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Day 8 – August 23, 2017

When I think about prayer and the connectedness of my heart with God’s heart, the relationship that God seeks with me, with anyone, is that connection that comes with walking with Christ all the time.  As I walk with Christ I follow in His footsteps.  That means I go where He goes.  I encounter the people He encounters.  I become His voice to reach out to those we meet and His fingers to touch them.  What Jesus seeks is that intimate fellowship with His followers.  

Walking with Christ is not always on a smooth path without danger or risk.  I would like it to be but then I realize I would probably get bored without having some challenge to keep me thinking and following Jesus.  What I have learned in studying Jesus and also following Him is that He takes me through times of pain and suffering.  It is hard to understand how God could allow His beloved Son to suffer but He did.  Jesus chose to suffer and endure such terrible pain because of the love He had for the Father and for me and you.  

Do I maintain my steadfast love and commitment to Jesus – even when it hurts deeply?  What I have learned is God knows way more than I do and His decisions are perfect even if they don’t make sense to me.  This includes allowing me to suffer.  What suffering has taught me is usually revealed later when I have the opportunity to look back and see the “wisdom” of that pain and the results that came about that would not have happened had I not traveled this path with Christ.

Why do people follow the call to go to the mission field and give up all the advantages of life?  The world calls it foolish.  The “called” say it is the best part of life.  Does Jane regret coming here?  Absolutely not!

I believe Jane has received more fulfillment in life working here in San Lorenzo than she would have working in a large surgical practice in the States. She sees beyond what the world sees. She sees the hearts of the people and the changed lives as she reaches out and touches in Jesus’ name. She sees disease healed, sometimes miraculously. She sees hearts healed and those who come seeking medical care find Jesus here too and they received the healing of the heart that only He can do. She makes a significant impact on the lives of many who live and work here. Some would call this suffering because it is hot, humid, dirty, stressful, and very low pay. But Jane calls it a lifetime experience that she would have never missed for anything. To her it is a ministry, a career of giving than getting. To her there is no suffering. What is there is the relationship she has with Jesus and the walk with Him every day. This fills her with peace and joy that can’t be described in words.

Father, this day is Your day. We are here to serve You and to bring You glory. Lord, thank You for encouraging me to come here to work with Jane all these times. You bless me over and over when we walk together to Ecuador. You fill me with joy unspeakable and give me the grace to endure the travel. You give me the ability to do surgery with Jane where we can together change lives of those who are dealing with illness. You allow us to talk with people about Jesus and point them to Him. Thank You, Lord, for this incredible privilege. It is such a joy serving You here. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

I met Jane for rounds at 6 am. We saw the post-op patients and a couple from yesterday were wanting to go home. We sent home two women with catheters in place and they will come back on Monday to have them removed. Our patients were all doing very well. It is amazing to see people who have less than 24 hours previous gone through a major surgery with an incision in the abdomen and to be up and about and asking for food and permission to leave and go home. They all are comfortable on acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Jane finds this combination works as well as any heavy duty pain pills and narcotics. The people are motivated to get up and get going and they don’t let pain slow them down.

After devotions and breakfast we then went to the operating room to begin our day of surgery. Our first patient was one who would be a real challenge surgically. She is heavy for one thing and has very bad prolapse with the uterus falling out and the vagina turned inside out. This whole complex hangs outside. Our job is to put it all back together again and correct the anatomy. We did a hysterectomy and then lots of repair work to rebuild a normal vagina and regain support for the bladder and the rectum to keep those structures in their normal position. This type of surgery is very complex and must be adapted to the anatomical changes that one encounters as we get into it. At times the bowel is down in this as well and that must be taken care of. The bladder is also part of the complex hanging out and this must go back to its normal position. After about 3 and ½ hours of work, we finally arrived at our goal of giving this woman more normal anatomy and hopefully normal bowel and bladder function.

At this point it was noon and we decided to break for lunch. We had two other surgeries in the afternoon – one with a persistent ovarian cyst and another young lady with large solid masses involving each ovary.

The one lady with the ovarian cyst was next and at surgery we found what appears to be a dermoid cyst of the ovary. This is generally benign and will have all components of skin, hair, teeth, and other tissues in the cyst. It is called a teratoma. What was interesting was she had not one but two of these on one ovary. The ovary sported two cysts, each about 6 cm in diameter, coming off of a stalk. These cysts were separate from each other and each contained some ovarian tissue. We had to remove the entire complex but left the tube and the rest of that area untouched. Her other ovary was totally normal. I told Jane that gyn residents should spend part of their training here with her as they would see some of the strangest pathology they would ever see in their career. I have seen more unusual situations here than I ever saw in my closet to 30 years of practice.

Our second patient for the afternoon never appeared. Jane and Angelita called her number several times but there was no answer. Tomorrow we have a very full day with six cases and we felt that this patient may just show up tomorrow ready for surgery when we have not time available.

So, our day was cut short. We were done by around 4 pm and I am going to enjoy some relaxation and getting off my feet for the evening. Tomorrow will be very busy again and we could easily be in surgery for 10 to 12 hours.

Father, thank You for the help You provide in surgery. You fill in so many gaps for us and we bathe in Your presence and Your grace. Thank You, Lord for a good day of serving You. Amen.

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