For those who do not know, I finished my last days in Bolivia with something in my stomach… it made me pretty sick. Things seemed to be slowly improving, but on our drive from Florida to Ontario (the last leg of our journey home) my ankle became painfully swollen. After multiple hospital and doctor visits over the course of my first week back in Canada, the tentitive conclusion is that I have reactive artritis. Basically, as I understand, this means that random joints in my body will painfully swell and over a course of 2 or 3 weeks slowly return to normal. This cycle could last as long as 4 months. Currently my left knee and toes, right ankle and left thumb are all swollen. My knee currently feels the worse. Walking is slow and painful… but i am getting around.
This puts us in a difficult place for work and income.
That all said, we have also been blessed beyond words. I cannot count the number of emails and messages I have recieved with words of encouragement and prayers. But God did not stop there. We have also recieved money from people to help our SIM accounts, money for groceries and day to day things… even food from a andom friend that did not even know about our situation (this was pretty cool).
I have been reminded how even in persecution and difficulty, Paul still praised God. This is easy to read about and think we get it… but living it is a very different. It is easy to say trust God when things are not going well, but when you are suddenly unable to walk, much less work, it is hard to smile and trust. Whenever I am feeling at my lowest, I think of the extreme generousity we have been recieving… even from people who didn’t know about the need. I have been so humbled through this whole experience, and it has really only been a week or two… I might have another 11 weeks to go.
Life is not easy right now, but know God is in this somehow. He has chosen to not reveal His plans to us yet, and that can make this North American family uncomfortable… but maybe that is part of the plan. Jeremiah 29:11-13 says,
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
God is in control and that is where my heart will rest.
On a side note, a dear friend and fellow teacher in Bolivia has returned home with the same health problems I am experiencing. The big challenge is that as an American he may have to pay for a lot of his care. Chris is married and has 2 small chilren… please pray for Chris and his family as well.