I can’t walk! I realized as Carly assessed my feet and asked if I could stand. I had been descending from scaffolding in the Center of Influence (COI) when it started to tip over, compelling me to jump. I landed badly on my tip toes with my heels on the wall, and I was now on the floor feeling numbness in both feet.
After four months of language studies in Phnom Penh, we decided to move to the village to help our partners Joshua and Stephanie Lewis finish remodeling the COI before rainy season and the arrival of their firstborn child. With only two days of hard work behind us, this accident was an unwelcome complication. Joshua kindly carried me to our car, and we headed home to figure out what to do next.
Over the next few days we visited multiple clinics and got varying opinions. “It seems broken, but I’m not sure,” one doctor said. We went to a bigger hospital where they said, “It’s just a sprain. You can walk on it.” A radiologist in the States looked at the x-rays and said, “There’s definitely a non-displaced navicular fracture in both feet. You need to get casts on them.” In a city five hours away, I was seen by a specialist and finally got casts on both feet. A podiatrist in America looked at the images and recommended that I stay in the casts and off my feet for eight weeks.
I now use my hands to move around. Carly and Joshua often carry me on their backs. Everything takes longer to do. I’m learning to be helped for the most humbling of things, and I’m gaining a new sympathy for those with a similar way of life. It has been a learning experience for me, my wife and our partners. But, among many other things, we can still rejoice in something that doesn’t change with the ups and downs of life, “. . . that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
Mission work carries on. There is much work I can still do while off my feet, and the change of life also brought new opportunities to make friends, learn new vocabulary and speak of God’s love.