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Day 9 – March 14, 2019

Another restful night with no loud music or interference, except for the bladder a couple times.  Awoke before the alarm was set to go off so got up and then awoke much more fully when I stepped into the cold shower.  That is an awakening that gets your attention – quickly!  

We met for devotions and breakfast.  The devotions for today focused on Psalm 139:17-24.  Someone will read the Scripture in Spanish and then Jane asks me to read it in English.  As I read this passage the word “test” in verse 23 jumped off the page at me.  This morning before going to the clinic I conversed with my band of brothers who meet each morning via texting to study God’s Word together through a daily devotional.  This morning’s discussion focused on Luke 5 where Jesus taught the crowd from His floating pulpit, Peter’s boat.  He got in the boat and asked Peter to push off a little bit so He could teach the people on the shore.  Peter sat there listening from the front row, so to speak, as Jesus taught.  Who knows how long Jesus talked but Peter was able to listen to it all.  Then Jesus asks Peter to push off into deeper water and go fishing.  Peter protested mildly by stating he was skunked from fishing all night and not catching a thing.  He in a sense told Jesus fishing was not going to be productive so why even spend the energy.  But Peter obeyed Jesus and went out deeper.  He threw his net overboard where Jesus told him to and got the catch of his life — so many fish that trying to haul them in almost sank the boat!  Jesus tested Peter and Peter wanted to protest because the test didn’t make much sense in his eyes but he obeyed Jesus anyway.  Peter’s test became the biggest blessing he had experienced.  In Psalm 139 again we read, “Test me.”  Do we allow our Lord to test us without hesitation?  Are we ready for the testing that God will bring to us?  He teaches us His truth and we nod in agreement and then He brings that truth into an experience to cement that into our minds and character.  It is that experiencing the truth that is part of the testing.  When it comes to the test, why do we even hesitate?  Why do we let fear or uncertainty control us when God is ready to teach us something profound about Himself?  

We get tested everyday here in San Lorenzo.  My experiences here have helped me to mature in my faith in Christ as we are presented with tests that even go against the logic of what our standards of care dictate in the States.  If we followed those guidelines we wouldn’t do much surgery or give much care.  We have to step into the water like the Israelites did at the Jordan River before God acts and follows through on His promise.  When we do step out in faith, Jesus meets us there and wraps His hands around ours and through us does the surgeries and administers the healing the patients receive.  And like Peter exclaimed in Luke 5, we are not worthy of any credit for the results that we see.  Peter’s big catch was all from the Lord.  The miracles we get to participate in are all from Him.  I come here to be tested as Jesus leads me here.  And I come away with much more confidence in my Lord and Savior.  

Our first surgery was an urgent work-in.  This 46 year old lady had come to Jane a while back with very heavy bleeding.  Jane found a large fibroid that occupied most of the vagina and was bleeding from its surface.  It had prolapsed from the uterine cavity through the cervix.  She bled a lot from this resulting in a rather significant anemia.  Jane wanted to operate on her when I was here to help her.  Yesterday she was able to purchase a unit of blood and received it last night so she could have her surgery today.  The surgery was very difficult.  Her uterus was large and the deep pelvis anatomy was considerable distorted by the large cervix and fibroid.  This made the dissection much more dangerous because of the very close proximity of the ureters.  If I were doing this surgery back home I would have a urologist helping me to help work around the ureters and also another surgeon to help.  Here we just have each other and obviously Jesus standing with us helping us.  With His help we accomplished the hysterectomy and passed the testing that was present with this situation.  Thank You, Lord, for helping us.  

Our second patient has a uterine prolapse with her bladder and bowel coming down with it.  Jane did the entire surgery with me assisting and talking her through it.  She did a vaginal hysterectomy, repair of the tissue between the vagina and bladder and also the rectum.  Jane did a great job.  She sees these patients periodically and hopefully will be able to do these surgeries without needing a gynecologist looking over her shoulder.  By the way, this patient stated she had 8 children still living.  I believe she said she had 10 children all together.  She said she has 76 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.  I think of family gatherings, such as Christmas, and envision all the chaos and just had to smile.  

We stopped for lunch after the second surgery.  Our second surgery was completed about 2:30 pm or so.  The third patient was coming in for a laparoscopic cholecystectomy but cancelled because of a death in the family.  So, our day is complete.  

This week has flown by!  Here it is Thursday evening and tomorrow we have a light schedule.  Then I’ll be packing to head home.  Jane will be taking me back to Quito on Saturday.  We will stop at Otavalo to shop for awhile as I like to pick up some things for Phyllis and to use as gifts.  Then on Sunday I want to go to the main market in downtown Quito to shop some more.  My flight to return to the states leaves at 6:43 am on Monday.  That means I need to probably get up by 2:30 to get ready for the day, to travel to the airport and to be there at least 2 hours before the flight leaves.  Now that all the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 jets have been grounded, I assume American will have another jet coming so my flight will leave as scheduled.  The planes that were grounded were the ones I flew on to Quito and would be the one I would fly on back to Miami.  

Father, thank You for a good day in surgery.  We had a very difficult surgery this morning and felt Your presence there with us.  Your hands guided our hands and You helped us help this patient by doing what was needed to actually save her from bleeding to death.  Lord, You love her so much and You would not stop at anything to give her the life You want her to have.  Thank Your for using us to help her.  Thank You for your help on our second surgery.  You empowered Jane to be able to do a complex procedure by herself and gave me the patience to not jump in and do the procedure for her.  I enjoy teaching her, Lord, and You enjoy that as well.  Thank You, Lord, for Your constant help and encouragement.  

I pray for our patients, Lord.  Please cover them with Your healing power and help them recover quickly and without any complications.  Thank You that the patients we have had this week have all done very well and went home within 24 hours.  Lord, that is from You and we thank You.

Father, I pray for Phyllis.  She is anxious for me to come home and I am anxious to see her and hold her close to me.  Thank You for Connie for her staying with Phyllis to help her.  Please assure Phyllis and Connie of Your presence with them tonight.  Thank You, Father.  I pray all this in the precious name of Jesus.  Amen.

7:00 pm Ecuador time.  I just received a notice from American Airlines that my flight from Quito back to Fort Myers was cancelled!  Now I will have to sort out how I am to return back.  Father, I turn to You.  This cancellation will be difficult to sort out, Lord.  Please guide me in this and send me to the right people to be able to schedule a flight back to home.  Thank You, Lord.  Amen.

10:00 pm.  I talked with Jane and Damarys and from my American Airlines app on my phone I found a number to call in Quito.  Damarys called for me and talked with the agent there.  I am now booked through Bogota, Colombia, leaving Quito on Monday morning around 10:30 on Avianca Airlines and then in Bogota changing to American to fly on to Miami.  I don’t arrive in Miami until 6 pm so will have to stay overnight there before flying on to Ft. Myers on Tuesday.  We checked another arrangement flying through Lima, Peru but then I would be flying all night to Lima and then to Miami arriving there on Tuesday early morning.  Then I would wait several hours to fly on to Ft. Myers.  I kept the Bogota schedule.  I had to book a room in Miami and got one with airport shuttle service so I don’t need to find a taxi.  I will arrive in Ft. Myers about 3 pm on Tuesday.  

Father, thank You for helping us arrange this new flight schedule.  The American Airlines agent was helpful and kind and I believe that was because You were managing this.  I did not encounter all sorts of confusion or delays.  Thank You, Lord, for overseeing this change and helping me get a good flight schedule home.  I pray now for a good night’s sleep, Lord, for all of us.  Thank You, Lord.  Amen.

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