On the First Day of December

An assortment of thoughts tumble like snowflakes into my mind, settling into somewhat heavy drifts that I find myself obliged to scoop away to avoid an otherwise threatening brain freeze.

So what are these thoughts?
Well again, like snow, they are hard to separate “flake from flake”, but the accumulative formation, or information, of them can be quite overwhelming even to myself sometimes.  
Believe it or not, we’ve had some days here recently that have been rainy and cold enough to make it easy to imagine some snow might fall next!  So I’ll try to scoop some out, and hope that there’s not too much mud and gravel mixed in for you to enjoy.  
And I think to myself… (Quoting a song) it IS a wonderful world, but I STILL. MUST. BLOG.  It’s now been two full months since I did last.
It crosses my mind that maybe l should make a New Year’s resolution to blog more, but then I remember that that’s kind of pointless, ’cause Lord-willing I’ll be leaving early next month.  
That means I’ll really only be here for a few more work weeks.  I’m going home.  Back to the home I left 2 1/2 years ago, when Haiti first began claim the description of home.  
I can’t imagine what it will be like.  I dread the first morning of waking up and realizing how far away from Haiti I’ll be, and how different life will be, but then I get so excited wondering what life will be like living with my family again.   
Seems like just when the weight of those uncertain emotions start piling up on my heart, the wind of excitement catches them all and blows them at least to the side, clearing a path to walk again.  
Mixed emotions.  Bittersweet.   I find myself reaching for those words a lot. 
Life is a constant change of scenes and seasons.  God was wise for assuring us that He never changes.  Even earthly love of friends and family can’t keep life from changing.  It can endure, but it is never capable of overruling time and defying change.
New babies are still being born, old people are still dying, even babies are dying…   And the cycle of life goes on.  Sometimes I wish to understand what it is that keeps it all going on in its endless tides.  
Even in a single day, we sleep, we get up, we eat, we brush our teeth, we wear our clothes, we wash them, we work, and we get tired and dirty, we eat again, we shower, we brush our teeth again, we sleep again…  
And it goes in endless circles in my mind.   But life is not endless.  Neither does it go in circles.  
I often wake up asking myself the question, “What is the purpose of this new day?”   “Where is it going to go?”
Even life itself can seem like vanity sometimes.  So what is it that gives it purpose and meaning?  Of course we all have the book answer; to glorify God.  But I’m not claiming to have it perfectly understood personally and practically applied in my own life.  I am learning though.
Sometimes I learn very slowly.  Or maybe I should reword that and say sometimes I learn fast.  But life is a journey, and journeys take time.   
I’m afraid this is looking more like a blizzard of thoughts by now.   And I feel like I’ve slid off the road.  I hope I haven’t lost you.   ‘Cause this was s’posed to be a clinic update.    I’m getting there.  
It’s hard to know what to write about when there’s been so much that’s happened in the last two months, but maybe I can remember some of the more major things…
October was high speed busy from start to finish!  Besides being one of the busiest months of the year here as far as the number of patients per day, we also had quite a few other cases that ended in bouncy trips out to town.  
 Like the lady that came who was in labor but who didn’t seem to be progressing.  We started feeling like something was wrong, and Hans, Alyssa, and I hit the trail with her.  By the time we got to the Ti Goave hospital, we were very relieved to find a very capable doctor on call who determined the baby was in distress and was able to to an emergency c-section.  That was an answer to prayer!
A few days later, we had two unrelated broken femur cases arrive in the same day, which was a very unusual occurrence!  The amazing part was being able to successfully fly both of them out on the helicopter!

Towards the end of the month, Ewald Marten, the German dentist, came back and spent another two weeks crammed full of pulling and filling teeth in the small dentist room set up in the back room at clinic.

Our new nurse, Kayla Kauffman, also arrived at the same time, as well as her sister Katie Jo, my brother Aaron and sister Chloe, who all did a lot to help assist Ewald in his two-week dental project.  It was all wonderful.  Just terribly busy, even more so for Mali, who was the header-upper of the whole project!

And then it was November first before we knew it!  The busy-ness let up some in comparison to October, but I think it’s the second busiest month of the year.  Both months were stretching and demanding in many ways.  Our medicine supply probably suffered the most stretching, as it was under the most demand.  Yes, that was a challenging time, but God supplied the need.  We certainly don’t take having enough meds on hand for granted!

One of the more major things that happened was Dr. Sutherland coming from TN for a weekend to do various surgeries in our clinic!  It was a huge blessing to be able to provide a new level of medical help to a number of people who had waited a long time! 

And last but not least in number, was births.  Lots of them.  Some perfectly smooth, some very scary and difficult.  One stillbirth.  But God was there every time, answering our prayers, giving us the wisdom we needed, and teaching us lessons we hope never to forget.

Dealing with deaths and near death experiences definitely has a way of putting life into perspective.  My small griefs shrink to take their proper place in the broader scope of life when I share in someone else’s griefs.

One of the stunning views we enjoyed up at Don and Carole’s place for Thanksgiving…

We got word today that Kin’s grandma passed away.  We hurt for her.  And we hurt to think of saying goodbye to her, as she prays about when to go home, but again…one of those changes that’s out of our control.  

 Patrik and his physical therapist, Kin.

Please keep the mission in your prayers!   The spiritual and emotional strain each of us face in our personal lives can often weary us long before the physical demands can.  We sense the battles, often we find ourselves smack in the middle of them, feeling too weak to gruel through another fight.  But we’re never left hopelessly without help.  God is always there, and the battle belongs to Him!
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