God is always good! Always. We just need to live it. Two weeks ago on a Friday afternoon I received a call from Pastor Martinasio who was on his way home from the hospital. He had come across one of his teens who was very sick and could hardly walk. Could I help? Of course. So together we got this young man to a clinic where he tested positive for malaria. During the two hour wait of tests and results there was a down pour of rain. As we headed home the streets were more like rivers. It has been raining constantly since December so we are somewhat accustomed to navigating the waters, but now what we faced were water covered streets. I had a very sick young man and Pastor Martinasio, who is battling cancer, in my car. To continue on or not, this was the question. We maneuvered though water and made it to the young man’s house, but on the way to Pastor Martinasio’s the car took on some water. It sputtered, but kept running and we made it. We had a bite to eat but by now it was getting pretty dark and I was not 100% sure of navigating around water on my way home in the dark. I headed out, wandering a bit and then headed down a somewhat familiar street. To my complete horror I was swallowed up in 2 ½ feet of water. My truck quit for good. I got it towed home and now we are working on quotes for the insurance company. The young man with malarias has recovered well and I had an opportunity to talk with the man in the tow truck and now an opportunity to be thankful for all things.
Pastor Martinasio’s situation is quite different. His cancer continues to grow in two places on the top of his head, two places on his back, plus he has spots on his lungs and possibly on his liver. We went to South Africa to consult with a doctor who recommended chemo therapy which could have been administered here in Maputo. However the doctors here only tell you to come back again and again, because they are “still studying your case”. What they don’t tell you is that they consider you a “lost cause” and that they really don’t plan to help you at all. Two weeks ago, with the help of a number of folks, we went ahead with a chemo treatment in South Africa, but there have been no positive results, which means that he will need a different type of chemo. Insurance for these folks is out of the question, especially for a pastor whose church has no means of supporting him and he has no job. Yes, from a human perspective, the situation is hopeless, but we cannot just abandon him like the government doctors have. We will head back to South Africa on the 19th and at least get their opinion and perhaps try another type of chemo treatment. The problem is that the costs for each new type of treatment increases. Here in a third world country life expectancy is short and this is just part of the reason. Our plan is to continue to trust in the Lord and do what we can with the resources that we have. We know that the Lord knows what is ultimately best and can use this situation for His honor and His glory. Pastor Martinasio and his family have been courageous. Funds have come in from Brazil to help him to set up a small store in his front yard. They already have a small start. By God’s grace he still feels fine. In fact he feels better than his wife who is suffering from a number of problems for which we are trying to seek help in South Africa as well. This family needs our constant prayers.
With all of the rain it has been a challenge to get anything done on our church land. We were able to cut down all of the weeds and clean up a bunch of the trash. With all of the heat and rain our numbers have been down. We have much work to do. Pray that the folks the Lord has given us would go deeper into God’s Word and get their hearts firmly planted on the Word. Joanie and Zuleide are working hard with tutoring children. There have been visitors as a result.
The owner of our rented church building passed away on March 5th. It appears that he had prostrate cancer and never received a speck of help. He died a miserable death. God opened the doors at the funeral to speak with several people. I spoke with Vasco a number of times during these last weeks and days about salvation in Christ. I am not sure if he understood. Yesterday I participated in the funeral of a neighbor lady who had absolutely no church connections. Many neighbors were present. We are trusting God for further opportunities to minister.
Our times are in His hands. He numbers our days. His way is perfect. He makes no mistakes.
Serving together, Joel and Joanie Troester