He’s not finished with me yet!
Sometimes, one just has to sit back and laugh at the LORD’s sense of humor and His lessons in our lives. It amazes me that He bothers Himself with this pitiful life of mine sometimes… and yet, I remember how His eye is even on the sparrow, and how much more He cares for me! I played that familiar tune on Friday night (“His eye is on the Sparrow”) after worrying myself for nearly 2 weeks over a certain situation I had to deal with, and then watching the Lord victoriously lift the burden from my shoulders with such ease and faithfulness to His Word! Friday night, I practically floated on air as I rejoiced in God’s goodness to provide for His little worry-wart of a daughter… and it carried me over in to Saturday… for the most part, until another trial struck but with an EVEN SWEETER after-taste of God’s amazing watch care!
Saturday’s are typically “visitation” days... this Saturday, it was my turn/rotation (amongst Christa and Nohemi) to go with the muchachas at 2 pm to testify in Esperancita. I planned to have a work day, accompanied with a special treat for the girls… getting their hair cut! Maria, Pastor Chungo’s 25-year old sister, worked 8 years as a beautician and is now part of the ministry here full-time. She has a sweet, sweet spirit and is always willing to help us out here at the clinic when we need extra hands! I just recently discovered her expertise, and shamelessly asked her immediately after if she would be willing to spend a day with the girls, trimming/shaping/improving their current hair”styles”. She came around 9 in the morning and went up until 2 pm, when we had to leave… with only one girl remaining of my 13! We giggled so much over their haircuts, as almost ALL (without exception) had extremely uneven haircuts with the left side always being much longer and ridiculously crazy “bangs”. Praise the Lord, she fixed everyone’s hair beautifully, evenly, with layers, and bangs that aren’t entering their ears and eyes J! As 2 rolled-around, we rushed to eat and head up the road to meet all the teenage girls and Pastor’s wife (Hermana Dilia) to start walking into Esperanza to witness. I took one of my girls, Gladys, with me… and we accompanied a teenage girl (Vanessa) into town. This was my first time going when I actually did the speaking, and while I was extremely nervous, I was grateful to watch the Lord come through and to meet a 17-year old mother, who practically lives alone 13 days straight with her baby girl and sees her husband for one day before the vicious cycle repeats (He works in San Pedro and only comes home every 2 weeks). Jocelin was very welcoming and very respectful, and also IS very much in need of understanding the free gift of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ! She’s content with her life “right now” she said, and expressed that her hope in Heaven was based off of obeying and doing what God says… while I trust the Lord planted a seed in her heart, I pray for the opportunity to follow-up and visit with Jocelin more in the future! After leaving her house and spending some time saying goodbye to her mother-in-law (and her Siberian Husky… which made me think maybe I should just bring Sheena here to Honduras… what are your thoughts, Dad?! ) I noticed I missed a random phone call from Daphne. I tried calling her back, but got no response… strange! But, we trekked on and I deeply enjoyed hiking up more of the mountain side and seeing some of the more remote parts I hadn’t ever visited before! We passed some extreme poverty, but giggled as someone was playing the most hysterical Spanish mountain music… it made me think of the Himalayans for some reason and yodelers! As we went down the steep mountainside in decent, knowing that I was sheltered by rocks and trees, I began to dance quite foolishly in a Himalayan/Yodeling fashion that I thought fit for that goofy music! AND, I did so without one single slip of the foot! We finished our little hike by trying to find a mountain-side vender of MILK, since our cows on the property haven’t been putting out sufficient milk for weeks now, and poor Nohemi is having to invent breakfast foods in the kitchen! We used to eat a rotation of pancakes, cornflakes, oatmeal, rice pudding… all milk-based and praised the Lord for it but probably didn’t count milk in our blessings like we should have! We are still thanking the Lord for oatmeal and rice, but are CRAVING a milk-base instead of water! So, I hunted REAL milk, but returned empty handed after the only cold milk I could find read that the first ingredient was 3% milk! That was 97% unacceptable