The recent weeks have been a roller coaster for me. My emotions have been tested and my heart has been stretched in many ways I’ve yet to fully process… So, I am going to try to lay it out…as it is…straight from my heart…
My Dad –
My 90-year old Dad had surgery on Friday to remove a tangerine sized brain tumor that was surrounding his optic nerve and growing rapidly. Who in their right mind would operate on a 90-year old man?
Our family has been blessed with longevity, but the odds were certainly stacked against Dad. We all had the opportunity to discuss the odds of him just making it through surgery and we all finally just turned it over to God. His will…was our will. A difficult place to get to…
My family responded the only way we could…in prayer….a relatively new place for us.
But God evidently was not finished with my Dad. He made it through the 9-hour surgery and surprised everyone when he was feeding himself the very next day and walking the day after that! Each day has been an extended blessing and miracle.
How can I express such gratitude to God?
I just returned again from a week long mission trip to Guatemala. We held a medical clinic that treated over 300 patients, we built 2 stoves for widows, and we helped establish a woman’s sewing center that also serves as a Bible study group for the women as well as a means to make income.
I met two women that are widows and have blended families living together in a small hut with all of their children. They all share one bedroom and an outdoor community toilet, an outdoor water source and cooking area. Deplorable conditions for anyone. They don’t know this but we are going to be building them a new home in the upcoming months.
It’s not about the clinic, the stoves, the sewing machines or even the new homes…what we are bringing each time we go to Guatemala is hope. We are trying to let them know and see that they are loved and noticed. We won’t give up on them…regardless.
I’m sure you’re all aware of the Ebola virus and the affect that it has had on the countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. These are all the countries we work in and have several new schools in both Guinea and Sierra Leone. The virus was announced while I was still in the country back in March and it really took off just days after we left.
West Africa is one of the most difficult places on earth to live as it is…it is even more so now. While thousands have experienced its health affects, hundreds of thousands have been affected economically. Maintaining a sense of hope in such an environment is the key to survival… and in the recent months, hope has been in decreasing supply. How can we restore it?
With the school year beginning, it is our goal to give a sense of normalcy to the communities in Guinea and Sierra Leone. We need teachers, administrators, pastors and staff to be paid. This is something that has been missing as a result of the health crisis. We need to help families with tuition expenses and school supplies so that children can begin the school year and continue their education without interruption. We need to join our brothers and sisters in Christ to help and it doesn’t take a lot of money either!
I watch social media daily as people pour ice water over their heads to raise awareness for ALS. What hurts me so much is that the $2.00 that was spent for that bag of ice could have bought a pair of protective surgical gloves that doctors in West Africa no longer have! They have been using PLASTIC BAGS for gloves and many of the doctors have either abandoned their hospitals or have died by treating infected patients without protective gear.
I’m not trying to create a guilt trip or to minimize the good intent of what people are trying to do…I just know suffering…and I know how far one simple dollar can go to ease such suffering…and I wish I could divert just some of the money to help those that need it desperately…for the hope of a better tomorrow…something we all take for granted.
Like I said, this has been a difficult couple of weeks and I’m not sure what to do with all of it. My heart is full with gratitude and at the same time…it’s breaking for the things I see and watch take place in our world. Through it all though…I’m just hanging on to the one thing I know… my heart is not the only one breaking…
Blessings to us all,