Wednesday, July 19, 2017

When God Shouts

Sometimes God whispers, sometimes He shouts. Stick with me for a few minutes, and I will explain how He recently shouted.

Last week we hosted a medical missions team from Project Re:3 and Element Church in North Carolina. I can tell you that it was a great and exhausting week as we held three medical clinics in the Department of Esquintla. I should also mention that this week was made even sweeter because my sister, Kathy, and brother-in-law, Bob, was a part of the team.

On Monday we were in the town of Las Palmas, and we were swamped. We arrived to see a line of people waiting to be seen. Our clinic opened with prayer at 9:00 am, and we saw our last patient at 6:00 pm. And in between we treated an estimated 250 people. Between the heat and the very long day, our entire team was wiped out. But the day was also filled with so much joy. 

Las Palmas is a remote village, and there is a lot of poverty there. Imagine having a family and knowing that, if one of you gets sick, you have no resources for treatment. That desperation drove many to wait from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm to see our group for treatment. We take so much for granted.

On Wednesday and Friday we did clinics on the edge of the dump in Esquintla. And, as poor as Las Palmas is, this region is poorer. There is so much malnutrition among children and adults, and many die from a lack of medical care. We did our clinics in cooperation with a ministry called Building Guate, a wonderful Christ-following organization that serves families surrounding the dump. They provide lunches each day and an after school program. They have also recently built a medical clinic, in which we were working.

At one point on Wednesday I took a break and was praying as I looked over the property and saw families walking through the dump looking for food and items they could use or sell. And I felt the Lord speak and tell me that this was the region in which we were supposed to begin our Maternity Care Ministry.

As many of you know, Stephanie Konrad will be joining us soon as a midwife. Her role will be to train midwives and establish birthing centers in communities. Through these centers we will provide care to pregnant women, safe and clean birthing areas, trained midwives, and education and resources to new moms. This will greatly reduce the infant mortality rate of the region as well as reducing the rate of special needs. It seemed apparent that the area around the dump was the perfect region to begin this work.

So, I spoke with the Director of Building Guate, Oscar Palencia, about the possibility. Immediately he lit up and told me that it aligned perfectly with their vision. He offered me the use of their clinic as a birthing center or, if I preferred, the use of phase two of their construction, which already has footers laid. He told us we could build to our specifications there.

As I left that day, I felt a strong sense that this direction was from the Lord, but committed myself to pray about it more. Little did I know that the answer I was seeking would come quickly and through a shout.

Now, flashback to about six months ago. I had a dream in which I was in a van with a team from the US. We were going to visit families in a rural village that I did not recognized, and I had to pull over and park, because the road was too rough for the van. I parked on the left side of the road, grabbed my medical bag, and began to walk with the team. 

We had only gone a few steps when a man emerged from a home on the right side of the road, yelling. He told me that his wife was in labor and asked me to help. I ran inside and began delivering the baby. Then I woke up. I was struck immediately with how vivid and detailed the dream was, and told several people about it. But I quickly moved on and forgot about it…until Friday.

On Friday we returned to Building Guate for another day of clinics. Again, we were busy, but the day was going smoothly. Then late morning a lady came to the clinic who had been there on Wednesday with her husband. She was concerned about him and asked us to come to her house to check on him. She only lived about 200 meters away, so I grabbed my medical bag and Taryn and I walked with her. 

We went out the gates of the ministry and turned left, something I had never done before. Prior to this, we always arrived at the ministry from the right and then left the same way we came. I had never been on the road to the left. But we had only walked a short distance when I suddenly realized that I had been there before. Everything was familiar…every detail. Yet I knew I had never gone that way before.

And suddenly, it hit me. This was the road from my dream! Every single detail! Every home, the rise of the road, the large rock in the ditch to the left, the trench someone had dug to lay pipes…everything! This was the very place from my dream where I had begun to deliver a baby! And, in that moment, God shouted, and everything came into focus.

So, our Board of Directors just approved this vision. We hope to begin construction in October or early November. This is a step of faith for us, as is everything we do. We are trusting God for funds and staffing, and are confident of His provision. After all, it is His idea.

Already there are four women who are interested in being trained as midwives, and we expect that number to grow. And, as I see the number of pregnant ladies in the region, I realize that this region needs this ministry sooner rather that later.

Please pray with us as we walk in obedience. Pray for Stephanie as she makes her move from Canada on October 12th. Pray for provision for this new area of ministry. Pray for wisdom and effective partnership for both Building Guate and Ministerio de Esperanza. And pray that God will be glorified as lives are saved.

Thanks and blessings from Guatemala!
Daryl, Wanda and the Crew