Monday, January 11, 2016


At the end of last year (11 days ago) I felt as if the Lord said,  "Are you willing to get messy?"

The "messy" part did not mean, dirty per se but more like, "Are you willing to get involved in situations that make you uncomfortable?"   I had to pause and really think about that- after living here for 4 years we have seen a lot and have had more than our fair share of mishaps whether they be cultural mistakes or language blunders or being the only tall white North American in a group of 100 people.  Those situations can be uncomfortable - but again I felt that He was asking me for more.

I said yes, hesitantly, anticipating that situations would arise throughout the year - NOT anticipating that the first situation would arise within hours.

January 1 - I meet a young single mom, we'll call her "Jae" of a 2 year old. She is sobbing- having been told that she has inoperable brain cancer and will only live for 2 months.  Her father and step-mother had kicked her out of the house and currently she was living with a woman who told her that she needed to find a home for her son before she died and that she was no longer welcome to stay with her until she gave up her son.  How to best help? Praise the Lord for Quichua friends who are willing to help us truly understand the culture and how to proceed.  A place is secured for her and her son to stay in short term while we figure out what to do.

January 2 - It is all a lie. Jae picks up some of her test results only to discover that her family lied to her.  She does not have cancer at all.  The documents that she was shown were from a distant cousin who does have cancer. Why??  Some people say the family wanted to receive government assistance.  Truly we don't know.  We are just praising the Lord that she has more time on this earth to care for her son.  

January 4- Jae and her son are able to fly out to her birth village near the Peruvian border to live with her grandmother. After her departure we discover that she has stolen several things from the home she was staying in.  Messy.

January 4 - Driving to the orphanage with a friend and we meet a van coming towards us that suddenly swerves to the opposite side of the road and we see someone "fall" out the passenger side. Heart beating, I race over there and discover I know this couple.  The husband runs from the drivers side, picks up his wife who is bleeding and whose shoes have disappeared and places her in the passenger seat and tries to shut the door before I can check on her.  I grab her and hug her tight and whisper in her ear, " Do you need help?"  She refuses help - she tells me she is just tired and fell out of the car.   Today I saw her again, bandaged up and again I asked,  "Do you need help?"  She, again refuses.   Messy.

January 5- Our car is hit while it is parked.  No notes left on the windshield.  We have a 'friend" come to pick the car up to fix it.  He brings the car back 3 days later, fixed but tells us that the previous owner lied to us and that the car had been in a bad accident that was not reported and many things are not up to factory standard.  Our friend leaves and we discover that he put a couple hundred kilometers on the car and used all the fuel in the 3 days that he had it.  Messy.

January 8 - We are celebrating the schools 50th anniversary and return home at 10:30 pm to discover that a very intoxicated young man broke into our neighbors house (who were gone for the weekend). Eric and a neighbor pin him to the ground while we wait for the police to arrive.  The police can not do anything as he has not stolen anything but as is common around here - they hit and kick him. Sickening to watch and  Messy.

January 10 - An 8 year old girl from "my"orphanage dies.  I worked with her for the past 4 years. She has been sick for a long time from bacterial meningitis. She was tube fed, blind and unable to care for herself in any manner. The hospital recently decided to up her seizure medicine without consulting her neurologist. The dosage was doubled. After two weeks of taking double doses the neurologist discovered it. It was too much for her heart - it stopped.  The hospital blames the caretakers at the orphanage.  Messy.

So much pain in this world.  So many broken people.  So much blame. Only Jesus.

It is January 11 - I'm going to a Julianna's funeral in a few minutes.  A young girl with no family  involvement but who is now running and eating and seeing heaven. That is not messy - that is redemption.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Shift

So here we are, between the birthday of Jesus and a new year.  A new year always brings about questions for our family. "What should be our theme for 2016?"  (Respect)  "What changes will 2016 bring for our family?" (Our daughter will leave for college in the states) "What can we do to improve as a family?" (Yet unanswered)  "What is God calling us to do together and individually to make the most of our time here, in Ecuador and on earth?"  How can we better serve the local people and missionaries that we work with?"

Lots of questions- some have answers or partial answers and some don't.  Our job is to listen to the Lord's leading and be willing to change - that's that hard part.  So based on the last blog you may be asking what shifted or changed?   I would love to give you a very concise, direct answer but I don't have one.  Right now from all outside appearances our jobs are the same.  Yes, a couple of new opportunities have been added in, like volunteering a couple times per month to work with the teachers of the special needs school in a nearby town, but nothing completely outside of our previous scope.

Perhaps that is good as we know we need to  focus on these last few months with our daughter and anything outside the scope would distract us from that. As a parent we always wonder, "Is she ready?"  "Did we teach her enough?"  " Does she have the tools and know how to use the ones that she has?"   Those questions will be our focus over the next months.

While we are preparing her for what lies ahead we also will continue to prepare our hearts for what HE might be calling us to do or in some cases, not to do.  

So Happy New Year! 2016 awaits - what will you do with it?
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