We are knee deep in Typhoon season, and have already managed to swim through about four major typhoons already, with our clinic getting badly flooded. The Philippines is getting ravaged more than usual this season with flooding, landslides, and subsequent disease outbreaks. We need continued prayer. And possibly some very tall rain boots.
It is days like this that I feel a little like a mediocre artist trying to find the colors in my dollar-store paint palette to capture the sunrise over the ocean, but I will get out my little paint-brush anyway and put on paper for you the colors of our life.
Some days these colors are soft and buttery, like a freshly painted nursery wall, awaiting the baby who will snuggle up under it's glow. The colors that make a slow smile spread across your face, and a sigh of peace settle deep in your spirit. Like the brand new baby daughter that came into our home and hearts and arms in early March.
Avea True added to our family new smiles, a sweetness that is pure and perfect, and even more love then we already had. She and her sister talk their own language and scheme about all the things they will do when they can run around together, and Julia promises to teach her all about things like writing on daddy's guitar with magic marker. Their laughter is the sweetest music in our lives, and the sound of it makes everything better.
Each new baby that is born in our maternity centers makes my heart light with prayers of gratitude for another life protected in a country where so many do not make it through their own birth. This week we have had four new babies born, and most of them involved complications with the mamas that could have quickly led to death if they had delivered in their homes rather than in our clinic where we could intervene. And they lived.
My life in the middle of the canvas, with streaks of paint and globs of color, all going somewhere to create the masterpiece, has threads of vibrant, verdant green telling stories of life and growth running through it.
We are seeing more of the faithfulness of God, more of His heart for restoration, and His incredible ability to take broken messed up things and make them new and beautiful. This year we have seen two more of our team/staff come to know Jesus, and had the honor of baptizing seven of them. Every morning, at both clinics, we have worship and Bible study. The growth and spiritual maturity that is happening in our staff is so beautiful! They are beginning to grasp God's heart for the broken in a deeper way, and initiate outreach projects like adopting a Mangyan village where they do health teachings, checkups, and feed children every Saturday. They are praying with boldness over all our patients, and seeing God do incredible things because of their faith.
Last month, two of our medical assistants were doing a house-call to nebulize an asthma patient while the doctor was away. The patient collapsed as they were arriving, stopped breathing, and became unconscious. They did what they could medically, but knew that he was seconds from death, and began praying for healing. As they prayed he began to stabilize and breath, and then sat up. In the fragile balance of life and death, our team is praying for life and healing and God is answering. Green shoots of life are springing up all around us.
At the very edge of the canvas, where the colors run together, there is black; the remnants of night that are being pushed back by the first streaks of dawn...
This week, for the second time in a matter of months, I hovered over the body of a small child, trying desperately to coax even a shred of life out of her. This time, she was a nine year old girl, Rialyn, carried to the clinic by her parents late in the evening. Deep purple marks cut into her neck: rope burns. She had been strangled to death.
Francis and I, and several of our staff worked feverishly and quickly, a unit of many hands working together-- chest compressions, ambu-bag with oxygen, Epinephrine, I.V.,....for forty-five minutes we tried. We prayed with agonizing, pleading whispers. Sweat dripped, and mixed with tears. We begged God to come and breathe life into this cold and broken body. And we prayed. And we tried. Try. That word-- blood boiling effort, giving all you possibly can, and knowing it will never be enough. Her heart never beat for us-- It lay still and silent in her chest. It will never beat here again.
The worst part of this is that she was stolen. Someone did this to her, and most likely someone very, very close to her. The police will not get involved.
I held that little girl's mother while she wept and screamed. My heart broken into little pieces, trying not to imagine her pain.
I choked back the bile in my throat. My eyes burned, and still do, with tears of horror, anger, grief, and fierce determination to fight for justice for these beautiful ones. Rialyn is the face of every innocent child who is broken, hurt, oppressed, battered.
God's heart bleeds millions of times more than mine at this horror...this I know. And this is why we are here. This is why we wear love on our sleeves and have surrendered ourselves to be spent on behalf of those who need to know real life, real love.
On days like these, when the colors of my life seem to be shades of black and blue, I wonder if my heart can bear to keep feeling like this. We walk home from the clinic, and I collapse into my husbands' strong arms. the tears drip from my nose and chin. I'm too tired to wipe them off. We crawl into bed and hug our sleeping babies tight and I whisper my love over them again.
Then I hear God doing the same to me. He does not stop feeling for His little ones, the ones He dreamed up and molded and fashioned and breathed life into. He does not look away, even when it hurts, even when His heart is crushed. He keeps loving, and somehow, someday, makes beauty out of the mess.
Some days are a bloody war, with bits of beauty and bliss mingled in. The messy middle of the canvas, before you can clearly make out what exactly the artist has in mind, well, that is when you trust the hand that holds the brush, because He is a master at His art.
Tonight a smile is curving my cheek, as I watch my little Julia, with one and half years of wisdom and beauty and funniness all packed into one tiny person, dance around the room during our team worship night. She has a fist full of balloon strings, each balloon bobbing around her in rhythm with her dancing, and her other hand is raised to the ceiling. She sings at the top of her lungs with abandon, her head thrown back, her legs moving as fast as they will go. She is free, she is ecstatic, and she is worshiping from a deep place. No one taught her that. I watch with awe, and ask Jesus to make me a little more like her.
Every day we see more patients, most of them are tribal, poor, and have heard that they can find care for their problems here. We are loving them with everything we have, and thanking God for bringing them to us. As the clinic gives free care to all of our poor and tribal patients, we are increasingly in need of funds to keep up with the medicines and supplies, and are using some of our personal family finances. We need help, and are asking you to consider giving so that we can continue giving. Above all, we thank you. Thank you for loving us, for getting on your knees for us, for being our family and holding us up. We are hoping and praying that when early October gets here, we will be on a plane making our way west to hug many of you, to visit for a short while, and tell you face to face the stories of what God is doing.
Our love to you, and grace and peace,
Francis, Leah, Julia, and Avea Daytec