Saturday, March 31, 2018

Thanks for the Eyeglasses!

Thanks to the generous donations of our benefactors on Team Carmody, two young students with vision problems were able to receive eyeglasses that allow them to actually see what is going on at school.  One of them is our beloved, Isaac, who has traveled with us to so many places helping us with our ministries.  He so strongly desires to be a missionary in the future and would like to pursue studies in medicine after high school in order to assist in his missionary call.  The other is our beloved Angie, who is the daughter of our animadora, Charo.  She is in Tarapoto studying business administration.  Please pray for both of them and for our family!

Click on the video below to play their personal "Thank you!" message:

Thursday, March 29, 2018

We've "Adopted" 3 Kids

Folks often say that kids make the best missionaries because they aren't inhibited by fears related to money, time, logic or anything else. They just do what the Spirit tells them to do - plain and simple!  Last week I was humbled by this truth. Take a look:

This home was vacated a short while ago. All praise be to God,
the owners are allowing our three "adopted" children to live there. 
"So Mom, there's this family..." [Katelyn always starts like this when she's going to try to convince me of something, so I was immediately on-guard.]

[Interrupting her...]
"I'm sorry sweet girl, we can't help anyone else with school."

"But Mom..." [Katelyn said with the biggest, saddest eyes.]

[Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the tremendous need that we're unable to meet I responded...]
"I know, but there are countless families that we've turned away.  It's not fair.  If we have money to help another family we need to help those that came a couple weeks ago.  The fact is, we don't have the money, so the answer is no."

[Taking a deep breath, Katelyn continued her plea...]
"I know, I know, but this situation is different. Please just listen..."

So, I did and my heart broke wide open...

For over six months Jhoner(16), Anthony(15) and their sister Viviana(12) were squatting in a small room in Lima's ghetto after being abandoned by their mom, who ran off with a new boyfriend. Their mom's third husband, who had been living with them in Lima, left the big city after he realized that his wife (their mom) was not coming back.  Without an income or any adult support these kids struggled to survive. Days were spent scouring the dumpsters to find what they needed: food, little pieces of soap, clothes, etc.  And at night the huddled together to keep warm and feel safe. Toward the end of February they contacted their mom's third ex-husband who had been living with them in Lima. He offered to help the kids, simply out of love, if they could get themselves to San Hilarion.

We don't know how they scrounged up the funds for passage through the Andes Mountains (and have learned not to ask these types of questions because people either have to lie or share embarrassing truths). When they arrived the ex-step-dad arranged for them to stay in a humble little wooden house and was able to buy them food....until he had to leave town for work.  The kids were, once again, alone without support or any real resources.  They've been trying to survive, as they had in Lima, but there just aren't the scraps available here because the poor use every little bit of everything.  Feeling scared and alone they didn't know where to turn. "The missionaries can help you," they were told, but felt too intimidated to ask.  Finally, Jhoner mustered up the courage to approach Katelyn in the plaza.  After making small-talk he intended to share his story, but found it was altogether too much.  Lost in his own thoughts and drowning in his own tears, he excused himself and asked if they could talk another day. When "another day" arrived Jhoner found Katelyn with the most compassionate and Christ-like heart. She listened patiently to the details of his testimony and assured him that we could help.  Although sometimes her confident promises leave me feeling pressured into doing something I might not prefer, I'm always thankful for her bold witness and immeasurable confidence in Jesus.

Jhoner, Anthony and Viviana were overwhelmed by the
experience of purchasing food from the market. "There are just so many
options," Jhoner said to me, "maybe you should just pick." 

Jhoner and his siblings came to our house to explain the tragedy which has been their life, hoping against hope that we might possibly be able to help them with some basic necessities: food, soap, toothpaste, etc.

As they recalled the more memorable details my heart broke, leaving me sad, angry and empty.

I wanted to help, but how?

