Friday, September 6, 2013

About a Flea & a Knee

The past couple of weeks have taught me a lot about God’s faithfulness through a ‘flea’ and a knee.
A FLEA:  This week we had our annual Staff and Worker Pulga.  I’ve written a bit in the past about “pulgas” which are like yard sales or flea markets.  (The word “pulga” actually means “flea” in Spanish.)  We allow the staff to buy (at very reduced rates) the items left by those who come on outreaches. 

The 20 Peso tables waiting for the shoppers
Some folks are yard sale folks, and some folks aren’t.  I fall into the latter category, and so was a bit apprehensive about tackling it.  My friend Carole left awesome notes, but it was still going to be a huge undertaking. 
A couple of our staff put calls out to friends from the US who love to serve.  I was thrilled when Mike told me that two ladies from Indiana would be coming for the week to help! 
This Tuesday we set up the Dining Room and Carlos started pulling the boxes and suitcases out of the Donations Room.  I felt a bit like the widow with her oil - the stuff just kept coming and coming!  It didn’t seem possible the room could have held so much! 
The 5 & 10 pesos table:
everything from shoes and socks
to books, CDs, underwear - and more!
We decided to tackle the sheets and towels first.  And what a job that was!  Minus about 30 minutes at the end of the day, we did nothing else for the entire day but sort and match and fold sheets and towels. 
The students bring down their own twin sheets for the cabins, and more than 150 sets were left!  While a lot of them had been matched up, lots weren’t.  It was like a giant puzzle.
The next day we kept plugging away, sorting through clothing for men, women, children and babies.  We matched up dozens of pairs of shoes as well.  Bev and Kris were such troopers! 

getting their 'shop' on!
By Thursday morning I was tired and feeling like it was never going to come together.  We still had all kinds of used bottles of shampoo and other random miscellaneous items to go through.  But, God is so good!  My friend Mary Ellen joined in and… we actually finished up a little ahead of my schedule!  It was a great feeling!   

As the week went on, I kept thinking about how my life is often a big chaotic mess, and yet, God takes it and patiently sorts and organizes until I can be a blessing to others.  At times, my life feels as if it's never going to come together, but God continues to transform it.  He is so amazing!
all the hard work paid off!
(here you can see some of the sheet sets)
Along with some of the staff who volunteered their time to help, our Bethel Semester Students and their leader did, too.  It was quite the cultural experience for them, I know!  Especially since language classes don’t start until next week!  They kept calm and collected in the midst of the frenzy – and rapid-fire Spanish coming at them from all directions!

I know there are some things I’ll want to do different for next time (yep, I actually did say ‘next time’!) but overall I was pleased with how things went.  

A KNEE:  For a month or so I’ve been having pain and swelling in my right knee.  Since it wasn’t getting better on its own, we headed down to HOMS, which is a modern hospital in Santiago (the DR’s second largest city, about 45 minutes from Jarabacoa). 
We went to see the specialist our friend Kenny used for his knee surgery.  The exam didn’t show any major issues, so the doctor ordered an MRI to look a bit deeper. 
He also gave me a prescription for meds to help with the swelling.  We went down to the pharmacy and I was unpleasantly shocked at the price – the equivalent of $75 U.S. for a three week supply! 

Many of the common medicines like antibiotics are inexpensive here, but the more complex ones are costly.  I really didn’t want to buy the medicine, but Carlos wisely insisted. 

We found out the MRI would be approximately $200US, which is super inexpensive by US standards, but was more additional cost.  All of that on top of the appointment itself.

That same week I received three unexpected monetary donations.  The three of them together completely covered the cost of the appointment, medication and MRI!  All three were given before I even made the appointment. 

And, with the way the mail works here, one of the three was actually sent before I even started to have knee pain!  I was humbled once more at God’s provision.

This morning I had my MRI and we should hear something by the end of next week.  The expensive prescription meds seem to have taken the swelling down, and I’ve been able to resume strength training and even walking on the treadmill.  Not quite up to hiking form yet, but I’m hopeful!

Two separate events, but both served to remind me that God is at work.  He has so much still to teach me, and some days I feel like I’ll never learn the lessons!  But, all praise to Him, He continues to patiently work in me – and even through me.  His faithfulness is amazing!

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