Grateful for the Body of Christ

What a week it has been!

This time last week, we were still in Nashville, and Rusty and I were debating whether to take Elizabeth into a clinic as she seemed to be pretty sick (high fever, congested, having trouble breathing). He eventually left the house with her, the address of a local clinic programmed into his phone. Several hours later, when I saw them again, it was in the emergency room at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. We had been trying to avoid a trip to the E.R. by visiting a local urgent care clinic, but we landed there anyway, and even added a ride in an ambulance to boot as the clinic decided she was doing so poorly that she needed to be on oxygen for the brief trip to the hospital.

Elizabeth was diagnosed with croup and given steroids and a breathing treatment, and after several hours of observation, they sent us home. As has been the case every time our family has faced a crisis over the years, I was humbly amazed and unspeakably grateful at the outpouring of support we received from our church family. Terri gave me a ride from the church to where our car was parked so I could drive it to the hospital. Amy went with me to the hospital, helped me find it and figure out where to park, walked inside with me, waited with us, and went to the cafeteria and bought Rusty something to eat. She and her doctor husband, Nathan, kept Alex and Stephen at their house overnight and most of the next day. Jane stayed with Benjamin at her house and put him to bed. Nathan called us repeatedly to check up on us. Claudia brought dinner one evening. Henry and Jane graciously allowed us to stay a few extra days with them as we attempted to recover (our entire family ended up getting sick at the same time).

I have not even allowed myself to dwell on how much our little trip to the E.R. is going to end up costing, but we have already had several people ask and offer financial assistance if we need it. As we began to consider the possibility that we might need to cancel our remaining speaking appointments for this trip and just head back to Seattle early, we had nothing but support and genuine understanding from all those we were considering backing out on. Many prayed for our family and offered words of encouragement via Facebook.

It’s enough to make you wonder what people who aren’t part of a church community do when things like this happen to them? I have wondered this often over the years. When your house burns to the ground, or there’s a death in the family, or your baby is 2 born two months premature, these are the times when I have witnessed churches pull together, rally the troops, and surround the one-in-need with real, tangible help, not to mention emotional and spiritual support. What happens if you aren’t part of a body like this? I suppose family members can provide this to some extent, but what if you live far from extended family?

At the end of the day, as we all collapsed exhausted into our beds, Elizabeth finally breathing somewhat peacefully, I was overcome by a profound gratitude for all the myriad ways we had been ministered to in our time of need by the body of Christ.

We spent the next several days recovering, decided to cancel most of the rest of our appointments for this home ministry assignment, drove to Memphis on Thursday, Oklahoma City on Friday, and tomorrow, we will begin the push westward to Portland, and finally to Seattle.

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The Catch-Up Post

Whenever I start writing again after a long hiatus, I feel like I should do a sort of “catch-up.” Where I am, what I’ve been doing. Not just to satisfy this drive to have some sort of chronological record of those months that have passed, but also to set the stage for what I really want to say later.

Of course, when so much time has passed, the “catch-up” phase that I feel I have to do just begins to seem more and more overwhelming. Where to begin? What to talk about? And so I keep putting it off and putting off and getting further and further behind.

I could talk about our new job and ministry at Camp Bellevue. How much we are enjoying it. How settled we feel. How thankful we are to have followed God’s leading to this place and for the chance to do Kingdom work together as a couple and a family (which is something we never really had with the jungle ministry Rusty was involved in before).

I could talk about our new home. How beautiful the area is where we live. How much I enjoy living out in the country as opposed to the noise and congestion of the city. How these things come with a price, because now that we live an hour and a half from Quito, I don’t see my sister nearly as often and can’t participate in our homeschool group as much as before. How there have been times since moving out to the camp when I have felt profoundly lonely and out-of-place and found myself missing even more the camaraderie we had with the Angola Team.

I could talk about our new baby. How beautiful and perfect and amazing she is. How thankful I am to have a daughter and how much I am enjoying little girl clothes and hair-bows! How fiercely I love her and want to protect her. How she is changing the way I think about church and the “women’s role” issue. How desperately I want her to grow up in a faith community that values her gifts and her voice and doesn’t try to shunt her into a specific ministry based solely on her anatomy.

I could write about the week I spent in Brazil in October with about 50 other missionary women. How wonderful and refreshing and soothing it was. How neat it was to look back and see how far I had come emotionally since the first Continent Care Connection conference I attended two years before (I was really a bit of a mess at that first one — yikes!)

I could write about “home ministry assignment” and all the places we’ve been and people we’ve seen since coming back to the States in October. How special it was to spend Elizabeth’s first Christmas with my parents. How, despite how truly good it’s been, we are also so tired and really ready to get back home and back to our own beds and our routine.

So that’s the background — where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing over the past year and a bit. And if you read my other blog, which focuses more on family / ministry news, or follow The Campbell Family in Ecuador on Facebook, then you are already aware of most of the above. And if not, well, now you know! The Campbell Chronicles has been sadly neglected too, of late, so part of my New Year’s resolution of writing more will include trying to get caught up over there as well.