During the previous couple weeks we had spent every extra bit we had (and more) on school supplies for the really poor kids in our town.  As such, we weren't sure if we even had enough to cover the remainder of our normal expenses for the month. Knowing full well that we couldn't solve all their financial troubles, we turned the conversation to the topic of faith. We explained the importance of placing their very lives in God's hands. We explained the critical role that Jesus has in this situation and invited them to pray along with us for his guidance.  Together, we bowed our heads, invited the Holy Spirit to come in power and waited quietly for his which point we heard, "Don't worry, it will all be fine.  Get these kids what they need and trust that I'll make sure you have what you need."  Despite our limited resources and the inevitable upcoming expenses, we knew the Lord was asking us to step out of the boat onto the water... 

The first stop was the market, where we bought them enough rice, beans, plantains, onions, and such for the upcoming week. All thanks be to God that Jhoner is a competent cook who can prepare a wide variety of meals with minimal ingredients!!

Although they were all incredibly thankful for the food staples, which would last them at least a week,
it was difficult for them to be "excited" and smile for a photo.
(Vivian   -   Jhoner  -   Chris   -   Anthony)

After returning to their humble little home we inquired about their education, both past and present, and learned that they hadn't attended school the last two years. As they recalled the unfortunate string of events that interrupted their attendance they acknowledged the importance of education, but had obviously accepted their own reality in which school just wasn't a part.  Knowing that the Lord wants us to "give them what they need," we offered to buy them uniforms and supplies, as well as pay their registration fees.  Six big brown eyes widened in disbelief as they considered the possibility. When we arrived at the store the following day, the same hopeful eyes twinkled like the brightest of stars.

Although we weren't able to buy these precious teens the uniforms they need for gym class that same day, we will be able to soon thanks to another VERY generous donation we received from a member of Team Carmody who has asked that his contribution be used exclusively for kids' school expenses.

God is GOOD ~ All the Time!
All the Time ~ God is GOOD!

We were so scared to step out onto the water, even though we heard Our Lord summoning us.  We wanted to help Jhoner, Anthony and Viviana but selfishly worried about our own needs. I thank God for Katelyn's fearless obedience to the Holy Spirit. I thank God that He always provides for us in ways that we never could have imagined. I thank God for Team Carmody which makes this life possible!!!

With Jhoner in school all morning he's unable to prepare lunch. So, the
woman who owns the restaurant in the background with the green sign has
agreed to give the three kids lunch each day for the equivalent of $1.50. 
Each Sunday we'll visit her and pay the outstanding tab.  

The first day of school was filled with an array of emotions. Jhoner, Anthony and Vivian were excited, but nervous, happy and scared.

I walked with Viviana to the campus gates and waited patiently until we saw a familiar face. A young lady that I know invited Viviana to join her group of friends and assured me that they'd take good care of her.  Before Viviana left the security of my side we prayed together, asking Jesus to help her feel His presence inside of each moment.  As we exchanged final glances I could see the peace of His love radiating in her eyes. I recalled Jesus' gentle words of encouragement when we talked with Viviana and her brothers for the first time, "Don't worry, it'll all be fine."  How faithful He is to His promises!!

Although Jhoner, Anthony and Viviana aren't living with us, we've assumed responsibility for their care.  We have committed to providing their basic necessities: food and personal hygiene, cleaning supplies and school fees.  We see them around town often and enjoy their company when they visit our home.  Little by little we're developing nice relationships and look forward to whatever the Lord has in store for us.  We ask for prayers as we try hard to keep our sights set on Jesus so that we don't sink!

We'd love to hear from you via email:

If the Holy Spirit in nudging you to support us financially  so that we can continue serving the poor here in Peru, please visit either:

Call Family Missions Company at (337) 893 - 6111.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

30+ Kids Can Attend School

Do you remember Amalita?   Did you see the pictures of her black tarp house where she slept on the cold, damp ground?  For a quick reminder, read our blog "Amalita's House" (Jan.2017)

In the Fall of 2016 we built Amalita a spacious wooden home (300 sq.ft) with a cement floor and indoor toilet. We stopped by often to visit and made sure she had the necessary food staples. With a couple trips to the doctor her chronic cough disappeared and Amalita reported feeling "good".  After she began attending the activities in the church Amalita told me (with a great big smile) that she felt "great" for the first time in years.

