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Friday, April 30, 2010

Abundant Life Project

I did a c-section on an English Bulldog named Tilly in the wee hours of Monday morning this week. A first time mama, Tilly did great. Her regular veterinarian had taken an x-ray just previously and had counted 5 puppy skeletons inside her belly, so when she went into labor Sunday night, we knew what to expect.

Only, after Puppy #5 was born, came #6, then #7, and then #8! Tilly's got a lot of work cut out for her! With 7 sons and 1 daughter, I'd imagine a lot of wrestling, chewing, and general mayhem is in her near future.

It got me thinking about the concept of Abundant Life. Jesus said he came to give life, and give it abundantly. (John 10:10) He gives not only the status quo, but loves to give so much more!

I chose the name Abundant Life for my project because that's really what it's all about. Finding abundant spiritual joy and life in Jesus, but also practically helping people see abundant physical life in their livestock. We shouldn't just try to live, but to thrive! That's a lot of living to do!

I hope to post pictures of my youngest patients soon. From what I hear, they are growing like weeds and getting pudgier every day.

Crunch Time!

Big week this week.

Heard back about my visa - very good news! I've been issued the visa with the least restrictions, which will be very easy to work with this summer. Now, for the nitty gritty planning to actually get there.

Also, my first prayer letter is getting assembled and mailed out this week! I'm doing it myself, as this is the first one, so lots of work to get done.

Two big final projects to do, one which I've just received this week and the other which I've had over a month to do, and have excelled only in procrastinating to get it done. Working on that one big time this week, and so far, so good. It's going to get done, slowly but surely.

Things are coming together to finish up this semester well, as long as I stay on track!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One Elect

If you haven't got a copy of The Valley of Vision, let me share with you what I read today.

Love to Jesus

If I love thee my soul shall seek thee,
but can I see thee unless my love to thee
is kept alive to this end?
Do I love thee because thou are good,
and canst alone do me good?
It is fitting thou shouldst not regard me,
for I am vile and selfish;
yet I seek thee,
and when I seek thee there is no wrath
to devour me,
but only sweet love.
Thou dost stand as a rock between the scorching sun
and my soul,
and I live under the cool lee-side as one elect.
When my mind acts without thee
it spins nothing but deceit and delusion;
When my affections act without thee
nothing is seen but dead works.
O how I need thee to abide in me,
for I have no natural eyes to see thee,
but I live by faith in one whose face to me
is brighter than a thousand suns!
When I see that all sin is in me, all shame
belongs to me;
let me know that all good is in thee,
all glory is thine.
Keep me from the error of thinking thou dost
appear gloriously
when some strange light fills my heart,
as if that were the glorious activity of grace,
but let me see that the truest revelation of thyself
is when thou dost eclipse all my personal glory
and all the honour, pleasure and good
of this world.
The Son breaks out in glory
when he shows himself as one who outshines
all creation,
makes men poor in spirit,
and helps them to find their good in him.
Grant that I may distrust myself, to see
my all in thee.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Answered Prayer

"But animals don't get AIDS." This is the sentence that I've been hearing a lot lately.

It's usually after I've just explained that I'll be traveling to Asia this summer to work on my Master's Project which entails largescale HIV/AIDS surveillance and prevention strategies.

True, animals don't get AIDS. But I happen to be a veterinarian in the field of public health. And you can kind of think of the public like a large herd of animals. Disease spreads largely the same way through a group of people as it does through a group of cattle, and I know something about that.

First, my being in the Master of Public Health program is a direct answer to prayer. I had heard of the program as a vet student, but it wasn't until last year - only 2 weeks before the application deadline, that I decided to get serious about it. I wasn't convinced it was a good idea, but the Lord knew otherwise. I will hardly be finishing in December of this year before I put my newfound public health skills to work in Thailand.

Second, the project itself is a direct answer to prayer - I will be able to learn, to a great degree, part of the job I'll be doing when I get to Thailand, since MMF is also diligently addressing the alarming HIV epidemic in SE Asia. Part of my job as a public health vet will be to evaluate these programs and help with the technical aspects (all that boring math and statistics stuff).

Third, God has provided financially for this trip in a direct answer to prayer. Being a student full-time, and getting started with support-raising for Thailand which is a significant time investment, have left me with just enough hours in the week to work part-time at an ER vet clinic. But going to Asia is not cheap, and plus, I'm going to have to pay tuition for this trip. Yikes! I've been praying that the 3 scholarships I've applied for will cover 100% of my expenses, and so far, I've heard back from 2. They are covering more than 75% of my anticipated expenses, including tuition!

I leave sometime during the beginning of June for 10 weeks, which should give me a chance to take some good pictures for you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Daily

Sent my passport away to the Consulate in Chicago for a visa this morning, with no concrete plans nailed down. Hoping things will fall together soon! There's not many pages left, and I may just get it filled up this summer.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Peter Paralleled

I've been thinking about Peter walking on water lately. The focus always seems to be on the walking-on-the-water part. Did it feel solid or squishy? Cold and clammy? Wet and wavy? Undoubtedly a miracle.

