Thursday, November 26, 2009


Last Friday, a man came in the hospital that has been a patient in wound care since I first arrived to Honduras, three months ago. He was admitted to the hospital with a dangerously high potassium level in his blood. His potassium was high because his kidneys had begun to fail and they were unable to filter like they should.

When one's potassium gets extremely high, the heart begins beating in an arrythmia, and eventually stops all together. This man had the highest potassium I had ever seen (8.0), and if he were in the States, he would be sent immediately to an intensive care unit for serious monitoring and intervention. Here, there is no ICU. We don't have the resources for all the interventions he would need to get his potassium down fast enough.

I felt completely helpless. There was little I could do to help this sweet, elderly man that I had gotten to know over the past few months. I knew that it was likely that something serious would happen to him any minute. I asked him how he was feeling about everything. He just said that he was worried about what was going on with his health and that he knew that he needed to have patience, and trust in God. Tears filled my eyes as I knelt by his bed and prayed with him, knowing that was all I could do.

It has been said by several of the missionaries here, that so many times when they have done all they can do for these patients, God steps in and takes care of the rest. I am beginning to see that here.

God protected this patient throughout the night as medications were started and his potassium was brought down. By the morning it was at a normal level again, and he was discharged from the hospital a few days later.

It's humbling, but oh so comforting to be reminded that we really don't have control. God is greater than anything that presents itself in this world.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Te Damos Gracias

The last few weeks have been filled with surgeries in the hospital. We had an orthopedic surgeon and nurse anesthetist come to the hospital from the States to perform most of these surgeries. It was really exciting because I got to scrub in and assist in one of them. To be honest, I thought I was going to pass out for the first ten minutes. My hands started to tingle, things got a little blurry, and I found that breathing became something I needed to think about, rather than just do. Although I have been in surgery several times before, it's very different when you are standing four feet away from the procedure, than when you are a few inches from it. Thankfully, once we got past cutting the skin, and actually to the blood and guts, things got better.

This surgery was a 3 hour surgery, restoring the use of a womans hand that she had not been able to bend voluntarily after nerve damage that had taken place a long time ago. Here we were, correcting this problem, and I couldn't help but think about the love of God.

In normal circumstances, this woman would have no chance of ever having her hand repaired. Without the hospital being here, she would probably not be able to pay the bus fare into one of the bigger cities for treatment, much more, pay the medical bills for the surgery. She would more than likely live with the handicap for the rest of her life.

Ah, but God loves. He loves His people. The purest love. The details are just as important to Him as is the big picture. You see, several years ago, God moved on a young man's heart to start a mission hospital. God gave him and several others a desire to serve an underpriviledged people. Then, after the hospital was established, God lead an orthopedic surgeon to come volunteer at the hospital a few times a year.

I can just imagine this patient as a little girl. Unbeknown to her, she would one day suffer a serious injury, but God was already working on her behalf. He had already begun to set up a way for her to get the medical care that she needed.

Even more beautiful to me is that this woman did not have a life threatening injury. She had a handicap that she could make do with for the rest of her life. But God cares about the things that we care about. He takes us along a journey called life, and asks for our trust, and He promises His goodness to us. He is committed to His own. He has already proven that all of Him is invested in us: He gave us everything that He had to offer, His son.

Find comfort in that fact that God is working, even when you can't see it. He has the obstacles already worked out. Rest in that.

For most of us, though, we face a much greater temptation than that of being in fear that God won't take care of us. There is another temptation that is much more deadly to our walk: failure to recognize His provision in our lives. Always looking back, or trying to run ahead, we are rarely grateful with where He has placed us today. After all the provision of the Lord, and mercy that He has poured out on us, we deny his goodness by our ungratefulness and failure to be content. Our actions, our groanings and complaints, say that despite everything that He has done, it simply is not good enough.

We are commanded in scripture to give thanks in ALL things. In every dead end road, every valley, every gain, every loss, every grief, every disappointment, every time things don't make sense, we are commanded to give thanks. We give thanks because, in everything, we find our confidence in the goodness of God.