It's no surprise that when Amalita turned her gaze to Jesus everything in her life improved.  Shortly thereafter, she began looking for opportunities to help others, even though she still had "nothing" by the world's standards.

Just recently Amalita took in two great-grandchildren from Lima whose situation was unsustainable. She lovingly received them without concern for how she would provide. "How irresponsible!", you may say, "The lady can hardly take care of herself!"  On the contrary! By carefully assessing our capacities and making calculated decisions based on our available resources, we leave God zero room to reveal His majesty.  Through the mysterious workings of the Holy Spirit Amalita has had everything she's needed to care for these youngsters since their arrival.

A few weeks ago Amalita visited our house to explain her predicament.  Although she desired to give her grandkids the opportunity to go to school, she could not afford the required uniforms and materials.

"Is there anything you can do to help me help them?" she humbly asked.

"Of course" is ALWAYS the correct answer to that question.  

Esela and Bris were SUPER excited to pick out pencil cases
for the first time in their lives.  Historically their supplies have just
tumbled around in the bottoms of their backpacks where they often
got lost or broken. 

We discussed the details and picked a date to travel to the larger city together.  In the days that followed several others appeared at our door; some with real needs and others simply wanting free hand-outs.  Thankfully, after living here for two years, we know enough about people's situations to differentiate between honest pleas and theatrical petitions.

Ivan loves his new "Russia 2018" notebook and prays
for a national victory at the upcoming World Cup. 

With a van full of moms and kids we went searching for a good deal.  All praise be to God, we were able to buy all the necessary supplies for 15 kids, who otherwise would not have been able to attend school.

Amidst the commotion I noticed one of our youngest companions standing alone off to the side.  She was trying hard to keep her balance and lacked the confidence she needed to walk independently. Given her size I assumed that she was about one year old. I knelt down and smiled. Gently picking her up, I asked her name... at which point she started crying. I was disappointed, but not surprised.  Lots of kids are scared the first time they see "gringos" ~ especially up close! When Mom appeared I asked basic questions about the little girl's name and age. With her second birthday fast approaching I realized that malnutrition was the culprit.  As I considered the toll it had taken on her physical development, I couldn't help wonder how her mind had been impacted as well.

Embarrassed to exist within my own skin I recalled times past when I've condemned the poor for their seemingly inadequate decision making skills.

"Why don't they (fill in the blank)   ?" 
I would demand, feeling angry about their inability to "do what was so obviously right".  

I'm not sure that I've ever considered how their circumstances could have compromised their intellectual capacity. 

As we were leaving the store Chris tried to herd all the kids together for a photo, but many were too excited and just kept running from this spot to the next, swinging their bags in every different direction.  With the help of Team Carmody they realized that attending school was a real possibility ~ some for the first time in their lives!

As I paid the final bill my stomach tightened.... We had spent so much!!  How were we going to buy uniforms for all these kids AND also help the other families whose circumstances were equally as dire.  As I looked around I remembered that Amalita's grandkids weren't able to come with us... the very kids who had inspired this outreach effort.  I closed my eyes and begged God for more faith.  If only I could be as confident as Amalita that the Lord would provide!!

As everyone piled into the van we recognized the opportunity to talk about our concerns...

"It's better for lots of families to receive some help 
less families to get everything they need, 

Everyone nodded their heads in agreement.  Recalling the vast number of families whose kids were in jeopardy of not being able to attend school, we encouraged them to prayerfully consider whether or not they could scrounge up uniforms so that we could use our remaining funds to help others. Historically, I think these parents felt overwhelmed by the expense of education and allowed the evil spirit of discouragement to dissuade them from even trying to make it happen.  However, with a restored sense of hope they had a bit more confidence.  Over the course of the next several days most of these youngster found used uniforms or figured out how to re-purpose those from years past.  Thank you JESUS!

