On Call in Cambodia

Cross-eyed, delirious and laying on the bare wooden floor just to be still and horizontal – it was time. After nearly 10,000 miles: 24 hours flying, a few hours trying to sleep and 8 hours driving over bumpy dusty “roads,” my pager went off…..albeit figuratively ūüôā

_MG_3481

Our missionary received a phone call 6 hours into our drive. A villager got a stick in his eye – not figuratively. After checking my schedule and verifying his insurance we confirmed him for a 9pm appointment.

The human cornea is one of the most sensitive areas of the body. Corneal injury pain is a hurt I would wish upon no one – except maybe my older brother: “dude. are you going to write bad things about me again tonight?”

The villager came in as expected: hand over eye, hands and cheeks full of tears; not crying because this is the kind of pain where crying stopped helping hours ago. A vertical laceration covering nearly half the cornea but fractions of a millimeter below the pupil so hopefully no permanent vision loss.

HIPAA release on file

HIPAA release on file

We got him patched up and we’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow.

Our missionary translated the conversation. His family asked, “how much?”

“These men came from the United States because they know Christ’s Love and want to show others, including you,¬†His Love.”

Gonna be tough to sleep now ūüôā

John 13:35 (NASB)

35¬†By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.‚ÄĚ

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Cambodia Unity

Ephesians 4:1-6 

Unity in the Body of Christ

4¬†I therefore,¬†a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to¬†walk in a manner worthy of¬†the calling to which you have been called,¬†2¬†with all¬†humility and¬†gentleness, with¬†patience,bearing with one another in love,¬†3¬†eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in¬†the bond of peace.¬†4¬†There is¬†one body and¬†one Spirit‚ÄĒjust as you were called to the onehope that belongs to your call‚ÄĒ¬†5¬†one Lord,¬†one faith,¬†one baptism,¬†6¬†one God and Father of all,¬†who is over all and through all and in all.

cambodia team

Jon, Jonas, Mark, Steve @ Phnom Penh Airport

 

The above passage is my prayer for today. Missions trips are wonderful but challenging in many ways. One of those is the fact that you are thrown into spending time with new people 24/7…..and one of those just may be your brother who you haven’t seen for two years and snores like a moose with sinusitis.

Please don’t worry-we don’t have any issues-I’m just being proactive in thought and prayer.

Plan for today: pick up Jonas’ bags at the airport (they took the scenic route and will arrive 14 hours after him) and drive 8-9 hours north.

Cambodia Passion

I love spending time with passionate people. Not love-y dub-y gooshy kissing teenagers but people who are on fire. People who are pursuing their passion in life day in and day out. Here’s three – who I didn’t seek permission from to write about ūüôā If they want me to take this down…uhm….uh….I’ll be over the Pacific for the next 17 hours so I’ll get right to it.

 

  1. John S. Dickerson¬†–¬†I met Pastor John just a few short months ago and am honored to have him as our family shepherd but also consider it privilege to call him friend. It doesn’t take long before you realize John has a real heart for Christ’s Bride-His Church. Not just the local church but the big C worldwide Church. He loves her enough to write a book¬†expressing concerns and some helpful tips. But, he really doesn’t care about the media attention and fanfare that comes from publishing a major book-he truly wants to love the Lord, his wife and children…..and it shows.
  2. Stephanie Purinton¬†(CNM)¬†Stephanie delivered Robert in May 2012 and the greatest praise we can give her is that she was such a great caretaker, it made us reconsider being done after two kids (but we’re probably done for the curious). In America, any OB/GYN can deliver your child and probably do a great job leaving you with a healthy bundle of joy. Rather than dreading delivery (I hardly screamed or cried) and viewing it as simply a means to an end, Stephanie made the second and third trimesters, labor and delivery a beautiful part of our journey. She loves what she does, takes the time to convey that, and it shows.
  3. Justin Unger¬†Unfortunately I don’t know Justin as well as I would like to. However in our few encounters, it became immediately clear that here is a guy with an ocean of talent and ability who simply wants to glorify God and bring you along in worship. This past Sunday I got to be a part of what was essentially a private concert. At Cornerstone church, they have an early Sunday morning service for those who volunteer during the main service-I got to speak so that’s why I was there. There were about a dozen of us in a huge auditorium and Justin played and worshipped the exact same as when there were over 500 people in the crowd ninety minutes later. He’s a big part of the “Night of Worship” gatherings in Prescott that don’t have a church name attached but instead is focused solely on worship rather than local church glorification. He is using his gifts and talents to glorify God, not a record label, and it shows.

