Monday, October 31, 2016

God’s Own Fool.

Getting my equivalencia (aka: my midwifery degree recognized in Mozambique) has been a journey --a long and difficult journey. One that I hope never to have to do again!

I started the process in October of 2013. For several years, the powers that be kept misplacing, ignoring, and ultimately passing my application around until it was looked at and pondered by just about everyone in the great city of Maputo.

It didn’t help that in the process of shuffling my application about and wasting so much time, that it got lost. Again and again. I had to re-submit my application four times.

Yes, four.

Nor did it seem to phase my would-be torturers that it was taking so long.

The fact of the matter was that they just didn’t know what to do with me or my degree. They didn’t want to deny me straight out (which of course is a good thing) but they couldn’t figure out what to approve me as. Was I a doctor? No. Was I a nurse? Not exactly. My degrees said I was more qualified than their nurses. I had specialty knowledge that gave me special privileges. If the closest thing was to call me a nurse... then what level of nurse would they make me? These questions and many more where their daily confusion...

... and my daily trial.

Meanwhile the coming and going, the constant (and ridiculously difficult) following up I had to do, was taking its toll. I couldn’t imagine taking another (horrendous) bus to Maputo only to find out that they were still doing nothing but losing my files. I was ready to give up.

It had been over two years by this point.

After yet another fruitless and exhausting trop to Maputo, I told a Mozambican friend that I was giving up. He lives in Maputo and understood the system. He told me it was too early to give up and encouraged me to hold on. I reminded him of all the crazy hoops I’d had to jump through and complained that I was unable to jump through another. He reminded me that giving up was not the same thing as a closed door.

I agreed with a sigh.

But then he did something even better. He offered to beat on the government doors, then he proceeded to do just that. As I bused my way back to Maforga, he went weekly and sometimes daily to chase after a response. He made himself known and liked. He pushed and pushed, smiled when he wanted to wring necks, and basically played the system.

Every now and again, he’d call me to say that it could be done MUCH faster if I’d just concede to paying a bribe. Tempting though it was at times, I’d remind him that I would not pay a bribe of any kind. If God didn’t want me here in the country, then He’d shut the door.

Another year went by.

But this year was different; things moved. After our first sign of progress, I was disheartened to learn that the powers-that-be decided to tentatively approve my degree. But before they’d put the final stamp of approval, I had to take a practical exam.

My stomach dropped at the very idea.

The exam had to be scheduled through a medical university in Maputo. I’d have eight or nine practical skills to complete and each skill would be evaluated and graded by a different teacher.

Bile rose in my throat.

Plus, the exam was going to be in Portuguese.


To say that I was nervous would be an understatement. To say that I was terrified of failing and having all this effort wasted... would be closer to the truth.

I was a ball of tightly wound nerves and could find no peace.

Plus, the topics they suggested I study were very difficult to wrap my brain around. They were things I knew well but the things that they emphasized as important were odd (i.e. I could fail if I didn’t palpate in a clockwise rotation or greet the patient/mannequin by their last name and title). Basically, they could fail me over the smallest infraction.

Finding time to study was a challenge as well. Mind you, the clinic had just opened and I was needed on every side to juggle the chaos.

Time rolled on and eventually, my exam date neared. I had to go whether I was ready or not. And let me just say this right now... I did not feel ready. Not one bit!

I showed up for my exam on the day scheduled only to learn that the main teacher had forgotten to arrange my exam. They asked me to come back the following day.

My nerves continued to fray.

The Lord kept trying to encourage me but no matter how hard I tried, I felt no peace. I’d vacillate from faith to fear, to joy then despair. It was probably very difficult to watch. It was much more difficult to experience, let me tell you!

I’m not proud of this... but most of my fears were bound up in pride. What if I failed? I’d have to leave and would never be able to teach nurse-midwives from the villages, nor deliver babies on my own. I worried and worried. What if all I had done up to this point had been wasted and for naught?

I was physically sick at the thought.

To understand what comes next I need to explain two things. First, I am NOT a nervous test taker. I cannot remember the last time I worried over a test, other than this one. Second, among the Mozambican educational system, there appears to be a significant hierarchal structure. Students are expected to never question what they are taught and show intense deferential respect to their teachers.