In effort to manage all the requests we received we compiled a list. One by one we assessed the needs and invited those whose situations were the worst to meet us at the shop in San Hilarion.

Thanks to the VERY generous donations we've recently received from Team Carmody, another 13 kids were able to get what they needed to attend school...

...including our beloved little neighbors Jose and his brother Fernando.

Last year was their first-ever experience with school.  Now, knowing what to expect, they were super excited for the first day to arrive!!

We were especially blessed to help this family whose dad abandoned them long ago.

The mom works two jobs trying to provide. During the day she serves food at a restaurant, earning the equivalent of $4 for six hours of work.  In the evening she sells chicken and rice from a street cart until 2AM and thanks God for every customer that comes.

Despite her tremendous effort she often falls short of being able to provide. Last year this family struggled just to survive, so the thought of going to school was out of the question. This year they were SUPER excited at the possibility of things being different.  As we talked through the possibility of helping them, the older boys couldn't stop smiling and the little girls giggled nonstop. It was precious!

In the bible we learn how to be good servants:
"When you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
(Luke 14:14)  

Although we didn't expect anything in return for the simple gesture of sharing the resources of Team Carmody with those in most need, there was one family that insisted on preparing a delicious lunch of duck, rice and a mixture of yummy vegetables.

Although Jherson, Ivan and Javier were really excited about going
to a new school, where they get to start fresh,
it was hard to muster up big smiles at 5AM.

The first day of school was a wake-up call... literally.

After 2 1/2 months of sleeping-in and spending lazy days playing soccer and swimming in the river, Javier, Jherson and Ivan had to wake up at 4:30AM to get ready before driving 45 minutes to the nearby town (Bellavista) where their school starts at 6:30AM.

Shortly after returning from Bellavista I heard giggling outside our front door and then a rapid series of pounds and knocks.  Jose and Fernando were super excited to get ready for school. 

"Why," you might ask, "do they need to get ready at our house?"

Great question!  I don't suppose they need to, but we agreed to be the keepers of their uniforms to avoid the multitude of problems we encountered last year.

Often times when I got to their house it was immediately evident that their mom had done nothing with their uniforms after the boys peeled them off their dirty little bodies the day before.  After frantically searching we might find a filthy button-up shirt in a ball under the bed and urine soaked shorts in the backyard. Sometimes their mom would shake out the clothes and try to convince her boys that they were fine to wear.  Other times she would try to persuade them to go to school in street clothes, claiming that it was "no problem", but the boys knew better.  Both options were terrible and the boys were well acquainted with the consequences of both.  The teachers would reprimand them and often exclude them from activities.  Their peers would tease them and sometimes even pee on them, claiming that they had mistaken the boys for the urinal. It's no wonder that Jose and Fernando had such a hard time getting excited to go to school.

This year we agreed to launder the boys clothes each day when they return from school and keep them in our home so that they're available the following morning.  The boys leave a set of clothes at our house so that they can change, which is perfect!

It also works out well because last year Jose and Fernando never ate breakfast before going to school.  This year they can share whatever we have before starting their day.  It's fun!

Although this picture might just seem like a messy list of names and expenses, it represents so much more.

Each kid has a story.  Those stories include the hardships of neglect, hunger, abuse, death of loved ones, and abandonment to name only a few.

Some of these kids have missed years of school here and there due to lack of funds, medical issues in their families or just general neglect by their parents.

Suffice it to say that the generosity of our supporters has allowed us to help over 30 kids go to school that would have otherwise spent the year at home helping their moms in the house or gone to work with their dads.

Although all of the kids are incredibly thankful, only one is capable of expressing that in English ~ our friend Isaac.  Here is the letter that he wrote:

Please join me in praising the Lord for Amalita, who was the inspiration for this ministry.  Please pray for her continued good health and that the Holy Spirit anoint her as she works tirelessly to serve others.

