Warning: You might want to grab a glass of tea. This is a long story.
In the life of believers, many times we face hardships and difficulties and we know that it's the enemy trying his darndest to trip us up. Many times I think it's because he sees us being obedient or beginning a new ministry or really starting to grow. The enemy does not want us to grow in our faith, to persevere or be used of the Lord. He wants us to fail, give up, quit, and be discouraged.
In the last two weeks we have experienced hardships and difficulties that have made us want to give up, quit, or as my friend Susan put it yesterday, cry, "Uncle!".
The day the Arkansas team arrived I fell walking into the airport. I do not believe a little demon pushed me down. I do know that I'm clutzy and should not have tried to step over a very low hanging chain. My flip flop caught the chain and sent me flying on my hands and knees. I was bleeding in a few small places and very bruised. It wasn't a fun way to begin the week.
As I said in my last post, the team and the activities they were involved in went extremely well. They did what they set out to do, they were brave trying new things, going new places. The Lord really blessed. Charlie challenged them to read a chapter a day from 2 Corinthians while they were here. They took up the challenge and at the end of their time here they talked about how God used that in their lives. We also enjoyed having them in our home - we played cards, they hung out with our kids and we laughed a lot. They were a joy to have.
3 days after they arrived, I was driving down a busy street and passed very close to a "chapa". These are the vans that people here use for public transportation. As I passed the chapa, my side mirror hit his mirror and broke his mirror. My mirror, which has a nifty hinge, simply flipped closed and was not damaged. Without going into detail I will just say that I paid for a new mirror for his chapa. And the driver was not happy with me. He yelled at me. A lot. That was Saturday.
The next day, Sunday, our electrcity went off about 6:30 a.m., right when everyone was beginning to get ready for church. Now where we live in our city our electricity rarely ever goes off. It is quite inconvenient when it goes off because when there is no electricity we also have no water in our house. During the day we depend on an electric pump to pump all of our water into the house from a large outdoor tank. So when there's no electricity we can't take baths, wash dishes or flush toilets. There were 14 of us in our house and we NEEDED to be able to flush toilets!
Thankfully, our outdoor tank was full of water so Charlie and some of the team members hauled containers of water inside to flush with. Many of the team had taken showers the night before so they quickly were ready for church. This wasn't a serious problem, just a really annoying one. (The electricity/water did come back on about 1:00 that afternoon.)
The night before, Coleson had started feeling bad with chills and fever. So after the team left for church Sunday morning, I took Coleson to the clinic for a malaria test and to see the dr. By this time he was coughing a lot and very achy. Thankfully he had the flu not malaria and spent that day and the next two days in bed.
Monday, Kelsey, one of the team members got sick and couldn't accompany the team on their two night stay at a local orphanage.
Tuesday was the day of the accident that I wrote about yesterday.
The next two days were uneventful for our family and team. Our house worker did break out in unexplainable hives which lasted for about 3 days. The team finished up their week of work then took an excursion to South Africa to visit the Kruger National Park. They LOVED being able to see African animals in their natural habitats.
They returned from Kruger on Saturday evening. To prepare for the Sunday morning rush the next day, Mike encouraged the team to get their showers that night. One of the guys, Carter, went upstairs to take his shower. After a while we began to hear horrible screaming coming from upstairs. For a few seconds we could not figure our what it was, then realized it was Carter in the bathroom. He had fallen getting out of the tub/shower, hitting his knee on the tile floor, shattering his knee cap, and was, as you can imagine, in extreme pain.
Charlie and Mike tried to carry him downstairs to get him to the hospital but they could not do it. Charlie decided to go to our local private clinic (which is about 4 blocks from our house) and ask them to bring the ambulance. So at 10:00 that night the ambulance pulled into our carport. The men were able to get Carter downstairs on a stretcher and onto the gurney and to the clinic for x-rays. The xrays revealed his knee cap was in pieces and would require surgery to fix.
Just a word of advice - if you EVER go on a trip overseas, ALWAYS get supplemental travelers insurance. Our volunteer teams are required to have it and we are so grateful. Charlie was able to contact the insurance company and they immediately began working on a plan to get Carter to South Africa for surgery. They worked out transportation with an ambulance company, contacted the hospital in South Africa, found a surgeon who agreed to do the surgery and assured Mike that he would be provided for as he accompanied Carter to South Africa for the surgery.
The ambulance picked them up about 4:30 on Sunday afternoon and transported them to Nelspruit, South Africa. By 8:30 that night Carter was being prepped for surgery. The surgeon was able to put the FOUR broken pieces of his knee cap back together and assured them that Carter would be able to return to the U.S. within a few days (we originally thought Carter and Mike would be in South Africa for 2 weeks!)
I don't think I mentioned that this happened 48 hours before the team was due to fly back to the states! As Mike was in South Africa now, this left Kecia in charge of the other 4 other students. They all began packing up on Sunday to prepare for their trip home on Monday afternoon.
I will stop there because I am not at the end of the story yet. Yes, the hits just kept on coming.
Here's a shot of the ambulance leaving with Carter.