On the day of my exam, I didn’t recognize myself. My fears of failure brought on a severe case of the nerves, which brought on massive doubt, which left me looking like an insecure, incompetent fool.

I was physically trembling.

My examiners tried to put me at ease and I tried to be at ease. But then the stop clocks came out.

What? I would be timed on this? What on earth for? Who completes a baby exam in less than ten minutes while still somehow teaching the mother on best care methods?

Every exam module I passed proved to increase my sense of impending doom. After each test, all I could think of was what I had forgotten to do or rushed to do too quickly in a desperate attempt to finish ‘on time’.

By the time I finished my fourth procedure, one of the nurses suggested I take a break. I was sweating bullets, trembling, and forgetting silly things. But I refused to take a break, focusing on finishing at all costs.

After the following exam module (a neonatal resuscitation) was a massacre of hurried motions and baffling non-starts, they finally insisted I go outside for a breath of fresh air.

I was a mess.

I was drenched in sweat, and breathing hard. I cannot remember the last time I was such a chaotic mess. What was happening to me?

I prayed and asked God for help. But nothing changed. No peace came. All I could think about was how I was fouling this up big time.

Five minutes passed and I returned to the exam room.

It got worse.

Seriously, where was my brain?

I kept forgetting things that made no sense. Why didn’t I lift that mannequin's legs? She was obviously in shock! What on earth was I doing trying to fill the indwelling catheter with the needle and not the syringe? Seriously, I was losing it.

By the time two more skills had been completed, I was convinced without a shadow of a doubt that I had failed. I finished the last few skills exams in utter despair.

I’d failed. I’d let myself down. But more importantly, I’d let God down.

The examiners asked me to wait outside while they compared my scores. It was a sad ten minutes. I wallowed in despair and doubt.

Had I been in their shoes, there is NO way I would have passed me. None.

When they called me in, they first asked me how I felt I did. I was honest. I told them, I was very nervous and that I think I failed. I didn’t make any excuses but confessed I could not understand why I was so nervous.

Then they went around the room and told me how they thought I did. Some of the teachers were less than impressed but could see that I had skills. Over and over they remarked on how nervous I was and wondered at it.

Finally, the main examiner said, “We know that you did not learn your skills on mannequins like we do here. But we can see that you know what you are doing. Congratulations, you passed!”

The shock I felt at those words cannot be expressed in words.

“What? Really? I’m a Mozambican midwife now?”, I stuttered.

“Yes. You are. Congratulations!” She added, bright with excitement for me.

Smiling ear to ear, I repeated in shock, “I’m one of you? I’m a Mozambican midwife? Really?”

They all smiled and nodded. Happy laughter filled the room.

We continued to laugh, I took photos, and a few of my examiners filtered out of the room. I stayed in stunned joy. God had done a miracle. They had had grace towards me. They could have rejected me, but didn’t. Praise Him!

Before I left, the head examiner asked for all my contact details. She wanted to stay in touch in case I ever wanted a job.

A job?

I laughed at the thought. How could such a poor showing end in a job offer? But she was serious. She said she liked that I spoke Portuguese so well (a huge shocker!) and that she could see I had lots to offer other students in the program.

I thanked her and told her I had my hands full at the moment with the clinic. But the offer was kind. Very kind. 

I left that day in awe of God’s graciousness. I left in absolute wonder. And as I shared with my friends later on they rejoiced with me.

More than once, however, the enemy tried to convince me that I passed because I’m just so smart and capable. Pride tried to sneak in again and again. When these thoughts surfaced, I would stop them and seriously remember just how miserably I did. 

No! There is NO way that my skills, my talent, or my studying made one iota of difference in this miracle.

No. God did this. He alone gets all the glory!

When I shared what happened with some seasoned expats, one pointed out something I had not considered. She remarked that my nervousness no doubt put them in a position of power.

Confused by her statement, I asked her to explain.

She pointed out that my nervousness was a good thing because it put them in the position to be gracious and gain honor. Granting me mercy (by passing me despite my many mistakes) made them look good and brought them honor. She also suggested that had I come in there with confidence and proud expectation, they could have very well reacted quite differently.

I think she might be on to something. 

Now when I look back, I see the Lord’s hand so much clearer. It explains why His peace never came. He needed me nervous.