We'd love to hear from you via email:

If the Holy Spirit in nudging you to support us financially  so that we can continue serving the poor here in Peru, please visit either:

Call Family Missions Company at (337) 893 - 6111.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Peru Medical Mission 2018 (by Chris..with lots of photos)

We helped serve well over 100 people each day
Our Peruvian missionary community was very blessed to have the opportunity to host a group of 22 nursing students from Benedictine College in Atchinson, Kansas along with 4 practicing nurses that also came along for the mission trip.  The group arrived on Saturday, March 3rd and departed on Saturday, March 10th.  

Our entire family was able to serve alongside them on Monday-Wednesday as they visited Picota, Bellavista and our very own, San Hilarion.  We were also blessed to lead praise and worship for them on the Wednesday morning.  Katelyn and Anna were able to help one additional day out in a far away pueblo called Almirante Grau.  The group was as extreme blessing to our entire family and it was an honor to serve the needs of the poor for three days with them.
Anna joyously serving as a translator 
The church hall where the mission took place on Monday in Picota

Jack and Michael being their usual silly selves

Our family served in different capacities: Karen, Katelyn, Anna and I helped with translation for the visiting nurses that did not speak Spanish, Karen and I also prayed over the people at the prayer station that we setup at each site and our sons, Jack and Michael, helped to be runners and to bring the people from the registration desk to the triage station and also in entertaining the smaller children with medical glove balloons and their usual comedic selves.  Included are photos from the 3 different days our whole family participated.

Katelyn is a wonderful translator and really does a great job at it
Karen and Dawn steeped in fervent prayer with a woman
Katelyn is so willing to help and with such a great attitude....we are so blessed to have her in our family!
Karen just finished praying with this woman who had just learned her child has cerebral palsy
One of the short-term missionaries enjoying a fun moment with Madre Magdelena who is the Mother Superior
of the Servants of the Poor, Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

One of the fascinating people that came to the mission.  He was in an accident and part of his brain was exposed.  They used organ tissue from his abdomen to sew onto the top of his head to cover up his brain.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Interview with Chris: Death & Dying

Sometimes people ask, "How has missions effected you?"  This is such a hard question to answer because change happens so slowly that it's often undetectable.  Most of the time I don't think much about how we've changed, but the other day was different.  We had a funeral to celebrate, but couldn't walk to the cemetery in procession like we usually do because our schedule was too hectic.  So, we drove.  Arriving early I had some quiet time to pray and found myself contemplating death and dying. In realizing that my feelings about death have changed dramatically, I decided to interview Chris about the topic.

Here are his responses:

Question #1: The depth of a grave depends on how many people were buried there before. Given the fact that this grave is neither deep nor shallow, we know that others were laid to rest in this same spot. How do you feel looking into this hole knowing that there are decayed bodies beneath the bottom of the grave?

Answer: It really brings to light the reality that we were made from the earth (from Genesis) and to the earth we will return. It’s a time to reflect on the end and to work backward to think about how I want to leave this world and what changes I need to make in my life to live that out, knowing full well that today could be my last day.

Question #2: We’ve been told that after 7 years a grave site is reopened and used again because the previous person’s body and casket have sufficiently decayed, leaving space for the next occupant. In preparation for the 7th burial a cement structure of varying design is constructed,which indicates that the space is “complete”. How do you feel about this custom?

Answer: At first I was taken aback by this because it’s so different than what is customary in the United States, but after experiencing it I can understand the reasons for it, which I don’t know all of them, but here are a few examples: due to the small size of the cemetery, the relatively short amount of time needed a body decays due to the warm weather, the benefits of having family members be buried so close together, etc…. Therefore it doesn’t seem so strange to me now. With seven being the perfect number, the fact that’s it’s seven years and seven does seem pretty perfect.

