Sunday, September 14, 2008

Giving Thanks

My friend over in England, In The Gutter is having a "I'm so happy it's fall" contest. Write a thank you to someone.

What a great idea. How do we pick ONE someone? I may have to do this all week.
But immediately the persons who come to my mind would be the very generous couple at my church who paid for most of my trip to Colombia. I am grateful for all the gifts.

When this sweet woman pulled me aside two weeks ago, it was to say that whatever balance was lacking on my finances to go, she and her husband would pay it. I was speechless.

I went to Colombia last year for the first time. It was my first trip out of the country. I really didn't know what to expect and it was nothing short of a miracle that I went on that trip too. But God...had definite ideas for me to go. There are so many stories I could tell you about my adventure there.

Our first day a crowd gathered in the park where we had gone to take a walk and we shared Christ with them. I have never seen anything like it. Where ever we went a crowd gathered and wherever we shared, our message was received with joy.

The Colombian people are beautiful.

The land reminds me of Monterey California only a bit lusher with green foliage but the actual hilly country looks very similar. It's spectacular.

The country itself is rich. They have emeralds and coffee, not to mention the incredible land they are blessed with. But poverty abounds, and violent crime. Kidnapping is the number one crime and drug cartels. We see armed military in the public and will actually stay at a walled in, locked compound. We have to be careful, white Americans are a prime target for kidnappers. Last time I had no fear. Well there was the one time we took a ride on one of the little bicycle carts and the rider took us into some dimly lit streets, not so good.

Since I was with a pretty big man I wasn't too worried. I would never go anywhere there alone.

The people drive like maniacs. when you come to a stop sign it's best to hold your breath. That means it's chicken game time. I dared to ask once about the stop signs that no one pays any attention too, "it's just a suggestion," was the reply.

One particularly amazing experience happened towards the end of our trip. We were working our way around the blocks of this little neighborhood of cement block houses. I loved the color and open yards. Everyone hangs out together, they also pick each others lice; yeeks. I hate lice. Just the thought of it makes me itch like a banshee.

I digress. What else is new? We came to the door of a nice home. Really, there is a difference, and some of the homes are wonderfully pleasant. I could live like that, and love it. We were welcomed inside. The Colombians are so friendly, they are excited that we are there and offer us the best chairs they have. Next door neighbors will want to peek in and come over too.

In this house a woman sat rocking a small child about three years of age. I was immediately concerned for the child. She was seriously ill. I am talking serious as in dire, as in call 911, as in we need a rescue. The child was limp and nearly unresponsive. she would barely rouse and her vision was dazed, her eyes glassy. Upon questioning her mother, through my interpreter she had not eaten or had even sips of water. The child had not urinated since early in the morning and then only a little. This is bad, in simple terms. Very bad. This is an admission to the ICU in an American hospital. It was worse because whatever was making the child sick also involved her breathing, she had rapid labored breathing, and I could hear her audibly wheezing. In short order, I was sure that without immediate help she would die. I tried to convince the mother to take her to the hospital, nothing doing. We had shared with them about Jesus. They had prayed with us.

I was in a quandary. How would these people feel tomorrow about us and our message if we returned to find the whole town grieving over this child? I really wanted to do something. The mother insisted that all I needed to do was pray for her.

Guess what? This missionary was thinking, CRAP!
I need to get this kid to a hospital and we're late, she still might not make it! So it was with no faith, as in zip; a great deal of dread, and apprehension, that I finally submitted to the mothers request for prayer. I laid my hand on her little, sweaty, heaving chest. My heart broke. Lord, these people have just begun to trust you. What will they think when she dies? I left with a heavy heart.

All that night I prayed. I barely slept. I wanted to run back to their house first thing in the morning and I was anxious until we arrived again in the afternoon. I had to work the neighborhood with my partner who had seemed so unconvinced of my diagnosis. She was single minded about our work. Truthfully I was angry that she brushed off my concern. She might not have seen what I saw, but I knew what I was looking at.

When we arrived and knocked at the door we greeted them, "Hola, beunos dias como esta usted?" "Where is the child?" I queried. "She's here,"
said her mother." She was healed within the hour after you prayed."
I was stunned. We praised God. I had goose bumps from head to toe. My faith quadrupled in that moment.

I leave Friday for Colombia. I am thankful. Thanks is not a big enough word. The people who gave so I can go are beyond thanks. May God pour out on them a hundredfold blessing for their gifts. I can't wait to go.


Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

I have no words that can adequately describe how much I love this story. I am sure I would have snatched that child and taken it away, but instead? A miracle. Actually two miracles when you include the family who is paying the balance on your next trip there.

This is a phenomenal story.

MaBunny said...

Wow Karen...I know the saying we are scared of that which we do not know, and I think I would be frightened to go there, but wow, thank God for people like you!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

It is so wonderful to see miracles and to know that God is still in control...
I had to laugh at your comment... too much rain... our situation here is way way too little rain so what ever it is on the leaves I dont think has to do with water LOL.
When do you head for columbia? You will be in our prayers!
HUGS Laura

imbeingheldhostage said...

Wow. What a terrific post, I was scrolling through it eager for whatever you were going to tell (or show)me... and you've become a hero to me. The fear would keep me home. and I would miss those experiences.
You are brave and you rawk girl!

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

Amazing story! Thanks for sharing.

I had to laugh about the stop sign being only a suggestion.

You are brave beyond words. I'm truly amazed.

Grandma Tillie's Bakery said...

I am s excited for us all to see what God has in store for you. Our church just announced yesterday for people to start signing up for our mission's trip to South America. I have never done anything like that!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful gift you have been given. Those people there need you and God knows it. May you bring peace, hope and charity to their lives.

Kathy said...

Way to go sister!
I am praying for you and the Columbians every day. Do you have specific prayer needs for us to address?
Love ya!

Elysa said...

I am so excited for you. I know you can't WAIT to get back there!!!!

Brenda said...

Wow! That is an amazing story. They are a beautiful people. Have a great trip and remember every detail and take millions of pictures. We want to hear all about it.

Debbie in CA : ) said...

Vayas con Dios, mia amiga. Te amo! XOXOXO!

Flea said...

Absolutely amazing. So cool to see how God works through us despite us.

Angela said...

The pics are just gorgeous, the people just beautiful