All Other Ground is Sinking Sand

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Rainy season is upon us.

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When you move from one country to another, you expect changes.  What we had not planned for were the significant changes that have taken place here at the hospital since our arrival in Liberia.  These changes have caused us to be much busier than we had imagined possible, but they have also caused us to cling more closely to our solid Rock who we are confident was not surprised or caught off guard by any of these changes or challenges.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

A little over a month after our arrival, ELWA’s surgeon (and briefly my very capable surgical mentor) Dr. Jerry Brown was recruited by the new Liberian government to lead the administration at the main government hospital to facilitate revitalization and advancement there.  It truly is an honor and very revealing of Dr. Brown’s character and capabilities that he was recruited for the job.  I am thrilled that a Godly man who cares deeply about patients and who has a strong medical and surgical background has been placed into a position of authority to help bring about positive change in the health sector of Liberia.  Please join with me in praying for Dr. Brown as he deals with day to day management issues and pursues long term goals to help make this facility a quality referral hospital for the country of Liberia.

When darkness veils His lovely face,

I rest on His unchanging grace;

In every high and stormy gale,

My anchor holds within the veil.

The direct implication of Dr. Brown’s leaving ELWA was that I was left as the only surgeon here, and a baby American surgeon at that.  Living near the ocean where the path I walk to the hospital each day is sand, and now entering into rainy season, I am regularly experiencing obvious examples of sinking sand. Frankly, after only a month I was both overwhelmed and exhausted.  Being stretched professionally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually began to make me sink.  But what a powerful place we find ourselves in when we have finally come to the end of ourselves.  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).  After laying down my pride and having my team mates here in Liberia join with us in fervent prayer, ELWA was able to locate and hire a young Liberian surgeon who has helped to ease the workload, both physically and intellectually, and with whom I can alternate call.

His oath, His covenant, His blood

Support me in the whelming flood;

When all around my soul gives way,

He then is all my hope and stay.

During all of this, Nathan and I have felt very supported by our two organizations, Samaritan’s Purse and SIM.  They have been seeking for the best long-term solution for us and have been generous to work with us to allow us to stay here in Liberia in spite of the less-than-ideal circumstances.  Both organizations have been praying with us and working diligently to try to secure a long-term surgeon for the hospital and mentor for both myself and my Liberian colleague.  While a permanent surgeon has not yet been located, it has been wonderful to watch as God provides, in His timing, for coverage and mentorship through multiple short-term surgeons, the first of whom is here with us currently and has been a huge blessing.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

What has been the most significant encouragement for me over the past four months has been God’s clearly apparent leading and guiding.  “I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” (Psalms 16:8).  What a joy to proclaim out loud to my patients that God is the great Physician and the only one who can heal, to pray with them before and after surgery, to feel His presence with me literally at my right hand guiding me surgically through case after case.  There are so many stories of God’s faithfulness and His healing power… stay tuned for a soon-to-follow blog post highlighting a few of these examples of God’s provision as well as another with more details of day-to-day life and Nathan’s happenings.

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Author’s Note: Please ignore Nathan’s finger in this photo. We’re going to give him a pass. Shortly after this photo was taken, a very large wave literally knocked me off this rock and during Nathan’s rescue efforts, both of our phones were lost at sea. Ok, well, they were irreperably damaged. Also, it should be noted that Nathan told me not to climb onto this rock, that the waves crashing over it were too strong. As usual, I should have listened.

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “All Other Ground is Sinking Sand

  1. Thank you for sharing your hearts with us. We continually pray that Jesus is guiding you daily, moment by moment. We are His hands and feet on this earth, and you two are literally serving as His hands and feet at ELWA. We know that you both are tremendous blessings to all that you meet and serve. Stay on the ROCK!

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  2. Nathan and Amy,

    Thanks for another informative update. I’m so glad SIM and SP have been able to find you some short-term help and I pray there will be many more coming as they seek a permanent solution. I’m sure the days are long and the stress high but I pray you remember to keep your eyes on the One who has promised to be your strength when you are weak and your wisdom when you have none.

    Thanks, Nathan, for being the rock for Amy. Supporting her is probably your most important role these days. I hope you do not see it as “too little”. It is so important!

    I will continue to keep my eyes and ears open for anyone who might be interested in serving in Liberia. I’d love to be able to help in that way. Please ask if there is something I might be able to do for you.

    Praying,
    Susan

    Susan A. Carter
    Director Center for Medical Missions
    Christian Medical & Dental Associations
    P. O. Box 7500
    Bristol, TN 37621
    423.844.1076
    susan.carter@cmda.org
    http://www.cmda.org/cmm

    This message is intended only for the use of the individuals to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have received this transmission in error; any review, dissemination, distribution or copying of this transmission is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by reply e-mail and delete this message and all of its attachments.

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  3. Amy you are such a blessing and encouragement to me both personally and spiritually. Loved hearing from you and how God continues to use you, bless you and shape you. I love you so much and miss you too! And one more thing… listen to your husband girl!!

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