Question #3: Today we arrived at the cemetery early and kids were playing inside the grave.  How did this make you feel?

Answer: When I was a kid,  I remember my parents going to a funeral and purposely not taking me because they didn’t want to expose me to that...and the kids here grow up with death being a part of life.  The whole community comes together to celebrate the life of the person and to support the family during the passing of a loved one from this life to the next. There is no filter.  

Question #4: What do you do to prepare yourself for a funeral service?

Answer: I pray. I ask the Holy Spirit to use me in whatever way He sees fit to be present for the family, to console them with the prayers in the service and I practice the person’s name a lot of times so I can get it right. I ask the family what order they would like to do things and when and then I try to do the best I can to respectfully live out what they requested.

Question #5: Since death is such a common experience here, people are constantly at the cemetery.  While there, they stop by the graves of loved ones to tear out overgrown plants, light some candles and pray. How does this compare to the experience you had visiting your dad’s grave once every couple years?
Answer: This is such a small town and we spend a lot of time in this small town’s cemetery . Whereas my dad is buried in a big cemetery that was about 40 minutes away from where we lived so it’s just different.  Also, here they have the custom after one week, one month, six months and a year you bring your family together to visit the cemetery, but this isn’t customary in my family in the United States. It’s a little weird to be on the other side of things and to spend so much time at the cemetery. I’ve spent more time at the cemetery here than I have in any other cemetery in my life.  I feel a greater sense of communion with the people here because of this experience. Each time we go to the cemetery and look around and remember burying so many other people it’s just so different… Usually in the United States lay people don’t bury other lay people, so it’s just very different.

Question #6: When someone here dies everyone in the entire community is invited to the family’s home to mourn. People work together to prepare meals for all those in attendance with whatever food items have been donated.  If family members live far away the burial is delayed as long as possible to give them time to travel. If the smell of the decaying body is unbearable or the swollen body is ready to burst they celebrate the funeral service without the missing loved ones.  If family members and friends can attend, everyone is grateful. If they can’t, there are no hard feelings. When the time arrives for the funeral service the whole town heads walks to the cemetery in procession. After participating in about 30 funerals we’ve concluded that people are grateful for what they have and don’t think about what might be lacking. This is drastically different than what we’ve experienced in the United States. How does it make you feel to see the community coming together to grieve the loss of each of its members?

Answer: It is beautiful how the community comes together to support the family of the deceased. The desire  to accompany the family and to forego sleep and other comforts of home, to stay out all night when it’s chilly and damp after a rain and to just be there for someone in need is very moving. I think it makes all the difference in the world.

Question #7: People definitely look to you for spiritual grounding during funerals.  They really appreciate having a “proper” burial for their loved ones and your presence makes it all feel so much more “official”.  How do you feel about this role that you have assumed?
Answer: Praise the Lord if anything that I do helps the family during their time of grieving the loss of their loved one.  Praise the Lord if anything I do or say helps them to draw closer to the Lord.

Question #8: During the burial the emotions are so raw.  How do you feel when everyone is wailing and fainting?

Answer: The saying here in the jungle is that “Men do not cry, only when their mother dies”.  But I disagree with this. Many times witnessing this raw outpouring of emotion I have been cut to the heart and tears just come… sometimes I try to stop them and other times I just let them come. I believe it is an experience that draws me closer to the other people. It is a very human experience.

Question #9: When your dad died the ceremony was very stoic.  You just stood off to the side and watched as the strangers from the funeral company buried him.  Here the family members and friends bring their shovels from home to help dig the hole. They carefully place the casket in just the right place and then cover their beloved with a mixture of tears, sweat and dirt.  How do you think this affects people?

Answer: I think participating in this corporal work of mercy in a more hands on way is very therapeutic.  The tradition of the family members digging the hole is also very powerful in that when someone here says, “I buried my father, mother, sister, brother, it literally means I dug the hole, I lowered them into the hole and covered them with dirt.”  All of this is done as an act of love for the deceased.

