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Day 7 – August 22, 2017

I think about my walk with Christ and how He has given me the impulse, you might say, or even the invitation to walk with Him to Ecuador.  He takes me places where I can be His hands and His mouth to the people I meet and serve.  Ecuador is just one of many places and opportunities Jesus brings to me to manifest Him in my life to others.  I come to a different culture, a place where I am out of my comfort zone.  But this is where I have experienced Jesus at work in me so much.  This is where I get to participate with Him in producing miracles in the lives of the people we see and care for.  It is amazing as I pray for them I realize that I am praying the words of Jesus.

Oswald Chambers discusses this concept in his August 9 devotional where again he centers on prayer.  He starts with John 11:41 where Jesus states the fact that the Father always hears Him.  Chambers states, “God always hears the prayers of His Son, and if the Son of God has been formed in me, the Father will always hear my prayers.”  As I walk with Christ and incorporate Him into every moment of my life, my walk reflects His presence with me.  When the world looks at me they see Jesus as I interact in the name of Jesus with others.  When I allow Jesus to work in me and to fill me, then I pray His thoughts and prayers and I am assured that God hears those prayers.  

I remember a song that frequently runs through my mind with the words, “When the world looks at me do they see Jesus?”  Is Christ being manifest in me?  Do I display this relationship with Him?  When people look at me does Jesus become apparent in me?  Walking with Christ allows this to happen as I become fully dependent upon Him every step.  And then when we are working in Ecuador, Jesus becomes very apparent as He fills in gaps that we can’t fill.  Jane and I work together in the operating room, just the two of us.  But in reality, there are three pairs of hands at the table.  Jesus is there too and He is fully aware of our capabilities and He completes us with His presence.  We pray a lot before, during and after surgery.  And I know God hears those prayers because His Son is present with us and is praying those prayers as well.  And we get to see the amazing results of those prayers – miraculous healings and difficult surgeries accomplished when we can’t even explain how we were able to do them.  In Ecuador especially, Jesus is exhibited moment by moment in us.  What a blessing!  What a privilege!

Lord, thank You for Your presence with us and how You help us in surgery and in the care of our patients.  You provide so much more than we can ever think of doing.  You allow us to be Your instruments of healing and help.  You fill us so we can spill You out into the lives of those we touch.  Thank You, Jesus!  

This morning I met Jane early to make rounds on our post-op patients.  They all are doing well.  I was especially concerned about the young woman we operated on last evening.  Her surgery was very difficult and we lost a lot of blood during the procedure.  I was concerned about post-op bleeding as well as sometimes the places where we removed the fibroid tumors will start bleeding again.  But this morning she looks great!  What a relief!  God truly was present with us last night and filled in a gap that we had difficulty filling.  He certainly answers our prayers.  Thank You, Lord, for protecting all our patients last night and bringing peace to them and to us.  Thank You so much!

Our day today is also filled with four major surgeries.  Included in our schedule today is another young woman with huge fibroid tumors.  Her situation is similar to the one last night in that she wants to conceive.  It will be a long day of standing but it is not hard to do when you know you are standing in service to Christ.  That is the reason we are here.

Our surgery day ended about 7 pm instead of 10 like yesterday. We have four major surgeries with two hysterectomies and two laparotomies. Our first patient was an 85 year old woman with uterine prolapse that has become a problem for her. Jane did the surgery which included a vaginal hysterectomy and bladder repair. I assisted and helped her with the surgery.

The second patient was in for a hysterectomy because of fibroids and bleeding. Her surgery was difficult because of adhesions in the abdomen and difficulty getting good exposure. When exposure is compromised the surgery quickly becomes difficult because a majority of your time is working to get good exposure so clamp and needle placement is correct. We were able to accomplish the surgery without any problems. It just took longer and was more of a struggle. While this patient was in the pre-op area getting ready for surgery, Angelita, one of Jane’s team, talked with her about her relationship with Jesus Christ. She presented the gospel to her and the patient gave her heart to Jesus. Tricia was able to witness this and was thrilled to see a person being saved through faith in Christ.

After this surgery we stopped for lunch and then returned to the operating room for our third patient. This young woman had large fibroids that filled her lower abdomen. Her abdomen protruded like she was 5 to 6 months pregnant. The fibroid mass was irregular and hard. The surgery went well although we didn’t do all we could have done. She had multiple fibroids giving a conglomerate mass that filled the entire lower abdomen. We removed several fibroids the size of a child’s fist. There was one, however, that was deep in the uterine wall and was the size of a large grapefruit. This had the major blood supply mixed in with it and removal would have involved significant bleeding. The patient was mildly anemic to start with and she wouldn’t be able to afford losing much blood. I kept getting the internal message to not try to remove this large tumor. To me I felt God was telling me that. Jane and I talked about what we should do and we both felt it best to not try to remove the large tumor. Doing so would have likely destroyed the uterus making it unable to contain a pregnancy and we did not want to put her through that risk. So, we left the large tumor intact but were able to remove all the other ones.

Our final surgery was to be a tuboplasty. This patient has been trying to conceive and part of her work up Jane had ordered a hysterosalpingogram, a study where x-ray contrast solution is injected into the uterus and then the contrast is followed on x-ray as it courses out through the tubes. It is an effective way to study the tubes, especially if there is suspicion of blockage. In this situation the radiologist stated the right tube was blocked and the left tube had some possible obstruction at its end. After we opened the abdomen and pulled up the uterus to look at the tubes we found both tubes totally normal with no evidence of blockage or tubal disease. This was good news for her but I felt bad that she had to go through an operative procedure because the radiologist didn’t read the films correctly. She brought in her x-rays and we could see both tubes showing dye filling the tubes all the way out. I am not sure how the person reading this could have missed that detail. So our surgery was basically an open and close procedure.

We finished our day about 7 pm and then had dinner. Now it is time to relax and go to bed early to get some much needed rest.

Father, this has been a good day. We were able to help four people with surgery and we were so blessed to know You were there with us helping us and helping the patients. We were especially blessed to see that one lady accept Jesus as her Savior and Lord. Father, that is why we are here, to serve You and to point people to You. Thank You, Lord. I pray for our patients who are recovering. I pray for all of us as we are doing various tasks here all in Your name. Thank You for the opportunity to serve You in this way. I pray, Lord, for a good night’s rest. Cover us with Your peace. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

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