In such a shame based culture, I think He decided to make the nervous things of the world, to confound the confident.

Whatever the reason or plan, I praise Him.

Once again, I’m reminded how He uses foolish, flawed, and faithless vessels to do the miraculous.

Happy Addendum:

A few months later when my official equivalencia diploma was mailed out, I got another surprise.

Instead of making me a nurse, they made me a physician’s assistant. By so doing, they have given me more flexibility in running the clinic and more freedom to teach in the future.

I didn’t ask for it, nor did I even know that such a thing could happen.

When God does a thing, He does it well!

Ultra Blessings!

The first year I arrived in Mozambique, I met a missions-minded South African man named Danie. He was visiting Maforga after many years, and worked for a company called Siemens.

For those that don’t know, Siemens makes specialized machines. And Danie happened to work for the medical equipment department of Siemens.

During a conversation one day, I mentioned my desire to get an ultrasound machine for the prenatal program. Danie told me that they had machines turned in form time to time that might be donated. He said he’d look into it for us, and we agreed to stay in contact.

A year or more went by and no eligible machines came through. But I didn’t worry since the clinic was having troubles opening.

But then early this year, I got an email from Danie. He told me that he had not one, but two machines for us.

It was great news and a happy answer to prayer, as the clinic was due to open in a matter of days.

Fast forward a few months (mid-April). The clinic was in full swing and the machines were ready to ship. Siemens (bless them!) decided to fly me to South Africa for a two day training on the machines. Plus, during that trip I would meet with the higher-ups who made such an excellent gift possible.

While we talked, I got to tell Siemens’ directors of the work we were doing at Maforga. One of the directors seemed keen to know more and more. However, busy as he was, we had to cut our time short.

Fast forward a bit more. Siemens requested that both machines were too much for our small clinic. They wanted us to find a place to donate the second machine.

When I prayed, God reminded me of the university in Beira I volunteered at the previous year. I contact a doctor I had worked with there and he instantly agreed another ultrasound machine would be a huge blessing to their department.

Things kept moving forward in a beautiful way.

When word got out that Siemens was donation the machines, a partner of theirs in Maputo offered to facilitate the importation and pay for all the custom fees!

We were over the top thrilled!

Then even DHL got on board by agreeing to cover all the shipping costs!

I’m thrilled and in awe at how God is making these machines available to us. He’s amazing!

Although it took almost six months, the machines arrived a few weeks ago.

Before we plugged them in though, we got two new exciting pieces of news. First, those who arranged it all wanted to come see us in person. They are arranging a visit in a few weeks time. We are planning a ribbon cutting and promotional photo shoot while they are here.

Moreover, those that helped with importing the machines will join us, as will the man who prayed and patiently worked to make this a reality, Danie.

God is so good!

I’m excited for the countdown to the ribbon cutting.

Please pray over all the details that have to converge for the re-opening to occur and for the donors to come mid-November. 

Also during that same week, the doctor from the university in Beira will be coming out to do intense training on the machines. We’ll be inviting women from the community to come in for free ultrasounds.

I can’t wait!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

He Gives and Takes Away.

What I have to share now is hard. This is my sixth attempt at a beginning and it still sticks in my throat. I have attempted to dress it up with pretty little half-truths and a lot of chistianese but each time God forbade me to print it. Who knows, perhaps this too will find it’s way to my virtual trash can.

If so, praise Him!

Either way... I am going to attempt once again.

To those in my life who doubt, let me set the record straight. I desire a husband. I desire children. I have for decades. I thought for sure by now, God would have married me off. But the older I get, the less optimistic I become.

Plus, I’m tired of the open rebukes and glossed-over platitudes.

I’m tired of my married friends hinting that I don’t have enough faith, patience or spirituality and if I would only be more of this or less of that then God would bless me. I cannot help but roll my eyes when (some of) my family members jest that I must be a lesbian. Honestly, when did celibacy become so unnatural? I argue with those would-be-encouragers who insist it MUST happen because God promised to give me the desires of my heart. Since I desire it, God HAS TO do it. Right?


The Bible also says that my heart is desperately wicked. What if I desire something that is wrong, wicked, ill-timed, or going to destroy me? Would a good God grant me those desires too?

