“Then David took his shepherd’s staff, selected five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s pack, and with his sling in his hand approached Goliath.”
This summer was an amazing testament of what God has done and can do in this place here in the Dominican Republic. And as has been true of all four summers I have experienced here, we had some health issues. I am not sure if it was extreme as the summer of 2008 when five of us got dengue fever, and that was after a case of staph, a urinary tract infection, boils, lots of stomach issues, and more, but it was close.
This summer we had eye issues, some bug that was going around that caused a high fever, more stomach issues, and we actually had an intern leave early because of pneumonia.
I stayed fairly healthy throughout the summer. I did get a bad fever, but luckily it happened to be when no groups were here and I got to sleep it off for a few days. But one small issue has presented itself this summer. The first time it happened it was actually in Rio San Juan because Nikki was really sick. I woke up around seven in the morning with unbelievable pain on the left side of my lower stomach. It was incredible, and probably the most painful thing I have ever experienced, but after an hour, it was gone. Then a few weeks later it happened again, this time on the right. I went to the doctor that time to confirm or deny my notion of what I thought it was. Then just two days later it happened again. Luckily, the second and third time it happened I had medicine to reduce the pain.
It turns out that this problem is becoming very common for missionaries, at least the ones associated with Manna Global Ministries. Norm suffers from the same issues and has for a while, but typically only when he is outside of the United States. Brad Gautney, of the board members for MGM also suffers from the same thing.
The diagnosis: kidney stones.
They are no fun, I promise. But since summer has ended I have gone to a kidney specialist in Santiago to get them checked out. The bad news is that I have quite a few just waiting to stick a sword in me. The good news is that they are very small, unlike Norms, and if I drink lots of water and some acidic drinks like lemonade, Sprite, and things of that sort I should be able to pass them. The doctor did not even give me any medicine.
The story of David and the smooth stones he took now has a whole new meaning (except my stones are not smooth at all). When it came down to it, David only needed one stone to kill that giant, but he picked up five. And within Manna Global Ministries and its workers, five stones would not be hard to find at all.
I pray that I can have the faith of David to walk up to my enemy with no sword in hand, nor any earthly protection, only the protection that I know God will give me. David, a young boy was able to walk up to a giant with shepherd’s clothes on and in the name of his, my, and our Great God kill him.
Give me the strength, courage, and confidence to walk up to my enemy with nothing but the faith that you are going to take care of me, just like David did.
God keep us healthy. Be with Norm, Brad and I as we continue to fight kidney stones. Help give us the discipline to drink lots and lots of water even when sometimes we just want to chug a big coke.
I love you everyday.