We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 WEB)
A few weeks before we returned to Guam from our first furlough we packed all our belongings into a twenty foot container. I moved one chair to load it on the truck and found a lost tape recorder. At least I found all the pieces from the recorder. The recorder was carefully dismantled as much as possible by a young man.
Joel always enjoyed trying to discover how things worked. Taking them apart was fun. Putting them back together was a bit of a problem, he was only six. It was then that Beth and I decided it would be better to give him old items to dismantle and keep the good ones working until he learned how to put them back together.
We tossed out the recorder parts, finished packing the container and sealed the doors before a truck hauled it away. We prayed it would arrive in Guam in one piece. Finally we were ready for our last week of furlough.
It all began on a Monday morning as we prepared to drive to my parent’s home. The car was experiencing cooling problems. Unfortunately I was not well versed with cars and in the course of checking things sprayed my right arm with scalding water from the radiator creating third degree burns up my arm.
Dancing and shouting about the gas station I hurried to wash my arm with clean cold water and then climbed back in the car. With my arm propped on the back of the seat and my teeth grit together we began the two hour journey to Quincy.
I was able to maintain control over the pain. We even stopped along the way and picked up some ice cream at Dairy Queen. We arrived with my pain controlling grin and settled down in the home of my parents.
Mother was concerned, as a Mom should be, but I refused to visit a doctor for two days. When I finally went to see the physician they were amazed I could still stand and talk coherently. The nurse took my blood pressure and looked at me strangely. I ask what the problem was and she responded, “I don’t understand how you can still be conscience!” Burn ointment and clean bandages were prescribed and I returned to my parent’s home to live through the ordeal.
During the week we were prone to spill things. It was so dramatic my parents started feeding us on the porch to keep from destroying the dining room carpet. By Friday things were settled down. I could sleep better and the pain in my arm was lessened.
My father and I took Ellice and Joel to the park for some fun. Sitting at a picnic table we watched both children climb on the equipment. They had a grand time. Then it happened. Ellice was almost to the top of a fifteen foot jungle gym when she fell off backwards flat onto the ground.
I had visions of the broken arm from the spring. The cast had been removed the week before. I was also concerned about her back. I jumped from the picnic bench where Dad and I were having a quiet talk and ran across the park to Ellice. Dad commented later, “I didn’t know you could run that fast!”
When Dad and I reached Ellice she was definitely in pain. A few minutes later an ambulance arrived so Ellice and I headed to the hospital while Dad took Joel back to the house to let the others know what had happened.
Fortunately there was nothing wrong with Ellice’s neck or back. She did, however, break the same arm which had just healed from her earlier accident. So she acquired another cast, our nerves were shot, and we went back to the house to try and recover. Praise the Lord the injury was not more severe.
Driving back to the Saint Louis area we stayed the night with friends. In the morning baby James rolled off the bed and smacked into the dresser. Adding this to Ellice’s cast, my bandaged arm, and a twenty hour trip back to Guam things were a bit tense. We finally boarded the safety of the airplane and sighed a sigh of relief waiting to arrive in Hawaii, the first stop of our journey home.
God was gracious and worked through his faithful servants to provide us with a few days of rest and relaxation on Oahu. Our hotel was paid and some extra funds provided to see the island.
With Ellice’s broken arm and my burned arm the beach, one of Hawaii’s famous places, was off our list of places to visit. We drove around the island of Oahu, enjoyed the sights and sounds and the experience of a new culture.
Finally we boarded the plane back to Guam, our home, and the ministry God placed in our hands. Each step of our furlough was in his hands and covered by his love, grace, and care.
I’m not sure what God was telling us in these adventures. It sure didn’t seem fun at the time. But I know there was good from this. My burned arm, Ellice’s broken arm and James’ banged head were to produce fruit. Maybe it was just patience and reliance on God. If not for His presence I think we would have gone nuts.