Monday, April 21, 2014

Grace and Guatemala

I haven't blogged for a long time, but not for lack of things to say!!!  I wanted to blog about Guatemala and post a little bit more info about the trip i'll be taking there in May.  However, first I have to blog just a little about Grace because I still can't believe that the Lord allowed me to be part of her story and that through her the Lord would show me even more of His grace!!!
It's been a year and a half since returning from Togo.  I actually left never expecting to return to that country.  Never could I have imagined that back in Nov. 2013 the Lord would provide me with the unforgettable opportunity to become part of her journey!!!  Grace is a sweet little 6 year old Togolese girl who had some heart problems since birth, specifically an arrhythmia called SVT and a hole in her heart called a PDA.  These defects caused her periodic health problems that threatened to take her life, but the Lord sustained her each time she was sick!   During my time in Togo in 2012, Grace came into the hospital in an episode of SVT and we were unable to control her arrhythmia.  I remember helping to attempt and provide care for her which was all unsuccessful, and there wasn't much else to do.  The other nurses and I prayed over her, and I left the hospital asking the Lord to spare her life.  Later that night I learned that she has spontaneously come out of the arrhythmia and was doing well.  It was a reminder that her life is in the Lord's hands, and I was thankful that yet again, He allowed her to live!!!  I never again saw Grace during the remainder of 2012, and she would have never remembered me from our brief interaction since she was so sick.

Fast forward to the fall of 2013 and I learn that arrangements were underway for Grace to be flown to the US to have two procedures on her heart to fix both of her heart problems!!!  There was talk of her going to Texas or Colorado, and I was just excited for the care she would be receiving!  Then, I learned she was not going to either of those places, but coming to INDIANAPOLIS and her procedures would be at RILEY!!!  I was so excited for the opportunity to be able to have her at my hospital and while I wouldn't be directly providing her nursing care, she would be at my hospital and she would be in my city!!!  I had also mentioned to somebody that I would be more than willing to fly to Togo to accompany Grace from Togo to Indianapolis for the procedure since she would be flying by herself without any family, but never thinking that would be possible.  You can imagine my shock when I was called and asked if I would actually be willing to fly with Grace from Indianapolis to Togo after her procedure!!!  YES, of course!!!  And, the sponsoring organization would be paying for the cost of the plane ticket!!!  I cannot explain to you what a special time it was to have Grace here in  Indianapolis!!!  Her host family was so gracious and allowed me to come to their house to spend time with her, I was able to see her in the hospital and go with her to her follow up appointments.  The Lord gifted us with a bond that was unexplainable given the fact that we could barely communicate with words!

The time came for us to board the plane and she was so excited to be returning to her family!!!  We had the most amazing trip - I was so nervous to be responsible for a 6 year old on the flights but she did awesome!!!  We were in the Paris airport during our 6 hour layover and I finally found food she would eat - rice and sauce.  I remember looking across at her and being in wonder that the Lord would allow me to share this journey with this child.  The Lord took care of her in so many special ways that it has been impossible to write them all down, and here I was, sitting with her and seeing this all firsthand, amazing!  We arrived in Togo and after an overnight in the capital city, a long drive to the hospital, and a tiresome wait for her mother to finish her work in the fields, Grace was reunited with her mother and brother!  I had only 3 short days in Togo, but I felt like the Lord made each moment special and purposeful!  I was able to attend her church on Sunday and share with them how God had answered their prayers for Grace.  I was able to visit Grace's home, and through tears recount to her mother a few of the special ways the Lord had cared for Grace during her trip to the US.  Photos and memories of Grace still bring tears to my eyes, the Lord bonded us in a way that I could have never imagined and I miss her!!!  But, not only did the Lord allow me to get to know a girl named Grace, He gave me a glimpse of His grace that is unimaginable and unforgettable!!!  If the Lord can extend such grace over the life of a 6 year old and care for her as tenderly as He has since before she was born and care so deeply for every intricate detail of her life . . . does He not also care for me, and you, in the same way!!!

Now . . . about GUATEMALA!!!

I've been accepted by TEAM as a long term medical missionary going to Guatemala!!!  I'm going on a quick 5 day trip from May 3-8th to see the ministry and meet the missionaries.  I don't need long since I've been to the country before and know the general culture and some of the language.  However, I do want to see everything in person since this ministry is new to me!!!
TEAM is partnering with an existing Christian non-profit organization run primarily by Guatemalans called the Potter's House.  The Potter's House takes a holistic approach to serving the over 10,000 people scavenging through the Guatemala City garbage dump.  They address their spiritual needs, but also needs such as medical, physical, emotional, social, etc.  The Potter's House refers to each person they serve as a treasure because they want to reinforce that in God's sight they are treasures and have value and worth - they are not garbage just because they live and work in a garbage dump.  Potential opportunities to serve there abound for me!  I would love to serve the medical needs through the clinic and community health opportunities, as well as work with the children and be involved with church planting through evangelism and discipleship!   I could tell you more about what I've heard or read, but i'll wait until I have seen it firsthand!

Meanwhile, if you are interested in reading more, here are some links:
The Potter's House website
Articles by TEAM
Articles by World Next Door

I'd greatly appreciate your prayers for this trip to Guatemala, I know I'll need them!!! 
Let me know if you'd like to be added to my e-mail updates!!!


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