Short term mission travel has been the "stuff our missionary service is made of" for the past seven or eight years.
Although pleasure travel is usually seen as glamorous and desirable, travel on short term mission trips, frequently, is very difficult.
In fact, I've written pages before sharing with
you the many difficulties and trials we've faced before leaving on our trips,
and asked for special prayer support.
I want to report those prayers were definitely working
before our trip to Nicaragua, since to my recollection, the preparations for
the trip went far more smoothly than we've recently experienced.
We had no major difficulties at all on the trip down to Nicaragua, nor on the return trip to Florida.
Believe me we were thankful!
As we loaded the van, and headed for home on Monday December 3rd, at about 4:30 a.m. we were both looking forward to getting there, although not to the colder weather of southern Indiana.
But the trip home and its aftermath were far from uneventful!
I don't remember exactly where we were when things began to get challenging, but the first major problem came when I got so sleepy I started chewing gum to stay awake...
I'm thankful I didn't fall asleep, but it was far more challenging to give thanks, when the dental crown came off my front right eye tooth as I was chewing!
At least I didn't swallow it, and it was only a few days until I could get a dentist's appointment to have it put back on.
The next challenge involved the van, the wonderful key fobs, and the driver's side door...
Mysteriously, both key fobs stopped working on the trip home. Both Dennis and I tend to accidentally drop things, so something must have been broken inside. But, for whatever reason, neither would work.
You wouldn't think this was that big a deal, until you realize that every time you use the key to open the door after locking it, it sets off an automatic car alarm that honks the horn loudly until you get the key in the ignition and turn on the car.
Believe it or not, I can usually manage to accomplish that feat within ten to fifteen seconds. However on the trip home, the inner lining of the driver's side door was also separating from the door itself...
Whenever that happened, you couldn't get the door open at all for several minutes while you tried to keep the lining from catching on the door frame and pulling the door apart so the window could fall out and break. Praise the Lord that didn't happen, but it was a distinct possibility.
Since we were traveling with a bunch of luggage, our laptop, cell phones, and other electronic gadgets, it was hardly wise stewardship to just leave the car open, so the above problems really posed some challenges.
Nonetheless, the trip wasn't all bad. We ate some of the best BBQ we'd ever had in our lives in Nashville, on Monday night.
Tuesday we were able to make it home by mid afternoon, so we actually had three days to prepare for the church Christmas party on Saturday night.
We were thrilled to be home.
Normally the story ends here, we return to our usual routine
until we begin preparations for the next trip, but this wasn't destined to be
the normal experience.
Wednesday evening after church we retired around eleven thirty. After my first trip to use the services, Dennis informed me he'd been unable to get to sleep due to pressure in his chest.
Knowing his Dad had died of a heart attack several years younger than his current age, we didn't feel we could, or should ignore those symptoms...
So we spent the next four to five hours in the local emergency room where he was given two EKG's, and several blood tests. As far as they could tell, he hadn't had a heart attack, but they wanted him to see his doctor.
He already had an appointment for the following Monday, so we saw no reason to spend the next day sitting in a doctor’s office, especially since we still needed to finish decorating in preparation for the upcoming Christmas party.
The following day the kitchen drain began to clog, and within two days was almost entirely stopped up.
Dennis wanted to crawl under the house to unstop the drain, but I managed to persuade him not to, until after the first doctor’s appointment the following Monday.
Friday morning when I started to do the wash, we discovered the washing machine was leaking...
A week or two later, after two trips to the hardware store for parts, and at least two days spent crawling under the house, and working on the washing machine, he had the everything working again. Although the added expense definitely put further strain on an already tight budget.
Returning to the medical situation, I won't bore you with all the details, but to make that long story as short as possible, Dennis is currently scheduled to have a heart catheterization on January 25th to check for blockages.
If they find any, they will do angioplasty if that will fix
the problem. But, if the arteries are blocked above 80%, they will also try to
put in stents during the procedure. So it is a simple test, that could be quite complicated and involved, depending on what they find.
We'd greatly appreciate your prayer support at this time. Dennis has a severe allergy to shell fish, and the nurse indicates the dye they use for this test will cause problems with that allergy.
However, since he has been having some problems with Angina for at least the last year, and his last chemical stress test showed he may have already suffered a "silent heart attack", he thinks he needs to get things completely checked out.
Please pray the test will go well, and there
will be no major blockages or complications.
If you've ever wondered whether your prayers mattered to those involved in short term mission travel, I hope our experiences will make a lasting impression.
As Paul said "we are laborers together with Him". As you pray, you work with us, as we serve the Lord. Thank you for your faithfulness in praying, and please don't quit.
As this page demonstrates, we need prayer support before the trips, during them, and after them. We count it a privilege to
serve the Lord with you.
We are still hoping to return to Nicaragua again sometime this year, and seeking the Lord's leading regarding the possibility of relocating there in the near future instead of continuing in short term mission travel as we've been doing in the past.
But if Satan can stop us with these health issues, I'm sure he'd be happy to do so.
Please pray with us the Lord won't allow that to happen.