As we enter our 29th year of overseas service with International Ministries, we only need to look at our past… to know that He will walk with us tomorrow.
I think back to our commissioning service in the summer of 1992 in Green Lake, Wisconsin, with three young children and a fourth on the way; never could we have imagined on that memorable day the number of countries that God would send us to, the unique challenges and opportunities along the way, and the daily evidence of his abiding presence.
I’ve gotten used to the fact that I don’t know today what God will ask of us tomorrow, but I do know it will have a purpose and it will be part of His plan. Very little of what they taught in medical school, internship, residency or even an MPH program would prepare me for the ever changing roles I have taken on during these past years as a doctor in Africa: rounding on patients (two to a bed), preparing lessons for med students and nurses in a language not of my own, tracking down the origin of an unknown disease, fighting Ebola in a remote corner of the Congo, setting up emergency clinics in refugee camps in South Sudan, restructuring a clinic in the mountains of Burundi, or clearing a container of medical supplies across the Kenyan border. Only a surrender of my will and trust in His call would prepare us for the task at hand.
Yes, there have been bumps along the way: evacuating our home in Haiti with an infant and three children never to return, two more evacuations in the Congo during prolonged civil wars, scattering our family across three countries, riots in the street, gunfire at night, an active volcano behind our house and a methane-imbued lake in front, calls for medical assistance over HF radio, suturing lacerations on our back porch, a spinal tap on a kitchen table, a snake in our bedroom, a band of rebel soldiers at our door…and now a seemingly never-ending outbreak of Ebola with thousands of casualties. These are the some of the memories that have tested our faith.
His mercies, however, are present each morning and we know the One who holds our future days. We wouldn’t trade this life, these opportunities, these memories for anything. Despite the threats around us we know we are never alone. His provisions in the past and promises for tomorrow …are all the assurance and strength we will ever need!
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10