But more to the point, does this passage really say that God HAS TO give me a family just because I desire it? No. I don’t believe it does.

Nevertheless, I do desire these things. God knows this and yet keeps me single and childless. He must have His reasons.

Meanwhile I continue to ride the emotional rollercoaster of envy, bitterness, heartbreak, and longing. I’m not some super-human, spiritual giant who somehow lives unaffected by longings. I don’t possess the ‘gift of singleness’. And the older I get, the more I weep at the possibility of barrenness.

This. This is the hard that I have to share with you today.


Well, it is front and center to the breaking and crushing that the Lord has being doing in me this year.

I’ve already shared with you what God has been showing me through the giving and taking away of the clinic. In fact, when I take a closer look -- a more honest look-- it was me that grasped for and took it. I didn’t wait for the Lord to give it.

I was wrong. I sinned.

Lord, forgive me!

This same grasping for and taking way happened with a would-be child, and a would-be husband.

Let me explain.

A year ago, I took in an abandoned newborn. When I first saw him, my heart leapt within me. I wanted him as my own and I rejoiced to hold him in my arms. I had been waiting for a true orphan (meaning a child with no known living relative) to come to the orphanage to adopt. I desired a boy. He seemed like an answer to prayer.

Then I learned that he was to be given to another. But the couple was not sure yet. They didn’t want him if he was HIV positive and needed to meet him before they could decide. So my agony was prolonged.

I cannot tell you the story without weeping.

Long story short, he was taken from my arms and given to another.

The Lord gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

A few months later, a South African missionary reached out to me and started courting me. The relationship moved quickly and I found myself carried away. He seemed to be everything I was looking for, praying for. He seemed like a perfect fit and we started talking about marriage. I was excited.

But... then one day he disappeared.

I was confused. It stirred up insecurities and dashed hopes. What was worse is he refused to explain why. Later I learned that he was talking to several women at the same time and had chosen another.

What I thought was for me, was meant for another.


Blessed be the name of the Lord!

I don’t know why God decided that this would be the year to reveal the dark secrets of my heart. I don’t know why... nor do I have to. I’m not proud of the envies, jealousies  and anguished insecurities that surfaced through this process. But my prayer is that my heartache would not be wasted, that I would learn to wait more patiently, love more fully, and enjoy more completely the what-is instead of the what-ifs.

He gives and He takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016



When I look back at all the great gifts the Lord provided this year, the greatest gift by far is that of a fellow long-term laborer --Sheri.

For those who know her, she needs no introduction. You know how blessed I am and you might even be feeling a deep longing to see her again. Believe me, I get that!

To know Sheri is to love her. She is a prayer warrior and a confidant. She’s a faithful servant with a longing to glorify God. In the short time she has been here, she has encouraged me, prayed for me, and stood in the gap when I needed her most.

For those who don’t know her yet, she is a nurse from the States with a heart for the Lord. She specializes in wound care and is excellent at it. It’s beautiful to watch her work.

I love her. When you meet her, so will you.

And if you will... please pray for her.
  • Health: she has been bombarded with health issues since she arrived.
  • Language: she is struggling to learn the language and needs a breakthrough.
  • Supernatural Rest: she is burdened with the need and struggling to not break under the pressure of doing.
  • Transport: she bought a truck that needed some repairs. She needs transport soon.
  • Finances: I’m not sure where she is financially, in all honestly. But as I type this, the Lord is telling me to ask you to pray for her. May the floodgates of heaven open and shower mana from heaven.

And please pray for other long-term (and short-term) missionaries to join us in this work. Right now, I see the need for many workers. Please pray the Lord of the harvest to send more workers!

We need:
  • a general administrator or hospital administrator
  • nurses, nurse/midwives, midwives, doctors,  ultrasound technicians, pharmacists, etc.
  • builders, superintendents/foremen, construction managers, engineers, etc.
  • mechanics, handymen and women, general servant-hearted people, etc.
  • preachers, teachers, church planters, evangelists, etc.

Is it you? If so... please tell you pastors and then contact me. If not you... please pray for God to send more laborers into the harvest. Thanks.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pride and Impatience: Part Three

As promised, I’ll now tell you the end of the paperwork progress. Keep in mind though... that the process is on-going.

