Monday, January 20, 2014

The Road to and from Ibarra

Many of you know a few details about our road to Ibarra... one housing complication after another that are still as of yet unresolved completely... and the night before we had planned to finally enter Ibarra as a team, Reese had a medical emergency delaying our family further. Late Saturday night on January 4th, Reese began seizing for the first time ever.  At first we were not totally worried, knowing that seizures are common and not typically dangerous.  After a couple of minutes we realized she was not stopping and we ran for help.  Thankfully, also on the Work and Witness grounds there happened to be a doctor with a short-term group that gave Reese a half pill of Xanex to relax her convulsions as Jon Fischer drove us to the emergency room.  The entire time we were with the doctor on the grounds and the 15+ minute drive to the hospital, Reese was like a beautiful broken little doll with an electrical glitch.  In all, her seizure lasted more than 20 minutes.  We cried, we prayed, and all I could think or say to God was that our desire is to be obedient whatever he calls us to, wherever the road leads, and we trust in His plan for our daughter.  Cole carried her into the Emergency Room and stayed with her all night.  At that point they just stabilized her and made plans for tests.  Sunday night she had an MRI and Monday afternoon she had an EEG, both of which had no signs of anything abnormal.  We have no idea what caused her seizure.  She had no fever, no prior seizures, no obvious predisposition.  The doctor that treated her here in Quito, prescribed her an anti-seizure medication and said it was likely she would have another seizure, possibly prolonged again, in the next 6-12 months and if so she would need to be immediately brought to the emergency room to stop the seizure if it does not stop on its own.  In addition, she requires regular monitoring under the care of a neurologist.  Reese, in all ways seems quite back to normal.  She had no recollection of the seizure when she woke up Sunday morning and actually seemed to find the hospital a funny sort of vacation with her own TV : )

Our family traveled up to Ibarra to be with the team with the idea that they really needed us to just get there and start dealing with the housing issue, take care of the weekly finances, food, transport...all the daily logistics of the team so they could focus on making contacts, finding a location for the church, and developing each of their individual ministry responsibilities.  Meanwhile, right around the time all of this was happening, the developing Manta team was having some set-backs of its own.  A confirmed 4040 dropped out, leaving the team too small to deploy on-time.  The decision was made to combine the Manta and Ibarra clusters to form a complete team of 10.  So our team will be welcoming 3-4 additional young men in May after they finish up language training in Quito.  This however left the Manta Cluster Coordinators without a cluster.  All things considered, in light of Reese's new medical concern and need for care that is unavailable in Ibarra, our family has stepped down from the Cluster Coordinator position for the city of Ibarra and the Strunk family will be replacing us.  We will continue to serve in Quito with the Extreme headquarters office over the next months.

There is nothing about this Jesus Adventure of ours that has been predictable.  This marathon we are running sure feels like a relay at times... in one moment we receive the baton and in another we are passing it on.
"What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building." 1 Cor 3:5-9
We are humble co-workers in God's service, taking no credit for anything that is meant to bring glory to God alone.  We each are assigned to a task... Each step along this path, we have felt God's guidance, encouragement and strength carrying us through and it has been a more blessed adventure than I could have possibly imagined...and more unexpected bits than I might have been prepared for, but in all things I trust in Christ.  I trust where he has lead our family.  I trust in Him alone for what is to come.

We look forward to this next chapter in our missionary journey and will keep you all posted about the details of our new roles and opportunities there may be to continue supporting the church planting effort with us in Ibarra, Quito and Ambato, Ecuador.  Just around the corner is Love Extreme taking place in both Ambato and Ibarra in July of this year and later in October the church building project is planned for the Ambato church plant.

We appreciate your support and prayers as always.  Please keep Reese in your prayers as we continue to watch over and care for her precious little self.   Please also continue praying for the city of Ibarra and the team of Extreme missionaries carrying the torch there.

Grace and Peace, 
The Williams Family

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