in my mind! Tomorrow, if I successfully post this and the Lord so provides, you can BANK on the fact that I will be visiting the supermarket to purchase JUGS of 100% WHOLE MILK… MMMMMM! Anyway, back to my real store… after an awesome time with Gladys and Vanessa in the mountain side, watching God at work through our time with Jocelin and enjoying His creation, we began to return back to the property with the rest of the girls. As I approached the crossroad where I turn to head to the clinic, I passed one of my girls’ mother (Marilu is the one that has a mother who works on the property, but cannot provide for her 5 children) who all-too-strangely was awaiting me. After I passed her, she began speaking with the teenage girls who took it upon themselves to call me back to this mother’s presence… after the seas parted and we were alone, she broke the news to me (with a smirk) – “ONE OF MY GIRLS HAD LEFT… RUN AWAY… WHILE I WAS GONE!!!!!!!!!!” My world literally froze, I don’t remember what else she said after that and frankly I didn’t want to hear much more… I immediately went to the Pastor’s house where his wife had not heard a thing, and then walked rapidly to the bottom of the hill where Christa was waiting outside for me and my heart sank! I think I told her something along the lines of “which one of my girls, Christa, WHICH ONE?!” And she all-too-calmly responded… Well, it was FILI! My oldest, 13-year old girl, Filadelfia, had attempted to run-away on a perfectly calm, beautiful Saturday with very nearly no behavioral problems of any kind. And my next oldest 12-year old, Marilu (the daughter of the newsbearer) had encouraged her to leave and helped her pack and STASH her backpack beyond the backyard close to the river. She successfully packed, left, and ventured all the way to the bus stop after I had left for Esperanza… BUT GOD… had other plans! Daphne, the muchacha from whom I missed a call, her mother just so happened to be coming for a visit and passed “my” wandering Fili and thought it a bit strange that a young girl was venturing solo. Through a chain of events, Fili was shuttled back to the property and as I entered the clinic, I found her seated in the center of all the other children watching a movie on Christa’s side. I literally was emotionless, because I had so many crazy emotions running through me! I peeked in the room and made eye contact with her, but wasn’t ready to speak with her until I poured out my heart to the Lord…
I eventually called her outside where I tried to put the pieces together. Her father comes to visit her maybe once a month… the last time he came, he came on a non-Sunday, which meant I had to call the Pastor to have permission for her to visit with him. He also told her he bought a house, and I heard her joyously bragging to others that she would be living with him soon… while my heart broke because I know she has 5 siblings, and that her elderly father has no means to purchase a home neither provide for all of her siblings. After relaying this to Pastor Chungo, Fili didn’t have permission to visit with him that day and was very upset with me, but I have to follow my orders just as much as she has to obey me! It’s difficult. But that week has long passed, and Fili has been steadily improving here in the clinic.. with her honesty, responsibility, attitude, expression of affection… EVERYTHING! SO, I was really struggling to see it. The only thing she could tell me was that Marilu told her she could leave, and that she’d help her… and that sounded good to her. So, she packed one outfit into her backpack with 30 Lempira and thought she was set to head out for Santa Rosa where she has one sister… but she doesn’t know where this sister lives, nor does she know if she’s married, nor does she know anything about her because she never comes to visit her… BUT she thought it was a good idea to catch a bus to Santa Rosa with her 30 Lempira and then just search for her sister without any extra money for food/taxi/etc. As she told me all of this, I was just amazed at the foolishness and the lack of understanding… but most of all, her own lack of love for her 3 siblings she carelessly left behind without saying a word of Goodbye or I Love You… nothing! I spent hours talking with Fili and Marilu, and truly it was exhausting… but at the end, I rejoiced over God’s truth that He’d leave 99, just to find one sheep that had gone astray! I told Fili that the Lord demonstrated His mercy to her that Saturday… and now my prayer is, that this dear lost sheep truly will find her way into the fold solely through Christ some beautiful day!
