Our God Carries Us!
This week was marred with sickness. Eve, Carter and Savannah all spent time sick this last week. For Eve it started early last week and only today is she finally feeling like she can get out of the house. Carter has been sick for over a week, too. The poor guy has eaten so little and, in combination with us being without water for the majority of the week, he looks so dirty that one of the nights he looked like one of those poor Somalian kids in the infomercials to get you to donate money to a help-based organization. He was laying on the floor looking so sad. We didn’t have the heart to take a picture of him. Savannah spent a good 16 hour stretch vomiting too. It was a long week for all of us.
It would be easy to have a bad attitude about all this. Wouldn’t it be easy to sit here and mope about how could God put us through this? We spent a year working hard to raise the money to get here for the purpose of serving him and we get to spend two of our first five weeks trapped at home in bed. That doesn’t seem fair or right, right?
Ah, but we serve a great God. Those thoughts haven’t even crept into our minds. He has shown Himself mighty to us in so many ways the last two weeks. Here is just one example:
On Tuesday Eve was feeling especially bad. She has had a pretty long run of it: fevers, headaches, body-aches, stomach problems, lots of coughing, etc, etc. On Tuesday she was ready to go to the clinic and see a doctor. We had heard of a clinic in town called the “ABC Clinic” that has American trained doctors and where they speak English. Which is especially important for this kind of stuff- you need to be able to effectively commnicate to your doctor what is wrong and be able to understand what the doctor is prescribing, why they are prescribing it, what it does, how to take it, etc. So we decided that is where we would be heading. We got the phone number from one of our friends here in Tirana, and we called the clinic at about 12:30pm.
One small problem: they close at 1pm. It is at least a 20 minute walk to the closest taxis and that’s if we hustle. It is at least a 15 minute drive for the taxi assuming normal traffic but its around lunch time so more people are bound to be on the street. Eve is obviously upset. She feels terrible and another day without medicine sounds terrible. So we make the decision to just go and hope God carries us along.
The kids are get ready as quick as they ever have and Eve and the kids start walking down the hill. Scott has to grab everything we need, including the trash which needs to be thrown out on the way down the hill, and is a few minutes behind. By the time he makes it to the trash cans at the bottom of the hill, he has already caught the rest of the family. Eve and Carter were troopers, feeling as terrible as they were, we still made it to the taxis in 20 minutes. When we reached the taxis we asked a driver if he knew where the ABC Clinic was. He had no idea. This was a problem. We didn’t really know either, but we called the clinic and they gave directions to the driver. That ended up being a blessing for two reasons.
When we got to the clinic, it was a few minutes after 1pm but the receptionist was standing at the doorway waiting for us. She had kept the clinic open for us because she knew we were coming. If we had known how to get to the clinic and had not needed to call to get directions for the taxi driver, the clinic would have already closed its big iron gate and we would have not been seen. Praise God we made it and they stayed open for us!!!
Eve was able to get the medicine she needed (they even had a book with the names of drugs in English and in Albanian so Eve could find the drug that she has taken before in the US that has worked) and they gave her a rather thorough exam. We got signed up on their after hours program where we can call after hours and if the doctor thinks we need to be seen, they will have us come to the clinic and will see us, regardless of the time. Praise God for that!!!
Anyways, when we left it was about 2pm and we hadn’t eaten yet so we stopped at a McDonalds-like fast food restaraunt named Kolonaut. It has pizza and a play area for the kids, so we ate, let them play a little, and we were headed off. We needed to go to the AEP (an organization that helps missionaries in Tirana) so that we could get our mail. It wasn’t too far from there and we were expecting a package from Eve’s parents. By the time we got to the AEP, Eve was starting to feel really sick again. She needed to get home. When we climbed up the stairs, there was a sign on the door that said it was closed. Eve sat on a bench disheartened. 15 minutes of walking out of the way for nothing.
Scott knocked on the door anyway and somebody was still inside. Tuesday was the last day the AEP was going to be at this building. It is moving across town tomorrow. They were packing up all the stuff and were moving it to the other location. They kindly let us in and our mail was waiting for us. Thank you God! Any other day and we couldn’t have gotten our mail! Eve is feeling pretty bad though, so we thank them and head off.