And the story picks up with...

When I discovered that we were missing so many documents and not registered with several important ministry departments, I panicked. This was serious! How had I gotten to this point?


Fortunately, my Christian business friends who understood the system agreed to walk me though the process. They assured me that it would take two weeks at most. It was a matter of stamps, signatures and such. No big thing.

So I told my workers and volunteers that they should take the month off and once we had what we needed, we’d call.

But two weeks turned into two months. Two months turned into four.

I’d bore you to tell you the number of hoops we’ve had to jump through and the number of obstacles we’ve had to scale. The biggest obstacle is a lack of imagination.

What we represent (a non-profit charity clinic) has no precedence in this region (and possibly country). They just cannot figure out what to do with us. Their forms don’t have a box to check and they are unwilling to pencil one in without a stamped signature from every department on file. If they had access to the Mozambican president himself, I’m sure our documents would have gone for his approval too.

Other major obstacles are cultural and linguistic. Let’s face it. My DNA clearly states that I’m of the feminine persuasion. African men struggle to see women as capable and equal --An unfair and possibly over-simplified exaggeration, but one that experience has taught me to be accurate.
It would appear that in Africa, explaining one’s actions to a woman seems counter-intuitive and frankly pushing the envelop too far.


Add to this, the (incredibly frustrating) cultural acceptance of lying and you might begin to understand some of the problems.

In short, the Mozambicans helping me refused to give me updates, explain processes, and bold-faced lied to me so many times I’ve lost count.

They failed to do their work for close to three months because (wait for it!)... I hadn’t proof read their work. Take that in for a minute. Two educated, adult administrative lawyer assistants could not submit the clinic documents because they needed a foreigner (aka: me) who has only been speaking their language for three years to proof read their documents. Does that make sense to any of you?

So once they had basically blamed me for all the delays, their boss got in their face for incompetence... and they finally did their own proof reading. I was told I only needed to show up the next morning for a signature. When I got there to sign it, however, I found so many spelling mistakes that it took another two hours to correct.

What an indictment on the educational system of this nation! How is it possible that I know how to spell better than these men? This must be a joke. A very sad joke.


Let me refocus a bit.

Almost five months have passed and I’m still waiting. I’m millimeters from completing this race and I’m no longer tired. God has given me an adrenaline push. I’m running rested. They keep moving the finish line but I don’t care. God has lifted me up on eagle’s wings. I’m running and I’m not weary.

Oh sure... I’m irritated at times but I’m not weary. This is the Lord’s doing and it is good. Very good.

I don’t know if we’ll actually get the papers back from Maputo. I’m actually passed the point of caring. If I can only accomplish a work here through corruption, then I will not stay. I’ll move on. Period.

I don’t know if the clinic will pass the last ministry of health inspection. If we do, excellent. If not, the Lord be magnified. This time will not have been wasted. He has done good things in me and shown me great and mighty things. The Lord be praised!

My prayer is that we will succeed. I know the Lord can do it. If it is His will, then let Him show Himself mighty on our behalf. I have done all that I can. I can do nothing more but wait and pray.

So I pray. And I wait.

If these lawyers are to be believed, they have approximately two weeks more of paperwork to file. Detail stuff mainly. And the last ministry of health inspection is due sometime this week. If we pass it, we have all we need to open again in November.

Please pray for God’s will to be done.


Pride and Impatience: Part Two

During the busy-ness of trying to run the clinic, help my new teammates settle and navigate the social labyrinth of Mozambican work culture, I also had two huge blessings: the ultrasound machines and my equivalencia exam.

Both of these blessings kept me running and deserve a blog post of their own. But what I will say now is that they required me to travel at an already exceedingly busy time.

Why was it so busy you ask? Well... the clinic was caring for roughly 50-100 patients a day. This was complicated by electric and water shortages. Staff was new and needed my attention. There were lots of cultural, educational, logistical question marks that had to be addressed. And it felt like... (whether this was true or not, I don’t know)... I was the only one who could do anything about it. Add to this the fact that I received two short-term teams at the same time and you might get an idea.

Some days I felt like I was walking on water. Other days I was clearly drowning. It was perhaps the busiest and most chaotic time of ministry I’ve yet to experience.