While Saturday afternoon/evening seemed like enough to me, and I was content with just the emotional stress of my 2 girls… the reality was that I still had obligations/tasks/work to be done upon my return. One of which was putting my attention to multiple girls complaining of tummy aches/headaches/ringworm! As I plopped myself down with all the kids in front of their movie and enjoyed a 5-minute backrub from Gladys, I eventually caught a glimpse of dear, pitiful Carmen seated on Christa’s bed completely glazed over and looking miserable. One touch to her forehead sent me running for my thermometer and I didn’t even have to wait for the beep before I started dialing my God-send, Mrs. Sue for her medical advice. My 8 year-old (possibly younger) was pushing a 105.+ temperature! We’ve got a nasty cold/flu hitting a lot of the children right now, and some of them have had high fevers… but Carmen has NO signs of a sore/scratchy throat, drip, congestion, nothing! So, since Saturday, we’ve been on a water/ibuprofen/sleep/cold compress routine and come this morning, still pushing a 102.+ temperature. With my expert advisor on the line (thanks again Mrs. SUE), I left at 10 AM to venture into town with Carmen to visit the doctor! Again, that meant leaving all my girls behind, but praise the Lord Mrs. Joanne was willing to babysit for me while I was in town… and the girls NEVER mind watching movies for HOURS! It’s a fight here too to get their attention off that screen! I said a silent prayer to the Lord before leaving that went something like this… very childish… “Lookey here Mister, you just keep caring for those 99 today while I, and I mean I, take one into town. Thanks for listening and I love you!” Now, truly, I have much more respect for the Lord than that, but you must know that He knows our thoughts ahead of time, and that’s exactly what I was thinking in my heart… and since He has a sense of humor, I said it and will probably say it to Him again!
So, today, Monday… I visited the doctor for the first time by myself (being my own translator) and explained Carmen’s symptoms to him as best I could. I praise the Lord for some standards in Honduras, as Carmen was able to be seen without having any identification, without knowing her full name, birthday, exact age, birth place, ANYTHING, especially INSURANCE! We left the office with orders to bathe and then take a urine sample, since we are thinking there might be some kind of infection occurring in Carmen’s little body! Tomorrow, the plan is to return to the lab early in the morning with a fresh sample… wait for the results, then head over to the Doctor’s again to discuss the outcome and diagnosis! Because this is all very time-consuming, I wanted to pre-type a post tonight in hopes of using the internet in between offices tomorrow morning! It’s past midnight now, and surprisingly I’m not extremely tired… it’s either adrenaline of sorts still on the decline, or God’s strength made perfect in my weakness! I’m holding towards the latter! I do indeed praise Him for His strength, when I think I just wouldn’t be able to handle anything else, He uses my weaknesses to show me how dependent I must be on Him! It’s not an easy lesson, and it still pains me that I can’t choose good paths for “my” girls and I certainly can NOT offer them salvation… but I can daily cast them at the feet of Jesus, and pray that He gives me all I need, just one day at a time, to care for them as best I can in the name of and for the glory of my Savior!
All we like sheep have gone astray… not just Fili… and we are all in need of the Good Shepherd’s grace and mercy over our lives! How amazing, that just as the Prodigal’s Son, the Lord accepts a rebellious heart with loving arms upon its way home! I’m thankful to have Fili back in my watchcare, and still praying for you all… that if you have indeed gone astray, seeking your own way, that you seek out Jesus Christ and what He did for you on the cross to offer you new life and eternal life!
He’s the same God through the mountains and the valleys, and always worthy of praise!
Still caring for 13, by the Grace of God…
|Carmen Dolores Vaques Lopez... my 8 year old who we think might have a kidney or UTI but will find out at 1 PM today!|
|Filadelfia Floribel Garcia... my 13 year old runner who is still here by the amazing Grace of God! AMEN!|
|Our thriving garden thanks to a man from the church, Hermano Francis, who helped us construct 4 new banks where we have radishes, cilantro, and onions!|
|Our corn borders the garden!|
|the watermelon patch is taking over! and a week of cold weather we think brought doom to the whole crop of watermelons... but only time and Gods hand will tell!|
|Our finished counterspace with a very large sink space, tall faucet to wash large pots and pans, and our berkey water filter in use! Now, we are waiting for our cabinets overhead any day now!|