Monday, May 26, 2008
Thursday evening I passed by some guests who are on board for a little less than two weeks. One woman was excitedly telling the others about her 'Adopt-a-Patient' experience. She was delighted with the opportunity to befriend and pray for a patient who was scheduled for surgery the Friday. That reminded me again of the delight a friend experienced as she joined us on screening trips around Guinea. She kept exclaiming, "Isn't it a-MAY-zing?"
In my 11 years with Mercy Ships I've participated in 20-30 screenings, everything from the major beginning of a field service events to driving around remote, barren prefectures in search of the elusive person with a cleft lip. I've seen people with huge tumors and damaged faces, so I suppose I've become immune to some of it. Traveling with Ann opened my eyes again to tune into to the Amazing...not what Mercy Ships does, though that is amazing...but more importantly what God is doing. Join me in a journey of rediscovering amazement as I traveled around Liberia and Guinea in April and May.
Three of us arrived in the sleepy, southeastern fishing village of Greenville. When we arrived at the hospital, there were three people waiting for us. I admit, I was disappointed...all this way for three people? Then I saw the man sitting at the end of the bench. When he turned his face toward me, I saw he had no nose. Ah, I thought, it was worth it for him. Isn't it Amazing that God sends 3 people on an UNMIL flight so he can get a new nose? And Isn't it Amazing that the day we left, a young boy with Burkitt's lymphoma came...a cancer that can be treated in Liberia and once again, UNMIL was able to provide transportation for James and his dad to fly to Monrovia for treatment?
When we headed to Greenville, I knew that helicopter travel was a possibility. I've flown on helicopters several times, but I have never wanted to! As I packed for the trip, I had a general sense of unease about the whole thing, so much so that I even wrote out an updated will the night before. I didn't tell anyone, just left it behind. When we headed to Greenville, we traveled on a small plane. The entire stay in Greenville, Dr Chris and Ann dreamed of flying home on a helicopter. Isn't it Amazing how God gives people the desires of their heart? Although I was dreading a helicopter ride, Dr Chris and Ann visibly bounced across the tarmac with a sense of anticipation.
As I looked back at pictures I took on the helicopter flight as well as during our trip to Guinea, I can't help but think, Isn't it Amazing how God creates beauty in so many different ways, from the lowland, mangrove swamps of Liberia to the mountaintops of the forest region in Guinea?
Isn't it Amazing that God could use a war to send a missionary from Liberia to Guinea? Isn't it Amazing that God could use one man with a vision and a passion to bring more people to Mercy Ships for surgery than our trips to Ganta, Greenville, and Buchanan combined?
While we were in Guinea we met a doctor who is an orthopedic surgeon who later inquired about the possibility of serving with us for a while this summer. He and his wife decided to pursue other options. Then on Friday morning at 1 (yes, 1am my time!), I received a call from someone in Texas who wanted me to know that one of the orthopedic surgeons scheduled to come in a week had to withdraw because of a blood clot in his leg. Could we check with the orthopedic surgeon in Guinea to see if he would be able/willing to fill in for those two weeks? Isn't it Amazing that God introduced us to an orthopedic surgeon a few weeks before we needed one? Something that could have sent us scurrying was resolved within hours, as the orthopedic surgeon Dr Bob and his wife accepted our invitation only 7 hours after it was offered. Isn't it Amazing?
That's just a taste of it, but I'm trying to keep my eyes and ears tuned into the Amazing.