The conditions were terrible, beyond our imagining. The building was frigid, the guards ruthless as the women exercised outside, the food impossible to digest, and the straw beds flea-infested. Corrie was disheartened, but Betsie reminded her of the biblical call to give thanks - something Corrie found impossible. Yet despite the conditions, Corrie, Betsie and the other women managed to study the Bible regularly - in fact, without hindrance. Why? Because the guards left them alone, rarely entering the barracks, out of fear of the fleas. Yes, the fleas protected the women and allowed them to meet their deepest spiritual needs.
The last weeks have been somewhat difficult, as Carolyn explained in an earlier blog. My husband fell in China, fracturing his pelvis in several places. He was transported by ambulance over a 4 hour distance to Hong Kong, where he was put in traction and then underwent surgery. I traveled there to bring him home, where he developed severe blood clots both in his injured leg and his lungs. At the same time, he contracted pneumonia, and a bad rash over most of his body. Fortunately, it appears he is turning a corner, and we are looking out to the prospect over the next months of a return to good health, thanks to Coumadin, physical therapy, medical wisdom, the support and love of friends and family, and a multitude of prayer warriors.
But (that wonderful word, so often indicating a godly turnaround in the Bible), this entire experience has brought so many blessings that they are like the stars in the sky. Jack's surgeon in Hong Kong did, in the words of his American counterpart, an "amazing" job. An angel, looking like a nurse, traveled with us every step of the way home (the picture above shows the view out our window). Family met us here and we spent a beautiful Christmas together. Friends, oh the friends, how can I even adequately explain the ministering they have provided - food, company, laughter, encouragement. Jack and I have had such sweet, quiet time together that we both agree there has been nothing like it in our entire marriage. And best of all, God has been with us every step of the way. Over and over, he has reminded me, "I have been with you through the storm, through the wind, through the rain - I will see you safely home."
I read a daily devotional, and at the end of every entry, it closes with the same prayer. I close this entry repeating it, as I give thanks, yes - give thanks, that such a challenge confronted us, for God's blessings have been huge. And I pray it for you, any sweet readers who happen upon this blog.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever he may send you.
May he guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.
May he bring you home rejoicing at the wonders he has shown you.
May he bring you home rejoicing, once again into his arms.