We still have the problem of getting home. We need to buy water and a few other things that require us to go to a bigger store (verses the little mom and pop shops that line the streets) and we need to stop at the pharmacy. We have a few pharmacies that line the street we live on, but it is a 10-15 minute, uphill walk from the pharmacies to our house. Which means getting a taxi or bus to help us will be difficult. The big store close to our house is about a 25-30 minute walk with the kids from home. It will be hard to find a taxi that will stop at the grocery store, wait for us to finish, then take us the pharmacy, then wait for us to finish there, and then take us home.
So we are trying to figure out whether or not it is worth getting Eve’s medicine or if we should just get her home when we get back to the main street we need to take to get back to our house. When we get to that main street we see that not even 100 yards away is an Italian chain grocery store and an attached pharmacy. We are so excited. We had no idea it was there (we have only been in this area of town once before). We buy the things we need from the grocery store, get our drugs from the pharmacy (the people there were very helpful; they spoke English and seemed to be fairly knowledgable) and the clerk at the grocery store told us where there were some taxis really close to the store. Praise God! The taxi driver we ended up getting was so helpful we even took his name and number so we can call him in the future.
So here’s the recap: (1) God directed us to the phone number for the clinic just in time, any later and we miss it; (2) God carries us to the taxis in record time despite two sick people; (3) God uses the fact we don’t know the way to the clinic to help us get there; if we had known, we wouldn’t have gotten seen; (4) the receptionist kept the clinic open late for us; (5) Praise God, Eve was able to get the medicine she needed because they had a book that translated all the names of the drugs; (6) we wouldn’t have been able to get our mail from the AEP any other day but that Tuesday; (7) God leads us to the grocery store and pharmacy that is exactly what we need; (8) God leads us to a fantastic taxi driver and gets us home.
Which is followed by us all collapsing and being so thankful that God carried us through the day. Thank you God we made it!!!
To be honest, we recognize that to most people nothing really special happened on Tuesday. Nobody was saved through our ministry on Tuesday. Nobody was discipled or grew in the Lord because of what we did. Nobody will be calling Campus Crusade asking for more info about what it means to be a Christian. To many people, we could see how Tuesday was just a day between the days where the good stuff happened.
You know what Tuesday teaches us, though? Our God is amazing. He has this entire trip planned out for us. There isn’t going to be a single day that goes by, that God hasn’t already planned exactly what He is going to do. We are here for a reason. Some of that reason probably is still not revealed to us. But God does not stand by idly waiting for the good stuff to happen. In fact, if we pay attention, we will see Him in all the little stuff too. God opened every door on a day where all we did was go to the doctor, pick up our mail, and stop by a store and pharmacy. He carried Eve, not just while she was trying to lead someone to Christ, but when she was tired, sick and in need of strength. We have marked Tuesday down as the day when the Lord our God declared to us that the next two years belong to Him and He will carry us and His will out exactly as He has planned it.
So anyways, hopefully there is a lesson for all of us somewhere in Tuesday. Maybe you are struggling with the idea that God is far off. Or maybe you feel like what you are doing is unimportant. Or maybe you are sick, or stuck in bed, or whatever, and you don’t see how God could ever use you for anything important or good. Hopefully Tuesday is a reminder for you too: our God is in control of all things and He works everything together for good to those who love Him. Take heart in our great God who will work everything together for His glory!!!
Thanks for reading our fifth blog. We are sorry these were behind for so long. Between everybody being sick and out-of-town conferences, where we can never seem to be able to get on the internet, we were having a hard time keeping up. Hopefully these blogs will be a fun way for you to keep up with our journey, but will also point you back to the reason we came in the first place: our great God. If you get a chance, click the button to follow our blog or click the “leave a comment” button to let us know if you like it. As you can tell, we will try to add more pictures as we go forward. Anyways, we thank you for taking the time to find out what we are up to. We have greatly appreciated your thoughts and prayers. May God bless you abundently over the next two years as we all serve our Lord Jesus Christ.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11, NASB)