MERRY CHRISTMAS! Do I miss home? Yes, I miss home a list a mile long.. but if I had to choose one truth that has been evident to me the past month it is The Lord does not make mistakes, His timing is perfect. What a honor to be part of something this big! I am humbled by the lessons I am learning and the undeserved grace so freely given to me. "In his heart a man plans his course, but The Lord directs his steps." (Proverbs 16:9) Let me tell you, our God is in the healing business. I have witnessed His hand all over this ship and this country. I have seen the lame walk in our orthopedic ward. I have seen the blind see after decades of darkness. I have seen healing abundantly. But fixing their physical appearance is only a bonus when compared to the change in spirit and the hope they carry with them.
People come to us from all over. Some after days of travel from villages unheard of. Some from under bridges where they have lived in shame with what they are assured is a curse. Whatever each story holds, these people come.. they come to us in desperation and they find acceptance and hope in our Savior through the love we pour upon them. No, we can not create world peace or fix every broken situation across the globe. But when I whisper Jesus loves you in African language in the ear of a orphaned child I have to believe a seed is planted. Coming together we can do our part to change individual lives.. and the difference made in the life of one child is worth the battle. It takes us all to make this thing happen- from the surgeons to the engine workers, from the deck hands to the nurses and everyone in between.
As much as we desire to take away all the pain, we can't fix everyone. I have seen healing, but I have seen heartache. How do you tell a parent you are unable to operate because the tumor is cancer? How do you explain a new baby is not going to make it? These are some of the questions we are faced with. Some of the situations we not only have to resolve but find a way to make sense through a cultural and language barrier. One thing is made sure of before any patient sets foot off of this ship no matter what the situation and that is they have an Almighty Father who loves them. They leave here with an everlasting eternal hope and they know they have brothers and sisters from all over the globe lifting them up to the One who created their soul. I can not wait to tell you the stories of my patients! To tell you of the growth and change we are blessed to be a part of where we are inscribed on their hearts forever.
This months theme is "Emmanuel, God with us." It has truly been a Christmas of celebration that we have a God who is by our side. Complete with traditions from different countries all over the world coming together to worship the King of every nation. This month has been full of worship, fellowship, love, laughter, and so much more. I have had a very Merry Christmas with my crew family and patients and even exchanged gifts with family at home :) I hope Christmas was merry in bright in Texas and wherever you may be spending it! I may long to be home with my people but my heart is here. I am joyful in my journey and beyond excited to see what else the Lord has prepared here in Congo for the remainder of my service here. Keep the prayers coming!
Blessings from AFRICA!