It is so amazing to me how our plans can change on a day to day basis, or on an hour to hour basis, and yet it is perfectly alright with us! That is what happens when you lay your plans out before the Lord each day and ask Him to approve it or change it according to His will.
Thursday, January 2, DJ, our neighbor told us that he had met a man in MDG with terrible pain in his stomach. He told the man not to go to his own village because it is very far away, but to go to QuiyCo Village and BletJaw and I would go and check on him, taking him to the hospital if necessary. (He took it for granted that we would just drop everything and go)!
You cannot trust that you are getting a correct health report from these people. Sometimes the report you get makes you think it is not too bad, but when you arrive you find out it is a major emergency. Other times the report sounds drastically terrible, but when you get there you discover the patient is hardly sick at all. It would be nice to know this time, because it is a considerable journey, however, for the sick and needy, no effort in their behalf is too great. Let’s drop everything and go!
Friday morning early we drove one and a half hours to QuiyCo village. There we saw a very sick man indeed! He had experienced extreme pain over a large swollen area in RUQ for eight days. He said it hurt worse every day. He had a low grade fever and was vomiting. What puzzled me was that he had just been discharged from the Omkoi hospital just the day before. The medicine they had given him was only for gastritis. This was nothing like gastritis. Something had gone terribly wrong with his liver or gallbladder in the last 8 days. I suspected his gallbladder because the pain radiated to the back. This is very scary because with fever and vomiting and swelling like he had, it could rupture any second and then we would be in BIG trouble! I wished I had IV fluids with me, but I did not carry any.
The three hour trip to Meta hospital was very hard on this man, but in answer to prayer he made it. The doctor did an ultrasound and decided his gallbladder was infected. They will give IV antibiotics and try to reduce the infection before sending him to MaeSot hospital for surgery.
RETURN TO BYT DELAYED!
We spent that night and Sabbath at Sunshine Orchard, Sunday morning we were all ready to leave for BYT, when I found a very sick little eight year old girl from Burma. She was swollen all over her body. Her stomach was so swollen that the skin was shiny tight. Her face and eyes were all puffed up. Her urine output was very low. She had a dreadful cough and her lungs sounded horrible. She was tender over her kidneys. I suspected kidney failure due to infection because she had a fever. The worst thing about this poor little child was that she had been this way for one entire year! This is long enough to totally destroy her kidneys! Her Father was with her. He said he would do anything I told him to do, because he wanted his daughter to get well. I surely like to hear that! I took them to Meta hospital along with another patient that I found with a badly infected right foot. These patients were both admitted. I am thankful that God’s timing again allowed me to be here and take care of these two precious patients.
It is way too late to return to BYT today.
Monday morning early we set out for BYT at last. But as we are driving we hear a funny squeaking noise under the hood. It sounds a bit like a slipping fan belt, but not bad, only when the truck first starts up. We decide we will let a mechanic in Meta check it. Alas, he said that something is loose that holds the fan belt. It would be dangerous to drive it like that. They don’t have the part but will send for it in MaeSot. It will take 2 hours. OK. —Almost 4 hours later it is finished. Now it is too late to go to BYT that day!
Tuesday morning we set out early to go to BYT, but now we hear a strange noise under the hood again. What is that?! It sounds like a high pitched noise through a pipe. It is only a faint sound when you first start up. We are not sure if we should have it checked or not. One and a half hours drive to MaeSot is not what we want to do, – but – what if it gets worse way out in the isolated jungle, or looses power on a steep incline? Already it is sounding a bit louder. Better take it to MaeSot, the mechanics there are good and I trust them.
The head mechanic along with 4 other mechanics in Mae Sot told me that the noise is coming from the engine. A chain inside the engine slips. It is not an emergency, I can drive it. Later they will need to pull the engine out in order to check it. I can safely drive it up in the mountains today. Wow! Something in the engine slipping really sounds serious to me. How can something be slipping around inside the heart of your engine and it not be a huge problem? But they are the mechanics and I am really happy because we still have time to go to BYT that day! -At least we thought we did!