Question #10: It’s hard to know how long to stay at the cemetery because there is no official ending whereby someone says, “Thank you for coming. Please find your way to your cars so that the family can pay their final respects in private.”  Here, everyone just slowly disappears. How do you feel as it all comes to an end and people start to wander away?

Answer: I feel grateful to have been able to help the family.

Question #11: How has our time in Peru impacted your perspective on death and dying?

Answer: When I think back early on in life I didn’t really think about death. I was sheltered from it. Then there was a period in my life when I felt like I was fearless.  I thought I was above death and that I couldn’t die no matter what happened. It’s that sort of invincibility of youth. Then, I think I had a period where I was afraid of death. But now more than ever, I hope and pray for a peaceful death and I believe the key to that is living rightly or being the best version of myself that I can be and answering the call that all of us have to be holy.  I have a long way to go, but I feel I have come a long way and I continue to pray and to work on this each day.

Missions has definitely effected us. It's hard to know exactly how we've changed, but I thank God for all the work He's done in us these last few years. Although I know there are tough days ahead, I look forward to what Jesus has in store.

We'd love to hear from you via email:

If the Holy Spirit in nudging you to support us financially 
so that we can continue serving the poor here in Peru, 
please visit either:


Call Family Missions Company at (337) 893 - 6111.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Another Miracle - Meningitis BE GONE!

2 Peter 1:21 says that 

"No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, 

but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." 

This declaration took on a whole new meaning when I was recently in Trujillo, Peru for language school.  I was there with Miguel and John Paul, two other FMC missionaries, as well as Javier and Jherson, our Peruvian pseudo-sons. Miguel arrived in Trujillo with intense, unexplained back pain and a bag full of pills and injections that we hoped would remedy his condition.  However, as the days passed his situation failed to improve.  

Throughout the bible Jesus constantly instructs us to lay hands on the sick.
For most of my life I perceived this to be something of an outdated
tradition ~ something that people did in Jesus' time, but not necessary today.
However, I've learned that there is great power in just simply doing what Jesus
tells us to do...without question, without judgement, without
reservation. I thank and praise God for the freedom He has given me to
be Jesus' healing hands for others.
Gathering around Miguel we gently laid hands upon his feverish, aching body. He cringed with even the softest touch to his spine and sweat rolled from his scalp. Although his legs threatened to collapse beneath the weight of his body, Miguel remained standing out of fear of not being able to rise once seated.  The prescribed medicine was proving ineffective and his symptoms were visibly worsening.  If only we could get him to the curb, a taxi could do the rest. Without doubt, prayer was necessary, but so was a trip to the emergency room. Confident that God would happily accept our quick and condensed prayers, we bowed our heads and humbly approached His throne asking that He send His Spirit in power.  Almost immediately a pulsating warmth moved from my heart, down my arms and into my hands. "Ahhh," I remember saying to myself as I took in the deepest of breaths, "He is here."  With confidence we begged Jesus for healing, that the Spirit of God move through Miguel and drive away every bit of infirmity....the raging fever left immediately.  With a hand upon his clammy, but cool forehead I continued, "More, we need more...Holy Spirit, we beg you, we need more." As the warmth moving through my arms increased Miguel announced that the strength had returned to his legs. I repeated again and again, "Be with us Jesus. Give us wisdom."  When the word "meningitis" popped into my mind I could no longer pray. I apologized for my abrupt departure and ran to my room. Knowing absolutely NOTHING about meningitis (other than it sounded really scary) I scrambled to pull up whatever information I could find on the Internet.

