I looked into the dark room where DJ and Manny had sat for hours waiting for the regional directors to decide what to do with these two young men. From outside on the sunny hillside, the cold, dingy room looked even more uninviting. The dentist and doctor were in the room next door, seeing the last few patients before we headed home.
Just over a year had gone by since DJ and Manny first set foot in this village. Though they had not been given a very warm welcome, DJ's fiery perseverance would not let the cold reception stop the work that God had put on our hearts to do.
Now, a year later, we can look back with awe and certainty at what God was doing all along. By the time our small team walked into this village again in May, we had a letter in hand from the mayor of the province, giving us the backing and support we needed. After the road was finished over the next few months, Samson was the first four-wheeled vehicle (aside from the road machines) to drive into the village. This trip was our fourth visit, this time during a regional meeting at which more than 100 people were present. We had with us a dentist for the first time and our faithful doctor friend. It felt like so much progress!
I sat there contemplating the goodness of God. How far God has brought this project over the last year! It is inspiring to imagine the extended reach and effectiveness of having an aircraft and a medical emergency program. But for now, we are staying busy with what God has provided. We have been searching for a good second vehicle to allow us to accommodate the growing interest of medical staff joining us on our trips and praise God for the funding to do so. Additionally, God has provided a generator, air compressor and portable dental unit set-up to grow our effectiveness in ministry. We are so grateful for each person who has been a part of making these dreams a reality!
Nevertheless, it's not about the vehicles, the equipment, or even the number of people we treat on these trips…. Friends, God is in the business of soul saving. He wants everyone to know Him for who He really is. God has called each of us to work with Him in revealing His character and the rest is just the means to accomplish this purpose.
Giving people a ride. Remember, it took us 6 hours to walk into this village and it would have taken these folks the same to walk out!
"Guests" include a regional director, Alejandra's parents (whom we've been praying for), and their three chickens...
She placed her hand on my arm and looked at me in the eyes. "You remember me, right?" she asked. My mind whirl-winded as to where I might have seen her before. "You all prayed for me when I had lost my keys," she continued. The pieces immediately fell into place.
We had been hiking between villages back in October when we came across this elderly shepherdess. She had begged us not to go on before praying for her to find her all-important pouch with keys, change and cell phone that had fallen out somewhere on the hills. So we stopped and prayed with her while tears streamed down her cheeks. She told us that she believed God would answer our prayer and her anxiety turned into peace. We continued on, doubtful perhaps that such a small thing could be found in the vast expanse of hills over which she pastured her flock.
"I found the keys!" she exclaimed, bursting with joy. "A young man saw and picked up my pouch and brought it to me, everything inside! My phone even works still and I'm wondering if you have any credit to sell me so I can recharge it?" Her excitement was contagious. Our team gathered around this woman again two months after the first prayer and offered a second one, this time of thanksgiving to God for His faithfulness.
May we be open to letting God use us to in whatever way He so chooses, thus growing both our faith and the faith of others, just as He did in the case of this shepherdess. "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1,2