This post originally published on a previously-owned blog and was imported here to simplify my life. Please excuse any confusion due to this merge. I hope you enjoy the content!

Basically, I love reading miracle stories and especially crazy ones like this one!

The first time I was asked to tell this story was for a cell group that met in a home in Cali, Colombia back in 2011. Let me tell you – I only had a thousand doubts running through my head about being able to accurately paint the picture in another language and without tears!

Well, the tears still happened but I learned that I was able to share this huge miracle story with new and pre-Christians adequately and only by the strength of the Holy Spirit. Now I feel compelled to share it with you…

Blessings Can Come From the Darkest of Times {A God Story}

My husband, Mike, and I moved to Peru in January of 2009 to serve with a pretty new church-planting organization. I was using my accounting degree on the administration side of things while he managed all the short-term teams that came down for two weeks at a time.

Quite often we were boarding planes to different cities around the country, whether it was for visa renewal meetings in Lima or hosting teams in hot, jungle cities. We flew a lot.

Because of our lifestyle and our travel activities, we ate out a lot. Let’s just say food isn’t exactly clean there and we all became accustomed to our co-workers’ occasional need to “work from home,” if you get my drift. We estimate that everyone got a stomach bug, on average, every two months or so.

Peru has all types of terrain. We lived in Arequipa, a city at almost 8,000 feet, that was less than an hour from the coast (hello, scary roads down the mountain). We also worked in cities that ranged from freezing most of the year to super sweaty-all-the-time jungle towns. One city we both flew to occasionally was Cusco, a city over 11,000 feet. We changed altitude a lot.

Flash forward to the end of March 2010…Mike returned home from a project in Puerto Maldonado, Peru with increasing lower back pain over the next week or so. We decided to continue with travel plans to the next project, which had us needing to be in Cusco on April 6. However, a few days later, Mike’s back pain was so bad he was practically immobile. We ended up taking an overnight bus back home to Arequipa – an action, in retrospect, that could have easily taken my husband’s life. But our Almighty God kept him alive that night.

An additional hindsight view paints a beautiful picture of God’s miraculous hand in this story. Strange as it may sound, a ridiculously terrible diagnosis from a local Arequipa medical team the next day was yet another tool the Lord used to save Mike’s life. It was stressful at the time, but we might not have ever flown to Lima for another opinion. The first doctor largely misdiagnosed it as a double herniated disk that needed months of an archaic form of treatment, while the next two doctors we saw in Lima (much more qualified) both agreed it was some sort of serious infection, probably contracted from something he ate or was bitten by in the jungle.

We spent several days in Lima visiting doctors, taking lots of medicine, riding in wheelchairs, resting much and seemingly slightly improving. The beauty of medical care in South America is you have much greater access to your doctor. Mike and Dr. Valdez spoke on his personal cell phone every 12 hours to keep monitoring symptoms and get to the bottom of the mystery.

Do you have a date you will never forget in your life? For me, I’ve never once forgotten April 19, 2010. Even that it fell on a Monday. It was a day of answers but it was it was also a dark day.

We went to another check-up in the early evening and the doctor decided to order him an ultrasound as all the blood work had seemed fine. By the time we were seen (because they had to get the ultrasound tech to travel from home for it), it was a couple hours later. I cannot picture the man’s face exactly, but I remember he was not young and had many years of experience in his area. The ultrasound did not take long – within moments, he almost became unprofessional in his reaction to the computer screen. His face went ashen, people.

He immediately sounded the alarm, so to speak, several people came in the room and our lives were spinning. Someone explained that he had extensive blood clots in his legs and up through his abdomen. The right leg was fully clotted while the left was clotted partially. Mike was immediately hospitalized to begin blood thinners.

(This is when the tears hit in my testimony told to Colombian friends…) The doctor pulled me aside out of Mike’s room and basically told me he very easily could not make it through the night. I think it was a couple years before I even told Mike that part…

However, God had plans to keep this man of mine alive! He was on the IV (Heparin) for a few days, then went down to injections of Lovenox for a few more days. Finally, he was stable enough to go to the daily Warfarin pill – which, after more than five years, he actually was able to go off JUST LAST WEEK, praise God.

Unfortunately (or so it seemed at the time), we had to leave the ministry in a hard spot due to needing to return to the USA for many months of recovery. Mike was one of the head people – specifically managing the logistics of a mega project (hundreds of volunteers expecting thousands of  attendees).

As I’ve mentioned before concerning the devil’s attack on those in ministry, we have lived it and seen it countless times, but he didn’t win this one! Mike was able to work enough remotely to get other people up to speed and trained sufficiently. This one event brought thousands to Jesus. God prevailed in, with medical & world standards, what should have been a death story.

Thousands coming to Jesus in Arequipa, Peru!
Thousands saying yes to Jesus!

I have so many more vivid memories that never fade these last 5.5 years – like how thin Mike was from the illness or how my dad slept on three hard hospital chairs the week he flew down to be with us or how our mothers’ faces looked when we appeared around the airport corner with Mike being pushed in a wheelchair. I could go on and on about the scariness, the tearful prayers we shared, the logistics and other details… But I try to turn my focus toward the less awful parts of the story. Like the good that came out of it

Many Miracles Came Out of This Story

  • Being immobile on a bus for 10 hours could have sent a clot to his lungs or heart. But it didn’t.
  • Mike’s body was filling itself with clots for almost 3 weeks before being diagnosed. Within world (aka not of the Lord) statistics, this typically means “too late.”
  • He was a long-distance runner and his physical shape was likely a help in his body’s fight to ward off the clots.
  • It’s given us a powerful testimony to share with others.
  • It (and many other crazy South American experiences) has brought us closer together as a couple. Our marriage (like all marriages) is uniquely shaped by our own events.
  • A diagnosis that came late showed he had Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). As his doctor said, it’s a good thing this came late because if they had found it early, EBV would have been deemed the cause of his symptoms and we would have been sent home to Arequipa to wait it out.
  • The next year, one of my good friends died in a car accident and I have always been consciously thankful for the extra time I got with her as we had to move back to Oregon for Mike’s recovery.
  • On a later trip in 2011 for the ministry, Mike was able to have a long Lima layover and visit the doctor God used to save his life. That was a wonderful reunion.

 

This doctor (and God) saved my husband's life. This is a miracle story that will rock your socks off!

What Caused It?

To this day, it’s not precisely clear what caused the clotting, but we believe it was the perfect storm. We had been in airplanes, we were in very high altitude cities, Mike had EBV which landed him in bed so he was pretty stationary and turns out he has a genetic predisposition to clotting.

As Christians, we’ve witnessed many examples of the power of prayer. For us personally, this is one of the biggest! When all this began, we were put on emergency prayer chains around the world and it was amazing to hear from people for the days and weeks after the storm calmed – that they had been lifting us up and we didn’t even know them. It was huge, humbling and not just a little awesome.

Probably one of my favorite parts of that was when (well over a year later) Mike was making a phone call on behalf of our organization to thank a donor for his investment. This man lived somewhere on the east coast and Mike had never met him. When he introduced himself, the man said, “Mike Drinkwater?!” And then he pulled the phone a little away from his ear and said, “Honey, guess who I’m talking to! Mike Drinkwater!” He went on to explain how they had been part of this God-sized prayer team. I mean, how cool is that!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough of God Stories like this. We have some whoppers in our own lives, but surely you do, too. If you have a miracle story you don’t mind me sharing, please get in touch with me (Contact tab up top) and let’s chat!

Read our main miracle story from our Ecuador years.

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