It may be the Honduran heat getting to me but I have been thinking a lot about dust recently. Dirt roads are a way of life here in Balfate. Since it is the dry season and the main dirt road was leveled for the Easter holiday, we can run a little easier for exercise. A little easier that is until a passing car or motorcycle kicks up a cloud of dust. And buses, do not even get me started! When they pass by the dust cloud is so thick that you can’t see but a few inches in front of you. Sunglasses are no longer just for the sun but to help shield your eyes from the dust.
The dust has a way of permeating every facet of life, from getting into houses, most of which have dirt floors anyway, to covering clean laundry hanging out to dry. So my brief exercise inconvenience is a daily reality that can not be avoided for the people in our area. Yet they do not complain, they just adapt. People strategically place speed bumps (aka intentionally piled mounds of dirt) and will even water their stretch of dirt road all in hopes of lessening the dust cloud.
My way of adapting is to use my shirt to cover my mouth and nose when a passing vehicle or gust of wind kicks up a cloud of dust. While I can freak myself out, and probably some of you reading this, at the potential deleterious health effects of sucking in a bunch of dust; when I really think about it, I am just breathing in what I am made of. God says to man after the fall in Genesis 3:19, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return”.
The fact that I am dust can be a harsh reality. The first definition of dust I found when searching says it is “fine, dry powder consisting of tiny particles of earth or waste matter lying on the ground or on surfaces or carried in the air”. When is the last time you looked in the mirror and said to yourself, I look pretty good for being a big pile of tiny waste particles!
But I also do not have to look too far to see the beauty of redemption. That God would intricately create creatures in his image from tiny particles of earth and waste matter, breathe life into those dust creatures and then redeem those dust creatures who went astray, speaks to me of God’s love.
Here at our hospital we have a front row seat to the amazing work God is doing with dust piles. Just the other week while helping with triage patients (those who show up without an appointment) I came across the chart of a patient who had a motorcycle accident last year which resulted in his foot being completely mangled. He was initially seen at another hospital but came to us after the other hospital said his foot could not be saved and he needed to have an amputation. Dr. McKenney (co-founder of the hospital) had worked to meticulously arrange the carnage into somewhat of a foot, which was quite the feat (slight pun intended) considering parts of his bones had been ejected from his foot during the accident. His operation had been in July 2017 and he was suppose to have followed up sooner but due to living far away he was now coming in about 8 months from his last follow up visit.
The most recent x-rays we have of our patient’s foot.
I imagined the worst since it had been so long since we had last seen him. So you can imagine my surprise when after calling his name in the waiting room he stood up and walked to me wearing normal shoes and without needing assistance. He told me he was doing great and was even back to working. We both recognized that while Dr. McKenney had put his foot back together, God was the one who had healed his foot beyond expectation.
His foot may still not look pretty but it is pretty functional!
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”. How amazing is our God that, “…according to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4). That sounds exactly the opposite of dust! While we wait for something better than dust, we draw hope and encouragement from the miracles we see God do in and through a bunch of dust.
PRAYER REQUESTS :
Please pray for encouragement and strength for our staff, our patients and our patient’s families as we have had many long and difficult days the past month or so including four premature infant deaths and most recently a 13 year old who died from a head injury sustained from a horse accident. We are feeling the dust that we are but we trust that God will renew our hearts and minds to continue fighting the good fight. We are so thankful that we have such a great support team who helps us carry the call we have been given.
Like any good team we also want to pray and rejoice for and with you. If you have anything we can lift up to God please let us know.
Picture of a local Toucan that is being rehabilitated. We see these birds around our hospital frequently (flying freely in their natural habitat). We also hear them all the time but surprisingly they sound more like a frog croaking then a bird so sometimes its better to look then to listen.