Why this post? I am passionate about reaching unreached people groups through eye care. I want others to see that passion-not so they will look at me and what I do but so they say, “I want what he’s got.”

Passion is a contagious fire. Find yours and spread it.

PS: The Holy Spirit is the sole source of my fire. I pray for billowing!

Cambodia 2013

Be flexible! It’s an absolute necessity when travelling overseas and even more so when on overseas missions trips.

Jonas was supposed to fly out yesterday early evening…got to airport and flew out almost immediately – over an hour early just to have a chance of making future connections. Snow in Fargo in January whooda thought?

It’s easy to say, “be flexible, you can’t control everything” but when it means less time saying goodbye to wife and kids it is brutal.

I was seeing patients yesterday and looked outside around 4pm. Uh oh. Those big flakes in Prescott where sticking on the road way more than they should. I called the shuttle service and moved up my departure to Phoenix 2 hours early. No more relaxing dinner and helping kids get ready for bed.

These are small details and nuisances vs. true frustrations and nowhere near distasters. No need to get bent out of shape. So its just a necessary mantra that typing out will hopefully help me remember: be flexible it ain’t about you and your plans.

….oh and who would have thought I’d have to chant my mantra when having my father drive me to the airport? Why would we want to go on the Interstate when we can go through every stop sign, stoplight, construction zone and school zone in Chandler, AZ? What does google navigation with real time traffic updates know anyway?

Love ya pops! ūüôā

Thanks for listening–turns out typing out thoughts is my form of journaling and it helps me process things.

An Optometrist’s Guide to Long Range Flying

I’m not much of a traveler but I’ve flown 24+ hour trips¬†a few times¬†and will embark on¬†the next ones in late January. The internet is full of advice on how to make¬†long¬†haul flights¬†more enjoyable (ie: drink heavily before boarding¬†and chase with NyQuil)¬†but I figured I’d throw out some pointers specifically relating to the eyes.

1. Take out your contacts. The humidity in most planes is below 10%. Even compared to mile high¬†Prescott, that’s dry.

desert

2. Use lubricating drops before you need them. In much the same way it is better to use lotion before your hands are cracked and bleeding, it is better to use eye drops before your eyes feel like a campfire in the middle of the Sahara. My favorite brand is Systane. A drop in each eye before boarding, after eating and after waking up works great.

systane

3. Bring along your computer glasses. If you don’t have computer glasses then you’re working your eyes harder than you have to while reading this….but that’s for another post. Most long haul flights have personal TVs (AVOD: audio and visual on demand) and those are about the same distance as your computer monitor.

avod

4. Drink water. I know you don’t want to have to try to maneuver¬†inside those tiny lavatories (who in the world calls ’em lavatories outside the airplane world anyway?) or bother your seatmates but this is more important than those annoyances.

Drink water the day before travel and the day of. If you start out well hydrated, then you don’t have to try and make up for it on the plane (bad idea). This is especially important as caffeinated beverages and alcohol are diuretics and dry you out.

 

5. Take a nap and use your eyeshades. These will help prevent further drying of the eyes (notice a theme?). Along with super dry air, the cabin has air constantly flowing through it. You might not feel this breeze but your eyes do.

eyeshades

 

6. Buy a first class seat. Your eyes will feel much better I’m sure.

suites

Singapore Airlines Suites

Rollercoaster

No not the rollercoaster of love (for all you RHCP and Beavis and Butthead fans) but instead the borderline bipolar state that is my missions trip planning, preparation and execution.

