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Holly Friesen on March 21, 2011

Anyone who has ever taken a missions class, mission’s trip, or served as a missionary has probably heard the character quality of flexibility touted as an essential for any missionary. I would have to agree (although it is a pretty important quality for any human being). Sometimes the best laid plans can be sabotaged by factors unique to the “missionary” setting such as cultural misunderstanding, language barriers, colleagues coming and going, or simply the realities of life in another part of the world. Sometimes those plans are impacted by factors common to all of us such as the weather, illness, family problems, or the needs of a friend.

God has chosen to present me with another opportunity to stretch & grow and to adjust my plans. And not just me – to an even greater extent God is adjusting the plans of my partner in ministry Dr. Miriam. She has been struggling with colds, flu, and bronchitis on top of her normal bouts of vertigo during this past month. When some of the symptoms were not resolving (such as rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, and fatigue) she decided to do some blood tests and discovered that she is hyperthyroid. The most common cause is treatable but it is important that she receive an appropriate evaluation in order to receive the correct treatment. The symptoms also make it impossible for her to continue to fulfill all of her ministry responsibilities. Because of this she has decided to start her planned furlough a couple months early so that she can return to the states for evaluation and treatment. She hopes to leave within the next couple of weeks.

This means that I will need to take over the responsibility of the village clinic ministry as well as the responsibility for the medical team we are planning for May. This will require an adjustment of my plans for language study. I do plan to continue language study, but you can pray that I will have wisdom in knowing how much to cut back my class time and that God will optimize my “on the job” language learning as I minister to our village patients. You can also pray that God might provide some primary care providers to help out for a week or two each month while Miriam is gone which would free up more of my time for language study. We could use a provider to help with the May medical team as well as providers for the months of June, August, September, and October.

I have to say I would much rather be the one gearing up to take on more responsibility and work a little harder than to be the one who has to sit still and wait for answers and healing. Pray for encouragement and healing for Miriam and wisdom & strength as she wraps up things here. I am thankful that the Lord knows our weakness and when we feel as if we are being stretched beyond the limits of our flexibility he is there to provide the stability and strength that we need.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." II Cor. 12:9