“Tam, where’s my nitro patch?” His words took me from dead asleep to awake yet dazed. John was sitting on the side of the bed holding his chest. I tried to shake the disorientation from my brain enough to locate the precious patches. Where had I put them?! Oh yes, the bedside table. The patches were buried among a plethora of first aide stuff semi-organized in my bedside drawer. I slapped two on his chest and prayed.
Chest pain that wakes you in the middle of the night isn’t something you blow off. If we had been in the states I would have speed dialed 911, but we were not. No, we were in the highlands of Ecuador. Now what?
It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to the field. There’s fund raising, vision casting, fear facing, decision making, not to mention all the goodbyes. Goodbyes to family, friends, careers, 401Ks and the list goes on. But as hard as it is to get to the field - it is harder to stay. In our first term we faced life and death illnesses, financial difficulties, as well as family crisis. We missed the birth of our first and so far only grandchild. The temptation to go home has been huge and who would have blamed us?
What keeps us here?
It’s not the call. That’s a misconception. The call won’t keep you on the field anymore than it will get you here. If it did there wouldn’t be a shortage of labors. Labors are not few because the Lord has not called them. Labors are few because the price gets scary high.
So what keeps you steadfast when you aren’t sure? When everything in you and around you screams run, how do you stay the course? I can only answer that for us it is a stubbornness that we can’t explain. In spite of all the challenges, there’s still something in me that knows it will be all worth it someday.
Two days after John’s episode we were on a plane to Ohio; where he underwent a cardiac catheterization with a stent placement in a coronary artery.
Two months later we were back in Ecuador. We push forward.