Yesterday, was a half day. Sharon has found that we have more stamina throughout the week, if we’ll end the day early on Wednesday, so that’s what we did. We wrapped up clinic around 12:30pm/1:00pm, ate lunch, and headed back to the hotel.
Once we got back, we had a team meeting, where we shared stories. I had the opportunity to share a devotional. I read from 2 Samuel 23:20-23.
Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty warriors. He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.
I love this passage because (1) it is random, but (2) it was signficant in me deciding if I was going to come on this trip in the first place. It’s one of those passages that we tend to glaze over when we’re reading. But, when we consider exactly what Benaiah did, it’s quite extraordinary. He chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day and killed it! — before shot guns and tranquilizers. Lions run up to 35mph and can leap up to 30 feet in a single bound! Yet, Benaiah chased it.
I know that’s not in human nature. But, I never want to be someone that runs away from opportunities, but rather someone that pursues them.
We have several lion chasers on our team. Brenda has never flown in an airplane before. And here she is, taking a 10-hour, overnight flight to Brazil. For 9 of us here, this is our first time out of the country. And for several others, this is our first medical missions trip. 6 people here have shared and lead someone to Jesus for the first time.
Yesterday, I rode the bus with Janel and she shared part of her story with me. She loves farming and gardening. She has a special place where she gets all her plants from to ensure they’re the best quality. She started asking her friends, “If I go get the plants, will you buy them from me?” Everyone she asked said, “No…I like to pick out my own plants.” Well, when she went to the store, she decided, “I’m going to buy TONS of plants anyway, in hopes that my friends will change their mind and still buy these plants from me.” Sure enough, she sold every single one of her plants and actually had to go back a second time, selling twice as much as she thought she would. She paid for her entire trip that way!
No doubt, we are lion chasers.
At the end of this passage, it talks about how David put Benaiah in charge of his bodyguard. In Chronicles, it tells us that Benaiah was also an army commander, in charge of 24,000. I don’t doubt that David ressonated with his resume.
When David went before Goliath, he told them, “I’ve been working as a shepherd, when a lion or bear came after the sheep, I killed both. If I can take them on, I can take on Goliath.” (paraphrase)
I think it’s so perfect that my devotional fell on hump day. Because, it is the things that we experienced before coming here that helped prepare us for this trip. It’s the training and amount of praying that happened beforehand that has allowed us to do our job, and do it well. (If you’re interested, check out In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.)
But, I also know this week is preparing us for more things that are to come. So, as we reflect on how God prepared and brought us here, I also want us to open our eyes and look around, recognizing the things that He has in store for us.
We finished up our meeting by packing gift bags for our interpreters and the church volunteers that have been helping us all week. A lot of the interpeters will travel several hours in the morning to meet us. Other interpreters have had to take a week of vacation in order to be here. Their sacrifice is recognized and appreciated.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with all 3 interpreters in the optometry area. They have all been very special to me. They all work hard to ask the patients questions and carry on conversations with them, making them feel comfortable, while I’m getting glasses.
It’s amazing how the langauge of love transends culture and geography. I’m grateful that God has allowed us to overcome a barrier as small (or as large) as English and Portugese.
Nevertheless, I’ve tried to learn as much Portugese here as possible because it really means a lot to them when I try. I know that sounds small but they all grin and smile when I try and greet them in their own language. They seem to appreciate our efforts.