But I wonder if Peter even felt any of those physical sensations at the time because a bigger miracle had just taken place: Peter jumped out of the boat! Adrenaline must have been pumping through those veins; thoughts going a million miles an hour but not thinking a thing except "I've jumped out of the boat! What have I done? I don't care how, Lord, but I know you're the only one that can do anything about this now!" And his feet just kept moving.

Everyone has storms in life, and there are many different sources of waves and wind and rain and eye-stinging stinging sea spray. Maybe it's finances, or health, or a personal crisis, or a new direction, or maybe, it's apathy and distraction that's making it hard for you to keep focused on Jesus. Regardless, we all have choice to make: cling to the man-made boat in false security, or swing your legs over the edge and start running. There is a right choice, and we have the ability, through Jesus, to parallel Peter's miracle.

I think Peter had the courage to jump out because he knew the One he was running to:
"He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it." 1 Thes. 5:24 Ready! One, two, three, jump!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On This Side of the Shampoo

I ran out of shampoo yesterday, and completely forgot until I was already mid-shower this morning. Fortunately for those that laid eyes on me today, there was enough of a film in the bottom of the bottle to procure a decent lather with a little hot-water help.

A year ago, I would have had a moment of frustration at myself, made a slightly greater effort at remembering to buy shampoo today (maybe the empty bottle would actually make it out of the shower), and gone on with life. Besides, what's the big deal when you can just zip on over to Wal-Mart and get whatever scent you want and a Diet Coke for the ride home?

Today, however, went a little differently. After my self-admonishment for being so irresponsible and that I really should know better, my thoughts gravitated not towards how I dealt with problems a year ago, or how I'll deal with them today, but how I'll deal with them a year from now. What's going to happen when I run out of shampoo in Thailand?

Not that Thais don't use shampoo. They do. There will be plenty for me when I get there (if I remember to buy it!!) But as I draw nearer and nearer to being a foreigner, I often wonder about a lot of the unknowns. Of course the big things like food and culture are different, and I can certainly live if they don't have my brand of shampoo, but what about all those other creature comforts I've taken for granted for so long?

There's a lot of unknowns on this side of the Pacific too. Like, will I be able to find good homes for all my houseplants that are sort of like pets to me? (If you've got a green thumb and are interested, let me know! I've got a deal for you!) What things should I take, what should I store, and what should I give away? Funny how I didn't realize I valued my butterfly display or my TV stand until I thought about parting with them. The heart really is deceitful above all things, isn't it?

It's been a good pruning process for me. Jesus himself said not to worry about these things. He would take care of them.

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."
Matthew 6:28-29

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mission to Mail

I accomplished something huge this week: I finished my first prayer letter! It is submitted to the CVM office and being prepared for printing as I type.

It may not seem like a big deal to put a few sentences to a page, but it is for me! Having the Type A curse, I realized I have been putting myself under great pressure to create the perfect letter that will dazzle and amaze my readers in every way. I've started it at least four times. I've got almost an entire letter written that is not going to be used saved on my laptop. Nothing but a literary masterpiece was going to be good enough!

But dazzling and amazement is not really the point. The truth is. Finally, I just prayed God would give me the right words to say, and I began the intro...again. The intro turned into a couple of paragraphs, and pretty soon, a letter! It may not be a work of genius, but its honest and I hope it communicates my heart. And it's spell-checked.

It's amazing what the Lord can do through one, when one stops trying to do for oneself.

I've also been busy gathering contact information from everyone that I think might be interested in what I'm up to. If you'd like to be on my prayer update list, but you haven't got a reason to believe I've got your info, let me know! I'd be thrilled to add you!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Last Week

We are now in the middle of Holy Week, the week set aside by Christians all over the world to reflect on Jesus' last week on Earth. It started last Sunday, known Palm Sunday, when Jesus made his way into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey colt, and the people laid their cloaks and palm branches in the road in his honor, yelling "Hosannah!". Tomorrow will be Maundy Thursday, to remember the Last Supper Jesus had with his disciples in the upper room, and where the first communion was had. Then will come the day of Jesus' crucifixion, Good Friday. Holy Saturday, he was in the grave, and come Easter Sunday, we will once again celebrate his glorious ascent from the dead!

If you're like me, you're wondering where Monday and Tuesday went. Business is the stuff of life, ever present and always begging for more time and attention. This week, I am a full time grad student, a part-time veterinarian, a full-time missionary on the road to full-time ministry, a writer, an administrator, an employee, a friend, a hostess, a roommate, a dog-owner, and many other things. When am I going to have time?

I am making it a priority above the business this week to read the historic events of Holy week. You can find the story of Jesus' last week on Earth in John 12 to John 20.