Where we were headed demands at least one hour on this road. There are a few places on earth that I've said they would be the last place on earth where I would enjoying living. But, yesterday, every place along this road floated to the top of the list.
To make it even more dismal, my body felt lousy. It ached just about every where it could ache. My head was so painful that I looked for a shady place to sleep upon arrival. But, the stomach cramps frustrated that ambition. Not to worry. I was with a medical team from the state of Oklahoma. They would fix me right up. But, despite their best efforts, survival became my daylong aspiration.
All of that self awareness disappeared when Dr. Klinger found me and said, "We've got a problem." Suddenly unaware of my personal condition, I was anxious to join him in a solution. He told me, "We have an 80 year old woman here with in-stage severe pulmonary disease." Then he put it in terms clearly understandable to me. "She is dying."
|Ruth shows me her concern before seeing the doctor|
That was a several years ago and he is now here leading his fifth medical team in dispensing hope with medical diagnosis and treatment to many neglected Africans. Yesterday Ruth was one of them.
|Dr. Klinger helps me explain the "bad news"|
Though not a medical person myself, I suspect that there are occasions when it is obvious that the condition of the patient is in the process of dying. Though I believe we are all physically terminal, I suspect that if we live by degrees then perhaps we normally die by degrees as well.
|Peter, Ruth, & I share joy when she gives her life to Christ|
That was the "bad news." I shared with Ruth that everyone is going to die. Our bodies wear out. We get diseases they can't fight. We are killed in accidents and acts of war.
|Barbara, one of our nurses, also welcomes Ruth|
to the Eternal Family of God
I explained, in simple terms, that those who give their lives to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, are given life beyond the death of their physical bodies. I paused. Ruth was thinking. Then, in her mother tongue, she told my interpreter, Peter, "If you will show me how to give my life to Jesus I would like to do that."
Yes, God is in the small African village Where the Dogs Turn Around. And, He is now in the life, but decaying body, of my new sister Ruth.
Before we saw the next patient, we gave rice, beans, salt, and sugar to our new family member, along with some money to help her with financial expenses. She was not expecting any of this. She came to get physical relief. But, she got so much more. We hooked her up with some local leaders who will keep us informed of her condition and her needs.
There is nothing like sharing Christ with someone whom God has prepared to take a person's mind off of dusty roads and aching bodies. They evaporate in comparison.