Living in the tropics sure brings its its share of adventures! In late May I became ill with Dengue Fever, a tropical viral disease, transmitted through a certain type of mosquito. Basically, it causes headache, fever, muscle and joint pains, and a rash--with some other varying symptoms. This illness can indeed be quite dangerous. Fortunately, though, I was kept well hydrated during the illness and did not suffer bleeding, although my platelet count dropped as low as 50 at one point (normal count is 150-450) and I was given a transfusion of platelets (yes, I have Asian blood in me now!). After that, my platelet count rose steadily and I recovered gradually over the next 3 or so weeks. I am grateful to say that I am back at full strength, and have begun to run again in the mornings. Praise The Lord for his faithfulness!
Some asked me during that period, 'did you ever feel angry at God for letting you get sick, or question why it happened at this time?' My answer was, and still is, an emphatic "no!" The first few days I spent in bed at home, where two friends took care of me. On the wall was posted a sign that simply says, "HAVE FAITH IN GOD." From where I lay, I saw that sign everytime I opened my eyes, and read it to myself countless times. A good reminder, especially during the period when I became so delirious that I couldn't get myself to think one clear thought.
God is not surprised by events in our life. We must remember that what may seem like a sidetrack to us was in His plan from the beginning.
So, the third day of running a fever and putting up with a pounding headache, I was taken to the hospital for blood tests, and the following day, admitted. Around the 6th day, the rash came out on my legs and eventually my whole body. It's very different than any other rash I've seen--underneath the skin, and yet very itchy.
The entire time I was ill, God overwhelmingly blessed me with a fresh understanding of his own presence and joy in the midst of suffering! Being this sick places you in the hands of others—almost completely. Sorry if some of this is too blunt, but it's the truth. After being in the hospital and having people spoon feed me, help me to the restroom, measure my urine, being pricked for blood countless times and at all hours, having 2 suppositories put in (in front of others), having make-shift sponge baths, and being visited by friends and their family members, I was sufficiently humbled. Being away from biological family during my illness helped me see tangibly how other believers became our family the moment we were transferred into Christ’s Kingdom. My unavoidable dependence on others gave me a new appreciation and love for the nationals, my coworkers, as well as believers around the world. I had countless visitors and people who stayed with me in the hospital, and prayers being lifted from many places across the globe.
God couldn’t have given me more family in a country so far away from my home. I am very touched and quite indebted to my coworkers and friends, as well as our director and his wife, who were the presence of Jesus to me in many tangible ways. Thank you, Lord.