Can I get a drumroll please?
I am truly excited to introduce to you…
This week as I was spending some time in prayer, God dropped a brand new idea into my heart. It’s this: I have received feedback requesting that I put more of my life as a missionary into my blog. At this point in my life, I have over two hundred missionary stories typed up from our ministry life in Iquitos, Peru, in the heart of the Amazon Jungle… we are talking twenty-two years’ worth. I have released them in newsletters but rarely here on my blog. Holy Spirit said it’s time to do that!
I have such a strong sense of His leading in this, it’s got my spirit stirred up with His joy. He has impressed it on my heart to do so every Wednesday, and use a combination of recent stories, and old ones. So, without further ado, here is our very first release, coming from just last month:
“Pastor, I’m rushing my son to the hospital. He’s in terrible pain.” This incoming message popped up on my phone from Lily’s tutor, Yermé Gastulo. Yermé has been a part of our lives for over two decades now. Israel and I mentored her in the years of our early marriage. Now her teenage son Lucas was gravely ill. Our hearts sunk when we learned the diagnosis: appendicitis.
I have heard countless horror stories about the government-run hospitals in Iquitos: Surgeons leaving a surgical needle inside of the patient. Desperate families selling their possessions to buy medicines… only to have hospital staff steal them while the patient was sleeping… to then turn around and sell them to other desperate families. Dying individuals going days without any medical attention. Badly rusting equipment, beds without linens, dirty floors, and much worse…
You would never want to utilize these places. Even if your life depended on it. And Lucas’ did. So I was deeply saddened by what happened next. The hospital did absolutely nothing when Yermé brought Lucas in. They hemmed and hawed and mumbled something about a scan being needed. A day later, his appendix burst.
They finally acted, performing emergency surgery. They were not able to effectively clean out the poison. Around a week later, they cut him open a second time to try again. Still, they were not successful. A few days later, they operated yet a third time. Lucas’ condition was steadily worsening. His life was in serious danger.
His hemoglobin down to 6, he urgently needed a blood transfusion. The family searched frantically for a donor. With a transfusion, he had hope of surviving urgent evacuation to the capital city of Lima for an emergency fourth surgery.
Fear hovered darkly over the Gastulos. We asked Yermé to bring an article of Lucas’ clothing so we could pray over it. She did. Tears burned in my eyes as we began to intercede. Having watched Lily’s life hanging by a thread just over two years ago, this was very close to home. We had our whole church pray over this precious mother and the shirt that she held in trembling hands.
The very next day, Lucas was released from the hospital. “This young man doesn’t need to be transferred to Lima. Nor does he need any more surgery. He’s going to be just fine,” were the doctor’s final words.
But God!!! Lucas’ life did not depend on that hospital after all. Our omnipotent Healer, Jesus, had the final word! My friend, be encouraged today. The Lord sees your need. “Ask, and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24, NIV). When He answers your gutwrenching petitions, your heart is going to overflow with joy. “For nothing shall be impossible with God!”
So, what do you think? Are you as excited as I am about Amazonian Wednesdays? I’d love to hear your thoughts!