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?

Wrong.

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?

Wrong.

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?

Wrong.

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?

Wrong.

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?

Wrong.

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.

Again.

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.