaken with energy supplied only by You.  I pray we all experience You in a deeper and more meaningful way as we serve You and learn from You.  Thank You, Lord, for giving us grace that goes beyond words and love that is immeasurable.  We worship You, Lord.  Amen.

 

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