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Day 5 – March 10, 2019

I had another good night’s sleep and the noises of the night didn’t awaken me.  The bladder, however, is a “noise” that one cannot ignore for too long so I was awakened a couple times for that.  This morning after getting ready for the day I sat out in the kitchen with a cup of coffee and reading God’s Word.  I am in Isaiah reading about his obedience to God as God had commissioned him to warn his people of their disobedience and God’s coming judgment.  Isaiah predicts accurately what will happen and history subsequently proves him right.  The people didn’t listen to him and ultimately suffered.  I think about my own obedience to God.  I read His Word and read or hear His advice and warnings to me and then I turn around and disobey at times.  God is very patient with me and continually comes back to help me come closer to Him and warns me repeatedly.  From that I am realizing the most important thing I can do is to walk with Him, every step, every day.  He wants so much to have a personal relationship with me, with you.  He will go to great lengths to have that relationship.  His arms are open wide and the invitation is there in bold letters to come to Him and enjoy a relationship with Him.  He doesn’t force us to come, only invites.  He leaves the choice up to us.  

Years ago I decided that walking with Him was the right thing to do.  And when I made that commitment, God has taken me on a journey that at times goes on the path I had envisioned I would go over my lifetime but also on different paths that took me on side trips, so to speak, to be His hands and voice and feet in areas I never dreamed I would ever visit.  Right now, I am on such a path.  In fact, this is the 15th time He has taken me down this road and each time He allows me to experience Him in incredible ways.  These times are ones of closeness to Him where I feel His heart much more deeply.  These times are ones of opportunity to be Jesus to the people we meet, people I would never cross paths with otherwise.  Yet, we get the amazing opportunity to bring Jesus to them and then participate in His miraculous healing that He gives to these people.  Even though the culture is much different, the living conditions are much different, the showers are very cold, the risks to my health are higher, I always come away with more perspective on God’s work in other parts of the world and a deeper appreciation for how God is using me to further His work and fulfill His will.  We all have the opportunity to follow God in building His kingdom.  We all have the choice to follow Him.  How will you choose today?

Jane and I had breakfast together.  Actually, it was more like brunch.  There was some peach yogurt and granola here in the refrigerator and we had a bowl of that with chunks of strawberries, mango and watermelon mixed in.  It was very tasty.  In fact, I had a second bowl!  Then some toast with Mora jelly on top just hit the spot.  Jane is dealing with a persistent cough and now a fever so we talked about getting her on an antibiotic.  She needs to stay healthy for next week as our surgery schedule will be demanding.  All our cases are major ones and will involve standing in the OR for several hours each day.  There is one surgery scheduled for Wednesday of a man who has complete obstruction of the pyloric area of the stomach.  This is the end that connects to the small intestine.  Everything he eats just stops in the stomach and then goes back up.  He is losing a lot of weight and needs the surgery as soon as possible.  The day for him is Wednesday and that won’t come soon enough for him.  As a gynecologist, I have not been trained to deal with upper gastrointestinal surgery but I know enough to be a good assistant for Jane to help her with this surgery.  This procedure could take a long time to accomplish and Jane needs to be feeling good for that as well as all the other surgeries this week.

Today, Damarys and Loida return from Quito.  Our anesthesiologist is coming from Esmeraldas to stay with week with us.  He will be bringing his wife and their little baby along and will be staying in the casa with me occupying the other bedroom.  He speaks no English and I speak no Spanish but I am sure we can communicate with sign language.  

With the time yesterday and today to just relax and rest to get prepared for our week of surgery, I spent a lot of time just reading.  I had downloaded a book by Lee Strobel titled The Case For Hope.  In this book Lee Strobel explores the word hope and takes the reader through a lot of Scripture and also personal stories where the quest was hope.  One of the facets of our Christian faith is the presence of hope.  This hope becomes a foundational stone of our faith.  It helps us look forward as we endure hardship and illness.  It gives us the eternal perspective that we long for.  Hope is essential for our survival.  Those without any hope don’t live long.  Lee Strobel boosted my joy and peace as I was reminded how important hope is to me and that am filled with hope as I walk with Jesus.  

What we see in the patients who come in for care is hope.  They come in having no other alternative to help them.  The options before them are either they receive the care they need or they go home resigned to just live with their problem.  Jane and her team are here to give hope to the hopeless.  Because they can receive healing of their problem, hope drives them to come even from great distances.  I remember in past trips we would encounter people who would come by canoe for several hours, then by bus to San Lorenzo.  I remember one woman who traveled 14 hours one way to come for care.  I also remember a man came in one time having traveled from the southern part of Ecuador just because he had hope that we would be able to care for him.  As I think about why Jesus brought me here, one reason is because I can help give hope to those we see and care for.  What a privilege to be able to administer hope!

Damarys and Loida have arrived back from Quito and we helped unload a lot of groceries and supplies for our food this coming week.  Soon the anesthesiologist and his family will arrive.  We will gather in another hour or so for a light dinner and then will be turning in for the night as our day will start earlier now since we will be doing surgeries.  Each day we will start the morning with devotions and breakfast and hopefully starting our first surgery around 8 am or so.  

Father, today has been a good day for me as I have had time to read on hope.  Thank You for empowering Lee Strobel to write an excellent book on hope.  There were several Scriptures throughout the book that talk about the blessed hope that comes when we walk in relationship with You.  Thank You, Lord, for the hope that You freely give.  It comes because of Your amazing grace and these fill my heart with an indescribable joy.  Thank You, for Your unfailing love, Lord.  It is such a privilege to walk with You.  

I pray for Jane, Father.  Please touch her body and heal her of this respiratory disease.  Help her to stay strong and alert as we work tomorrow and through the week helping those You brought to us to give care and bring healing.  Please hold her close to You and lay Your hands of healing upon her, Father.  

Father, I pray for Phyllis.  She is home and I miss her greatly.  Thank You for Connie for staying with her and being her hands to help her.  Thank You, Father, for caring for her and giving her more love than we can ever imagine.  I pray for her tonight.  Thank You, Father.  I pray all these in the precious name of Jesus.  Amen.

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