As my eyes fell upon the "symptoms", which include severe headache, fever, lethargy, shivering, stiff neck, intense pain in the muscles along the spinal column extending into the neck, and loss of appetite I realized that Miguel had every one.  
My eyes swelled with tears as I continued scanning the page. "Bacterial meningitis typically develops between three and seven days..." It had been exactly six days since Miguel's initial complaint of unexplained, debilitating back pain.  As soon as I read, "untreated meningitis causes the brain to swell, which can result in permanent brain damage and even death," I jumped up and sprinted back to the group. 
Although this emergency entrance appears relatively calm during the day,
it was an absolute zoo the evening before.
We piled into a taxi and rushed off....only to discover that the security guard at the hospital entrance possessed the sole authority to decide who gets in after hours and who doesn't.  Miguel pleaded his case, to no avail. Unwilling to leave, I pushed my way through the crowd and said, "Excuse me, I am a Catholic missionary. Although my friend appears alright, he is actually very sick. He has had unexplained pain in his spinal column for many days and his symptoms continue to worsen despite the medicine doctors have prescribed. As I was praying over him Jesus told me that he has meningitis. I believe he needs to be seen immediately because this illness progresses very quickly and can cause death." Wide-eyed, the guard opened the gate and allowed us to pass.  We moved from one triage area to the next until finally learning that the staff capable of conducting the necessary analysis would not return until morning. Given the absence of a raging fever, the attending medic was comfortable sending us away with instructions for treating the inflammation: ice, ibuprofen and specific body positions. The Lord blessed us all with a satisfactory night's sleep and we arose hopeful that He had worked a miracle of healing.

However, Miguel's symptoms returned in force: severe body aches, especially alongside his spinal column and into the stem of his head, a raging fever and extreme weakness. We returned to the hospital for a blood analysis, but quickly determined that there wasn't anyone qualified to make such a diagnosis, despite what we had been told previously. As we sat quietly in the hard, plastic chairs, waiting to speak with yet another seemingly under-qualified doctor, the reality set in that Miguel could die.  Clearly, Jesus was the ONLY one that could help! 
Scared and yet confident, we returned to the throne of God and begged for Miguel's life... at which point the warmth returned to my heart, flowed through my arms and out of my hands. "Come Holy Spirit, Come!" As the pulsating sensation increased, I begged the Spirit for more and more. With hands upon Miguel's head I could feel the fever dissipating. "More, we need more. Come Holy Spirit."  Miguel announced that the pain in his head and back were gone, but he still felt weak. Completely convinced that the Spirit was moving through his body to eliminate every bit of infirmity, we continued praying until the pain and discomfort were gone.  After an unquantifiable amount of time, Miguel arose with a huge smile and said, "I'm good. Jesus healed me."  We cried and hugged, hugged and cried, before finally strolling out into the courtyard.  

As we approached the security guard he inquired as to Miguel's condition, at which point we informed him that Jesus had performed a miracle of healing.  Unsure of what to think, he smiled and opened the gate. As I was passing him, he touched my arm and said, "Are you sure?"  I grabbed the tattered missionary cross that hangs around my neck, smiled and said, "Yes, I'm sure!"  His eyes twinkled as he said, "Thank you Jesus!"  "Yes," I said with a wink and a smile, "I'm not exactly sure what was wrong with my friend, but I know he's better now.  Thank you Jesus!"  
Miguel and I returned to the inn and excitedly announced his miraculous healing to the others in our group, but struggled to convey the magnitude of what had transpired.  Although I always desire to glorify God for every good work that He does, I was unusually content simply knowing in the privacy of my heart that the Lord had been with us in an incredibly intimate way this day. In Matthew 10:1 Jesus gives His disciples the authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness.  After seeing firsthand several different miracles of healing, I've concluded that Jesus is faithful to the faithful. He is a man of His Word and eagerly awaits the opportunity to reveal Himself in amazing ways.  The only thing He asks in return is that we believe...and WE did...and we continue to! 
Thank you Jesus for the gift of faith. Thank you for this call to missions which leaves me so helplessly dependent on You!  Thank you for sending your Spirit in power and allowing us to see even a glimpse of Your goodness!  Please remove from me any bit of doubt that remains in my heart, that I may be an empty vessel through which you can work each and every day!

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