While traveling home, I had the opportunity to reflect on this trip to Bongolo. It was different, but in a good sense. It was truly amazing to have my family there to experience the hospital and mission station and to see where we may serve full time someday. It was also wonderful for me to come "home" from the hospital each day to my family. In another sense, this trip (and the lead up to it) brought me to another level of trust in God and His purposes. As many of you know, we were close to not making this trip due to my health. While I was still questioning the advisability of making the trip even up to time of departure, God kept bringing me back to trusting Him on a deeper level--"just take the next step, I'll take care of you." Well, this wonderful trip is over and we are home now. He did indeed take care of us on this trip. Trust.
God taught me an addition lesson with a pediatric case in the eye clinic. In my prior trips things have gone well with very little clinical problems and good outcomes. Yet, this case was different. God reminded me that despite every effort to make anesthesia as safe as possible, things don't always go right. People die. Babies die. Doctors are human. If you want to work here full time, will you be able to handle this? Hurt, suffering, and death are all around us and will continue, yes, even at Bongolo and likely more often. Trust.
Both of these are trust issues and while suffering (experiencing it or observing it) is never pleasant, it does bring us to a new level of dependence on Christ. Over the last few months God has continually brought me back to Philippians 4. While in no way am I equating any of my suffering to Paul's (not even close and never will be), his example of steadfastness and resolve in continuing His ministry despite setbacks is one to follow. He trusted God in all circumstances.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" -Philippians 4:13
We had the opportunity to spend a few days in Paris on the trip home. What a wonderful city and great time exploring a few sites with the family. We will make it a point to go back someday.