A Ministry for The Rest of Us

I spoke to Dave Miller this afternoon. He was in a hospital bed near Las Vegas. I told him about the arrachera and chorizo tacos I had a few days ago, topped with nopales and green salsa. Dave mentioned that he hasn’t eaten real food in days. Jello certainly isn’t real food.

Dave went to the hospital last Saturday for “non-evasive surgery” to alleviate severe gall stone discomfort. The doctors stuck a tube down this throat. Then they went in through his belly button. Then through his liver. All to no avail. Finally they did what they perhaps should have done in the beginning. They cut him open and removed his gall bladder.

Please continue to pray for Dave. What began as a “three hour tour” has continued now for nearly a week. Hospitals are no fun, not even for Dr. House. The pain during one of his (failed) procedures was so great that his screaming was heard all over his hospital floor. The worst is over, but this past week’s journey hasn’t been nearly as fun as eating tlayudas and black beans in Oaxaca.

In keeping with this medical theme, I’d like to share an adventure that Dave, Gaspar and I had one evening in Oaxaca. It’s a bit lengthy, but I need to go into a bit of detail. Bear with me.

It was after dark, after our evening meal, when Dave invited me to accompany Gaspar and himself to get medical supplies. We drove about 10 minutes from the ranch, and turned off the main, paved road into a dimly lit dirt road, stopping at the last house on the left. Dave explained that their doctor friend, who was actually a Mason and not a Christian, had been helping them obtain very economical antibiotics for Adventures in Life’s medical missions in rural, off-the-beaten-path towns in Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s poorest states.

We walked into the “waiting room” where three wooden pieces of furniture were chained together, without cushions and without any semblance of order or decor. The doctor had a patient, we realized, as he peeked out at us through his office door and told us he would just be a minute. Shortly thereafter he invited us into his office. He greeted us distractedly, and began to pull boxes of medicine out of bags and out of a filing cabinet that had no files…just a jumbled mass of white boxes that practically tumbled onto the floor.

The doctor began to count. 10-20-30…40 boxes of amoxicillin, 30 boxes of ciprofloxacin, 20 boxes of this, 30 boxes of this. He apologized because he couldn’t get total amount of one of the medicines that Dave and Gaspar had ordered. After providing everything on his list, he began rummaging through his file cabinet turned medical supply case, chucking boxes of all sizes and shapes into the already full plastic bag. Here’s five boxes of this. Another 8 boxes of this. He clarified that this was medicine that he was donating to the cause.

As we returned to the car, I told Gaspar and Dave that I didn’t know that they were narco-Christians. They explained that they give all of this medicine away, to people who have no access to quality medicine, and couldn’t pay for it if they did. Why did this doctor, who wasn’t even a believer, do what he did to help them? Simply because he believed in what they were doing, and wanted to be a part of it. I just shook my head.

Something clicked after that encounter, and I realized why I like Dave, and what he does. Dave and Gaspar coordinate a ministry that is open to everyone, even those outside the kingdom. The men’s week is a good example. Not all the men that we worked with would fit in a typical “churchy” ministry. Paul’s words come to mind, from 1 Corinthians 1. The Message puts it this way:

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”?

Dave and Gaspar depend on God and the ragamuffins of this world to accomplish His purposes. It’s an idea that Jesus started a long time ago.

Pray for Dave, that God would fully restore him to health, and that he would be able to enjoy a taco de cochinita pibil with purple onions and habanero salsa soon!

 

 

Tejate Drink

 

 

 

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