“Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters.” Isaiah 32:20
And yes it is all water today. Indeed, we are beside, and under and over and through water all day long.
You see it is rainy season. God has called me to stay in BYT this year instead of my usual trip to America. The days are long in BYT. Not many patients are coming to our door, maybe for 2 reasons – One, they might be afraid of COVID and school is closed down, but more likely the second, too much rain! It has just pelted down non-stop solid for weeks now, causing the bank to collapse behind our house etc! Actually it has been raining for 2 months already, but this is exceptionally fierce rain!
Yesterday we decided that we should travel to NyeLeeGwee village with our medicine the next day. But while I was cooking breakfast that day I had serious doubts about it. The rain was so heavy that as I gazed out the kitchen window, I couldn’t even see the fence line just behind our house. As we ate I told BletJhaw that I didn’t want to go to NLG today. He told me that it was my decision, whatever I say, that’s what we would do. Now I hate to be the one to call the shots, because it is him that takes the brunt of the battle when we travel in the rain. He is the driver, and that motorbike in this rain and mud is no piece of cake! It is exhausting labor to keep the bike upright, and NLG is far away!
I thought: “Maybe someone over there really needs us. Maybe we can have worship with someone over there, which will really plant a seed that will grow. Maybe God wants us to go.” I prayed about it. Just then there was a lull in the downpour. I kept praying about it while I packed up the baby syrups, and put the urine dipsticks, otto-scope, blood pressure equipment, stethoscope, and thermometer, in my backpack. I carefully wrapped my little black Bible in a plastic bag. BletJhaw noticed what I was doing and went to put gas in the motorbike, the chain on the back wheel, and a black trash bag around our rainbow bag of medicine. He wrapped plastic around his neck to cover his front, and another plastic trash bag around his neck to cover his back, I have a plastic raincoat that is torn, but good enough to cover over my backpack. We have never found good waterproof raincoats or pants in this country.
We knew we were in for trouble as soon as we descended our hill. The river was boiling and very high. Tree trunks were propelled under the old, rickety, half broken wooden bridge, which we have to cross over in order to go anywhere.
The pathway was covered with water, loose sand, and squirmy mud. Already we were in a fight to make any progress. I told BletJhaw that perhaps I made the wrong decision to go – because this was terrible, but he kept pushing forward. I had no choice but to hang on behind him, feeling the jolting, the jarring, the fishtailing, and the water hitting my face. We had about one and a half hours of this, but ended by fording a fast flowing stream, and walking up a couple of steep places, while watching BletJhaw spin and struggle to get the motorbike up.
It seems like everybody is happy to see us in NyeLeeGwee. We set up our clinic in a house that has a little more space inside to treat the patients. Several people had serious health problems including some of the children. All schools are closed down due to COVID, and the people were finished working in their rice gardens for the most part, so many patients came. We prayed with them. My heart longed to watch God reach down into each heart and wake them up to His love and His soon coming. These people are so ignorant, yet so easy to love!!
The lady fixes us rice noodles with pumpkin greens, and eggs, done village style. I can never eat as much rice as they try to feed me, but the lady is so very kind. We treat over 40 patients today, but finish up by hiking up the steep mountain where ShePaw lives with her 9 children. (The tenth baby died just a week after delivery 4 months ago). She Paw was delighted to see us. She hugged me for a very long time! This is not customary for these Karen people, so it meant a lot to me. Because she moved so far up the mountain we usually don’t have time to get up there. We treated the sick in her family, and visited the next house up the mountain. These people asked us to please have worship with them. This was music to my ears! I had my little black Bible and read John 15:4,5. Explaining what God meant by the vine and branches, just like their pumpkin vines cannot live if you cut off the vine from the main stalk. I pray they will be inspired to connect to Jesus in their lives and experience His presence.
ShePaw in the mean time had fixed us food to eat! You sometimes have to eat several times when you visit these kind people! I tried to get by with just a little of her eggs and DaBaDau, (Greens), they were very salty. That’s how they do it when they have a lot of children, to keep them from eating so much! We walked down the steep mountain and found several more patients to treat – A bad burn, and others who wanted my vitamin shots.
Our ride back home was even more notorious. It was a downpour all the way! The stream we had crossed coming in, was now twice the size and moving rapidly. I needed to wade across because we were not too sure if the motorbike could make it. The water was very deep and so fast that I slipped and caught myself on a rock. My boots filled with water and I was soaking wet from the waist down. BletJhaw made it safely across. The rain was blinding. At this point I didn’t worry whether we would wreck or not because everything was so tiring and dangerous, but we finally made it home. We were so wet and so cold for so long!
“Oh dear Lord,” I cried, as I laid myself down to sleep under my mosquito net, “We have sowed beside a lot of water today. I pray You can please wink at their ignorance, and please help the seeds to grow!”