August 19, 2014
Boy, what a 10-days it has been!! Like I’ve said before, there is never a dull moment around here. :)
Classes started back on Monday, Aug. 11th. It feels so good to have the kids back!! We got everyone settled in Sunday and the day started bright at early Monday morning with worship at 5:30 am. We had a really good start to the term and the kids were happy to be back. But, as is often the case, Satan doesn’t sit still long. That afternoon, one of our students came and told me that she was raped by a young man in her home town over the break. My heart broke!! We talked for a good while. She hadn’t told anyone else yet, so I contacted the family and had them come to the school immediately to let them know what the situation.
The next day was spent accompanying them in town to file the necessary reports, have the medical exam done and talk to a lawyer about how to proceed. It was a long day. I can’t go into details, but please pray for this young lady and everyone involved. The Lord knows exactly what she needs. Also, pray for the family to obtain the money necessary to pursue this issue in court. Here in Bolivia, whoever files the police report (usually the victim or victim’s family) is responsible for all fees associated with the case. And they’ve given an estimate of $2000-$3000 usd. The family just doesn’t have this kind of money. They are trying to figure something out, so again, please keep the whole situation in your prayers.
Then, on Thursday afternoon, we went to get oranges and coconuts for the school. On the way back, I started having a little pain in my abdomen. I figured it would pass, but it didn’t. Rather it got stronger. I told the staff I wasn’t feeling good and went to bed at 7:00. I couldn’t sleep though. The pain just kept getting more intense. Finally, at 2:00 am I asked Oriel to take me to the E.R. Something wasn’t right. I could barely walk. They checked me out and gave me some medicine to relieve the pain, then admitted me to the hospital. When the lab opened at 7:00 am the following morning, they ran more tests. They suspected it was either my appendix or my gall bladder. Both of which would require surgery. I really didn’t want that! Especially in the small hospital in Rurre. :) Then, that afternoon, the doctor came in and said that it was actually a case of salmonella poisoning. The symptoms of all three are somewhat overlapping, so they started treatment for that. I felt much better all day Friday since I was on medication. There was a district church meeting in Rurre that day, so Friday evening, I had about 30 visitors from several churches in the region! I didn’t even know half of them. They came, sang hymns and knelt to have prayer with me. It really moved me to see people I didn’t know show such compassion and made me extremely grateful to be a part of Christ’s family! Then, I received a visit from everyone at Familia Feliz. :) They were heading to give the Bible study at the base, but stopped by to see me beforehand. The kids were worried about me. They made me cards and posters. Another manna moment. :)
Victoria wishing me well at the hospital in Rurre.
About 10:00 that night, though, the pain came back and with a vengeance. They gave me two more pain medications within 2 hours, but it still didn’t ease the pain. Saturday morning, I received a visit from the head doctors there at the hospital. They checked me out and said that it, indeed, was appendicitis and that I would need surgery asap. The only things was…there was no surgeon in Rurre until the following day and they really preferred I didn’t wait that long. So, Oriel and I flew to Santa Cruz that afternoon. We had a layover in La Paz, where the Airport doctor checked me out and administered more medication in my IV. We arrived to Santa Cruz about 8:30 pm and went straight to the clinic. Arrangements had been made prior to my leaving Rurre and the doctors were expecting me. I arrived and was examined again in the emergency room by the surgeon. He then informed me that my appendix had actually ruptured and that there was no time to waste. 30 minutes later, I was in the operating room. I was a bit nervous, as I have never had surgery/anesthesia before. But I just kept praying and reciting Bible promises in my head. Next thing I knew I was in the recovery room, then in my room. Oriel was there waiting on me. I was still a bit groggy from the anesthesia, so I slept a couple of hours more. After waking up, I found out that things were a bit more serious than I had thought. They don’t know how long the appendix had been ruptured, but said that it was a complicated surgery because the liquid from the appendix had gotten into most of my intestines and they had to clean them out really good. The surgery took about twice as long as usual. Later, four other people from the hospital told me how fortunate I was to be alive and that it was caught in time, because it was a very serious situation. All I can say is Praise God!