I will say that I am so grateful for the help God provided in the new volunteers (Amy B and Sheri G) and the Mozambican staff (M, J & P). Their tireless servant-heartedness is what really made the day to day miracles possible.

However, I’m not proud of where my heart was at this time. I had let busy-ness supersede intimacy with God and pushed obedience aside for expediency. Unsurprisingly, I was miserable.

Lord, forgive me!

Moreover, I was so busy I wasn’t soaking in the word of God. I was running on my own strength. And when that ran out I became a cranky, controlling mess. It was ugly. Very ugly.

Lord, please forgive me!

I share this with you because I value transparency. And who knows, perhaps this will serve as a warning to others. But I also share it as my open confession. Hidden and glossed over sin has a way of festering and coming out again and again. I want it exposed so I can heal and be made more like Him.

But I also share this to tell you where the Lord, Our Great Shepherd, has recently led me. It’s a place of intimacy, purity and rest such that I have never experienced before.

Getting to a place of intimacy required cutting many things out of my life. This freed me so I had the time to spend with Him. Some of these things were ‘good’ but still technically clutter. He is still cutting things away but I don’t mind... I love that I have more time with Him. Oh, how I want more of Him!

Getting to a place of purity required showing me areas of life that are/were hiding pet sins. Some of these sins are more obvious than others but all of them stumble me and others. All of them make it impossible to run the race of endurance. May He make me holy as He is holy!

Getting to a place of rest was perhaps the greatest surprise of all. It is absolutely supernatural. In fact... as I try to describe it, I’m at a loss for words. It’s so beautiful and so comprehensive that... it must be experienced to be understood. Words alone don’t help. I will say this, for me at least, it is the absence of rushing, anxiety, or despair. And it is good.

But what about the clinic? What about the paperwork? You ask. Fair questions. That too is a long-ish affair. It will have to wait until next time. I have so much to say... I’m going to take it slow and easy. And I’m going to try and share it in the order that it happened. Putting some stories in order won’t be possible but I’ll do my best.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Pride and Impatience: Part One

Some of you might know that we opened the clinic in March and ran a semi-organized affair for several months. Some of you might not know this fact since it was such a chaotic time, I barely mentioned any of these developments on social media.

For those of you who were left in the dark, here is a rough outline of what happened:

First, a lot of wonderful things finally started falling into place for us. By the middle of February, two American nurses had arrived. One who would work with us for three months, the other who would work indefinitely. Add to this the fact that we had finally found a wonderful, God-fearing, Mozambican nurse. Plus, my director kept telling me that the last little paperwork needed (the AVARA) was due to arrive any day. It seemed like it was finally time to open. I was eager... and it made sense that God would send help when help was needed. It must be time, right?


I confess. I was impatient. I made excuses to God that it must be time. Everyone was pressuring me to open, things looked like they were in alignment, and well... I’d only have to do one tiny little thing that was illegal in order to make it happen. He would forgive that right? It was just a little bit illegal. Plus... everyone does it here. God would understand, right?


What was I willing to compromise on? You ask. It was not bribes. Heavens no! It was a different kind of corruption --black market deals. I bought drugs stollen from government hospitals. I participated in the misappropriation of medications. Yeah. That. In my own (inexcusable and flimsy) defense, the first time I bought the medications I thought it was all legit. I was buying them from a licensed pharmacist. He was getting me them in large quantities for reasonable prices. It had to be legal, right?


My greatest regret, after realizing that the medications I was buying had been stolen, was to continue buying them. Oh sure, I had stopped purchasing them from that corrupt pharmacist, but I did allow my pride to push me into buying from street peddlers and pill pushers. Oh, God forgive me! I confess that my desire to ‘get it done’ started outweighing my desire to please God, trust Him, or walk in righteousness. How could I admit to everyone I was wrong to open the clinic so soon? That would be failure, right?


Mind you, during this time I was feeling very convicted by the Lord. Nevertheless, I made excuses. I justified that it would be silly to go backwards. Surely, it’s better I just keep going. I worried that I would fail my volunteers and workers if we closed. What would they do? I argued (foolishly) that everyone buys meds on the black market. It is just the way things are done here. But I didn’t believe my own lies. I tried to numb the conviction by saying that it was only temporary. The AVARA was due any day, and then I wouldn’t have to do it anymore. Right?


