Define Healing

For years, I’ve carried a chip on my shoulder. Because I prayed for what I wanted to happen and it wasn’t granted.

I wanted healing and miracles and for what the doctors said to not be so. But it wasn’t granted… not in the way I envisioned it.

If it had been granted, I’d be the mother of 6. And from this side of things, I think the path that I traveled was probably the best path. Irregardless, I’ve been healed and am being healed daily.

Because daily I find comfort in something… maybe it’s a song on the radio, or watching the wind in the trees, or a whisper in my head that prompts me to act or think or move or be still. Since I started claiming God’s blessings as God’s blessings and not writing them off as happy coincidences, anomalies, and inexplicable events, I see those blessings on so many sides.

And that I count as healing. Because healing isn’t just a clean bill of health from the doctor.

“I’m sick of being sick,” my dad told me that a few days ago. He’s had a rough go, recently. In and out of the hospital, infections, pain, even near-death experiences. It’s been a rough go.

From this distance, I wonder what and why and how and even though God assures me continually that He’s got this covered, worked out, and there is glory in the finish, I doubt. This morning, during prayer time, I became shamefully aware that the word “healing” doesn’t even enter my prayers anymore. I pray for wisdom, patience, peace, strong and right decision-making… but the possibility of healing seems overwhelming. I have my doubts that this side of the heaven there will be healing.

And so it makes perfect sense that this morning, after working in my son’s classroom, as I climbed in my car and thought about my next hour and a half, as I tried to frame my thoughts for the blog I wanted to write this morning, as I turned to a song that was going to pump me up and get me psyched for writing the blog, God had a different idea. He firmly told me to turn to song 9 on the CD, not song 8. And the lyrics brought me to tears. “I hear Your voice it whispers my name/ And all at once You quiet my pain. If Your voice lit the sun and night was overcome, You can speak and light up my world, with just one word.” –Newsboys “One Word”

“If Your voice lit the sun and night was overcome, You can speak and light up my world….”

There are volumes in there… God the eternal, the healer, the creator, the redeemer, sun-lighter, darkness chaser, death overcomer, personal gift of love. But healer…. If God can light the sun, then He can heal.

In her Bible study on the book of Daniel, Beth Moore spent a video session talking about the biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their fiery session in King Neb’s furnace. The words that stuck the most put their experience in personal terms. Sometimes, Beth explained, God steers us away from the furnace completely. That’s a situation we don’t need. Sometimes, He walks into the furnace with us and walks us out of it, refined and improved, not even smelling like fire or smoke or singe. And sometimes He walks us home through the fire, the ultimate healing. Because in Heaven there are no tears, there is no pain, only the unfailing, unwavering light that is God.

We don’t get to choose which option God chooses. He simply assures us that He will walk with us no matter what.

There’s a buzz at Compassion Tea lately. It stems from our recent visits to the African clinics we support. You see, at Tanzania Christian Clinic, posted at the gate to the clinic is a sign that says, “for healing the whole man (John 7:23).” DSC_0158At Village of Hope, there is a sign that reads, “You will be secure because there is hope in the Lord.” 0-79And at 1000 Hills, the dedication stone reads, “To God be the glory for all His inspiration and guidance.”

Dawn Leppan, founder of 1000 Hills Community Helpers... giving proper credit where credit is due

Dawn Leppan, founder of 1000 Hills Community Helpers… giving proper credit where credit is due

 

We support the delivery of quality medical care in places where there is little. Through our selling of tea, we are able to donate medicines, medical supplies, funding for indigenous staffing and for special projects. We recognize that there is a great need for medical care in rural parts of Africa. And we’re dedicated to that.

But healing doesn’t always end there. In fact, often healing begins somewhere else… in the spiritual realm. Healing isn’t just finding the right antibiotic, it’s finding the Great Healer, He who walks us away from, through, or home through the fires of life.

After 2 miscarriages, and at the beginning of my third pregnancy, the one that would produce my daughter, I found this verse from Psalm 103:
“2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

This became my declaration of hope and I continue to wear it today on a bracelet as a reminder that my sins are forgiven, my doubts, too; that my diseases are healed or healing; that my life is redeemed from the pit; and that I am crowned with love and compassion and renewal.

And this is a hope that needs shared. This is the hope that the staffs at Tanzania Christian Clinic, Village of Hope, and 1000 Hills, to name a few, are sharing.