The day after the surgery.
As I’m writing this, I’m still admitted in the hospital. I was supposed to be discharged this morning, but the doctor wanted me to stay one more night, just in case, since I’ll be traveling soon. He wants to be sure that all is well. I appreciated that. But I must say, I was a little disappointed too. I’m ready to be out of the hospital! I feel really good today. Not much pain at all. Much better than I’ve felt since last Thursday. So part of me wasn’t sure why he wanted to stay, since ever since Sunday, he has said that I would leave Tuesday morning. Just last night at 8:30, he told me again I’d be leaving in the morning. Now, something changed. However, it didn’t take long to get my questions answered. This morning, I was able to share my faith with four different people here! One of them is the lady that brings me my food. She is just learning about Christ and the Bible. We talked for a while. Then she came back and asked me to add her on Facebook so that we could continue to talk. She also asked me to send her Bible verses and promises that would encourage her, as she is new in her walk of faith. Isn’t that just amazing?! Now I knew why I needed to stay an extra day. Now I knew why there were no surgeons in Rurre and I had to travel all the way to Santa Cruz for that matter. God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isa. 55:8-9) and He always knows best. We truly serve an Amazing, Awesome and Great God!!
I am scheduled to be released tomorrow morning (unless God has other plans….:) ) Then I have to renew my residency here in Bolivia before heading back to Rurre (which will hopefully happen on Friday). Two new volunteers arrived while I was in the hospital, Victoria and Anissa. We are very happy to have them with us! Oriel picked them up from the airport and took them to do their residency. I just want to take a minute to openly thank Oriel for ALL of his help this past week! He has really been my right-hand man and helped me more than he knows. I wouldn’t have been able to do everything without him. And that goes for Jonathan, Jancy, John and Shundel back at Familia Feliz too, who is pulling their weight, plus taking on mine and Ori’s responsibilities while we’re gone. I couldn’t ask for a finer group of staff members! Thank you all every much!!
There’s nothing like sitting in a hospital bed for 5 days to do a lot of thinking and reflection. As I looked back on the events of the week, I couldn’t help but see God’s Hand upholding me at every step of the way and opening doors. It’s been yet another very humbling experience. The fact that He preserved my life, even when I didn’t know it was in danger, brought me safely to an excellent clinic with a wonderful staff and great care and provided many opportunities for His Word to be shared…it’s all almost overwhelming! But it doesn’t stop there. The accounts department came to talk to me yesterday morning to give me a list of my expenses so far and an estimate of the total cost of my treatment here. It was $1400 U.S. dollars. Now, that’s cheap compared to the cost of surgery and hospital care in the States…I realize that. But when you don’t earn a salary and don’t have $1400, it might as well be $140,000. :) But I tried not to worry about it. I prayed and asked God to provide and asked my friends and family to do the same. Here in Bolivia, you have to pay before you leave the hospital. Especially when you live in another town! So I knew I needed that money soon! But I also knew that God knew my circumstances and He’s the One that brought me here, so I knew that He would work. And work He did. God has provided all of the money I needed!! I know I shouldn’t be surprised at all of this. After all, He has promised over and over that He would watch over His children and meet our needs if we would just be faithful and obedient to Him. But I cannot help but stand in awe yet still about just how much He has done! I have to fight the tears because I don’t feel worthy of so many blessings.
I’m not sure what you’re going through or how your week has been. Hopefully, it hasn’t involved any major surgery! :) But no matter what you are facing, I encourage you to take it ALL to Jesus and leave it in His Hands. He has promised to take care of you and meet your needs….physically, mental, emotional, financial, and the list goes on. So why not let Him do it? I can tell you from experience, this week alone, that is the best thing you can do and is the best feeling in the world! It brings a peace that can be compared with nothing else. Trust God. Experience a personal relationship with Him and then sit back and watch how He works and turns your life up-side-down for the better! May God bless you all!