Although things looked good on the outside, I didn’t have any peace. I had other things though. I finally had approval from my strongest critics, who were sick of me waiting on the Lord to do it right. What they wanted were results. They saw my desire to do things legally as a useless complication and delay. More than once they told me that my failure to ‘just open it already’ was a lack of faith on my part. Although I strongly disagreed with them, I justified compromising in this way to please them and to get them off my back.

Lord, forgive me!

Three months into the process, God started speaking to me louder than before. If fact He started yelling. The warnings were so clear and repeated three times that I finally took notice. What He warned was that I had more than just one paper missing and that it would be a huge financial fee if I didn’t get them in order.

I confess this surprised me at first. Why? Well... I’d been in this country for 3 years. I’d gone to countless people for advice and counsel. Not one of them mentioned that I needed to do anything other than what I was doing. But God wouldn’t let me sleep. He took away my peace and He stirred in me action. So one day, I went to a group of business leaders and lawyers for advice. I showed them all my documents and asked them what they thought.

Long story short, instead of missing one document, I was missing nineteen. One missing document would result in a fine of several thousand dollars. I was in a fix. How had I gotten to this point?

Oh yeah... I remember now. It was my impatience, pride, and desire to please men rather than God.

The next day I laid off my workers, closed the clinic doors, and began doing all the proper paperwork for the clinic.


There is more to share. Tons in fact. But I’ll have to pick this story up at another time. This is just the tip of the ice burg.

Season of Silence.

To say I’ve been quiet this year would be an understatement. I’ve been more than quiet... I’ve been dead silent.


This year, in all honesty, has crushed me. Flat. This crushing has been so fresh, so gruesome, and so intense at times that the only way I knew how to keep going was to crawl into a hole and hide. But hiding... meant remaining silent. Silent, meant leaving you all in the dark with me. 

For that... I’m sorry.

This dark, self-inflicted exile made it impossible for many of you to pray accurately or fight this battle with me. I regret this mainly because there have been massive praise reports along the way that I failed to share. And you have not had the chance to be encouraged with me.

For that too... I’m sorry.

Honestly, there were times I had much to say but felt no freedom to share. It was as if I had been muzzled by the Lord. At other times, I remained silent because I no longer trusted what would come out of my mouth. Sometimes, however, it was sheer exhaustion or busy-ness that made finding the time impossible.

For that and so much more... I’m sorry.

But mostly, I’m sorry because I feel like my silence has somehow distanced us.

Please forgive me.

Oh my most faithful prayer warriors and my most passionate supporters, I have failed you. I have selfishly kept this dark, soul sucking hurt and frustration to myself. I didn’t feel like I could share it with you.

I am convinced (then and now) that much of what I have had to deal with was too gruesome and raw to share in anything but a whisper to God.

He had to teach me to pry open my bloodied grip and leave my hurts and pains at His feet. I wasn’t a pleasant lesson to learn. I struggle still.

Had I written... it would have come out in groanings and moanings -- a visceral cry of the broken hearted. The crushed.

Believe it or not, I was afraid.

Not of God, mind you! No. Never that! I was afraid of what you might think. I was terrified of misrepresenting God, stumbling others’ walks, and voicing my pain.

“Afraid? But... why?”, you ask.

How could I be afraid to speak the truth? How could I be afraid to share my life with those who love me?

A fair question.

Oh to those who see love on every side, you are blessed! May that never change! Would it shock you to know I’m not universally loved or appreciated. I have lots of eyes on me. Not all of them are kind or supportive. By sharing... I feared I would equip these would-be enemies with the very tools needed to destroy me.

Silly? Perhaps.

Perhaps not.

Despite this (or perhaps because of this) season of silence, my heart has been strengthened and I’ve finally found the courage to crawl out of this hole.

Like David, I sing “But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:5-6).

In the coming days and weeks, I hope to catch you all up on some of the victories and defeats of this year.

Be forewarned. I’m long passed the point of caring what others might think me. I’m ready to speak. Maybe it will come out as a whisper. Maybe it will be a roar. Either way, my prayer is that it would glorify my Lord.