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Day 1 – March 6, 2019

I am on my way to Ecuador.  My trip starts at Fort Myers International Airport.  I will be flying to Miami and then on to Quito arriving there about 11:15 pm.  Jane told me that Damarys, her administrator, will be meeting me at the airport and will take me to former coworker’s home where I will spend the night.  Loida had worked with Jane and Damarys several years and offered to give me a place to stay overnight.  In the morning Damarys will drive me to San Lorenzo, a trip of about 4 1/2 hours or so through the Andes Mountains.  Quito is about 9200 feet in elevation and San Lorenzo is at sea level and considerably warmer.  Our trip is all down hill with lots of twists and turns as we travel through the beauty of the Andes.

As I think about the trips I have taken to do medical mission work, I feel I am being called by God to do them.  There is a persistent desire to go and serve the people there and help Jane as she cares for the people of that community.  That call by God, that desire, is sensed when my heart is connected to God and I am regularly walking with Him.  As we walk together along life’s path, He teaches me and also points me to people to share His love with them.  When my heart is open to His bidding, the mission trips to Ecuador become reality.  

In Isaiah, chapter 6, Isaiah talks about a vision he had about seeing God.  In this vision he hears the Lord say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”  Isaiah responds immediately with, “Here I am!  Send me!”  I think about Isaiah’s response and realize it was only possible because of the readiness of his heart.  He had a close relationship with God and wanted to be even closer to Him.  When God mentioned the opportunity, Isaiah did not hesitate.  He was ready to go and serve.  His heart was that of a missionary, one who would sacrifice himself to be able to be used by God.  

I heard those words from God when I was looking at my first opportunity to go and serve in the Dominican Republic.  When I said, “Send me” God opened the doors for me and I found myself in the D.R. helping my physician colleagues do surgeries.  Then I was given a bigger opportunity of developing teams of health care providers to go with me back to the D.R. to do short term mission work.  One of my colleagues who went along on a couple of these trips was Dr. Jane Weaver.  She, like Isaiah, said the same words to God, “Here I am!  Send me!”  She became involved with mission work in Ecuador and has been there full time for several years running her own clinic providing medical and surgical care for the people of San Lorenzo.  

When God asks, “Whom shall I send, who will go for Me?”, what will be your response?  Will you ignore the question or come up with excuses to reject God’s offer or will you be like Isaiah and follow God?  God asks us to step out in faith to follow Him.  He tells us to lean on Him and allow Him to equip and empower us.  He tells us to trust Him fully.  When we give ourselves to Him, He will then allow us to participate in His work and be part of His miracles.  What a privilege!

Father, I am so blessed by You.  You invite me to walk with You and have a relationship with You.  You then give me the opportunity to serve You and be Your hands and mouth as You through me reach out and touch to bring healing and to speak Your truth.  Thank You, Father, for this incredible opportunity to represent You and to work with You as we together share Your love with the people in San Lorenzo.  I pray for Your hands and strong arms to shield me as I travel and keep me safe.  I pray for Jane and Damarys as they allow me to join them in serving You.  I pray also for the people we will see.  May they feel Your presence and healing power.  May they be drawn to You and ultimately place their faith in You.  Thank You, Father, for Your unfailing love.  I worship You today, Lord.  Amen.

Father, I pray for Phyllis. It is hard for her to see me go and leave her behind. I love her so much and it is hard for me to leave for a far away place when she is facing the neurological changes she is suffering from by herself. Her sister is with her and I am very thankful for that. But it’s not the same for her. At a time of her great need, I feel like I am abandoning her. Yet I know and trust that You know how she feels and will provide for her. You are the only source of hope and true joy and I pray You will make that very evident to Phyllis at this time. Thank You, Father. Amen.

My flight from Ft. Myers to Miami took a little over 20 minutes. Then I walked to the gate for my trip to Quito. Everything went on time and we boarded early for a possible early departure. Then the captain said there would be a slight delay as a passenger didn’t show up to board the plane but had checked luggage. They had to find that luggage and remove it from the plane. I was able to watch the process from my window. The luggage handlers had to off load a large amount of luggage to find the bags and the reload all the other luggage. I watched my bag come off and then go back on. The departure time was delayed for a little over an hour.

This airplane has power ports at each seat and free WiFi so I was able to continue to text my family and to alert Jane in Ecuador about my delay. Now I will arrive at midnight and then maneuver through customs and then meet up with Damarys. Then we go to Quito which is about an hour’s drive to Loida’s house. This will be a short night for sure!

As we became airborne we were treated to a spectacular view of Miami after dark. I was able to take some pictures before we flew out over water and the city disappeared from view.

While in Ft. Myers airport I was paged overhead to go to a courtesy phone. When I got on the phone I spoke with a TSA agent who told me one of my pieces of luggage got caught on something and the tag had ripped off. She wanted to know my destination so a new tag could be generated. When we arrived in Quito and my luggage came off the carousel, my large suitcase was missing the handle and a large strap that I placed around the suitcase to keep it from popping open. The suitcase was bent some but still closed. I don’t think this piece will travel back home with me as it is unusable.

Arrival in Quito was a little after midnight. Then the journey through customs took another hour. Finally met Damarys and her daughter and they drove me into Quito to Loida’s home where I was to stay overnight. So now I am ready to get a few hours of sleep before Damarys comes to pick me up to head to San Lorenzo.

Father, thank You for the safe trip to Ecuador. I was thrilled to see Damarys again and realized this was because of You guiding me here. I am ready to move forward with the work You have given me this time. I know You are with me and will surround me with Your unfailing love and protection. Thank You, Father, for inviting me to come and serve You here. I pray for Phyllis, Lord. I know You also will be there with her and will supply her with all she needs. Thank You, Lord, for bringing her into my life and blessing our marriage for the past 52 years. You are an awesome God and I worship You. Amen.

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