Sunday, September 23, 2012

God's Purpose

As many of you know, we start each Monday morning at the hospital with a time of devotion that is led by one of the staff.  This month it's been Dr Javier Alcocer.  Javi is a good friend of ours and someone who takes call for us at the hospital from time to time.  This month he's been talking about sin and how it relates to our health.

Today he read from John and relayed a story that reminded me so much of an encounter that I had while in Haiti in December of 2010.  In John 9:1-12, John recounts how Jesus healed a blind man by making a 'dressing' for his eyes with dirt and some of his saliva and telling him to wash in the Pool of Siloam.  What had been asked of Jesus was why this man had been born blind.  It reads:

"As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus,"but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. . ."

Javi then related how he'd been on call one evening when an elderly lady had come to our ER to be seen.  She was blind, depressed, and suffered from many medical problems including diabetes and hypertension,  To top it all off, she had been in a wheelchair for the last several years.  Javi asked her what he could do for her and she stated that she needed something to help her sleep.  Javi looked through her chart and saw that she had tried on a number of medications without help.  After spending more time with her he soon discovered that she was burdened about her family and their salvation as she was the only believer in her family.  Javi spent some time in prayer with her and gently suggested  that God may have burdened her with her illness and immobility to be able to witness to her family in a way that on one could.  She and her family lived in a remote area and were unable to attend any kind of church.  She began to understand all of this and left with a new found purpose.  What Javi was able to do was show how God had a purpose for her illness.

As many of you know, I spent 2 weeks in Haiti in December of 2010 as part of a small team from HCJB sent to assist Samaritan's Purse.  There'd been a major cholera outbreak that was ravaging much of the country following the earthquake from the previous year.  During one of our late night shifts, a little 4 year old girl came in with her parents with worsening cholera symptoms.  After many failed attempts we were finally able to gain IV access, however, she died anyway.  It was a very difficult experience for many of us.  After that shift, we all returned to our quarters tired and disillusioned wondering why this one little girl wasn't saved when others in much worse state had gotten better.  Later that evening we discovered that a team from Samaritan's Purse had gone by the little girl's home to pray with the family.  What resulted from that encounter was a profession of faith from her parents and 11 other family members!  What God had done was to use the death of this little girl to bring her entire family and many of her extended family into His fold.  We rejoiced as a team for not only their salvation but also for God allowing us a small glimpse into His purpose.  As we all know, we are often still left with the 'Why' and must trust our faith that He's in control.

What Javi did was remind me, once again, that God is always with us and always using circmuunstances in our lives for His great purpose.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

First Day of School

This is our beautiful Isabella on her first day of 2nd Grade at Nate Saint Memorial School herein Shell.  She looks so grown-up in these pictures-  It is hard to believe she is already seven and a half.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Life Begins

I know it must  seem strange that I am posting this after we have already been here 3 years, but even after more than 3 years there are times we still feel the strains and aches of living in a foreign country and I'm afraid we always will to some extent.  We will always stick out everywhere we go, we will always (well everyone except Joe) sound like a foreigner when we speak and we will always have questions about cultural issues.....and some days that is just more than you want to deal with. Some days that is just irritating and/or overwhelmingBut (and yes, this is a big but), that is part of being here and (apart from how it feels some days) that is a small part of our lives here.  We pray that those things that Satan uses to overwhelm us fall into the background noise so that we hear God leading us-  leading us to follow him and do what he has calls us to.  So, yes, Life does begin at the end of our comfort zones, because within your comfort zone, you are the one doing things.  It is only outside of your comfort zone that God is able to take over and lead us to the things that amaze, enlighten and make us more like Him.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Newsletter for September

Attached is our latest newsletter.  If you would like to receive it by email, please either email me ( or leave your email address in a comment.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Parkview Trip Continues

 The beginning of the retaining wall.


Our son after trying to catch small fish in the pond.

The entire group posing on the last day of work.

 Starting on the huge pile of rocks.

Scraping paint-  Yes we literally scraped off all the paint ...... on every wall........ completely....... Some of us were a little more creative with scraping than others......

And then we re-painted with water-based paint.  We learned who had skills and who didn't.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Parkview in the Jungle (or at least the Edge)

We have been so amazingly busy the  last few months.  I know, everyone says they are busy.  It's the most common mantra, so I hate to say it, but there is just no other way to say it.  School got out on the 5th of June and our church group arrived June 10th.  We weren't sure what to expect from our first group, but I am happy to say we all survived and I might even be bold enough to say more was accomplished than we ever expected.  There are a mountain of amazing pictures and I will share them over the next few posts.  I hope you enjoy

The group of 21 Parkview Baptist youth and adults came down to Shell to work with our Church.  We have been attending a Waroni church for the last year and they have just recently bought some land to (one day) build a church on.  The group worked on the new property building a retaining wall and in the current church building (the 3rd story apartment of a building in Puyo) scraping paint and repainting.  The group was (re)introduced to the Waroni and their role in the lives of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, and Roger Youderian and where the ministry to this indigenous group is today.  We (Joe and Tracy) do not work directly with the Waroni but feel called to be more involved with this group and are excited to see what else God has in store for us. 

This is the now famous retaining wall most of the group worked on all week alongside Waroni youth.  They put together the cages and then filled them with rocks.  IT was amazing that in a place that receives over 200 inches of rain a year, the sky was bright and cloudless.  Everyone found out that you really are closer to the sun on the equator. 
On the left is Norma who we fortunatly let out of the cage -  She always has this huge smile and a heart for God.  On the right is the mudslide the kids created that lands in the small pond behind property.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Back With A Purpose

Thanks to anyone who is still here with us.  Things have been complicated, busy and hard for us over the last few months.  So, thanks for sticking with us and still supporting us even through our silence. We are currently working on a newsletter and yes, we are aware that they are not supposed to be annual newsletters..... but it seems to be working out that way lately, huh?
We have lots to fill you in on
               School finishing
               The Amazing Parkview group coming
               Jody and Nancie Yarbro's Visit (featuring lots of adventurous eating)
               Vacation Time with Family
               Sebastiao's 10th Birthday
               Tracy as Labratory Director
                Homeschooling Sebastiao
                School Starting
               Tracy not Labratory Director
               A Wedding
              New Doctor Family in Shell  plus our search for direction and the need to lean on God's grace, bounty and faithfullness even when you just want to pack your bags and get the next flight home.

So, if you promise to check back soon, we promise to provide more and hopefully make you smile or even chuckle outloud as you read about our adventures.