I never thought I would. Memories of lying flat on my back for five days was difficult enough. Why would I want to take the chance again? International travel seemed out of the question for me. I had tripped and fallen on the broken terrain in a village I love. LaCeiba, Honduras. It was June 18, 2012. Our third time in this developing country. The memories of a leer jet sent to medivac me out of Central America still were fresh in my mind. Even more, the pain of a broken hip, surgery and rehab all left me weak and uncertain I’d ever return to the place it all began.
But the opportunity came just ten months later. The prospect of being part of another team returning to Honduras was both at the same time frightening and thrilling. Something was tugging at my heart. Probably the little girls who saw me crying out in pain that day. Or the bus driver whose tears spoke concern he couldn’t express in words. Or the workers who prayed. Or the woman who never left my side. And the doctor who fought to get me back home. I just had to see them again.
And maybe, just maybe, they needed to see me, too. Upright. Whole. Declaring God’s goodness.
So on April 23, 2013, I returned to the exact spot that changed my life forever.
A titanium hip reminds me I’m not what I used to be. There are things that are more difficult now. Bouncing out of bed for early morning walks; exercising at the gym; running after a ball with my grandkids; or getting through security at the airport. All that changed in a moment of time. Yet in reality, much good came from it.
“And God works for the good of those who love Him
and are called to His purposes.”
The Lord has been teaching me a deeper dependency on Him through it all. He wants me to trust Him more. Not complain. Not criticize. But trust that He is for me, no matter what.
As I stepped into the child development center a few weeks ago, Nolvia rushed toward me. This was the Honduran lady who ran to get her doctor, never left my side, prayed over me, and sang in Spanish as they injected me with morphine to ease my pain. Her presence brought God closer to me. She was His hands and feet. A type of comforter in my time of need. We hugged for a long time, crying in each other’s arms. I wanted to somehow thank her, to move my gratitude through the language barrier. She said it was enough to see me energetic and well again. But I just happened to have found a Spanish version of Jesus Calling. She told me she had been wanting that specific devotional for a long time but had no way to buy it. It thrilled me to give back a little for all she had done for me.
As I opened the door to Dr. Majia’s clinic, I was delighted to see him still serving the needs of the community. His hyperbaric chamber still planted next to the familiar examining table where he determined something was seriously wrong with my leg. I’ll never forget his white coat that made him look like an angel sent from God to rescue me. He became my advocate on earth. Fighting for my well bring, staying up to the wee hours of the morning with our insurance company, and speaking hope into my ears. Now reunited with me and my family, there were hugs, tears, conversation, and prayers for his well being. We learned how difficult his circumstances had become. Now he was the focus. His welfare overtook any concerns for me now. We want to give back. And we have a sense that there’s more God has planned in our relationship with Dr. Majia.
“The wind goes about touching all things, and then returns full circle.”
One of our team members looked at me in Dr. Majia’s office and declared, “You have come full circle.” A profound statement that made me stop and think! It reminded me of the story in Joshua 5 where Israel’s wandering is over and they are safely in the Promised Land. That was exactly how I felt. I had returned to a place of pain because of love. The love of God. The love of ministry. The love of relationships. It was my Gilgal, so to speak. A place where reproach and humiliation was forgotten. Love restored.
Something happened to me this time around. I am more in love with the people of Honduras than ever before. Pictures tug at my heart. I can’t wait to go back…again.
The workers and children and projects are deeper in my heart now. God is still bringing beautiful things out of a broken hip. Only He can do that.
Is there a place in your life you need to come full circle? Return to your Gilgal? Overcome reproach and humiliation? It might be scary, but it’s good to remember, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” And God will be right beside you all the way.