The start of a new year normally comes with expectations, hopes, and goals.
I came to the Philippines with few expectations. I do not know how my time here will support ministry and life in Haiti later.
Everyone asks, “What will you do next with the skills you learn? You still won’t be a certified midwife.”
The question is always a hard one because I don’t know all the ways God will work through this.
I dream of developing a team –focused on teaching health topics, prevention, and modeling– that will run a local clinic in Boyer. I desire to walk with pregnant women until their hospital birth and after. So many babies are born prematurely. Malnutrition is rampant because of ignorance.
I came here (to the Philippines) with an open mind and a heart, ready to learn and grow into all the Lord has in store for me. I came trusting that each day is with purpose. Sometimes there is a pressure to have all the answers, to have a plan. Yet, in my journey thus far, the Lord has not once shown me the future before it comes. There has been much stepping out in faith. Many unknowns. I comforted by the fact that I don’t have to know. In following Him I will never be led astray.
I am 59 days in and it is crazy how the time has flown! I am sleep-deprived, knowledge-drowned, and skills-equipped. I have already advanced far beyond those first days and the learning never stops. There is so much to know!
I am in awe of the intelligence of our Maker who formed something so complicated and amazing as birth. Each one is unique and invigorating. What I see takes my breath away. The science behind it all makes my head spin. Only God could design such a process to work perfectly!
I have seven shifts a week at Mercy Maternity clinic. Every Thursday I travel to an impoverished community of Muslims and sea gypsies on the coast for an outreach clinic. I sporadically visit transported patients at the local hospital, sit in on classes, and work on optional assignments. I am getting into the flow of my schedule and making the most of these months. Slowly, I can do more care for prenatal and postpartum patients. I report to the supervisor and only pull her in if there is a problem. The language barrier is hard. Slowly the sentences come. They are drowned out by Creole always on my brain and the tip of my tongue. I pray my communication will be understood supernaturally where I lack the words.
A phrase on my heart this month (and even more this past week) is: “Peace does not dwell in the outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands.” (Elisabeth Elliot) Peace. Peace when my body is begging for another hour of sleep but I have a shift in 5 minutes. Peace when the tasks are piling up and it seems I will never get ahead. Peace when I have to bring a patient, who I sat beside for hours in labor, to the hospital because of a complication and she is scared to death. Peace when community living is hard and humility in the midst of it is harder. Peace when I just want to hear my fiance’s voice but it is 2 A.M. in Haiti and he doesn’t have internet anyway. Peace in every circumstance.
Over and over these verses come to mind and meditating on them dispels frustration and worry.
The Lord gives strength to his people, the LORD blesses his people with peace.Psalm 29:1
You will keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You.Isaiah 26:3
Peace is defined as a restfulness. For the Christian, calm assurance is possible in the most difficult of seasons because true peace dwells only in resting in the One who holds all things in His hands. I want to do this better.
Relationships with local midwives have been sweet. They take me under their wings and patiently teach me what I need to know. They often have greater confidence in me than I have in myself and always push me to go beyond my comfort zone. I am grateful. Over snacks and coke, they ask me about my life, my family, my plans, and the country and people who have my heart. In those moments I feel I can get through this, one day at a time. Because though it’s hard to be away from my people for this time, it is for them that I am here, it pushes me to continue.