God lit the sun. He created each of us. Sometimes, He calls us to be His hands and feet… to deliver healing, and above all else, compassion. Now.

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Return on Investment

Following is the November/December newsletter from Tanzania Christian Clinic, one of the clinics supported by CompassioNow and Compassion Tea Company. The newsletter is full of interesting insight into life at the clinic and in the Maasai communities the clinic serves. Of note is the bottom portion. It takes all of 60 cents to treat a person at the clinic. For the cost of one holiday tea caddy ($12), 20 people could be served. What a great return on investment!

NOT beginning to look a THING like Christmas, Tanzania is now displaying a profusion of flowers, budding trees, and lush grass accompanied by colorful birds everywhere. How God’s rains have refreshed the dry landscape! As we enter the summer months here in the southern hemisphere, Danny and I anticipate the more familiar cold weather of the Christmas season when we fly into Amsterdam and on to the US soon to visit our families.

In addition to experiencing hot weather, we at TCC have also been on the “kiti moto” (hot seat) lately with an increasing number of new patients coming from far and near. Despite the more demanding patient work load, we try to stay focused on spiritual as well as physical ministry. One recent spiritual outreach was to Joseph Samwel (see photo) who was born again after attending several Saturday Bible classes.

Joseph Mollel preparing for baptism

Joseph Mollel preparing for baptism

Another case is that of a distinguished gentleman who came to TCC for his Parkinson’s care. On multiple occasions this man invited us to his home for fellowship and Bible study. After many thoughtful and insightful questions, he has decided to make Jesus Lord and Savior. A third person, a Maasai mother of a four-month old infant, has informed us that she will also be immersed into Jesus after eight more weeks. Tribal customs dictate that the mother can drink tea but no water and neither she nor her baby can be bathed or placed in water until this extended six month period ends.

Amazed that such customs do not result in the deaths of more people, we begin to understand the social factors that can lead to the serious patient presentations seen so commonly. Following a sore throat and extreme bout of glossitis, one five-year old boy appeared at TCC after several days in a nearby hospital with no improvement. Diagnosing him with Ludwig’s angina, we noted that the boy displayed high fever, a hugely swollen, fiery red tongue protruding from his mouth, inability to swallow, drooling, grunting respirations, and impending airway obstruction. Attended by his worried Maasai father and grandfather and many men from his village, all were waiting anxiously to see if the child would live. After prayer (on our part) and repeated injections of Rocephin and Dexamethasone over two days we were thrilled to see the boy’s dramatic improvement. “Asante Mungu” (Thank You, God)!

However, new Christians and patients with dire illnesses have not been the sole source of excitement recently. A few nights ago we were again awakened by a loud racket outside our bedroom window, including a wild animal’s hissing and ferocious barking by Phlebitis, our German Shepherd. When the guards began to shine their flashlights we again fell asleep, thinking little of the incident. The next morning a guard casually mentioned that another young “chewi” (leopard) had come calling in our front yard, having apparently no trouble climbing our fence!

Looking back over these five years in African missions we deeply appreciate you and our Lord for the sustenance you both have provided. Happy Christmas, and let us all remember to especially thank God for His indescribable gift— Jesus.

Because of Him,

Danny and Nancy Smelser

The magnificent crowned crane

The magnificent crowned crane

Crest of the Crane

On day five the Creator must have decided to make one more crowning bird. So He took a crane and added a special crest (see photo) and man now calls him the “Crowned Crane”. This elegant bird is commonly seen by visitors at the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania and has been designated as the national bird. But as beautiful as this bird is, it is no match for the true crown of God’s creation. Genesis tells us that man and woman are the only created beings that have been made in God’s image. We humans are the crown of creation. God himself described the people He made as being “very good”. So what is a “very good” person worth? It must be a lot in God’s opinion since His second greatest command is to “love our neighbor”. Would you think a sick person in Tanzania is worth $0.60? That is how much it costs for a patient to see the clinician at Tanzania Christian Clinic. Even at that price, some cannot afford the expense. So as you support the medical mission work in Tanzania, remember that all of us are part of God’s crown of creation. We all resemble God. We are all worth sixty cents. We are all worth a little bit of love …and then some. Thanks for your prayers, encouragement, and support.