We discover we cannot take the shorter steeper way that we usually take because part of that is being paved and the road is closed! We knew this would happen soon, so BletJaw already had directions to take a longer alternate route, which we have never traveled before. As we turned onto the dirt road, three ladies at the bus stop asked if they could have a ride with us, they are going close to the same way we needed to go. This is providential, God’s timing again! Because now through hind site, I can tell you we could never have made it by following any hand written directions! Nothing on paper could possibly describe it! These ladies are riding in the back of the truck. They bang on the window to tell us which way to turn. I am glad BletJaw can remember the way for next time, because we are taking so many turns I am totally confused. We are turning onto smaller and smaller roads. Finally we find ourselves on an extremely narrow jungle path, the kind that you can expect to fizzle out at every turn.
Now my confidence in the 3 ladies is being shaken because they see a new road angling back to the left and think we should go that way. BletJaw has to use all his skill to turn that 3 point turn on a sharp corner. It is on a steep hill with a precipice on one side! It is a very tight squeeze! When we get a little ways down that road we discover that this is the driveway to a VERY strange man’s house! His name is YeaPaw. I have heard a lot about him. He is very popular around here. People listen to him and obey him. Don’t ask me why! He has 6 wives. One wife died almost a year ago and he said she would come back to life, so he did not bury her, but put her in a covered spot in the back of his house. (I see that spot now)! Later he brought her to another village, but the people there could not stand it because it smelled so bad. He puts up many little pretend leaf roof houses for the spirits. He has made up his own form of the Buddhist religion and his own language and letters. He has also done a few crimes, but gets by with it and remains popular with the people. On his driveway we feel quite strange and eery. We need to turn around, and get out of here quickly, but we cannot turn around, the road is just not wide enough. We have to drive right up through all the little leaf roof spirit houses to the main house and make a dangerous 4 point turn next to the cliff, but we made it.
Onward down the narrow road we go. It is dark now. At times there is a shear drop off on my side and a high cliff on the other side. As I look out my window I see that there is less than 12 inches of space from our wheels to the drop off! BletJaw says: “This is really a challenge!” I am wondering if anyone in our truck has the faintest clue as to where we are! We drive and we drive and we drive, on and on in the dark, one mountain after another. We are hungry and tired. We see lots of fresh elephant dung. We even hear a loud bellowing of an elephant at one point. It was very close by, but in the dark we could not see if he was chasing us or not! We know the wild elephants are still around and that they chase motorbikes and trucks. They don’t like any intruders! Night hawks are swooping and flying all around us. Bamboo shoots and tree branches scrape our truck on both sides. The road is so narrow that I pull the mirror in when passing some of the trees. The worst thing about all this is that the little faint noise in the engine that used to be only when starting up, is now a constant noise, getting louder and louder all the time. It has several different ominous tones to it – but we are supposed to believe it is not serious. Finally there is a loud banging on the back window. This is where the ladies get out. They say it is not far to the road going to the pagoda.
I don’t know how they can say, not far! It seems never ending. –And no, I don’t think even BletJaw can find his way on this road again, nor does he even want to! Now I am just trying to figure out what part of the pagoda road will we turn out on – if we ever turn out on it at all! But turn out on it we eventually did! I discovered we still had quite a long way to go to the short cut going to BYT,
I really do not know what time it was when I finally laid down to sleep that night, but one thing I am sure of: “My times are in His hands,” and I am so safe and so happy there in His hands!
“He has reasons for sending us to the place toward which our feet have been directed. At that very place there may be someone in need of the help we can give.” MH 473
“Christ in His life on earth made no plans for Himself. He accepted God’s plans for Him, and day by day the Father unfolded His plans. So should we depend upon God, that our lives may be the simple outworking of His will. As we commit our ways to Him, He will direct our steps.” MH 479