-bouncing off the walls high fiving Stacy (occasionally reciprocated) when tickets purchased with airline miles

-crying in the car driving home from Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation in Phoenix because they just donated 700+ pairs of eyeglasses for our trip. No need to purchase any this time around

-wanting to strangle¬†my older brother¬†because he won’t commit to going on this trip even though he told me to go ahead and buy my ticket ….don’t worry he lives 1600 miles away and my arms aren’t that long

go go gadget arms could work

go go gadget arms could possibly work though

-getting chills Skypeing¬† with missionary. “Dude-you’re in¬†the middle of¬†nowhere¬†Cambodia where the average income is $5/month…..and yet I can see and talk to you.” The explanation has something to do with cell towers in Vietnam but all I can think is holy moly that is amazing….and then I think about the kid getting teleported in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and not the new movie with Johnny Depp but the original)….but I guess that’s not quite the same as videoconferencing

wonka

-I really don’t want cholera, or dysentery, or malaria, or typhoid,¬†or diarrhea….although maybe Cambodia is the place to go since everyone here has the flu

-virtual air high five because now we have a team….with tickets

air high five

-is this eye care really going to do any good? It’s not the high tech state of the art care I practice every day

-Holy Spirit mainlining at church on Sunday morning: worshipping and praising in a community all while¬†snuggling ‘Berto and¬†holding Stacy’s hand

-oh wait I’m leaving them behind! :*(

-what if I don’t come back?¬† ‚ÄúHe is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.‚Ä̬†¬† -Jim Elliot

-is all this stuff going to fit in my allotted suitcases? is customs going to throw a hissy fit about these eyeglasses and medications?

imagesCABEV2TB

-thinking that for the rest of my life I will know exactly what I was doing the first week of February 2013…..this trip is gonna be AWESOME

-Jon

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

PS: please don’t report my mental illness(es) revealed here to any regulatory agencies

Cambodia 2013

January 29-February 7th I’ll be headed out to northern Cambodia to work with the Brao people. Check out Joshua project for more info on your current and future brothers and sisters in Christ.

Our team consists of 4 men: me, my brother Jonas (who I haven’t seen in over 2 years but we’ll meet up 8000+ miles from home), Mark and Steve. They’re all running from the cold of Fargo and I’m escaping the frigidness that is Prescott. Our team represents four different churches working toward one goal: fulfilling the¬†Great Commission. What a beautiful break from the typical American church past time of bickering, slandering and stealing each others’ members….but I digress.

This trip started coming to fruition 2 years ago when my older brother Jonas went to Cambodia as part of a team from Bethel church in Fargo. When Jonas came back and uploaded his bajillion photos, this one JUMPED out at me:

big lens

…and so began the process. We will take 500-600 pairs of eyeglasses (thanks for donating your used eyeglasses to your local Lions club) and lots of lubricating eye drops and antibiotic eye drops.

What am I not looking forward to?

about 9 hours

about a 9 hour drive

Stacy will confirm I don’t do so great driving 2 hours from Prescott to Phoenix. Oh well. God is great. 24 hours each way in a plane? No prob.

We’ll also be working with on microenterpise development (teaching the locals how to fish vs. giving them salmon eggs……or however that saying goes), The HOPE Project, and also Bible translation for the Brao.

God has already blessed our trip for the past 9 months. Our plane tickets were purchased with airline miles, all eyeglasses were donated, medications were donated, our team is small and nimble so travel arrangements are cheap.

This is huge! We are called to be good stewards and I struggle with justifying the cost of short term missions trips. I told God about my struggle and He said, “sorry sucker, gotta find a different excuse for not going”….or something like that it-wasn’t audible.

I hope to update as we go. Please pray for us!

Jon

Romans 10:14-16¬†¬†How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him¬†of whom they have never heard?¬†And how are they to hear¬†without someone preaching?¬†¬†And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written,¬†‚ÄúHow beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!‚ÄĚ