2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
What have we seen?
- News of the COVID-19 virus from around the world and the global effects of the virus.
- Social distancing, quarantines, travel restrictions, work policies, shut-downs, etc.
- Team cancellations because of all the things listed in #2.
- Uncertainty of what the future holds.
What do we know?
God is in control. We do not need to fear the things that are seen. They are transient. The things that are unseen are eternal. Our hope comes from Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We are only vessels, here on this earth as servants, as messengers for the One that gives us our eternal hope. It’s called faith. Sometimes it isn’t easy. Sometimes our eyes want to fixate on the things that we see. But every single day, every single hour, every single minute, God is calling us to depend on Him, to focus on the unseen, and to trust His plan for our lives.
Here in the Dominican Republic, we are facing the same type of situation that the rest of the world is facing. The first COVID-19 case was confirmed on the island on March 1 in an Italian man that had traveled to the island. The second case was a Canadian woman that also traveled to the island. Several tourists later and continued travel by Dominicans caused continued spread. As of today, we are up to 112 confirmed cases and 3 deaths, most of the cases are located in the Santo Domingo, Santiago, or Samana area of the island. We have not yet heard of any confirmed cases close to us here in San Juan.
On Tuesday, the president of the Dominican Republic spoke to the country, and we are also in a state of emergency, in quarantine, with only essential businesses open. Schools and universities are not in session. The borders have been shut down. No people are allowed to enter the Dominican Republic by flight or sea. There are several flights leaving the country taking foreigners back to their countries of origin. We praise God that we have plenty of food in the house and are able to hunker down, catch up on/continue English homeschool, and just be together as a family.
At this time, we feel that it is safer for us to stay put than to risk traveling back to the US. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are praying to God for direction. We know that He is in control and He will let us know what to do. We have checked in with our Dominican co-workers and friends here and are watching for ways that we may be able to help.
I ask you to pray specifically for one of our patient’s that has been in our clinic since our last surgical team. Her name is Juana. She presented to us in January in a barrio site. Next, she saw the first orthopedic surgery team in January. Five years ago, she was in a motorcycle accident in Santo Domingo. She told us that she should not have survived the accident. As a result of the accident, she had surgery to a broken left leg. About a year or so ago, she started with symptoms of an infection in the leg. By the time that she presented to us in January, she had an open, infected leg wound, and you could visually see that some of the hardware that was placed in her bones had moved out of place. She had osteomyelitis and infected hardware. Our orthopedic surgeon in January didn’t feel like he had all the necessary equipment to take on her case, so instead, we made a plan with him to prepare her for the next orthopedic team that came in February. Juana is uninsured, and she literally had lost all hope in saving her leg. You could see the desperation in her eyes each time we talked to her about a plan to try to save her leg. On Wednesday, February 26, Juana underwent surgery in our clinic to remove her infected hardware, clean out the infection, and place new hardware. She lost a lot of blood during the procedure, so the US surgeon was unable to complete both phases of the surgery. He was able to remove all the infected hardware and clean out infection, but in order to keep her in a stable condition (we do not have blood banks in this country), he did not complete phase 2 of the surgery. Instead, he placed her in an external fixator and on 6 weeks of IV antibiotics until she can have a second surgery. We made a plan with our Dominican team at the clinic that she would remain in our clinic with a central catheter, receive 24-hour nursing care by the Dominican nurses, and we would talk to a Dominican orthopedic surgeon about completing the second phase of her surgery. All of that happened, and Juana has been healing up very nicely. Her leg looks wonderful and her smile is contagious! However, I am worried about the second phase of her surgery. All elective surgeries have been cancelled here just like they have in the US. The second phase of her surgery is not emergent, so she may have to go home after she finishes her IV antibiotics with the external fixator in place until it is safe for her to have the second phase completed. It is difficult for her to get around with the fixator in place, but I know that God has a plan for her. Pray specifically for continued healing for her leg and for her relationship with Jesus Christ. We told her many times that God loves her, that Jesus is the road to salvation, and that our clinic does what it does as an expression of God’s love.
Please pray for us as we continue to work from home on ministry tasks. Just because there aren’t any teams, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t any work to be done.
I have begun to work on our 6-month data report for our child nutrition program that we provide to our partner, Amway. I am so excited to say that I am now able to access all of the data electronically because our ministry assistant, Guillermo, and I spent a week entering all of the child nutrition charts into an electronic database. We also taught Dr. Jazmin and Samuel (health provider) at the clinic in El Cercado how to input the data during the patient’s appointment time so that the database is always up to date. Having access to this data without having to pull the paper chart from the clinic is such a blessing and a huge advantage during this quarantine time.
Jason has been painting tables for the guesthouse addition at the guesthouse. I know that he will continue to find ways to keep his hands busy. Who knows, by the end of this quarantine, the guesthouse might have a whole new look!! It’s weird to go to the guesthouse and have no one else there, but that is how it is at the moment.
Please also pray that God would be our strength throughout this time of uncertainly. Pray for wisdom and guidance in all of our future decision making.
We pray for all of you. We pray that you would turn to God for your strength during this time and that you would feel His presence and peace in your life.
Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement. I will leave you with a few pictures of the kiddos from over the past few weeks before we all had to be quarantined.