Happy New Year's Eve!! We are off to a games, food, and fireworks night in a few minutes, but I wanted to take a moment to write about a few prayer requests.
"Prayer" can sometimes be a daunting word - or task, and sometimes it can seem wildly unknown and foreign. Sometimes it happens when we are unaware. Sometimes it seems an automatic response to situations - so automatic, in fact, that at times we forget we even asked God for help, wisdom, intervention, etc... And only as times passes and we look back do we remember and realize, "Oh, wait a minute, didn't we pray about this or that or the other?"
When we returned to Latvia in November, Courtney needed to see her doctor about the baby. Her doctor informed her that she would be out of town, but she could see her associate. Now we liked this doctor because she appears competent, proficient, AND she speaks English!! The thought of trying to do the doctor/baby/ultrasound/what will having a baby in Latvia be like conversation in Latvian added a bit of anxiety. We went anyway, praying that we could understand enough of the technical language to know what to do... we walked into the office and the associate spoke to us in English and appears just as competent as Court's first doctor. What a relief...and a reason to give thanks for God's provision.
Last week Court didn't feel well. She had the same pain in the same place for a few days - sometimes a dull ache, sometimes a sharp pain. Finally we phoned the Ob/Gyn to ask for an appointment. She informed us that her office (and most doctors' offices for that matter) are closed until January 5th, so we should go to the hospital and have them check Court. As we understand things, here in Latvia, without a doctor's recommendation, the only way for a hospital to see you is if you go to an emergency room. An emergency room in a foreign language when things didn't seem an absolute 'emergency' appeared daunting to us. We prayed, asking for wisdom, strength, and help. The next day, Court's pain was gone and it hasn't returned since. Coincidence? Maybe, yet we are thankful that God can bring relief.
One more story (there are many to tell) involves the Hope Center. Their grant is running out, and the budget has been stretched as thin as possible. At the beginning of December they had just enough to pay the staff and house the girls, and then they received notice from the government about year-end health and fire inspections, which cost to have completed, plus the costs of the remodeling they require to have done. If these things weren't completed, the Hope Center would have been shut down and the girls and their babies would have no where else to go. We prayed and asked God to provide for all that is necessary - and knowing that many times, God allows others to be answers to prayer, we started telling the story to others. In the midst of holiday spending and fears over the plummeting economy, various people and groups gave enough to help the Hope Center get through the next couple of months. WOOHOO!! God does answer prayer - not always how we expect, yet the answer always comes - whether it be a 'yes,' 'no,' or 'just wait and trust.'
I know many people have many questions about God, prayer, and the 'whys' and 'why nots' associated with those questions. I don't intend to offer a theological defense here, nor do I want to try to explain why some seem answered and some seem forgotten. I just wanted to take a few minutes and say that I know God hears, and I am thankful for the relief and response we have felt these past few weeks.
Well, we're off to celebrate the New Year with some friends. We are not sure what will happen in 2009, yet we know that we can trust our ever-faithful and loving God to be with us throughout this next year.
We pray that you would know peace in that reality as well.
PEACE ~ Dan and Courtney