Saturday, January 15, 2011
October began with a medical doctor and his wife, Nate and Amy (Hearn) Copeland, visiting us to do medical campaigns and preaching. We visited several of the nearby tribes, doing medical work and giving out the Good News. Also at this time a missionary from Lima, Evelyn Stone, came to do some fantastic,effective purity and abortion workshops in local public schools and universities. We also held our first baptisms for Grace Baptist Church in Puerto Maldonado.
However, the most noteworthy event occurred near the end of the month. The Friday before Thanksgiving, I came down with a fever and body aches, but decided the next day to go ahead on a planned day trip to a nearby tribe. It was a great day, with some decisions made, but it was torturous for me in my condition. When I arrived home I slept for almost 24 hours straight. After that, I took a short break, but continued sleeping for most of the following 3 days. Thankfully, we have a team in place, and they were able to continue the work during the illness.
I finally agreed to have a blood test on Tuesday, which means that I felt it was serious, because I hate needles! The results showed that I had Dengue fever, and that my platelets and white blood cells were very low.
That night our five-month old son, Isaiah, had a very high fever, and nothing could get it down. Loren took him to the ER, where they gave him some shots, and drew some blood, however they couldn’t really do much for him other than tell us that he too had Dengue fever.
Wednesday I was feeling worse, and they suspected that I had the hemorrhaging type of dengue. Isaiah was not doing any better either so we (or should I say Loren) had to decide what to do. Our friends, Jim and Sue, came over and helped convince us that we were definitely not going to get the best care there in the jungle, and really not even in Lima. During this time Loren had been in touch with the Embassy who informed her that if she needed to get anything done, it would have to be done on Wednesday at the latest, for they would be closed for Thanksgiving. We needed to hurry, as we had not yet gotten a USA passport for Isaiah.
We asked Jim to go check on flights, and see if there was anything still available. He found out to our great amazement that the last flight had been delayed because of the rain, and we would be able to make it if we hurried.
When we arrived at the airport, they were expecting us, and told us that if Isaiah was sick or had a fever he would not be able to fly. He seemed to be burning up, but miraculously their thermometer read 98.4 and they let us on the plane! They did not even check to see if I had a fever!
Loren had been in contact with some other missionaries, and providentially our friends, Jim and Becky Carlton, were able to pick us up from the Lima airport. They spent many hours shuttling us around and helping during the next few days.
Wednesday evening we checked in to the private hospital in Lima, which was a big step up from the facilities in our jungle town. They still were confused about our illness, thinking that I had something in addition to dengue fever, and recommended that we returned to the USA if possible. I can truly say that they helped me appreciate more the care we receive in our own country.
We contacted our mission board, Baptist World Mission, and they did everything possible to help us. Both our field director and the general director were out of the country, yet the staff took care of everything necessary to have us medi-vacced out of Peru and into Miami. They also paid our out of pocket deductible, and wouldn’t even let the insurance people bother Loren about money. We are sooooo thankful for these great people!
Thursday, Thanksgiving day, we were amazed at God’s goodness as the people at the embassy went out of their way to call us, and then actually come to the hospital to have me sign papers and give us Isaiah’s emergency passport.
Friday morning we were discharged in Lima only to rush to the airport, pass through all of the security and customs, and board the medical jet for the USA. The time for me on the jet was a blur, but I do remember that we stopped briefly in Panama for fuel and food. By this time Loren was showing symptoms of dengue fever.
There was an ambulance waiting for us in Miami. They strapped us down and loaded in everything in and then discovered that we were not the patients they were there to collect. Fortunately our ambulance quickly arrived, and was better equipped. We finally arrived Friday about 10pm to find my parents and Loren’s mom and sister there. We are so thankful to God for them, and for the churches that helped them come! Isaiah and I were both admitted to the ER, and then eventually to private rooms.
By the time we arrived in Miami Loren looked worse than I did. After staying strong for all those days she finally allowed herself to be checked by the hospital. They diagnosed her with Dengue fever as well! Three of our four family members became patients in the hospital!
We were in the hospital there for almost a week as they repeatedly drew blood, ran tests, and tried to treat us. Our platelet and white blood cell counts were so low that they thought we also had either hepatitis, malaria, typhoid or aids, yet God delivered us from this trial, and continues to heal our bodies.
The verses that come to mind are these: “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us: Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.” (II Corinthians 1:8-11)
We want to say “Thank You” for your prayers, and we want you to join us in thanking and praising God for the great deliverance that He wrought. Both of us recovered far more rapidly than people usually do with dengue fever. We can only attribute that to our wonderful God who answered the prayers of so many people. It was a very graphic lesson to us on the power of prayer and we are so thankful to those of you who have partnered with us in this way. It gives us confidence that, as you continue to pray for us and the people in Puerto Maldonado, God will be able to do a work in hearts that is far above all that we could ever ask or think.
Please continue praying with us about: reaching the unreached, a property for the church, construction of our home base, and an increase in our support.
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