Our journey

Day 9 – Trial Number One

Well, I don’t get much work done today. Two team members are still ill with stomach bugs, and another comes down with a high fever, chills and stomach pains while on the site. To rule out malaria, James recommends we visit a local hospital for blood tests. We make the long drive back into town, and I pray hard for a miracle – a quick recovery, a false alarm – anything.

The clinic is not what I expect. I guess that, in my mind, a third-world hospital is a place teeming with disease, dust and outdated equipment. I am actually impressed with the cleanliness, order and quick response of the team at the clinic. The best part? The whole trip takes one hour. In the states, such a visit could literally take all day. Thankfully, test results determine that it is not malaria, but rather, a bad reaction to a stomach bacteria, which seems like a pretty common ailment among my team.

Not being on site with them was difficult. Apparently, I missed out on the opportunity to meet Stephen’s entire family. They came to visit, dressed in their Sunday best, to take photos with those who stayed behind. I also hear a rumor that the wall is now three brick layers high. I can’t help but feel slightly envious.

I wish there was more to write, and that I had photos to share, but today is one that has been testing my resolve. I think that we are all feeling strained in some way, whether by weariness, homesickness or a little of both. At the dinner table, we are comforted James, who quietly tells us he is leaving tomorrow. His goodbye is quiet, but the words are powerful:

“You’ve made a footprint of love in our hearts that cannot be erased.”

He then reads Jeremiah 18:4: “And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.”

James reminds us all that we are just vessels of God’s love. We are meant to deliver that love to the world. And even when we are marred by mistakes, circumstances or pain, we aren’t beyond hope. God simply reshapes us into something stronger and asks us to try again.

In the dim dining room, between bits of chapati, I reflect on the truth behind James’ words. Today, I had to come face to face with fear and doubt. My team member experienced that same fear and doubt. But God was there, even in the midst of trial. He is still the potter. He holds us in His hands, molding us into something better, something that will endure. I can’t help but wonder what God is preparing me to do next.

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